52 Pick-Up

As we do every year, we've asked 52 celebrities to tell us about the movies that changed their lives. The next time you're in a quandary over what to rent at the video store, pick up one of these life-changing flicks!


1. Wesley Snipes

(actor, Demolition Man)

"Without a doubt, I'd say Birdman of Alcatraz. Why? I just felt so sad for the guy played by Burt Lancaster. I felt like the guy was so caring--if he could take care of those birds, he could certainly have been a viable citizen. You know, let the guy out! He could have had a whole new career. Good stuff."

2. Jeff Bridges

(actor, Blown Away)

"The movie I remember most vividly from my youth was High Noon. My father [Lloyd Bridges] played a villain, and he had a big fight with Gary Cooper. It's become something of a legend in my family that Cooper and Dad did the fight themselves, and they rolled under a horse--Cooper even got hurt. But the real reason I can't forget High Noon is that take after take was ruined because [my brother] Beau, who was sitting in a hayloft nearby, kept laughing and yelling."

3. Chen Kaige

(director, Farewell My Concubine)

"When I went to film school in Beijing in 1977, we went to the film archives to see movies not seen by the public. The movie that had the most influence on me was Citizen Kane. Why? Because it's the best film."

4. Joe Pesci

(actor, Jimmy Hollywood)

"I liked most of the James Cagney pictures--_The Roaring Twenties_ was my favorite. I identified with little guys like Cagney--when you're a kid you like somebody who's a fighter."

5. Fernando Trueba

(director, Belle Epoque)

"I was impressed by the films of Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch. I remember, when I was young, I was having dinner with a Spanish writer and he said Lubitsch's Ninotchka was a horrible, reactionary, stupid movie. I said, 'Can you repeat that for me on the street? I'm not going to convince you that Ninotchka is a masterpiece, so let's go to the street and we'll fight.' But he was a coward and refused."

6. Brendan Fraser

(actor, Airheads)

"The first film I ever saw was The Apple Dumpling Gang, with Don Knotts and Tim Conway, and it made a profound impression on me. Though I had seen movies on television, it was the first film I sat through in a theater. The first time is always unforgettable--I remember the exact feelings I had watching Don Knotts trying to rip off a bank with a donkey and a rope."

7. Charlie Sheen

(actor, Terminal Velocity)

"I'll tell you why I could never forget seeing Dog Day Afternoon. My family was in Italy, where my dad was making a bad movie called The Cassandra Crossing. We were all at Sophia Loren's house--the Carlo Ponti mansion--for a weekend party. During a terrible rainstorm, she invited everybody downstairs to watch a movie that hadn't been released yet. We had no idea what it was. It was Dog Day, and that was the first time I ever saw a performance that didn't feel like a performance. It looked like they had captured this guy played by Al Pacino in the middle of the siege. Afterwards, I wanted to talk about the movie, but all my dad wanted to talk about was why Sophia Loren didn't provide shelter for the drivers--it was a bad storm, but even so--I remember how frustrated I was that I didn't have anyone to discuss the movie with."

8. Phil Hartman

(actor, "Saturday Night Live")

"Peter Sellers, in multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove, made such an impression on me. He could play an American president, a British World War II flier and a mad scientist. I related because I had in myself this quality of wanting to play a lot of different characters."

9. Jonathan Lynn

(director, Greedy)

"The Apartment showed me that a very funny movie could also be deeply satirical about human nature, yet remain very touching. It has that wonderful trait of being a tough com¬edy and, at the same time, having real sentiment."

10. Garry Marshall

(producer/director, Exit to Eden)

"I think the Lou Gehrig story, The Pride of the Yankees was the first non-cartoon I ever saw. Since I was crazy about sports, I loved that picture. Why? I laughed and then I cried."

11. Charles Grodin

(actor, Beethoven)

"A Place in the Sun was so romantic, so dramatic, so exciting. That specific movie got Mike Nichols, Warren Beatty and me all into show business. Montgomery Clift was an inspiration for my generation of actors--he made it look so easy, it fooled us all. We thought, you go up there and act natu¬ral. Then you find out 10 years later, maybe you can do it--if you're lucky."

12. Dana Delany

(actress, Exit to Eden)

"For me, it's Mean Streets. I was 17 and Stephen Marx, my film teacher at boarding school, took me into Boston to see it. Being a white girl from Connecticut, I'd never seen anything like it; Mean Streets is so edgy and visceral and violent--so alive it explodes out at you. Amy Robinson, who never acted again, I think, played the epileptic, and she seemed so exotic to me. Bobby Carradine played a hippie who shoots a drunk, and he looked like all my hippie friends. I imagine that the impact of this Martin Scorsese movie was similar to what people felt the first time they saw Marlon Brando act. Of course, my having a crush on my film teacher might have had something to do with it."

13. Martin Short

(actor, Clifford)

"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad--I just loved Ray Harryhausen's special effects. I mean, I wanted to be the genie in that movie. And I was in love with Kathryn Grant, too--the pre-Crosby Kathryn Grant, that is."

14. Jerome Hellman

(producer, Midnight Cowboy)

"There are many films that influenced me, but the one that comes to mind was a film of Henry Fonda's called You Only Live Once. He played a man wrongly convicted. He went to prison, and he escaped. I remember a scene at the end of the movie where he's hurrying through the woods, carrying his wife, Sylvia Sidney. There's this great light shining through the trees, and just as they get to the border where they would be safe, the cops get Fonda in the telescopic sights and shoot him. I was outraged. I couldn't believe the injustice of it all."

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