Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Daniel Radcliffe

The Harry Potter star drops by for a chat ahead of his new film, this week's Gothic horror The Woman in Black.

by | February 1, 2012 | Comments

“It’s actually a thrill to be talking about something else,” Daniel Radcliffe chuckles, pausing to consider a question about his new movie The Woman in Black. He is, of course, referring to the ubiquitous presence of a certain blockbuster franchise that has consumed almost half of his life on the planet. Radcliffe was just an untested 11-year-old when cast as the eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone way back in 2001; now, having triumphantly wrapped the series with last year’s Deathly Hallows, he’s a seasoned 22 and ready to spirit himself into the realm that lies beyond Hogwarts.

“To be honest,” Radcliffe admits, “I want to just cram in as many, and as diverse a range, of parts in films as I possibly can in the next few years — while I’m in this stage of transition from out of the world of Potter.”

Though he’s done a couple of small films between his wizarding gig (and received praise for his stage work in Equus), The Woman in Black represents the first significant step in the actor’s post-Potter direction. Based on a popular English novel and produced under the vintage Hammer label, the Gothic horror is set in a remote village whose children are being terrorized by the specter of dead woman. Radcliffe plays the young lawyer dispatched to investigate — and it’s a role the actor hopes will help cultivate a new screen image.

“The fact that the part is different, in that I’m playing older and I’m playing a father; there’s stuff that will physically separate me from Harry in people’s minds,” he explains. “But what’s more important to me is that the story of this film is so compelling — that even if people go in thinking, “Oh let’s see how he does in his next thing,” within, like, 15 minutes they’re going to be, hopefully, wrapped up in the story; because it’s a great story, and really compelling and scary.”

Audiences will have their chance to see Radcliffe’s transformation (and marvel at his dashing new accoutrements) when The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week. In the meantime, we asked him to talk through his all-time five favorite films.

12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957; 100% Tomatometer)


My five favorite films change all the time. Well, no — the top three never change, but the last two are kind of up for grabs constantly. 12 Angry Men is, I think, a feat of writing. It’s brilliant. The fact that it all takes place in one room — I think there’s maybe two minutes, three minutes of screen time that is not in the one room in that film — and yet it is one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen. I mean, you can’t look away. You’re gripped by the dynamics between the people, by what’s gonna happen, and by the fact that it’s a whodunit, based in one room, which is brilliant.

A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)



I think A Matter of Life and Death is one of the great works of imagination in cinema. It’s a brilliant story. David Niven could not be more charming in it if he tried. He starts off, you know, as a World War II pilot about to crash his plane whilst quoting Andrew Marvell down the phone to the mayday operator, who he then falls in love with. There is one shot in it, actually, of the heavenly court before it goes into session, which we absolutely — and I haven’t actually spoken to Mike Newell about this — but we lifted almost identically for the start of the Triwizard tournament in Potter, in the fourth film. There is one shot — because I think I watched Matter of Life and Death shortly after we finished that film — which I watched and went, “Oh my god, we’ve just stolen that!”

Well if you’re gonna steal, steal from the Archers.

Absolutely; if you’re gonna steal, you can’t do much better than those guys. So that would be one of my favorite films. Possibly — possibly — even more than 12 Angry Men.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964; 100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove showed me, I suppose taught me, a lot about comedy. The stuff that’s funniest is the stuff that scares us most — because all good comedy comes out of fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of public awkwardness, fear of, you know, all those kinds of things. To have truly, really dark comedy where at the end of the film everyone in the world dies, that was very funny to me. I went to the Kubrick exhibition and there was this whole section on how originally the film had ended with a gigantic pie fight, and it was cut; but in a way I get what that might have been going for — the fact that it is all so ridiculous.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006; 91% Tomatometer)



Little Miss Sunshine: I find it to be the sweetest, funniest… it’s a modern classic, I think. And I think Steve Carell is brilliant in it; heartbreaking. Also the fact that it came out of nowhere — that I went to the cinema knowing nothing about it.

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963; 96% Tomatometer)



The fifth, because it is the film of my childhood, and I still think the skeleton sequence is one of the scariest effects sequences ever, is Jason and the Argonauts. That is the film that, within the first six months of a relationship of any girl that I’m with, I have to make her watch that film — and if she doesn’t react the way I’d like, then that’s kind of a deal-breaker. If you don’t like Harryhausen’s stop-motion then you are not going to be in my life. [Laughs]

Has it ever come to that?

No, fortunately not. Fortunately I think that they all picked up that the stakes were quite high — so at least they pretended to like it.

Really, what kind of awful person wouldn’t like it?

You really have to kind of just have a heart of stone to not be able to get into that film, ’cause it’s just brilliant. You know the other film I like? The Vikings, that Tony Curtis-Kirk Douglas one. It’s really good, just because it’s… well, it’s Vikings; but I think Ernest Borgnine plays, like, Ragnar, the king of the Vikings, and it’s a hysterical film — ’cause made in the ’50s, and there are these shots where they’re panning down the rows of Vikings and they’ve all got horned helmets and scraggly hair, and then you get to Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who’re just perfectly coiffed, beautiful men still. [Laughs]


The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

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