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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