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You can’t really talk about how the art of cinema was electrified in the 1990s without also mentioning the meteoric impact of Quentin Tarantino. Influencing the pace and style of independent cinema in the following years, Tarantino would define the era alongside filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Paul Thomas Anderson and Sofia Coppola.
Making a trio of iconic movies in the 1990s, including Reservoir Dogs, the Palme d’Or winner Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, Tarantino forever changed the face of independent filmmaking, proving that much could be done on a shoestring budget if your style was the main selling point. Considering that he was a major director of the decade, it’s no surprise that many of his favourite movies also come from the 1990s.
Revealing his favourite movies of the 1990s, Tarantino includes such hits as Takashi Miike’s creepy horror flick Audition, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and David Fincher’s Fight Club. When speaking about another favourite, Richard Linkalter’s Dazed and Confused, he adds: “One of the things about Dazed and Confused that’s so terrific is that every time you watch it…the characters are like your friends and it’s like you’re hanging out with them again.”
Yet, whilst the ‘90s might be a favourite, he thinks considerably less of the decade that preceded it, calling the 1980s the “worst time for movies” in an interview with Joe Rogan. Continuing, he added: “Everything was cynical, then all of a sudden in the ‘80s all that was washed away and the most important thing about a character was that they were likeable… Every character had to be likeable, and the audience had to like everybody.”
But, this doesn’t mean that he despised everything from the era, with the director revealing, a little later in his conversation with the podcaster, his favourite movies from the ‘80s.
Revealing that he considered writing a book about the 15 best movies of the decade that stood out among the filmmaking fodder, Tarantino went on to name just six films, giving us a glimpse into his thought process. One was the Jim McBride movie Breathless, a movie he calls the “coolest” ever made in a separate interview, exclaiming: “Here’s a movie that indulges completely all my obsessions – comic books, rockabilly music and movies”.
Elsewhere, he expresses his fondness for the 1986 crime thriller Manhunter from director Michael Mann, a film that told the story of a former FBI agent who comes back to the service to pursue a deranged serial killer.
Take a look at Tarantino’s full list of his 1980s favourites below.