Five Favorite Films

Elisabeth Moss' Five Favorite Films

by | October 20, 2014 | Comments


Elisabeth Moss, best known as Peggy Olson on AMC’s hit series Mad Men, currently stars alongside Jason Schwartzman in the new independent drama Listen Up Philip. When we recently chatted with Moss about her Five Favorite Films, she initially limited her choices to movies about relationships — a major theme in her new film — but as we spoke, we discovered another common thread throughout them. See the full list here:


Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977; 98% Tomatometer)

The first one is Annie Hall. All of these movies are movies that… I mean, I feel that most people’s favorite movies are movies that you can see over and over again. That’s just a movie that, you know, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it and it doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s one of those movies that, every time it comes on TV, I have to sit down and watch it even if I’ve seen it before. To talk about why I love it, I mean, what do I even say? “Because I’m not a moron [laughing]? That’s why I love it?”

That’s a good reason. I like it.

OK, good, we’ll go with that. “Because I’m not a moron.”

Do you remember when you first saw it?

No I don’t. I’ve no idea when I first saw it, no idea.

But you watch it over and over again? Every time it’s on?

For sure. It’s definitely something that, yeah, in fact, just talking about it is making me want to watch it.

You mention relationships in your upcoming film. What is it about the relationship in Annie Hall that is attractive to you?

It’s such a real relationship, you know. I mean the first thing I love about Annie Hall is the humor. It’s just hilarious. It’s a really funny movie. But it’s a very real relationship story and one of my favorite moments is the montage at the end when he goes over all the great moments that he and Annie had. And it’s just that great kind of, like, even after a relationship goes south and you break up or whatever happens, I just love that, the way he looks at it and goes, “Yeah there were a lot of good moments though [laughing].” It has this really, weirdly positive ending.

When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner, 1989; 88% Tomatometer)

That’s a film that, for me, that’s one that, even more than Annie Hall, is like an I-know-every-word kind of movie, you know, that I just can’t get over. It’s very comforting to me. It’s one of those comfort films. And it’s also really funny. And it’s one of those movies like… All the things about these romantic comedies and relationship movies or whatever, they don’t even make them like that any more, you know? Except for independent film. Independent film sometimes does, but you don’t really see them.

Yeah, the styles change, even on television. Everything is changing. And I think what happens is sometimes we get kicked back, we revisit what we enjoyed about previous decades and we see a new variation come up again.

Yeah, yeah. Totally.

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950; 98% Tomatometer)

This is a film — and this is kind of going away from this relationship theme — but this is a film that, when I was little, I loved. I mean, I’ve loved it my whole life. I don’t know what that says about me, but I loved Sunset Boulevard. I was a big old-movie fan when I was, you know, older than most people should be when they’re older-movie fans. [Gloria Swanson is] just so spectacular in that film and it sort of formed my idea of that raw, dramatic acting. And the writing… The writing in that movie is unbelievable. So many incredible one-liners. It’s one of those movies that you can watch now and you’re just, like, “Damn, that was a good line,” you know? Like, God, that was some good writing back then. The thing is that movies written that way wouldn’t fit in, really, these days. It would sound strange, like you couldn’t really do it now. But thank God we have them.

Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957; 98% Tomatometer)

Another movie I’m going to give you is the same thing. I mean, it’s just that the writing is unbelievable, and that’s Sweet Smell of Success. It was a movie I discovered a little bit later, like maybe in my teens. And that was another move that I was just like, “Jesus, the writing on this thing, it’s unbelievable.” The one-liners are so smart, you know? I loved movies like Sunset Boulevard and I loved the kind of Hitchcock films and all of these kind of things and then I saw Sweet Smell of Success and I was like, “Oooh, this is a little bit naughtier,” you know what I mean? There’s something a little bit darker about that movie. The performances in it are so priceless. It was a little bit more of a leap in the cinematography, I think, than maybe those of, like, Sunset Boulevard or something. The lighting, it was very harsh. They were doing things with the cinematography that I was like, “Ooh, this is naughty,” like, “You’re not supposed to do that.” You know?

So you do have a bit of a dark side.

Yes for sure, for sure. But I mean mainly it was the writing, that is what attracts me to the older black and white classics.

All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950; 100% Tomatometer)

I know I’m kind of sticking in an era. I’m sorry. I know I could probably go to cooler areas like the 1960s and 1970s and stuff.

That’s what you like, though.

Yeah, I mean those are the films I can watch over and over again that I’ve loved since I was a little girl. All About Eve probably preceded all of those movies. I definitely saw that first. That started my love affair with Bette Davis. It kind of introduced me to what an actress was. Bette Davis was my first introduction to what an actress was, like a real actress, you know? And I subsequently saw all of her movies. I was obsessed with her when I was a little girl. That ballsy, confident, beautiful but flawed woman. She’s strong, but vulnerable. I felt like the characters she played, the later ones, have all of that, and that, to me, is like, “Oh that’s acting.” Even though it’s probably a lot broader than what we do now, and it’s obviously a different style. To me, Bette Davis was like, “Oh wow, that’s an actress, I get it.”

And there’s so much truth in that movie, it’s a little scary.

Oh my God, completely, completely. And it’s a brilliant script. And again, incredible dialogue. Just full of the most iconic lines. All of these movies… rarely do we have movies these days where you can quote, like… I’m not talking about “I’ll be back” and “Show me the money,” know what I mean [laughing]? I’m talking about really intelligent, quick-witted one-liners. And these movies have, like, 30 of them in every movie.

Right; they don’t make movies like that now.

They probably couldn’t. It probably would be weird and outdated. It would be strange. I mean, you probably couldn’t anymore, but it’s ok because we can just go watch those.

True, and hope that people stop remaking everything.

Exactly, exactly.

Not sure if you realized, but four out of five of your picks here have an entertainment theme.

Oh, that’s true, I didn’t. [Laughing] I didn’t, because I’m a moron, but you’re absolutely right.

No, you’re not a moron, remember? Because you like Annie Hall.

[Laughing] Because I like Annie Hall, exactly. Thank you.

You were obviously drawn to these sorts of films when you were a little girl and now, here you are, doing so well in your career.

For sure, for sure. Yeah, I definitely was attracted to things that had an entertainment theme to them, and musicals and things about Broadway and all of that kind of thing, I definitely was attracted to.

Listen Up Philip is currently in theaters in limited release.

Tag Cloud

GIFs summer TV preview adventure comiccon a nightmare on elm street Mindy Kaling Bravo E! kaiju 72 Emmy Awards CMT blaxploitation Marvel canceled TV shows Warner Bros. dc video on demand Tumblr RT History TCA Winter 2020 cartoon Lifetime CNN DC Universe Comedy Central Cosplay Nominations Showtime DGA Neflix WGN 007 all-time TV The Arrangement PBS Shudder Epix MGM gangster Year in Review NBC Netflix Lifetime Christmas movies HBO Max Sundance TV Hear Us Out Tags: Comedy The CW Sony Pictures Holidays transformers telelvision toy story Pop TV harry potter TV renewals Rocky dceu comic book movie zombies Discovery Channel slashers dramedy WarnerMedia MCU summer preview foreign YouTube Premium Ellie Kemper Netflix Christmas movies Television Critics Association legend scary movies miniseries IFC cinemax toronto Travel Channel Marvel Television talk show popular historical drama debate crime 2016 pirates of the caribbean Fargo black comedy Anna Paquin crime thriller king kong ViacomCBS 79th Golden Globes Awards scary art house Disney Channel mission: impossible reviews adenture obituary docudrama australia Action Avengers A24 news Spectrum Originals New York Comic Con hispanic heritage month obi wan TNT Crackle lord of the rings USA Network political drama psycho Lucasfilm elevated horror travel Rock fresh crossover adaptation Toys latino blockbuster critics nature Universal Pictures screenings 45 supernatural independent Song of Ice and Fire DC streaming service interviews slasher book adaptation Paramount Sci-Fi stand-up comedy BET Awards TV One cancelled TV shows hidden camera posters Walt Disney Pictures vs. 2021 batman Character Guide Disney streaming service werewolf nbcuniversal Country Rom-Com rotten best Turner heist movie criterion Awards Tour zombie 90s saw Academy Awards vampires genre Watching Series mob dark halloween tv diversity American Society of Cinematographers MTV dogs Legendary worst movies Pacific Islander Shondaland The Witch YouTube blockbusters BET 2015 comedies Baby Yoda cooking rotten movies we love Disney+ Disney Plus Funimation Red Carpet Trivia Food Network Teen TCM romantic comedy Film Festival feel good marvel cinematic universe based on movie SXSW universal monsters streaming movies Amazon international true crime sequels History The Academy The Purge japanese satire E3 Superheroes what to watch cancelled IFC Films Mudbound Fantasy directors Biopics Kids & Family 21st Century Fox comics Trophy Talk Film Tarantino See It Skip It BBC prank Focus Features mcc Musical comic book movies South by Southwest Film Festival cancelled television teaser X-Men APB hist richard e. Grant Endgame fast and furious Premiere Dates 24 frames movie award winner Amazon Prime TBS VOD 2019 marvel comics anthology Binge Guide Marathons Quiz royal family golden globes Best Director IMDb TV wonder woman boxoffice indiana jones Rocketman streamig SundanceTV zero dark thirty Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic books Martial Arts Awards concert GLAAD scorecard Comedy trailers robots critic resources live action comic Trailer Comics on TV series sitcom Ghostbusters Spring TV social media Summer sports Grammys laika Masterpiece Interview SDCC OWN game show streaming CBS All Access trophy serial killer Best and Worst Best Actress dragons Hallmark Nickelodeon spanish FXX BAFTA rom-coms italian twilight 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Super Bowl Reality Competition USA YA documentaries versus Winter TV Universal crime drama Photos CW Seed emmy awards monster movies psychological thriller 71st Emmy Awards mutant rt archives Sundance jamie lee curtis Acorn TV FOX 2020 A&E MSNBC 1990s Stephen King Western Family canceled Mystery Star Wars Celebration golden globe awards spain The Walt Disney Company Comic-Con@Home 2021 Indigenous Christmas Native Calendar TruTV japan Disney 20th Century Fox 94th Oscars Pixar Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mary Poppins Returns casting Black History Month Musicals ID Dark Horse Comics Television Academy PlayStation Prime Video VICE natural history renewed TV shows HFPA DC Comics Animation Cannes razzies HBO FX Esquire Emmy Nominations Spike First Reviews TV movies quibi Mary Tyler Moore Logo Hulu Alien Hallmark Christmas movies Emmys Extras summer TV Reality king arthur unscripted NYCC Geeked Week boxing know your critic TCA politics witnail Cartoon Network Amazon Studios Britbox theme song Tokyo Olympics docuseries deadpool ratings Infographic Best Actor period drama Thanksgiving Paramount Pictures thriller broadcast ITV tv talk green book ESPN Disney Plus new star wars movies Star Wars women Hollywood Foreign Press Association medical drama olympics Podcast reboot action-comedy leaderboard classics Box Office remakes Drama LGBT NBA kong Turner Classic Movies Paramount Network scene in color series Syfy Election cars CBS romance nfl video movies chucky Oscars doctor who science fiction aapi space National Geographic Video Games Polls and Games game of thrones LGBTQ Freeform Amazon Prime Video spinoff scene in color film series animated Opinion AMC Adult Swim Writers Guild of America die hard cops jurassic park spider-man disaster superman venice stoner Chernobyl sequel biography child's play Vudu franchise RT21 spider-verse El Rey football discovery children's TV 2017 Apple TV+ Nat Geo OneApp godzilla cancelled TV series documentary target high school VH1 new york parents TIFF ABC Family films Apple james bond spanish language strong female leads south america 4/20 Superheroe 73rd Emmy Awards revenge PaleyFest Mary poppins President mockumentary Oscar dreamworks Tomatazos Pop hollywood ABC Sundance Now TCA Awards spy thriller Set visit Sony binge name the review YouTube Red book Horror San Diego Comic-Con black singing competition Image Comics 99% Certified Fresh BBC America french sag awards AMC Plus Paramount Plus TV Land Tubi aliens 2018 Marvel Studios hispanic indie rt labs Fall TV TLC sopranos festival Apple TV Plus kids halloween worst justice league Sneak Peek joker Best Picture ABC Signature Peacock Fox Searchlight technology Pirates screen actors guild Star Trek Pet Sematary Creative Arts Emmys Countdown dexter Exclusive Video scene in color Brie Larson Valentine's Day Fox News HBO Go Heroines biopic young adult cats finale 93rd Oscars target scene in color Comic Book Holiday Winners First Look free movies facebook Schedule festivals composers Starz The Walking Dead Black Mirror new zealand Crunchyroll SXSW 2022 police drama basketball Lionsgate FX on Hulu live event Elton John Pride Month television anime ghosts suspense war Arrowverse stop motion Instagram Live Columbia Pictures Ovation cults Classic Film DirecTV Wes Anderson rt labs critics edition Broadway Women's History Month breaking bad Captain marvel Music superhero GoT archives BBC One TCA 2017 asian-american christmas movies