Paul Schrader on Movies

Raised as a strict Dutch Calvinist, Schrader didn't see a single film until he was 18. He caught up fast, becoming Martin Scorsese's favorite screenwriter ("Taxi Driver,""Raging Bull"). Now he's a director himself, and his latest film is "The Walker." His list:


1. "The Rules of the Game." It's everything a film should be: witty, innovative, entertaining, full of ideas and social relevance.

2. "Tokyo Story." Director Yasujiro Ozu lifts melodrama into transcendence—there's never been anyone like him.

3. "Persona." Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece about his life and the women who had the misfortune of loving him.

4. "The Godfather." The Big Manicotti for American cinema. Everything good about U.S. storytelling is epitomized here.

5. "Masculin-F?minin." Jean-Luc Godard captures the ephemeral without being trivial—no easy task.

A CLASSIC FILM THAT, UPON REVISITING, DISAPPOINTED: "Harold and Maude." I find that whimsy doesn't age well.

A FILM TO WHICH YOU ALWAYS RETURN: "Pickpocket." I've seen Robert Bresson's film at least a dozen times. It's the one that made me realize there was a place for me in filmmaking—a type of film I could make. It's about a man, his room and the movement of a soul.