The Year in Five Favorite Films: 2011

We present some interesting trends from our Five Favorite Films interviews.

by | December 28, 2011 | Comments

If you’ve been following us for some time, then you know all about Five Favorite Films. We here at Rotten Tomatoes are sometimes afforded the rare privilege of speaking with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, rising talents, indie darlings, and most fascinating personalities, and when we do, we almost always begin by asking our subjects to talk about their favorite movies. It’s a great opportunity, both for them to break the monotony of endless questions about films they’re contractually obligated to promote, and for the rest of us to learn what inspires our favorite actors and auteurs. Last year, we decided to take a peek back at all of our Five Favorite Films interviews (full archive here) and see if we could spot some interesting trends, and we had such a good time doing it that we’ve decided to do it again this year. Without further ado, here is The Year in Five Favorite Films:

How many people did we interview for Five Favorite Films this year?


Which movie was most often cited as a Favorite?

Like last year, The Godfather led the pack, having been selected 5 times, but this time around, it had to share the honors with its own sequel, The Godfather Part II, which was also chosen 5 times. What’s more, runner-up honors this year went to yet another Francis Ford Coppola film, Apocalypse Now, which was mentioned 4 times.


What else was up there?

The following movies were chosen three times: The Wizard of Oz, The Exorcist, The Breakfast Club, Raging Bull, Dr. Strangelove, and The Shining, the latter two of which were the only ones that also achieved this milestone last year.

Which director was most often cited?

Being that Francis Ford Coppola was at the helm of the three most cited films (The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now), which were cited a total of 14 times (not to mention The Conversation, which was chosen twice itself), the answer is pretty clear. Interestingly enough, however, the director whose largest number of films were mentioned would be Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Stardust Memories, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Midnight in Paris) with 5. Incidentally, the next runner up would have been Martin Scorsese, who just barely edges out Coppola’s (and Elia Kazan’s, and Stanley Kubrick’s) 4 movies with Bradley Cooper’s specific mention of Scorsese’s segment in the anthology film New York Stories, to which both Allen and Coppola also contributed.

What was the oldest movie chosen?

Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921), as cited by Zoe Saldana, who expressed a great love for silent films.


And the most recent movie chosen?

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, which opened just a few months ago in mid-September. Freida Pinto picked it for her list, thereby making her that much cooler than most of the young men who loved her even more for it.

Did anyone pick their own movies?

There were a couple who did, actually. Legendary stuntman Vic Armstrong went with the Five Favorite Films he had worked on, and unsurprisingly, when pressed for her Five Favorite Films, Miss Piggy simply named every Muppet movie made (plus Casablanca). She’s such a ham.

Who had the most liberal interpretation of the number Five?

That would be Joshua Leonard, who gave us a whopping nine films.

Who were the two most disparate celebrities who were both the only ones to cite a particular movie as one of their Favorites?

There are probably a decent number of bizarre connections to be found, but we’d say the winners of this category would be Morgan Freeman and Hayden Panettiere, who both chose Moulin Rouge. Incidentally, the two have something else in common, having both starred in movies about saving dolphins (Freeman in Dolphin Tale and Panettiere in The Cove).

What was the lowest Tomatometer-rated film to be cited?

That would be Booty Call at 25%, as chosen by Puss in Boots. Because of its “Great boots!”

Okay, but what was the lowest Tomatometer-rated film to be cited genuinely?

Well, far be it from us to determine the sincerity of Puss in Boots’ choices, but we get what you’re saying. The answer you’re looking for is Man on Fire at 39% with 97 reviews, as chosen by Taylor Lautner.

How many Rotten films were chosen as Favorites, anyway?


And how many films chosen have 100% Tomatometers?



Which list had the highest Tomatometer average?

That honor goes to director James Cameron, whose Five Favorites brought an average Tomatometer score of 99%.

How many times were the Star Wars movies mentioned?

Believe it or not, after both Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back were each mentioned three times last year, absolutely no Star Wars movie was cited as a Favorite by anyone in 2011. Not so pleased, would George Lucas be…

Who provoked the biggest double-take?

That would have to be veteran B-movie legend Roger Corman, who ended an impressive Favorites list that included Battleship Potemkin, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, and On the Waterfront with… Avatar?


I’m your average awesome Rotten Tomatoes news reader and commenter. Who had the best list?

We’d venture to say you’d probably be happiest with Freida Pinto’s.

Which list was the most fun to read?

Well, that depends entirely on your definition of “fun.” If you take particular pleasure in reading someone geek out about their favorite movies, you might go with Alan Tudyk, Michelle Monaghan, or Richard Ayoade. For something a little off the wall, you can go with either Puss in Boots or the dual Five Faves of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Or, if you want, you can just read Morgan Freeman’s Five Favorite Films and imagine his voice narrating it to you.

So there you have it, folks. Check out all of our Five Favorite Films interviews here and chime in below to tell us which were your favorites, and while you’re at it, feel free to tell us what your own Five Faves are! Here’s to another year of great interviews!