IMDb Polls

Poll: The Film That Changed My Life.

In his book "The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark" author Robert K. Elder has interviewed 30 film directors about the movies that influenced their directing styles and their working lives.

Which of these films they discuss may have changed your life? Alternately, which is your favorite?

Discuss the list here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Peter Bogdanovich

    Citizen Kane (1941) "It's probably the most pessimistic, downbeat film about America ever made, because no one wins anything, everything's sad, there's no happy ending. On any level." [laughs]
  2. Vote!

    Danny Boyle

    Apocalypse Now (1979) "It had eviscerated my brain, completely. I was an impressionable twenty-one-year-old guy from the sticks. My brain had not been fed and watered with great culture, you know, as art is meant to do."
  3. Vote!

    Gurinder Chadha

    Purab Aur Pachhim (1970) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946) On Purab aur Pachhim: "Yes, on the face of it, it's very brash and very silly. There are sequences on the River Thames when they're all doing the Twist, and it's cheesy and over the top. But underneath it, there's a wonderful kind of yearning quality about what is culture and the perils of living in the West and the dangers of what could happen."
  4. Vote!

    Austin Chick

    Kings of the Road (1976) "I wanted to be doing something that was a little bit more, I don't know, populist? More accessible. I felt like a narrative interested me, and it wasn't until I saw Kings of the Road that I realized that film was a place that might make sense for me."
  5. Vote!

    Bill Condon

    Bonnie and Clyde (1967) "In Bonnie and Clyde, there's a sense that each step that each character takes, they realize that they’ve just kind of signed their own death sentence. They've become these outlaws; they've crossed the line."
  6. Vote!

    John Dahl

    A Clockwork Orange (1971) "When I saw this it was completely different—I don't even know what else came out that year, but there was nothing else like it. I was a very avant-garde movie at the time. And then there's the Crime and Punishment elements. Can you rehabilitate somebody? And if you do, do you take away their free will?"
  7. Vote!

    Pete Docter

    Paper Moon (1973) "I like the more character-driven stuff, and Paper Moon brought that home to me in a way that I had not seen in live action, really focusing on the whole story just about characters. It was almost theatrical in the same way you might see a stage show because you're locked in a room. It's got to be about characters, and yet it was so cinematic, a film that couldn't be done in any other medium. It just kind of blew my socks off."
  8. Vote!

    Jay Duplass

    Raising Arizona (1987) "It's an inspired piece of art. I don’t know how to quantify that or how to even talk about it, but I know that when they made this piece of art there was so much love, all pistons firing. Because they were creating things in ways that hadn't been done before, and they had to ignore the fears about why it may or may not hold up."
  9. Vote!

    Atom Egoyan

    Persona (1966) "It gave me an incredible respect for the medium and its possibilities. To me, Persona marries a pure form and a very profound vision with absolute conviction. It's very inspiring. I felt that it was able to open a door that wasn't there before."
  10. Vote!

    Alex Gibney

    The Exterminating Angel (1962) "There's something wonderfully comical and mysterious about it. In the meantime, everybody's trying to sort of keep their poise in a completely ridiculous situation. So in a funny way, those early scenes were very transformative for me, because they have so many layers, and they were so mysterious and disturbing."
  11. Vote!

    Michel Gondry

    Stowaway in the Sky (1960) "When you're young, you’re very receptive to all the stuff you see, the emotions. And then you try all the time to match up with those sensations. So in this sense it may have changed my life because I'm always trying to re-create this feeling of watching this movie."
  12. Vote!

    Brian Herzlinger

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) "I think it gave us permission to believe, and I'll tell you right now, one of my biggest things as a person, as a filmmaker, is being able to believe. If I didn't have that and didn't have that ability, I would have failed at this business."
  13. Vote!

    Arthur Hiller

    Rome, Open City (1945) "It was all that neorealism; it just caught me at the right time. I can't even remember, but I know there were a few films at that time, neorealist films, that they were doing in Europe that we were not doing here. It just felt so real to me and so good. I didn't jump and say, 'Oh, I want to make movies like that,' but I guess I was feeling that without realizing it. The same as when I finally woke up and said, 'I want to be a director.'"
  14. Vote!

    Henry Jaglom

    8½ (1963) "I wear a hat. And people always comment on the fact: Why do you wear a hat? I know that somewhere deep inside, all I can tell you is it has something to do with (Marcello) Mastroianni wearing that hat, which he only wore because Fellini wore a hat. I remember thinking, when I came home, 'Oh, I need a hat.'"
  15. Vote!

    Steve James

    Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) "I just remember being really struck by this gritty quality that it had—the raw honesty of it."
  16. Vote!

    Rian Johnson

    Annie Hall (1977) "His perspective on the relationship changed, but that might be another one of the reasons why the film lands so hard for me. I think we all feel like we've learned our lesson at the end of each relationship, and then we start the next one and f--- everything up again."
  17. Vote!

    Richard Kelly

    Brazil (1985) "There are two kinds of satire. There's Juvenalian satire and there's Horatian satire. One of them says the world is a s----y place but in the end we'll all be taken care of, and the other says the world is a s----y place and in the end we're all f----d. One sees the glass as half-empty and the other sees the glass as half-full. Some may accuse Terry (Gilliam) of seeing the glass as half-empty, but I think, really, in his heart, he sees it as half-full."
  18. Vote!

    Neil LaBute

    The Soft Skin (1964) "I've seen it at different times of my life and in different stages, and I think it is fresh each time. But I haven’t lost my initial respect for it. And it's true that I probably admire more than love it. I think that's partly due to its construction, that kind of distance; there’s sort of Truffaut's hand on your chest, he doesn't let you in completely."
  19. Vote!

    John Landis

    The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) "Everything about a movie, and I mean this sincerely, is who you are and where you are when you saw it. Because it's hard just to say, 'This movie is a piece of s---' because depending on who you were and where you saw it, it can be a great and important thing. There are great films that are completely misunderstood because the people weren't ready for them. Or they were seeing them under bad circumstances. There are too many wonderful films that people disregard."
  20. Vote!

    Richard Linklater

    Raging Bull (1980) "Something was simmering in me but Raging Bull brought it to a boil. I just started looking at movies differently."
  21. Vote!

    Guy Maddin

    L'Age d'Or (1930) "Essay film or dream? After 82 years, this singular hybrid is still the most assuredly jagged, trope-packed, gleeful, swaggering and mischievous filmic salvo of all-time. We'll never quite catch up to this picture."
  22. Vote!

    Christopher Miller

    Sleeper (1973) "For me, Sleeper was a great balance between physical comedy—slapstick humor—and clever savvy social satire. At that point I'd never really seen a film that has really balanced both of those elements. It was kind of like—you know how Rubber Soul and Revolver are the best Beatles albums because they're somewhere between 'She Loves You' and 'I Am the Walrus'? They have elements of catchy pop songs, but with experimental stuff in them."
  23. Vote!

    Frank Oz

    Touch of Evil (1958) "All I remember is every time I look at it I am never ever bored with this thing. I always find new things that Welles did. I don’t remember the first time that I saw it. Isn't that funny?"
  24. Vote!

    Kimberly Peirce

    The Godfather (1972) "I'm really interested in the psychological and the authentic portrayal of violence—particularly violence that comes out of emotions. Before The Godfather, I don't know that you could have such a violent psychological film that was that broadly entertaining."
  25. Vote!

    Michael Polish

    Once Upon a Time in America (1984) "Whether a filmmaker or not, I can be a fan because it has so many symbols and situations that reflect life itself, growing up. Even growing up in the suburbs, you still have friendships the same way these kids have friendships."
  26. Vote!

    George A. Romero

    The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) "It just took me into another world in terms of its innovative cinematic technique. It really got me going."
  27. Vote!

    Kevin Smith

    Slacker (1990) "I wasn't prepared for it at all. But it was amazing, 'cause it was such an insane, wonderful, and fresh experience but at the same time the film was very mundane. It’s not like Richard Linklater took us on a journey to space but he might as well have, because the people were very strange, and the idea, the whole idea behind the movie, was very strange. But insanely liberating for me, and very inspiring. Because it was like, 'So you can make a movie about anything, apparently.'"
  28. Vote!

    John Waters

    The Wizard of Oz (1939) "And when they throw the water on the witch, she says, 'Who could ever have thought a good little girl like you could destroy all my beautiful wickedness?' That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer."
  29. Vote!

    John Woo

    Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Mean Streets (1973) On Rebel Without a Cause: "I love James Dean. After I saw this movie, I began to dress like him. I combed my hair like him, but I couldn't afford to buy wax, so I had to use water. I even talked like him. He was a very influential idol to me."
  30. Vote!

    Edgar Wright

    An American Werewolf in London (1981) "Every cliche setup from horror films is subverted with the mundanity of the situation. It keeps putting these extraordinary scenes and really vivid, graphic scenes in everyday settings. That's what really makes that film."

Recently Viewed