Steve Buscemi’s Top 10 Film Picks (from The Criterion Collection)


Ah, summer sunshine. It’s lovely, but so is the idea of drawing the drapes while Steve Buscemi schools me in some of the darker corners of cinema and the human psyche.

The man who’s met his onscreen end so frequently (and horribly) as to merit a Youtube tribute titled The Many Deaths of Steve Buscemi is one of dozens of luminaries who’ve compiled top 10 lists from the Criterion Collection’s film catalog.

What do Buscemi’s 10 picks reveal?

A fondness for black-and-white, a documentary sensibility, and an appreciation for anything deftly straddling the divide between horror and humor…

If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with some of his picks, take a look at the trailers. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him cropping up in any one of them.

Billy Liar

This shining example of the British New Wave can be referred to as a kitchen sink drama, but Buscemi calls it a comedy, with “one of the saddest endings” he’s ever seen.

Brute Force

Picture a remake with Buscemi filling the shoes of sadistic prison guard Hume Cronyn.

The Honeymoon Killers 

Buscemi’s hometown gets the nod in one of his favorite-ever film lines: ‘Valley Stream. Valley Stream. What a joke!’”

Man Bites Dog 

Not hard to imagine the Coen Brothers enlisting Buscemi to hold forth on the ballast ratio for corpses. Those with the stomach for it can watch the whole disturbing thing here, though as Buscemi himself warns, it’s not for everybody.

My Own Private Idaho

Buscemi’s favorite River Phoenix flick.


Wondering how Albert Maysles will feel when he reads that fellow director Richard Linklater fixed Buscemi up with a bootleg of his doc about door-to-door Bible peddlers.

Short Cuts 

Looks like there’s an Altman fan in the house of Buscemi.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm (whole film)

This unscripted, never theatrically released faux-documentary from the summer of ’68 was resurrected by Buscemi’s neighbor, the Brooklyn Museum.

The Vanishing 

If something gives Steve Buscemi nightmares, it’s likely to do a number on you too. Watch the whole film here if you dare.

A Woman Under the Influence  

Buscemi’s appreciation is so ardent, I’m hoping he’ll consider hipping us to his Top 10 Cassavetes films!

Related Content:

Quentin Tarantino & Steve Buscemi Rehearse Scenes for Reservoir Dogs in 1991 (NSFW)

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

A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 Best American Films Ever Made (1963)

Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler and the Chief Primatologist of The East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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