My Favorite Movies
by WOODY ALLEN
When I awake during the night, to quell my existential panic I make lists in my mind. This sometimes helps me fall back asleep. Almost always the lists are of movies - adding and subtracting titles, substituting. My tastes seem to me unremarkable except in the area of talking plot comedies where I seem to have little tolerance for anything and certainly not my own films.
Fifteen of Woody Allen's Favorite American Films In No Particular Order
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Paths of Glory
The Godfather: Part II
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Maltese Falcon
Twelve of My Favorite European Films And Three Favorite Japanese Films
The Seventh Seal
The Bicycle Thief
The 400 Blows
Rules of the Game
Throne of Blood
Cries and Whispers
The Seven Samurai
(Note: If we take Citizen Kane from the top list and put it in the second list, this would be my list of the best films ever made.)
Silent comedies are all taken up by Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.
I put comedies in two categories - comedian's films which can be awful save for the comedian's work and comedy movies that have plots. Of the comedian's films or broader sillier films that I always laugh at are:
A Night at the Opera
A Day at the Races
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break
Casanova's Big Night
Of talking plot comedies, I'm hesitant to say my list because my taste is eccentric and there are any number of comedies I love that would make me seem foolish or should I say, foolish in the eyes of the world. Plus there are any number of iconic comedies that never have and never will give me a laugh and I don't like to hurt the feelings of anyone who turns such a tough dollar making screen comedies or even their descendants.
I will admit my list is always topped by The White Sheik, and when I think of American comedies my conviction is that no finer ones exist than Born Yesterday and Trouble in Paradise. Also The Shop Around the Corner is pretty damned good (I get a lot of fishy looks when I tell people I think Born Yesterday is the best all-time American stage comedy but it's the way I feel. A close second is The Front Page, the play.) After the above four, my insomnia list gets dicey for public consumption with a few predictable choices but many very personal ones. Incidentally, my list never includes my own comedies.
From a note to Eric Lax.
(from This Recording)