Quentin Tarantino Picks the 12 Best Films of All Time; Watch Two of His Favorites Free Online

in Film | March 24th, 2016

Every decade, when the British Film Institute (BFI) announces the outcome of its Sight & Sound Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time, cinephiles listen; no less a serious movie person than Roger Ebert called it, among the countless polls of great movies, “the only one most serious movie people take seriously.” When the BFI conducts the poll, it divides those polled into two groups: one for critics like Ebert, and one for directors like, say, Quentin Tarantino, whose thorough knowledge of cinema and absolute seriousness as a movie person almost makes him a critic as well, albeit one who does his criticism in the form of movies.

In the 2002 poll, Tarantino named these as the greatest films of all time:

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)
  • Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
  • Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
  • His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
  • Rolling Thunder (John Flynn, 1977)
  • They All Laughed (Peter Bogdanovich, 1981)
  • The Great Escape (John Sturges, 1963)
  • Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976)
  • Coffy (Jack Hill, 1973)
  • Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)
  • Five Fingers of Death (Chang-hwa Jeong, 1972)
  • Hi Diddle Diddle (Andrew W. Stone, 1943)

You can watch two of Tarantino’s 2002 picks, the formally experimental caper comedy Hi Diddle Diddle as well as His Girl Friday, the capstone of the screwball comedy subgenre, for free online. Once you’ve enjoyed the both of them, why not have a look at Tarantino’s selections a decade on, for the 2012 Sight & Sound directors poll, to compare and contrast, with the new titles bolded:

  • Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
  • The Bad News Bears (Michael Ritchie, 1976)
  • Carrie (Brian de Palma, 1976)
  • Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966)
  • The Great Escape (John Sturges, 1963)
  • His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1939)
  • Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
  • Pretty Maids All in a Row (Roger Vadim, 1971)
  • Rolling Thunder (John Flynn, 1997)
  • Sorcerer (William Friedkin. 1977)
  • Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

Tarantino’s 2012 selections reveal a clear increase in appreciation, or at least willingness to vote his appreciation, for high-profile pictures of the 1970s — Apocalypse NowJawsTaxi DriverThe Bad News Bears — a decade whose cinema to which the director has made no lack of homage. We’ll have to wait six more years, until the 2022 poll, to get a full sense of how Tarantino’s idea of the canon has changed. Will the grim, satirical, and lurid films of the 70s consume most of his list by then? Will he favor a different era of film history entirely? I’d only put money on one thing for sure about the preference of this filmmaker who loves dialogue even more than violence: His Girl Friday isn’t going anywhere.

You can find His Girl Friday and Hi Diddle Diddle on our list, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Quentin Tarantino Lists the 12 Greatest Films of All Time: From Taxi Driver to The Bad News Bears

Quentin Tarantino’s Handwritten List of the 11 “Greatest Movies”

Quentin Tarantino Lists His Favorite Films Since 1992

Watch His Girl Friday, Howard Hawks’ Classic Screwball Comedy Starring Cary Grant, Free Online

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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Comments (3)

  1. Kinders says . . .
    March 24, 2016 / 6:17 am

    Taxi Driver is in both lists :)

  2. C. Herzl says . . .
    March 24, 2016 / 10:34 pm

    For someone with a “thorough knowledge of cinema”, Tarantino’s lists sound a bit US-centric. And Jaws??? C’mon… Why not Cocktail?

  3. Chet Torrance says . . .
    March 25, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    As if Tarantino’s list of films had any significance beyond the popcorn sales. Reservoir Dogs was simply decent and derivitive. All else – Drek. Max Schreck.

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