Steve McQueen


Voted for

The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
Couch1966Andy Warhol
La Règle du jeu1939Jean Renoir
Le Mépris1963Jean-Luc Godard
Do the Right Thing1989Spike Lee
Once upon a Time in America1983Sergio Leone
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Beau travail1998Claire Denis


The Battle of Algiers

1966 Italy, Algeria

This movie is such a great example of what cinema can do. Going beyond entertainment and actually crossing over into the everyday. It became a rallying call for action. It was the last screening I attended at my favourite cinema, the Lumiere in London, before it closed. I remember seeing the owner in the front row swigging back vodka. I was in tears.


1933 France

This was one of those movies that’s stuck with me from when I was young and getting into cinema. It was all about liberation and freedom. It was all about play and discovery and defying conventions in a boys' school.


1966 USA

I saw this for the first time when I was about 19, at Goldsmiths. Some guy came with a 16 millimetre projector, and he was projecting it at 18 frames per second. I was mesmerised by this film, and the fact that it was just below the rate of your heartbeat and it was pulsating. It was hypnotising.

La Règle du jeu

1939 France

It's about the state of play: the haves, the have nots. It's all about the game, and I think it's so beautifully done. It reminds me of desperate people in desperate places.

Le Mépris

1963 France, Italy

The music in this movie and the whole idea of the slow breakup of the couple played by Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot made a huge impression on me: as did its pace and way of looking and the use of time. It’s one of Godard’s best movies.

Do the Right Thing

1989 USA

I remember seeing it for the first time. My god. It was one of the most exciting things I'd seen. When I saw it, we were living it. A lot of these films I'm mentioning are films from the past. This was a film of the present, in 1989 when I saw it, and it was electrifying. Again, that’s what a film can do as an object, and how it can gauge the temperature or the climate of the moment. It’s even more rare today to see a picture that says something about the here and now.

Once upon a Time in America

1983 USA, Italy

A film about time and regret. There's something in Ennio Morricone’s music: it’s such a force in the trajectory of the film. It's got this wave to it, and it's beautiful. It's one of those occasions when I was in a cinema when I lost sense of time, and I was living within the film. It was fantastic. My biggest memory of this film is the kid on the top of the staircase (rather than being with a girl), eating all the cream off the cake. For me that’s the most beautiful scene in the film.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

For something ostensibly so foreign to me, how Tokyo Story depicts the life of a family was extremely familiar; it was recognisable. It’s so close to a reality that I know. That happens sometimes: you see things through other people's eyes, and it's so intimate, so close. It's like, how do they know?

Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

I love, love, love Gene Kelly. The exuberance. Even in the title. Right now we should all be singing in the rain, that's what we're after. Life is about singing in the rain, and this movie articulated that in such a spectacular way.

Beau travail

1998 France

It's a meditation, and it’s undeniable on its own terms. You have to tune yourself into it, almost like a radio, into that frequency.