52 Pick-Up (Again)

Buoyed by your letters telling us how much you enjoyed last year's roundup of the films that 52 celebrities said had changed their lives, we've once again asked 52 famous folk to tell all. Next time you're stymied at the video store, pick up one of these life-changing flicks.


1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

(actor, Last Action Hero, Total Recall)

"I remember watching John Wayne movies made me really want to come to America because he represented America so well in those films. Especially those war movies that he made. I was, at that time, a kid, so I think that had a real impact on me and really gave me the drive to come to the United States."

2. Winona Ryder

(actress, The Age of Innocence, Bram Stoker's Dracula)

"I really loved The Stripper with Joanne Woodward. The story was about a stripper who goes to a small town, and Joanne Woodward was so good in it. I had seen her in a lot of other movies and I was used to Joanne Woodward as Joanne Woodward. When I saw her in this, I did not even recognize her, and I realized how a human being was capable of changing every movement and every thought, just creating a character. I was so amazed that somebody could do that. It was really motivating. I wanted to go out there and do that."

3. George Lucas

(writer/director, Star Wars; executive producer, "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles")

"The kinds of movies that impressed me when I was a kid were films like Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai. As a young person, those were really impressive movies, and I remember them to this day. Actually, it wasn't until I got to college that I discovered Godard and Kurosawa and Fellini--filmmakers that impressed and motivated me."

4. Michelle Akers-Stahl

(1991's leading scorer, U.S. Women's National Soccer Team)

"A movie that definitely influenced me was Platoon. I had just gotten a knee brace after having suffered a knee injury that I thought would end my career as an athlete. Later that day I saw Platoon and I realized what these young men went through to save other people and themselves. I felt sorry for myself when I saw the film, and left feeling fortunate that I was alive. Whenever I'm depressed, I think of Platoon and count my blessings."

5. Arsenio Hall

(television talk-show host)

"My mother took me to the Miles Drive-In Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, and the movie playing was Lilies of the Field. I'd seen many movies--like The Great Escape and 101 Dalmatians--but after the credits rolled at the end of Lilies of the Field, I finally had a black show-biz hero to admire, Sidney Poitier. That was great, because I was sick of 'Batman.'"

6. Pat Riley

(coach, New York Knicks)

"The Deer Hunter, because it was the first movie to come out that let me know what it was like to be in Vietnam during the war. I also know it inspired Jan Scruggs, who was the driving force behind getting the Vietnam Memorial built. The Deer Hunter is one of the few films that can be used as an example to show anyone who's still stupid enough to think that was a war we needed to fight."

7. Billy Crystal

(actor, City Slickers, When Harry MetSally...)

"Shane. It's right at my finger-tips. It was that kid, Brandon de Wilde. I looked like him when I was a little kid. We had the same haircut. There was something about that movie that I just loved. It must have been because the little boy was, basically, to me, the lead in that film. It's just a fabulous movie, and I think that film really makes me feel great about doing movies now. I always think of that kid. 'Comeback, Shane!'"

8. LL Cool J

(rap singer; actor, Toys)

"The movie that made the biggest impression on me was The Wizard of Oz. It was a fantasy and very optimistic and showed me you can get whatever you wished for. It gave me the balls to feel everything was within my grasp."

9. Bob Hoskins

(actor, Super Mario Bros., Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

"Once, I gave up smoking for three months, and then I went to see Casablanca. Have you ever seen Humphrey Bogart smoke a cigarette? Well, I ran straight out and bought a pack of cigarettes and I was back on it. So Casablanca's lasting impact was perhaps terrible, but it had a big effect on me."

10. Tom Candiotti

(Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher)

"When I was growing up, I was inspired by The Pride of the Yankees. It was a real tearjerker film about baseball and an authentic baseball hero, Lou Gehrig. Both of these things helped me decide what I wanted to be in my life."

11. Theresa Russell

(actress, Insignificance, Whore)

"I guess one of my favorites was a film called Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. She was the chauffeur's daughter and a bit of a tomboy, and I was a tomboy, too, growing up. I remember this one scene where she climbed a tree, looking over the wall at this wonderful, grand party, and she was wishing that she was there. Then she goes off to Paris and comes back, and the next time they have a party she's actually at the party. Something about that movie always stayed with me--that sometimes your dreams can come true."

12. Mary Lou Retton

(Olympic gold medal champion)

"Seeing Rocky beat the odds inspired me to believe that a little girl from Fairmont, West Virginia could become an Olympic champion. When we were young, my sister and I liked to watch Rocky to get us pumped up for a gymnastics competition."

13. Kathleen Kennedy

(co-producer, Jurassic Park, Hook)

"David Lean's Doctor Zhivago was my obsession long before I ever thought of pursuing filmmaking as a career. Once I did decide to get into the film business, seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed me forever. It motivated me to actively pursue Steven [Spielberg] as someone I wanted to work with."

14. Steven Seagal

(actor, Out For Justice, Under Siege)

"When I saw A Tree Grows in Brooklyn I realized that's the kind of film I really want to make. It's my favorite film. It says so much about growing up and the strength of the American family, which are themes that are important to me. Nobody believes me, but someday I'm going to make a movie like that and show my sensitive side."

15. Jerry West

(general manager, Los Angeles Lakers)

"Even though my life was personally affected because of the death of my brother during the Korean War, I hadn't realized the terrible destruction and personal sacrifices that many young men must endure during these military actions until I saw Apocalypse Now. That film made me realize what might have been my fate if I were to have served our country. I have a much greater appreciation for the military, and the terrible destruction inflicted upon innocent people. Because of the different political ideas in Apocalypse Now, the film made me understand just how important world peace really is."

16. Ron Howard

(director, Far and Away, Splash)

"The Graduate was a very important movie for me. I loved the movie and it made me laugh. It also really made me feel something. It was the first movie that I really broke down and analyzed. This was before videocassettes and movies playing on cable, so I had to pay each time. I must have seen it 15 or 20 times! I studied the montage sequences, the way the camera was used, and the editing. I learned so much from that film."

17. John Hurt

(actor, Scandal, The Elephant Man)

"David Lean's Oliver Twist was one that affected me immensely when I was very young. Then, later, I think when I was at drama school, Truffaut's Jules and Jim was an enormous influence on me in terms of appreciation and enthusiasm for filmmaking. As an actor, I thought, 'Oooh! Wonderful! If they are doing that in France, they must be doing it in England next year.' But it was not to be--there was no Truffaut at that time in England. Too bad."

18. Bruce McNall

(owner, Los Angeles Kings)

"I used to finance films, so the two movies that changed my life were WarGames and The Sicilian--the former because it made me a lot of money, and the latter because it lost $20 million and caused me to get out of the film industry."

19. Bruce Willis

(actor, Striking Distance, Death Becomes Her)

"It would be difficult to limit it to one film, because I am really a child of television and films, but I do remember a picture that was done when I was young called To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a very small story that really culminates in a much larger issue. The film dealt with racism, and what is said--and what is not said--about racism."

20. Terry Gilliam

(director, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen)

"The movie that gave me my first nightmare was The Thief of Bagdad. The hero in the spider web was a great nightmare of mine-- it stuck with me for years. I used to think I would love to make that kind of film. But the film that really changed me, led me away from the childhood films and the adventure things was Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick's film. Suddenly, I saw that film can be quite different: it can be powerful and dramatic and tragic and political. And so I went off and did some of that stuff. Then I came back to the children's films that I grew up with."

21. Danny Sullivan

(race-car driver, ex-Indy 500 winner)

"When I saw the movie Grand Prix I decided being a professional race-car driver was something I wanted to pursue. I was seduced by the speed, glamour and intensity of the sport that the movie made seem exciting."

22. Glenn Close

(actress, The House of the Spirits, Fatal Attraction)

"When I was little, the golden age of Walt Disney made a huge impression on me. Movies like The Littlest Outlaw, Old Yeller, The Vanishing Prairie and The Living Desert were vivid stories for a child. They were wonderful, wonderful movies, and they had a lot to do with my fantasy life of wanting to be an actor. I wanted to be in movies like that, not just watching them."

23. Ben Kingsley

(actor, Maurice, Gandhi)

"The test, for me, is not what film do I recall for the longest period of time, but which film leaves those flickering images inside the head the strongest? It's been many years since I saw The Tin Drum, but I can still see it. It's a remarkable film, not only in its use of color and tone and rhythm, but also its brilliant acting. It offers a terrifying and exciting period of history seen through a pair of very bizarre eyes. I can still see those images in my head."

24. Carrie Fisher

(actress, When Harry Met Sally..., Under the Rainbow)

"I think it was always weird for me to see my mom [Debbie Reynolds] in movies. I remember she did a movie called Susan Slept Here and it was on TV when I was about six. See, the guy kisses her on the forehead, and I was so humiliated for my mother. [Laughing] I looked around to see if anyone else had seen this guy make a fool of my mother.''

25. Eric Karros

(National League's Rookie of the Year)

"Bull Durham enlightened me and prepared me for the minor leagues--especially about how exciting or dangerous life can be away from the field!"

26. Maurice Jarre

(Oscar-winning composer, Doctor Zhivago)

"Lawrence of Arabia was the movie that changed my life, because it gave me the first opportunity to work with director David Lean, who became my lifelong friend. Originally [producer] Sam Spiegel informed me that he had commissioned Richard Rodgers to write 90 percent of the music, and I was to do the remaining 10 percent. Rodgers, however, chose not to view the film at all, and submitted themes that sounded like a Broadway score. Happily, for me, they were completely rejected--and I got to do the whole film."

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