My Favorite Billy Wilder Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Avanti! (1972)

2.   Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)

3.   Some Like It Hot (1959)

4.   Ace in the Hole (1951)

5.   Sunset Boulevard (1950)

6.   Double Indemnity (1944)

7.   Fedora (1978)

8.   The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

2.   The Major and the Minor (1942)

3.   Stalag 17 (1953)

4.   The Fortune Cookie (1966)

5.   One, Two, Three (1961)

6.   The Apartment (1960)


24 thoughts on “My Favorite Billy Wilder Films

  1. Double Indemnity is my favourite from Wilder, nevertheless, his work is so strong that you still have SEVEN films ahead of that one.It’s a mark of how great he was,

  2. That sure is a mark of how great Billy Wilder was 🙂 Their are some days where I just really want to call him “Ernst Lubitsch Jr.” even though that might sound like quite a stretch. Speaking of which, Both Sunset Boulevard and Ace in the Hole were shown on Moviedrome back in the day and not only that, Alex Cox considers himself to be a huge fan of Billy Wilder. The Eureka Entertainment (a.k.a. Masters of Cinema Series) Blu-Ray of The Lost Weekend features a video introduction by Cox as well. Here is the link in case you are interested

    I see that Double Indemnity is now your number one favorite Billy Wilder film. Is The Apartment now number 2? 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  3. Thanks for the link. I watched Double Indemnity again quite recently that’s why I’ve moved it above The Apartment. I’m sure they’ll swap places again in the future.

  4. I would have this top three.
    1) Double Indemnity.
    2) Ace In The Hole.
    3) Sunset Boulevard.
    For some reason, I never liked Some Like It Hot that much, despite how much everyone else seems to love it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. Although he is not my favorite director, I think he is probably the best director thus far. My top 5: 1. Sunset Blvd. 2 Double Indemnity 3. The Apartment 4. Ace In The Hole 5. Witness For The Prosecution

  6. Interesting list there Pam 🙂 No doubt, Wilder is great, but he would not be in my top 5 of favorite directors If ever I was forced to just limit it to five. I had a feeling you were going to pick Sunset Boulevard as your favorite 🙂 I do not know why, I just had that hunch 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by and keep those comments coming 🙂

    P.S. I just updated my list of my favorite Coen Brothers films. To make a short story even shorter, Fargo is now at number 4 and Barton Fink is now at number 5. Read here and here

  7. Your choices are pretty interesting too 🙂 As for you not liking Some Like It Hot, allow me then to repeat the film’s closing line for this occasion: “Well, nobody’s perfect.” 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂

  8. I’ve not seen Avanti! yet. One for the list, it does look good fun. I’m on catch with lots of his films tbh, so will be having ball. I haven’t seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Double Indemnity, One Two Three or The Lost Weekend (can’t wait to see this one, big fan of Ray Milland looking forward to seeing the carnage of his four day mash up on the sauce)
    Witness for the Prosecution was incredible, I so much enjoyed that. The relationship between real life husband and wife Laughton and Lanchester made me chuckle. Such a wonderful film.

  9. We should do another blog entry together and yes, it can be about The Coen Brothers. The only thing is trying to figure out what we should talk about in the entry 🙂 Oh, I also reinstated my original rankings of their films here and here 🙂 Anyway, keep those comments coming 🙂

  10. Speaking of The Lost Weekend, cult filmmaker Alex Cox (also known for hosting Moviedrome from 1988-1994) does a video introduction for it on this special edition Blu-Ray/DVD of it. Here is the link below in case you are interested and thanks for dropping by 🙂

  11. John, I wanted to share this with you…Thursday, I’ve got tickets to see an advanced screening of the Panos Cosmatos film Mandy, with Nicolas Cage, on IMAX. I’ve been waiting for this for months. I’m forcing my daughters to go with me, but I think they’ll love it. Ha!

  12. “John, I wanted to share this with you…Thursday, I’ve got tickets to see an advanced screening of the Panos Cosmatos film Mandy, with Nicolas Cage, on IMAX. I’ve been waiting for this for months. I’m forcing my daughters to go with me, but I think they’ll love it. Ha!”

    OMG I have seen a trailer for that and it looks really neat. I totally have to check that out when it opens 🙂 Anyway, keep those comments coming 🙂

  13. I like how Avanti! is number one on your list of Billy Wilder films. I also love Avanti! and think it’s a great film. It has to be Billy Wilder’s most beautiful film. Visually it’s beautiful. The southern Italy locations are gorgeous and they’re beautfully captured by Luigi Kuveiller, a great director of photography. The interior set of the hotel is also beautiful. It was designed by Ferdinando Scarfiotti and he also did the sets on Scarface so he was brilliantly talented at what he did. All of this adds up to a visually gorgeous film.
    It’s also aurally beautiful thanks to a beautiful score by Carlo Rustichelli.

    It’s a beautiful story too. The script is wonderful. It’s very well written and witty with great dialogue. All the performances are wonderful too.Jack is of course great, as is Juliet Mills. The top acting honors have to go to Clive Revill. He gives an absolutely wonderful performance as the hotel director and he plays an Italian convincingly even though he’s a New Zealander. Edward Andrews also gives a great performance as the guy from the state department. I really enjoyed his performance. All the Italian actors were great too.

    All in all, Avanti! is an absolutely wonderful film that I highly recommend. I got Kino Lorber’s Blu of it. Maybe one thing that doesn’t work about the film is Juliet Mills inexplicably getting called fat throughout the film when she has a body most women would kill for.

    Avanti! also introduced me to a great place to go on holiday (vacation) to. That is Sorrento, Italy. I’ve been on three trips there now. I thought the scenery in Avanti! was gorgeous and it made me want to go so I did. I was there last month infact and it was gorgeous and it was safe to go from my country. Sorrento is a beautiful place and the view of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius is one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen.

    I found Italy was exactly like how it was portrayed in Avanti! The movie totally nailed what Italy is like. The hotel in the film is the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria.
    It’s a private hotel so I haven’t been inside it but I’ve seen it from a distance and I love it. I thought of scenes from the movie when I saw it. The hotel has an Avanti! suite now which I think is great. Juliet Mills even opened it. Can Google that.

    The ending of Avanti! was filmed on Capri and I’ve been there too. It is incredible and stunning in the sunshine. Jean Luc Godard’s Le Mepris was also filmed on Capri. We were on the boat trip around the island and I saw the lighthouse where the ending of Avanti! was filmed. And,for some great pizza in Sorrento I recommend Pizziera Da Franco.

  14. Steve, I sincerely apologize for approving your comment late. I did not know I got it – in fact, I tried looking through my comments and it did not show up. Let me see If it accidentally went into spam by mistake. Nevertheless, I would always approve a comment by you 🙂

    Regarding Billy Wilder’s Avanti!, me and your love for the film just continues to show that great minds in our case think alike 🙂 I too think that it is Billy Wilder’s most beautiful looking film 🙂

    Oh yes, let us not forget the wonderful score neither 🙂

    Dialogue and performances are first-class as you imply 🙂

    I too also own the Kino Lorber Blu-Ray and it is fantastic. I too do not understand why Juliet Mills character was called “fat” either.

    I see you loved Italy a lot 🙂 I heard that it is a great place to visit 🙂 Speaking of Italy, did you know that Don’t Look Now was shot in Venice? 🙂 You probably already knew that, I just mentioned it because the film has been on my mind recently 🙂 As with Avanti! (despite both plots being a far cry from each other), Don’t Look Now is another great film by a great director (in that case, Nicolas Roeg) 🙂

    Thank you for the youtube video links as well, thanks for dropping by and please come back again 🙂

  15. Yes, I knew that Don’t Look Now was shot in Venice.
    I saw another film shot in Venice. A giallo called The Blood Stained Shadow from 1978. That’s a good and solid film too which I recommend. It’s on youtube.

  16. I will check it out Steve – thanks for letter me know 🙂 Speaking of giallo, have you ever seen any of Dario Argento’s films? The quality of his work may have declined considerable beginning in the early 90’s, but during the 70’s and 80’s, he was at the top of his game – at least for me 🙂

  17. I’ve only seen Suspiria and I thought it was good. It’s stylish and well directed.
    Alex Cox said The Bird With Crystal Plummage was good in the Carrie intro.
    I haven’t seen many other giallo films though.

    I do really like some of the Poliziotteschi / crime movies of the ’70s. I could give some recommendations for those if you’re interested. And I love Tomas Milian and I enjoy a lot of his Italian films.

  18. I think I have seen some of those Italian crime films of the 1970’s, but it has been a while. Nonetheless, I have seen all of the spaghetti westerns he was in and I love a lot of them 🙂

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