Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Antoine Fuqua

The director of this week's Olympus Has Fallen on his all-time favorite movies.

by | March 20, 2013 | Comments

After rising through the ranks of music video auteurs in the 1990s, director Antoine Fuqua has carved out a feature career behind the camera on a series of tough action thrillers, including Brooklyn’s Finest, The Replacement Killers and 2001’s Training Day — for which Denzel Washington took home the Best Actor Oscar. This week he’s calling the shots on the year’s first White House invasion epic Olympus Has Fallen, a sort of Die Hard-in Washington actioner starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart. We caught up with Fuqua recently, where he talked about his five all-time favorite movies.

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972; 100% Tomatometer)

The Godfather was one of those movies where, you know, I didn’t realize what it meant back then when I was younger, and you love it because it’s so gangster, in a way — it’s just as gangster as it gets. But then as you get older you realize it’s about something bigger. The Godfather‘s about choosing business over family; you know [in Part II] when Michael kills his brother in the boat, and you realize what that choice was. It really stuck with me, you know, the bigger picture of what this country was built on and the choices that were made. So that movie I love. And obviously there’s the look of it and everything; that’s just a beautiful film in many ways.

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979; 99% Tomatometer)

Apocalypse Now, to me, is one of those movies where visually, I still watch that now and go, “How did he pull that off?” I’ve heard all the stories — the heart attacks, the house up for sale, you know, them going into bankruptcy — all the craziness, and I still watch that movie and go, “How the f-ck did they do that?” I mean, you’ve got cows being pulled in the air, and the whole military, helicopters flying everywhere… it’s so amazing. It should be a complete disaster. It’s the best example of “Just stick to it, and keep going,” you know. I just love that movie, and some of the memorable performances were just amazing. And it’s still one of the most beautiful films ever shot — no CG; all real.

Scarface (Brian De Palma, 1983; 89% Tomatometer)

I love Scarface. First of all, it’s operatic and it’s funny, to me — Scarface is hilarious. It’s got amazing humor in it. I don’t know if everybody really got the humor when it first came out. It’s about the American Dream. I love the fact that it’s like, if they’re not gonna give it to you, you gotta take it. I’ve grown up watching all the gangster movies and that’s really the essence of all of them: if somebody’s not gonna give it to you, you’ve gotta kick the door down. That’s what that movie is really all about. Both of them [De Palma’s and Howard Hawks’ 1932 original] — both of them were about that. So that’s my love for Scarface; that’s the short answer.

The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966; 99% Tomatometer)

It’s another one of those movies that just feels so real. You watch those scenes and you’ve got tanks and armies, you know. It’s the first film I saw, as far as docudrama film style — you know, hand-held, very real, in the streets, in the world. And if I’m not mistaken, he only made a couple of films; the filmmaker made it and then he disappeared. He stopped making [fiction] movies. He made one with Marlon Brando and then that was kind of it. But the fact that he pulled off this movie — it’s a masterpiece. I remember watching the movie and feeling like it was a documentary, it felt so real. It’s so amazing. The performances of the actors, everything — it’s mind-blowing when you watch it.

Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973; 98% Tomatometer)

I just love Mean Streets, period. I grew up in my own version of that. Scorsese is a hero of mine. The movie’s really about him, you know, as a filmmaker — you watch Harvey’s performance when he goes to the church and he’s there on his knees in his version of praying, and you hear the voice-over. What’s amazing about that movie is — now that I’ve met Scorsese a few times — I can see that he was sort of in that world. He’s said it a few times: “I wasn’t sure if I was gonna become a priest or a gangster.” [Laughs] And when you see the movie, you see him, and you get that. You see Harvey’s character is a little bit of a priest, he’s trying to be a good guy but he’s in a world of mobsters and he needs to be accepted by that world. I love the elements that Scorsese captured. I love, again, that sort of brave filmmaking — they didn’t have any money to do a parade, but he just captured that ceremony, you know. They put cameras on the roof and shot down. They put you in the middle of a world and you felt like you were really in it. And De Niro, of course, is genius. It’s ridiculous how good he is. I could go on and on about why I love those movies, as far as technically, and performance-wise — but that’s the basic essence.

Olympus Has Fallen is in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

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