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

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