Five Favorite Films

Five Favourite Films with Golden Globe-Winner Danny Boyle

The Slumdog Millionaire director shares the five movies that inspire him.

Danny Boyle - Jeff Vespa/
Though his first film, Shallow Grave, brought Danny Boyle to the attention of the film savvy, it was his 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh‘s Trainspotting that made his name as an internationally renowned directing talent. From a budget of $3.5m the film grossed $72m worldwide, and won critical praise the world over, currently sitting at 88% on the Tomatometer.

Many trailers and posters for his subsequent work tout it as being “from the director of Trainspotting,” but Boyle’s drive to deliver fresh and eclectic cinema will be a surprise for anyone expecting a redux of that film. His follow-ups have run the full gamut; from bleak sci-fi to zombie horror, through spiritual romantic comedy and traveller thriller. If there’s one thing Boyle’s not, it’s predictable.

Indeed, his most recent previous outing was 2007’s Sunshine, about a crew of astronauts in the not-too-distant future who are on a mission to reignite our dying sun. But it’s a far cry from his new film, Slumdog Millionaire, a fantastical romance set on the streets and in the television studios of India. The story of a young boy’s tragic upbringing in the slums and his appearance on India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, it’s already attracting awards by the bucketload.

As you’d expect from his body of work, his five favourite films are diverse and disparate. “I’ve got an odd list,” he told RT. “Things like your ‘top films’ or your ‘top end playlist songs’ — these are the things that keep me awake at night. I watch all of these films through the director’s eyes, and I’ve watched them multiple times — well, except for The Bicycle Thief — to try and bow down and learn.”


Apocalypse Now (1979, 98% Tomatometer)

The Bicycle Thief
Always, and always number one for me in every list is Apocalypse Now. There are lots of reasons. It’s imperfect; which every film should be. I love action movies. I believe in motion, in the motion picture industry. And Apocalypse Now is the ultimate action movie.

Firstly, it’s the only period film you’ll ever watch where nobody ever says it still ‘stands up after 30 years.’ Every other film — like Alien, and I’m a huge fan of Alien, I even did some promotion for it when they re-released it — the main thing you say are phrases like “Even after 25 years it still stands up.” You never have to use that (phrase) for Apocalypse Now. Everyone always just says: “Wow.”

The second reason it’s the ultimate action movie is every time it stops moving it’s weird and unnatural and disturbing. Everytime it stops moving: they stop to collect mushrooms, they get attacked by a tiger; they stop and watch the playboy bunnies arriving; the boat stops and they end up shooting these people over a puppy in a little boat. And it stops, of course, with the ultimate stop: When he (Martin Sheen) meets Marlon Brando, Colonel Kurtz at the end. You can tell by how unnatural the stops are, how natural an action movie it is.

The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)

The Bicycle Thief
To my everlasting shame — the film is so good I hate to admit to it — I never watched it until last Saturday because I was in Italy promoting Slumdog and they loved Slumdog and I felt abject because I hadn’t seen The Bicycle Thief. Nobody asked about it but I ran out and got it the Saturday following. It’s the most beautiful film.

Do not be put off by the fact it’s black and white or in Italian. It is the most beautiful film about a father and a son than I’ve ever seen.

Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers (1993, 100% Tomatometer)

The Wrong Trousers
I’m a huge, HUGE fan of animation — and that sequence at the end, when he’s on the little mini train, is even better action than Apocalypse Now. Nick Park is one of the most underrated action directors in the world. If he weren’t only interested in doing Claymation they’d have him doing every action movie. That is the best action sequence I’ve ever seen in a film. Talk about breathless action! And with the multi, multi, multi-millions of dollars spent on explosions — nothing is as great as that action sequence on the train at the end of that film.

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987, 100% Tomatometer)

Au Revoir Les Enfants
Louis Malle is one of the great, underrated French directors. That’s the best film I’ve ever seen about children. It’s a very, very adult film so of course you have to take the kids very seriously. What is it they say? ‘Kids are father to the man,’ or something like that. What you are is what you were, really. It’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen; one of the saddest, most moving, genuine films ever.

As a director I’ve done kids films — Slumdog has kids, and, I made a film called Millions — and it’s not easy to get kids to be good. You work hard at it. What is really difficult is to get every kid to be in the same film at the same time and I watch that film and every kid — and there’s a lot of kids in it, it takes place at a school — they’re all in the same film at the same time.

Eureka (1983, N/A Tomatometer)

I can guarantee you this film isn’t on anyone else’s list. It stars Gene Hackman and it’s made by my favorite British film director, even more than Nick Park. He’s a guy named Nick Roeg, and he’s most famous, probably, for Don’t Look Now. Eureka is the film that probably ended his American career. I think it was a disaster when it was released.

The first half of this movie is as good as you’ll ever get in a movie. It’s about a guy who discovers, literally, liquid gold. He becomes the richest man in the world and the man who has everything and the man who has nothing. The second half of the film is a trial and takes place in a courtroom and that part doesn’t work as well, which is what probably led to it being a flop, but the first half is as good as it gets.

And I love Nick Roeg. He’s idiosyncratic, highly individual and yet for a ten year period he was working in the studio system with big stars like Gene Hackman. Hackman’s never been better. People say “Hackman” and think of The Conversation but he’s never better than he is in Eureka. If you can imagine a man who has everything and he (Hackman) just plays it as a guy who has nothing.

Slumdog Millionaire opens today in the UK and is out now in the US and Australia. And come back, because RT will have more from Danny Boyle later.

Tag Cloud

crime thriller jamie lee curtis Acorn TV dragons Lionsgate renewed TV shows crossover binge WarnerMedia Marvel Studios reboot Brie Larson sag awards Horror Disney Plus Summer rotten quibi Polls and Games harry potter Emmys Awards screenings movies RT21 Comedy Central Mary poppins Election serial killer documentary Sci-Fi mutant Academy Awards casting unscripted Apple TV Plus The Purge Tarantino spinoff YouTube Premium Television Academy Super Bowl a nightmare on elm street all-time comic psycho BBC One tv talk strong female leads breaking bad 71st Emmy Awards scary movies foreign YouTube Red canceled Pop TV criterion Freeform television TCM teaser Spectrum Originals TV Land TLC Ellie Kemper streaming Writers Guild of America south america hist natural history Nominations Martial Arts San Diego Comic-Con Apple Heroines boxoffice miniseries Song of Ice and Fire romance Cartoon Network free movies cancelled television Cannes HBO Rocketman Film Mudbound Character Guide Quiz Discovery Channel DGA DC streaming service dc Fantasy LGBTQ space Funimation discovery Western screen actors guild USA ABC medical drama 2018 DC Universe Family dceu what to watch animated facebook Biopics superhero TCA 2017 Masterpiece TBS Reality PlayStation witnail die hard elevated horror comics political drama RT History Infographic technology thriller cars Black History Month comedies christmas movies VH1 asian-american game show TCA Sundance ESPN Disney Video Games classics stoner Sundance TV History TV SundanceTV kids Lifetime Christmas movies TruTV dogs Musicals cats festivals 2019 VOD Set visit APB indie latino Disney streaming service sequel Pirates supernatural talk show video cancelled TV shows twilight Baby Yoda comiccon TCA Awards MCU Elton John parents IFC Music TCA Winter 2020 Opinion Countdown video on demand MTV Epix Crackle LGBT science fiction Crunchyroll NYCC Grammys mission: impossible adventure Hear Us Out Superheroes Trivia Chernobyl Paramount Network social media Superheroe HBO Max news joker Disney Channel nature The Arrangement Red Carpet Women's History Month PBS politics chucky FX on Hulu 2016 rotten movies we love anime Fall TV Vudu Pop Marvel Tomatazos IFC Films FXX docudrama best historical drama NBC USA Network Interview Film Festival Sundance Now Walt Disney Pictures hollywood Awards Tour PaleyFest Binge Guide Calendar werewolf Adult Swim vampires independent Stephen King Television Critics Association AMC DC Comics The Walking Dead Trailer Animation franchise Disney+ Disney Plus SDCC cartoon Thanksgiving Dark Horse Comics Amazon Prime Video American Society of Cinematographers 45 WGN CMT 20th Century Fox films cooking Tubi Paramount golden globes TNT 007 Shondaland TV renewals zero dark thirty 4/20 nbcuniversal Warner Bros. spanish language police drama children's TV biography Schedule Star Trek psychological thriller Turner Classic Movies Avengers Pet Sematary Rock dramedy A24 canceled TV shows Hallmark Amazon award winner sports Musical Chilling Adventures of Sabrina composers game of thrones Spring TV CBS All Access robots Lucasfilm Marathons GIFs Arrowverse halloween Ovation CW Seed spider-man GoT theme song Drama based on movie Hulu Pixar DirecTV reviews VICE Box Office universal monsters crime anthology Shudder Podcast YouTube CNN Country CBS Captain marvel blockbuster 2015 Extras Oscars Winners TIFF blaxploitation Anna Paquin zombie Peacock Kids & Family revenge SXSW BET Awards Creative Arts Emmys BBC America travel versus FOX diversity 2020 hispanic Lifetime 21st Century Fox laika Toys Comics on TV mockumentary crime drama true crime finale Cosplay romantic comedy Certified Fresh green book Amazon Prime justice league Sony Pictures movie OWN fast and furious Mindy Kaling Columbia Pictures cancelled TV series doctor who Rocky Best and Worst Emmy Nominations Holidays richard e. Grant Photos Bravo Premiere Dates ghosts war Starz E! Holiday Winter TV New York Comic Con toy story transformers Amazon Studios A&E BAFTA Action Sneak Peek Netflix El Rey BBC Turner BET Star Wars Mystery cancelled The Witch Reality Competition period drama Ghostbusters name the review Nat Geo 24 frames Syfy X-Men HBO Go Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt satire MSNBC National Geographic indiana jones concert ratings aliens emmy awards spy thriller Food Network critics Teen Britbox 72 Emmy Awards Rom-Com Logo Hallmark Christmas movies Pride Month Watching Series ABC Family Christmas Netflix Christmas movies stand-up comedy directors Marvel Television Travel Channel Spike zombies batman Year in Review Universal OneApp cults See It Skip It President series First Reviews child's play Mary Poppins Returns FX Comic Book spain Showtime book Esquire stop motion obituary Tumblr adaptation Fox News worst Mary Tyler Moore documentaries slashers Black Mirror Nickelodeon disaster dark GLAAD Apple TV+ cinemax Endgame Valentine's Day Classic Film 2017 Comedy ITV First Look Trophy Talk cops YA The CW sitcom E3 singing competition