Five Favorite Films with Roland Emmerich

The director of 2012 reveals his inspirations.

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Roland Emmerich

We're fairly certain Roland Emmerich's movies hold the record for combined body count. Such a feat is the result of a career built around movies like Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow, bombastic, crowd-pleasing disaster movies that frequently leave the planet in ruins. His latest effort is 2012, opening this Friday and starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as survivors in a world tearing apart at the seams and submerging in water. Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Emmerich to get his Five Favorite Films, and on the following page you can read our interview, where he discusses the upcoming 2012 television show, his thoughts on Avatar, and creating popcorn movies on a global scale.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962, 98% Tomatometer)
Lawrence of Arabia It has the most incredible images. The only movie [from] the 60s that you can look at today and [have] it feel totally modern and real.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, 95% Tomatometer)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind [Thematically,] it's very much like my movies. Extraordinary tasks placed on regular people.

Cinema Paradiso (1989, 91% Tomatometer)
Cinema Paradiso Then, Cinema Paradiso, because it's about a director and his dreams. Very close to my heart. It deals with just a kid who kind of falls in love with somebody in film, and film is also the relationship with a projectionist.

Another one of my favorites is La nuit americaine by Truffaut. I kind of enjoy movies about movies. I'd never really wanted to become a director. I wanted to become a production designer. You know, certain movies had better production design than others, and that was driving me for the longest time.

The Godfather (1972, 100% Tomatometer)
The Godftaher I have to say The Godfather. [Laughs] Incredible movie. The performances, how it's told. That's the longest opening scene in film history -- an hour or so. The whole wedding, and then the movie starts.

Citizen Kane (1941, 100% Tomatometer)
Citizen Kane And then comes Citizen Kane. And that's just how it's put together, how it's structured. It's just a modern film. Sometimes I wish movies like this still get made. It's just super radical in every aspect.

Next, Emmerich talks about creating movies for a global audience, 3D movies, and his thoughts on Avatar.