Paper Moon
Movies That Had a Profound Impact on My Life
David Fincher

David Fincher

Director

Two-time Oscar nominee David Fincher has directed such films as The Social Network, Gone Girl and Zodiac. His latest, Mank, about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, comes to Netflix Dec. 4. When asked for the five movies that have impacted him most, he shared:

I have no “top five,” but here are five from a particularly fertile span of moviegoing (thrice a week, religiously) during the 1970s.

1

The French Connection

1971

WHERE TO WATCH

For all the memorable fireworks of the best car chase in cinema. The ultimate power of this film might be its grinding and relentless ability to equate waiting with character. FRIEDKIN ON ALL CYLINDERS. 

WHERE TO WATCH
The French Connection
1971
104 Mins | R
New York detectives (Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider) chase a French heroin king (Fernando Rey).


2

Paper Moon

1973

WHERE TO WATCH

Besides being the most perfect casting of father and daughter thespians EVER, beyond Madeline Kahn’s status as national treasure—and Alvin Sargent’s relentlessly human screenplay—or Polly Platt and László Kovács’s stunning evocation of Depression-era America (with P.J. Johnson’s uproariously un-inflected Imogene) ... This might be Peter Bogdanovich’s best film—and THAT is saying something.

WHERE TO WATCH
Paper Moon
1973
102 Mins | PG
A 1930s con man (Ryan O'Neal) teams up with a savvy girl (Tatum O'Neal) of 9.


3

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1977

WHERE TO WATCH

Might be the most wondrous and compelling dream that Steven Spielberg’s ever shared. It shouldn’t work: Watergate meets The Day the Earth Stood Still? A tremendous Richard Dreyfuss actually leaving the amazing Teri Garr ... BEHIND? But I never looked at the night sky the same way again.

WHERE TO WATCH
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1977
137 Mins | L
An Indiana lineman and other UFO sighters finally have documented contact with space aliens.


4

All That Jazz

1979

Bob Fosse never stops to debate why his doppelgänger Joe Gideon is driven to an early grave wrestling with a form of expression he is cursed to love—but he shows us everything through dance, and we cannot look away.

WHERE TO WATCH
All That Jazz
1979
123 Mins | R
A Broadway choreographer's (Roy Scheider) pace catches up to him.


5

Halloween

1978

WHERE TO WATCH

STILL THE BEST. John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis’s teens were the first real ones I think that I had seen. A murky sense of culpability imbues every thrilling steadicam P.O.V. with heretofore unknown DREAD—whilst its “RELENTLESSNESS of EVIL” metaphor in Michael Myers was pure and twisted GLEE.

WHERE TO WATCH
Halloween
1978
91 Mins | R
An escaped masked killer stalks a baby sitter (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends on Halloween.


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