Not necessarily the best, just the earliest one that drove you to love movies, and I want to know why. Mine would have to be Raiders of the Lost Ark; I’m only 16, but I remember often watching that movie 3 times a night when I was 8 years old, thinking it was the best thing ever. There are others, but none like Indiana Jones.
My parents took me to see Fatal Attraction when I was 7. Basically, my mom had a Michael Douglas crush and they couldn’t find a babysitter so I spent most of the movie with her hand over my eyes. It was still super exciting though!
I was 13 years old and bought a ticket to Titanic, but my friend and I snuck into Boogie Nights because we heard there were tons of boobs in it. It delivered boobs and then some.
Watching the first half, I thought it was the funniest movie I had ever seen. I was laughing uncontrollably through most of it. Bucks outfits, Dirk and Reed’s banter, Little Bill and his unfaithful wife. I just thought it was hilarious. Then when the 80’s hit I stopped laughing and was on the edge of my seat. It went from being hilarious to just stone cold serious.
I fell in love with cinema that day. I felt betrayed. I didn’t understand how a movie could have me feeling one way, then completely flip it and make me feel another way. I couldn’t wait to watch it again.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days. it was truly a revelation for me, and had blown out of the water anything else I had ever seen.
All the QT haters may come down on me for this, but I’d say “Pulp Fiction.” I was 13 and this movie is what flipped the switch that made me realize that movies are art.
I was 4 when I first saw Star Wars at the drive in and I saw it over 30 times at th drive on over the next 3 years, but I think the first time I really saw film as a medium for communication is when I saw Gone with the Wind on TV, then Frankenstein not long after that.
Probably “Jaws”.. I was 8 when it came out, and it was such a huge phenomena – the cover of Time magazine – books on the making of it, etc., You couldn’t sneeze that summer without someone mentioning that movie. A younger kid down the block saw it and had trouble going to the bathroom because he thought a shark was going to come out of the toilet. I didn’t see it until I was 10 or 11 though – back then movies had multiple runs years apart since there was no VHS or DVD. But I must admit, that was a fascination with the “spectacle” of movies.. although it was a great film besides. Then, I had a moment watching “Lost Highway” about 10 years ago that made me see things more artistically rather than for just plot devices and high concept films. This had me looking at films a whole lot differently – appreciating all the subtly in shot construction, lighting, etc., More recently, I would say that “Cries and Whispers” by Bergman and “La Strada” by Fellini which I saw only after netflix was created – have gotten me more interested in psychological and intellectual issues in films. I now am trying to “catch up” with Bunuel, Robert Altman, Ozu, Cassavetes, Fassbinder, etc., and I love Godard. And the bigger the circle gets, the more that needs to be explored.
I’d share your choice of Raiders of the Lost Ark. For a movie that kids were allowed to watch, I found it hard-edged, quite frightening and absolutely breathtaking. This was something of a ‘toughening up’ film for me even though I must have been about 6 years old when I first saw it. Raiders opened up my mind to what could be achieved in a piece of entertainment cinema and left a mark on me that remains to this day. Another film I watched over and over as a youngster was The Shining, which I saw when I was about 12 and was one of the first adult rated films my dad let me watch. Although this film remains somewhat controversial regarding its overall quality, once again it opened up my mind, haunted me and though I don’t often sit down and watch it today I’ll never forget it and it stands as a hugely impressive piece of work despite the Nicholson’s hugely OTT star performance.
The Empire Strikes Back. I realized that it was the perfect film for me when i stopped liking Star Wars, even started despising the franchise, yet am still able to watch Empire over and over. It’s the perfect film to me
Goodfellas when I was 15 helped me refine my standards. This led to delve into a plethora of Old and New Hollywood material, along with the occassional well-known foreign film. The 400 Blows served as my gateway into foreign cinema when I was around 18, and watching Contempt a second time when I was 21 served to be the icing on the cake.
Easy Rider, when I was about 13.
It was the first movie I had seen from an era earlier than the 1980s, which was a big step for me, because I had grown up watching, almost exclusively, action movies from the 80s and 90s. Easy Rider made me realize that there was more to cinema than just passively sitting and watching things explode, it really opened the door for me to an entirely new language.
So cliche, but Star Wars did it for me. I was probably about 7 when I first saw it and it blew my mind.
BUT! My father was a French teacher, and tried to teach me and my sister French in little bits and pieces, and when he got his hands on a French film, he would make us watch it as a family. M. Hulot’s Holiday and Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete were what really sealed the deal for me as a lover of cinema.
I’m not sure which was the first film to make me love films but the first film that convinced me I wanted to make films was Fellini’s Casanova, odd as that may sound for most.
When I was 12 years old and my sister and her boyfriend took me with them to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It opened the door for me to explore filmmaking as an art and not just a movie. I started to go on my own to see all sorts of films and was able to in Los Angeles with the help of the great Laemmle theatre chain.
I remember seeing Fearless with Jeff Bridges in 10th or 11th grade and that movie jumped out at me as having some kind of potential I never saw in movies before. It was the first movie I remember thinking, “I wish I made that.”
A Patch of Blue with Sidney Potier. It made me see how a story that you can read could also be depicted on screen.
I think i was about 10 or 11 years old when i saw secretly on TV (without my parents consent), Nagisa Ôshima’s “The Realm of the Senses”.
I remember well feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and seduced by the sexually graphic, violent nature and visual beauty of the film. I couldn’t make much sense of it at that time but it got stuck in my head for many years to come.
It was a shocking experience indeed, but a great one that i see as a sort of introduction to a later fascination with the obscure contours of life and the grotesque in art.
But it was only arround the age of 16 or 17 when i saw David Lynch’s “Lost highway” that i officially converted myself into a devoted follower of the church of cinema :)
Haven’t stopped loving it since… ;)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Wizard of Oz
I’d cite Band of Outsiders which I saw at the New York Film Festival in 1964. It made me realize films could do anything.
Darkness, air-conditioning, and the popcorned floor of a theater have had a special place in my heart thereafter: Kiarostami’s ‘Through the Olive Trees’, when I was 14. It also started me on the path of reflecting on films primarily through impressions, moods, atmospheres (rather than analysis) that I’ve been trying hard in my adult life to escape, or at least dilute, through closer watching and cross-referential reading.
I think there’s not one alone that sparked my love in movies, rather it was progressively developing but sure there were some that worked as, let’s say, “landmarks”. When I was younger stop motion films of the sort of Chicken Run or James and the Giant Peach got me interested in different forms of animation, so I would equally enjoy a Disney, a CGI, stop motion or puppets. Then, around 12 or so I discovered 2001 and I really liked it (in fact, it still has a high sentimental value for me) which led me to look for other works of the sort, that’s when I discovered sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, Alien, Akira or Ghost in the Shell. Gradually, I began renting the arthouse films they recommend you everywhere (Citizen Kane, The Seventh Seal, Seven Samurai, Breathless…) and so on until I developed a more personal criteria of my likes and dislikes. Finally, bumping into The Auteurs -ah, those great times :’ ) – and sites like surrealmoviez gave a huge boost in my love and knowledge of cinema, not to mention that they made me an experimental film junkie :P.
[I understand if you just skipped this post haha, too much unasked information maybe]
Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge which I watched on my DVD player. I was stunned by the sincerity and sheer meticulousness of the film maker. After this experience I just couldn’t help but take movies seriously!
I too was affected by that film early on. It’s still one of the few crime/gangster films (and a heist, no less) I can sincerely say I don’t mind returning to.
I agree with you there. It remains my favorite film by Melville even after watching other equally worthy films in his catalog.
Hear hear. Sounds like @scubadonc and I had similar revelations. I saw Pulp Fiction on VHS when I was 13 or so, and it really made me go “oh, shit…”
Maybe it was the right time in my life, the right time in cinema, but after that I was watching movies I’d already seen with greater appreciation.
remains my favorite movie still
it was the beginning and it will last with me to beyond the infinite
Apocalypse Now / La Dolce Vita sealed the deal for me.
Hmm…. i would say i never took movies to seriously untill i saw The Godfather when i was 13. For some reason, i became obsessed with gangsters- i started watching Scarface (the 80’s one), Good Fellas, The Public Enemy etc. Then i stumbled across The Godfather, and it totally blew my mind. That’s the movie that i took seriously, the movie that i didn’t skip any parts in. The obsession towards gangsters slowly changed to cinema