Wes Anderson’s Favorite Movies: 38 Films the ‘Asteroid City’ Director Wants You to See

Few filmmakers working today have an aesthetic that’s as instantly recognizable as Wes Anderson’s. His filmography has taken viewers from roadside motels in Texas to lavish European resorts and on the occasional detour to animated worlds where dogs and foxes can talk. But no matter where Anderson sets a movie, you can always tell you’re watching one of his films from the attention to detail, twee color palettes, and impeccable interior design: an effect so inviting it’s been mimicked by countless professional copycats and emulated by fans in a surprisingly sweet TikTok trend.

Anderson’s indie film superstardom has prompted critics and audiences to inquire about his influences for years. And while Anderson isn’t as outspoken about his cinephilia as some of his fellow auteurs, he has been known to occasionally opine about his favorite movies when asked — and tends to surprise when he does.

Interestingly, Anderson’s list of films that shaped him isn’t filled with the kind of whimsical movies that you might expect him to like. In some cases (Quentin Tarantino), it’s easy to connect the dots and reverse engineer a filmmaker’s aesthetic based on the films that they love. But Anderson’s interests are extremely well-rounded, to the point where it almost seems like his visual panache and his taste in films were completely separate developments. That doesn’t change the fact that Anderson makes excellent recommendations, of course.

From classic films by legendary directors to relatively obscure recent works, Anderson’s favorite movies are clearly the picks of somebody who takes cinema seriously. Fans got a deeper look at Anderson’s taste last year when he submitted a ballot for Sight & Sound’s once-a-decade Best Films of All Time Poll. Rather than choosing his 10 favorite movies, he decided to focus on films made in France. He accompanied his picks with the kind of adorable note that his characters have written out on vintage stationary on countless occasions.

“Like most of us (I think?), I don’t actually have ten favorite movies,” Anderson wrote. “I thought I would pick ten favorite French ones (because I am listing this list in France).”

Rather than representing Anderson’s definitive ranking of history’s top films, this living list tracks the films that he has singled out as noteworthy for one reason or another. In preparation for the upcoming release of “Asteroid City” — and the expected Netflix release of “The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar” — take a look at 38 cinematic faves from the auteur. Selections are listed in chronological order.

With editorial contributions by William Earl and Zack Sharf.

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