Stephen Volk

screenwriter and author

Voted for

Don't Look Now1973Nicolas Roeg
The Innocents1961Jack Clayton
Taxi Driver1976Martin Scorsese
The Devils1971Ken Russell
Macbeth1971Roman Polanski
Picnic at Hanging Rock1975Peter Weir
Apocalypse Now1979Francis Ford Coppola
Requiem for a Dream2000Darren Aronofsky
The Night of the Hunter1955Charles Laughton
Dracula1958Terence Fisher


Don't Look Now

1973 United Kingdom, Italy

This film had a profound and visceral effect on me and has been embedded in my psyche ever since. A masterpiece of every aspect of cinematic art.

The Innocents

1961 USA, United Kingdom

The most effective and precise rendition of a ghost story in cinema, with an unforgettable central performance.

Taxi Driver

1976 USA

The first film where I found myself experiencing an abnormal mind from the inside. Rewards endless rewatching.

The Devils

1971 USA, United Kingdom

A physical onslaught of a film which changed my idea about organised religion, and history, forever. I have never been the same since. The fact the film has not been released in its intended form is a travesty.


1971 USA, United Kingdom

Polanski achieved at a stroke what my English teachers never had: he made Shakespeare not only intelligible but compelling.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

1975 Australia

A film that is not just a mystery, but about the nature of mystery and the inability of human beings to accept the inexplicable. Masterful and eternally resonant.

Apocalypse Now

1979 USA

Far more than a war film or mythic quest, it throws of the shackles off its genre to become a meditation on madness and horror. Unforgettable.

Requiem for a Dream

2000 USA

Simply unrelenting and unapologetic. Funny, disturbing, extreme, challenging - all I ever want from cinema. The fact that some people find it unbearably grim only makes me love it all the more.

The Night of the Hunter

1955 USA

This nightmarish horror with children at the centre, full of classic imagery and a blood and thunder perforamance from Mitchum, always had to be on my list.


1958 United Kingdom

There had to be one Hammer here, and it's this. There is no better scene in the history of horror than the climactic confrontation between Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Etched into my mind and absolutely treasured. It never gets old and never fails to get the blood pumping.

Further remarks

I have chosen these films with two strict criteria: That they had to have had a profound effect on me on first viewing. Secondly, that their lasting legacy had to have stayed with me and imbued my own creative life. All the films on the list have done, some directly and massively influencing my writing, while others have provided constant inspiration by their greatness. Thanks for the opportunity to share them.