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    Home / College Guide / 10 Best Movies Recommended by Taika Waititi in Interviews
     Posted on Wednesday, July 10 @ 00:00:09 PDT

    Hailing from New Zealand, [Taika Waititi](https://movieweb.com/person/taika-waititi/) took his sweet time and established himself as one of the most original and hilarious filmmakers working today. He has brought quirky humor and immense heart to critically acclaimed gems like What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok. Through these movies, Waititi has not only entertained the masses but also redefined genre tropes and carved his own niche in the industry. While his movies are loved by audiences for their creative storytelling and infectious energy, Waititi’s own love for movies has inspired him over the years and the director frequently mentions his favorites and shares recommendations on social media and during interviews. He believes that the [best movies are the ones](https://movieweb.com/taika-waititi-highest-grossing-movies-ranked/) that aim to bring people together through laughter and empathy. We have scoured the internet for you and made a list of 10 movies that Taika Waititi finds entertaining and keeps recommending to movie buffs all the time. These movies not only reflect his taste but also the heart and insight that shines through in his own movies and storytelling.

    10 Ghostbusters (1984) [ ghostbusters ](/movie/ghostbusters/) - Release Date - June 8, 1984 - Director [Ivan Reitman](/person/ivan-reitman/) - Cast [Bill Murray](/person/bill-murray/), [Dan Aykroyd](/person/dan-aykroyd/), [Sigourney Weaver](/person/sigourney-weaver/), [Harold Ramis](/person/harold-ramis/), [Rick Moranis](/person/rick-moranis/), [Annie Potts](/person/annie-potts/) In Ghostbusters, three eccentric and unemployed parapsychologists, Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler, start a ghost-catching business in New York City to put their knowledge to good use. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension and realize the city is under threat from supernatural forces being unleashed from within. Using home-made tech and proton packs, the Ghostbusters manage to save the world from ending. Combines Sci-Fi and Comedy A supernatural comedy that strikes the perfect balance of innovative sci-fi premises with hilarious moments, Ghostbusters is a classic by all means. Director Ivan Reitman seamlessly pulls off the genre, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis backing the story with their larger-than-life characters and entertaining dynamics. Waititi [appreciates how the story](https://www.

    youtube.com/watch?v=C99IgXnRVy4) focuses on both aspects of the movie and believes Ghostbusters is “one of the best films ever made.” 9 Event Horizon (1997) [ Event Horizon ](/movie/event-horizon/) *Availability in US - stream - rent - buy Not available Not available Not available - Release Date - August 15, 1997 - Director [Paul W.S. Anderson](/person/paul-w-s-anderson/) - Cast [Laurence Fishburne](/person/laurence-fishburne/), [Sam Neill](/person/sam-neill/), Kathleen Quinlan , [Joely Richardson](/person/joely-richardson/), Richard T. Jones , Jack Noseworthy - Main Genre [Horror](/tag/horror/) Set in 2047, Event Horizon centered around a rescue team being sent to investigate a spacecraft that vanished into a black hole years ago only to reappear in an orbit around Neptune. Upon arrival, they discover that the ship’s experimental gravity drive is altered and it carries a sinister secret. The crew members begin exhibiting strange and violent behavior as they see moments from their past and are filled with grief and regret. Creates Unsettling Tension Paul W. S. Anderson created this [cult sci-fi masterpiece](https://movieweb.com/top-sci-fi-movies-of-all-time/). Initially a commercial and critical failure, Event Horizon found a fanbase after its home video release.

    It uses psychological and cerebral elements to induce terror in the viewers instead of relying on gore and violence. The scenes aboard the sentient and abandoned ship create a palpable sense of dread, which Waititi admires. In [an interview with Mandatory](https://www.mandatory.com/culture/946101-sundance-2016-taika-waititi-wilderpeople-thor-ragnarok), he mentioned how he’s “like a really big Event Horizon fan, so on the set I was always asking him [Sam Neill] about the movie and I was like, ‘What the f*ck’s going on at the end of that movie?’ I know they go to Hell but I heard there was a director’s cut that no one ever got to see.” 8 A Fish Called Wanda (1988) [ A Fish Called Wanda ](/movie/a-fish-called-wanda/) *Availability in US - stream - rent - buy Not available Not available Not available - Release Date - July 15, 1988 - Director - Charles Crichton , [John Cleese](/person/john-cleese/) - Cast [John Cleese](/person/john-cleese/), [Jamie Lee Curtis](/person/jamie-lee-curtis/), [Kevin Kline](/person/kevin-kline/), Michael Palin , Maria Aitken , Tom Georgeson A Fish Called Wanda is a heist comedy starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin.

    It follows a London-based gangster and his right-hand man securing help from two American con artists in order to steal diamonds. Each of the competing thieves want their own stash, and Wanda plans to double-cross her lover and the two gang members. But when she falls in love, trouble ensues. An Unusually Funny Heist Movie Considered to be one of the finest comedy movies of all time, A Fish Called Wanda is full of farce, clever wordplay and pristine comedic timing. Director Charles Crinchton allows the outstanding ensemble to shine in their own right and send up stereotypes in the most hilarious ways. Waititi once noted how “the main reasons I loved that movie is because Im a huge fan of John Cleese and Michael Palin and the Monty Python crew.” He also finds the movie endlessly rewatchable for its madcap energy. 7 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Stanley Kubrick’s political comedy satirizes Cold War fears and the impending doom that would occur from a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. In the movie, an unhinged United States Air Force general orders an attack on the Soviet Union, believing it is responsible for polluting American waters.

    Meanwhile, the President of the United States, a Royal Air Force exchange officer, and other individuals try desperately to find a solution. Kubricks Biting Satire Like No Other Time and again, Waititi has expressed his respect for Kubrick’s directorial talents. He particularly considered Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb to be one of the sharpest satires ever made. The movie brings uncomfortable truths to light though absurd but possible scenes and comments on the perils associated with humanity’s will for destruction. It also features iconic performances from Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden. In [a conversation with Rotten Tomatoes](https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/five-favorite-films-with-boy-director-taika-waititi/), Waititi admitted why he recommends the movie to everyone: “I think purely because of Peter Sellers. I love his characters; he’s just having so much fun. And that kind of subversion of very serious things going on is right up my alley; I really like that.” 6 Coming Home (1978) [ Coming Home ](/movie/coming-home/) - Release Date - February 15, 1978 - Director [Hal Ashby](/person/hal-ashby/) - Cast [Jane Fonda](/person/jane-fonda/), [Jon Voight](/person/jon-voight/), [Bruce Dern](/person/bruce-dern/), Penelope Milford , [Robert Carradine](/person/robert-carradine/) - Main Genre [Drama](/tag/drama/) Starring Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, and Bruce Dern is [this epic romantic war drama](https://movieweb.

    com/best-wwii-romance-movies/). Coming Home, directed by Hal Ashby, follows Sally Hyde, a conservative woman married to Bob Hyde, a captain in the United States Marine Corps. After Bob gets deployed, Sally is bored and restless at home so she volunteers at a local VA hospital. There, she bonds with Luke Martin, a former high-school classmate now wounded in war and confined to a wheelchair, and the two develop a romance. Looks at Love From an Uncompromising Lens Coming Home may seem like an ordinary love triangle on the surface, but within its intricately woven narrative, the movie holds complex themes of feminism, national consciousness and society’s collective disillusionment towards war. Taika describes the movie as “amazing emotional stuff, and it’s just about people — people trying to connect.” He also feels inspired by Ashby’s simple and realistic yet empathetic lens with which he tells his story, as well as his commitment and passion towards filmmaking as a whole. 5 The Graduate (1967) [ The Graduate ](/movie/the-graduate/) *Availability in US - stream - rent - buy Not available Not available Not available - Release Date - December 21, 1967 - Director [Mike Nichols](/person/mike-nichols/) - Cast - Anne Bancroft , [Dustin Hoffman](/person/dustin-hoffman/), Katharine Ross , William Daniels , Murray Hamilton , Elizabeth Wilson The Graduate tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, who returns home after graduating from college with no plans for his future.

    He is prone to ignoring his parents’ advice and neighbors’ lessons. Soon, Benjamin finds himself caught in an odd love triangle with Mrs. Robinson, the beautiful wife of his father’s business partner, and her daughter Elaine. The more he falls in love, the more he realizes he needs to create his own path in life. Defines a Generation Under Mike Nichols’ elegant direction, this movie from Hollywood’s new era cements itself as a classic. A coming-of-age story that perfectly captures the confusion of getting past college and being entrapped by adulthood, The Graduate hits the right notes. Dustin Hoffman delivers a scene-stealing performance that Waititi praises by saying, “Hoffman, just young and going for it; he hasn’t become jaded.” He also adds why he thinks the movie is a great addition to a list of favorites. “It’s hilarious, but also has that element of treading between comedy and drama and doing it so well, and actually being about something. It’s probably the best version of those films about rich people and their boring problems, you know, that anyone’s ever made… That film could come out today in a fresh print and still be incredible.” 4 Badlands (1973) Written, produced and directed by Terrence Malick, in his directorial debut, Badlands is a period crime drama loosely based on a real-life case from 1958.

    It follows 15-year-old Holly living in a small town in South Dakota. After meeting a 25-year-old garbage collector named Kit, she falls in love, despite her father’s disapproval. Kit murders Holly’s father and the two embark on an aimless road trip across the badlands of Montana, with Kit committing more murders along the way and being chased by the police. A Contemplative Directorial Debut Malick took a hypnotic story, [infused it with neo-noir elements](https://movieweb.com/film-noir-quintessential-movies/), and turned Badlands into one of the most assured and visually striking debuts ever. The movie was shot on a shoestring budget and had an improvisational tone, and yet, its scenes appeared so thoughtful, poetic, and immersive. For Waititi, it is Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen’s performances that are worth remembering. “Just those two together, and the way that those shots just drift along, and the casual nature of their conversation. It’s so perfect,” he commented while speaking with Rotten Tomatoes. 3 Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974) Another movie that Taika Waititi recommends is Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. A romantic comedy, it follows a recently widowed Alice Hyatt leaving her New Mexico home with her young son to pursue her long-forgotten dream of becoming a singer.

    Despite a shortage of funds, she journeys across America and deals with the tribulations of life as a single mother. But when two men enter her life, she feels divided. All About Self-Discovery Waititi’s personal favorites range from war dramas to romantic comedies, and what better way to admire the genre than with one of the industry’s greatest director’s award-winning classics. For the Jojo Rabbit director, “it’s the kind of film [he] would love to make, if [he] could just make one.” Overflowing with vivid characters and relatable themes, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore stars Ellen Burstyn as a woman breaking societal norms and forging her own path, who captures the difficult yet liberating process of self-discovery quite brilliantly. 2 Stalker (1979) Stalker (1979) - Release Date - May 25, 1979 - Director - Andrei Tarkovsky - Cast - Alexander Kaidanovsky , Anatoly Solonitsyn , Alisa Freindlich , Nikolai Grinko - Main Genre - Sci-Fi [Andrei Tarkovsky’s science fiction masterpiece](https://movieweb.com/greatest-sci-fi-movie-of-all-time-rotten-tomatoes/) was met with mixed reactions from audiences and critics at the time of its release. But the movie eventually came to be defined for its slow and dull pace.

    Set in a post-apocalyptic town, it follows a “Stalker” who obtains permission to guide a writer and a professor into the Zone, a restricted area. They venture into the mysterious and barren land on foot, not knowing of the dangers that lay ahead. Tarkovskys Cinematic Masterpiece Undoubtedly one of the most visually stunning movies ever created, Stalker fascinates viewers by blending multiple genres. The Russian auteur graces us with a cerebral and slow-burning expedition of a dystopian landscape waiting to be explored. Taika Waitit, who saw the movie while going through a Tarkovsky phase in his mid-20s, told Rotten Tomatoes: “For me, I think visually there’s something about that film that manages to get inside your head and touch you on your emotional synapses or something; it somehow just gets in there… I mean Tarvovsky was a master of symbolism and just knowing, for example, that a candle in a certain place would trigger in most audiences’ minds something to do with memory. And working on an amazing sensory level, with the composition of shots; these big, long shots that just go on forever. And it doesn’t always matter what people are saying — because the film’s full of dialogue, full of poetry and stuff, but that’s what I love about that film.

    ” 1 Heavenly Creatures (1994) [ Heavenly Creatures (1994) ](/movie/heavenly-creatures/) - Release Date - September 12, 1994 - Director [Peter Jackson](/person/peter-jackson/) - Cast [Melanie Lynskey](/person/melanie-lynskey/), [Kate Winslet](/person/kate-winslet/), Sarah Peirse , Diana Kent , Clive Merrison , Simon OConnor - Main Genre [Biography](/tag/biography/) Described by Taika Waititi as “Peter Jackson’s best film,” Heavenly Creatures is a biographical drama set in 1950s Christchurch, New Zealand. It follows a shy and reserved Juliet, who transfers to a new school and meets Pauline. They develop a bond over their shared love for fantasy and literature. Their relationship evolves into something obsessive and disturbing, and they even conspire to commit murder, an act that shocks the entire community. Boasts Riveting Storytelling Heavenly Creatures is one of the greatest movies to hail from New Zealand cinema. It is also a fantastic and heartbreaking psychological thriller. Based on the notorious Parker–Hulme murder case, it boasts gripping storytelling and multifaceted characters. Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet are both exceptionally talented actresses who deliver complex and all-consuming performances.

    Waititi admires the movie’s cinematography and tense climax.

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