Gary Tarn

Black Sun; The Prophet


Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

2001: A Space Odyssey


Stanley Kubrick

Apocalypse Now


Francis Ford Coppola

Being There


Hal Ashby

Blade Runner


Ridley Scott

It's a Wonderful Life


Frank Capra

Jetée, La


Chris Marker



Godfrey Reggio



Andrei Tarkovsky

Thin Blue Line, The


Errol Morris



Pete Docter/Bob Peterson


2001: A Space Odyssey: I remember being dropped off at the cinema, with my best friend. We were about seven years old, the cinema was almost empty. I didn’t understand the film then, and I’m not sure I do now, which is probably why I keep coming back to it. But I thought it was a most extraordinary experience, both visually and sonically, and it has stayed with me throughout my life.

Apocalypse Now: The kind of film that I instinctively sense could only be born of compulsion, obsession, and probably a kind of madness. How this was corralled into an extraordinary film is the continuing wonder of the venture.

Being There: It was a toss up between this and The Party as I would have to have a Peter Sellers performance somewhere on this list. There's probably more truth in this film than in almost any documentary.

Blade Runner: Just magical, from beginning to end. ‘If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes!’

It’s a Wonderful Life: Rather predictably, I’ve watched this every Christmas-time for many years, and it still moves me to tears.

Koyaanisqatsi :I remember my mood after seeing this for the first time, and it’s something I think I’ve been trying to recreate every since, in one way or another. A perfect symbiosis of film and music, profound, introspective, but open enough to allow one’s mind to soar.

La Jetée: Perfectly shot (literally – every frame is perfect) and with a wonderful soundtrack and score, this 28-minute gem encapsulates everything I enjoy about cinema as it unfurls a circular story of love, memory and time travel.

Stalker: As a teenager, I used to go the Everyman cinema in Hampstead where I would devour the films of Tarkovsky, Bergman, Rosselini, Fellini and other giants of what was then hard-to-find ‘alternative’ cinema. Stalker is a film I keep returning to for its equivocal plot, atmospheric score and beautiful camera work.

The Thin Blue Line was the first documentary I remember seeing in a cinema, and it turned this tale of wrongful arrest into a dark, cinematic film with extraordinary characters and a great score by Phillip Glass. It convinced me that documentaries too could have all of the qualities of great cinema.

Up: I’ve watched this so many times with my kids; I’m struck every time by its truth and humanity. The opening scenes, as Carl and Ellie’s life of tragedy and disappointment is played out, is almost unbearable.

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