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The Film That Changed My Life

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Mark Kermode | 10:13 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

Blogging about Mark Cousins' documentary The First Movie made me think about the experience that made me fall in love with cinema. In my case it was Krakatoa East Of Java - but what was the film you remember seeing that changed everything.

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Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
The First Movie - an appreciation of Mark Cousins' doc

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  • Comment number 1.

    Right Mark isn't going to like this. I was 11 when i first saw Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. It blew me away. I loved it, and I wanted to see more films like it. I watched all the British gangster films I could find; Sexy Beast, Get Carter, The Long Good Friday. It also made me take notice of the work of Martin Scorsese's gangster films (eg. Goodfellas, Casino, Mean Streets) and Tarantino's (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs).
    I've now finished my first film. But when people ask me what's my most inspirational film, I always say Lock Stock. As it started my passion for cinema, and I've been addicted since.

  • Comment number 2.

    My Dad showed me The Day of the Jackal when I was about 13, and told me simply to watch past the first half hour. The first half hour was very slow and I considered not continuing with it. But, as Dad had said, I carried on past it. I then came to realise how brilliant it was and sat silently throughout the rest of the film.

    It was the first time I'd sat through a 'grown-up' film and that had a sense of achievement - I was delirious that I'd watched, understood and actually enjoyed such a clearly mature film. It made me feel on top of the world.

    And I always remember the credits rolling and Dad saying - 'And that's why it's my favourite film.'

  • Comment number 3.

    In truth I didn't go to the cinema very often until I was about 12, my parents weren't interested. But in 1995 by parents bought me The Lion King on VHS for Christmas and at only 2 years old I was completely captivated I loved it, from then my mum and dad couldn't stop me. They showed me Star Wars and then Jurassic Park which was recorded from the telly. And that was that my love of films was born.

    My experience doesn't come from seeing films in the cinema and I imagine a lot of my generation became fascinated with films due to accessibility of material on home video and TV.

  • Comment number 4.

    Personally, The Matrix. Maybe it's due to time or the fact that the sequels were, for the most part, pretty awful, but I don't think people appreciate how utterly mind-blowing and ground breaking that was at the time.

    And what's more, it blew your mind on every level; the concept was just as brilliant as the action and then of course there were the special effects. It was the perfect movie to (re)introduce a Western mainstream audience to kung fu cinema. All of those outlandish moves you see in Hong Kong cinema was justified by the concept in The Matrix.

    Finally, and people forget this the most, the cinematography is ASTOUNDING, especially in the first half of the movie before Neo's mind is "freed". Some of the angles and way the Wachowski's framed a face were incredible. And then of course the beauty of the "Pills Scene" which is a fantastic metaphor that can be recalled on for believing the harsh truth or ignoring it for bliss.

    In 1999, at the age of 11, this was what cinema was made for. It enlightened me to what you could achieve with the medium. It hooked me and changed my life, it made me want to study philosophy and work in film.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was about 14 years old and entirely uninterested in films when late one night I turned on a TV just as Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies was beginning. That extraordinary first shot, circling dancing drunkards in tune with the incredibly moving score, was a bizarre and unforgettable experience, and the kind of indoctrination into the power of cinema that still has me completely addicted to the medium.

  • Comment number 6.

    For me, it wasn't an individual film, but the fact that once a film you'd enjoyed exited the local 3 screen flea-pit, the next time you'd see it would be years later when it appeared on telly, or finally turned up on video. It was a real case of absence makes the heart grow fonder. I really wanted to watch Blade Runner, Tron, E.T. all the original Star Wars trilogy, even "Blue Thunder" (for God's sake!) but couldn't for years because a VCR didn't turn up in my house until the late 1980s, and the 3 or 4 available channels had limited room for the films I wanted to see.

    My love for cinema was borne out of a longing to just see more and the absence of any means to get a fast fix. Now, with on-demand and DVD by post, it doesn't seem quite so special now - not the event it was 30 years ago!

  • Comment number 7.

    This one's easy:
    I must have been about 6 or 7 dependent on when the rental became available. My Father was a video rental junkie and often dragged me along to the local rental store to pick a film for myself.
    One day I was gazing at the posters and saw one that absolutely captivated me, I absolutely had to see it...

    Big Trouble In Little China

    Unfortunately it wasn't out yet and I had to wait a few weeks, but at that age it seemed much longer. The store handed out these small booklets which detailed new releases and upcoming releases and there was a full page poster for Big Trouble In Little China that I kept obsessing over, making up the story in my head from the various parts of the poster.
    Even at my young age I had seen quite a few films I probably shouldn't as my Father was very much into his action and martial arts films and I'd already seen Enter The Dragon, with the nunchuck scene intact (ITV aired it, odd...), so I was familiar with the tropes and mythology of the genre.

    Finally the day came when my Father finally came home with the film and after my brother and sister had gone to bed, we watched it...

    I was astounded, all my imaginings were nothing as compared to what i was seeing. When it finished I asked to watch it again right away, there aren't a whole lot of films that I've ever felt compelled to watch on repeat but this was my first...

    From there I developed an interest in the works of John Carpenter, aided by the fact that Starman was on TV sometime shortly after solidifying my thoughts that this was the best film maker in the world.

    Since then I've been avidly into film, taking in as much as I possibly could and hijacking my Nan's VHS recorder to tape anything on TV that sounded remotely engaging, I'm kind of lucky that I was left to my own devices as I watched a lot that would have been deemed unsuitable for young eyes...

    To this day, despite some of his later films, John Carpenter is still my favourite director, but he has been joined on that pedestal by Dario Argento.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was five years old when i saw Rumble in the Bronx. But then i didn't fell in love with cinema but in martial arts. So until i became like 17 years old the only thing that really interested me was martial arts. But then i started to buy random dvd's in the store and between one and two years i own over 500 dvd's can name pretty much anyone between Jack Hill And Kurosawa. But the absolute first film that i bought was a French Film. I was eleven and the film is called Total western By Eric Rochant. A true gem thats been completely overlooked. /cheers from Sweden.

  • Comment number 9.

    The earliest recollection of cinema I have was when I was 6 years old. A trip to the Cinema to see Star Wars - Empire Strikes Back. Most children, even adults would have been eager for this event. However, for me this was not the film that caught my attention and made me aware of "cinema/film". Mark you will be pleased to read this...............I fell asleep less than halfway through.

    What really made my eyes open to film was when I was about 8 or 9. Saturday midday/afternoon. Grandstand was a regular feature in our house then one afternoon my dad switched over to BBC2. My first sight of Samurai's. Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood. I was hooked from the moment the Samurai were lost in the forest with their horses having been disorientated by the fog that surrounded them. I don't recall if it was dubbed or subtitled, and I am sure I didn't understand what was going on at time, but the vision of the film was enough to pull me in. Then following weekend my dad and I sat down and watched Seven Samurai. My eyes were truly opened.

  • Comment number 10.

    I only started watching films about 4 years ago, one of the films that really affected me was Pépé le Moko (1937). It was French, so I had to read subtitles, in black and white and absolutely fantastic. It isn't Jean Gabin's best film, it isn't the best French film of that time, it isn't even the best black and white film I've seen but it started my love affair with film. Better late than never I suppose!

  • Comment number 11.

    Saw an Italian movie in the Glasgow Film Theatre called Mediterraneo. A group of stereotypical Italian soldiers abandoned on a Greek island during WW2 might not the best movie I've ever seen but it made me realise I could enjoy subtitled foriegn language films which opened up a whole new cinematic world to me long before Crouching Tiger or even Let the right one in.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Mark. I'm 21, but my moment of cinematic revelation came comparatively recently, in late 2009. Living in the middle of the countryside and not able to drive at this point, I found it hard to get to the cinema and, as such, watched alot of films on DVD, alone in my room with the lights off and headphones on (a far more immersive experience than 3-D will ever be!) It was in such a way that I watched Let The Right One In, Thomas Alfredson's masterwork. I remember just sitting there in the dark, as the credits rolled, slightly lost, not entirely sure what to do with myself... I then turned on the radio and Beethoven's Pathetique sonata was playing. Within seconds I was crying my eyes out. I havn't watched the film since, terrified that it won't live up to my blissful memories of it, but it was at that moment that I knew cinema was my life. I am now at the university of Manchester studying drama and film and, incedently wrote a rather glowing article about you in the film section of The Mancunion. Check it out, I hope you approve. :)

  • Comment number 13.

    It was never like that for me. Born in the late '80s, I was, if anything, a video child. And to tell you the truth, my VHS intake wasn't quite that of a cineaist, it mostly consisted of all the boysy stuff my older brother recorded off the telly; a lot of James Bond, Star Wars, Terminator, that sort of thing.

    I know, it's not nearly as romantic as getting hooked via obscure Hungarian cinema, but what began with Star Wars later came to involve Blade Runner and then later Planet of the Apes series - here in Sweden they used to air them all during the summer holidays, and I'd stay up late for each one of them. In all honesty, I only managed to stay awake for some of them, but I like to think I turned out okay.

  • Comment number 14.

    It was never like that for me. Born in the late '80s, I was, if anything, a video child. And to tell you the truth, my VHS intake wasn't quite that of a cinephile, it mostly consisted of all the boysy stuff my older brother recorded off the telly; a lot of James Bond, Star Wars, Terminator, that sort of thing.

    I know, it's not nearly as romantic as getting hooked via obscure Hungarian cinema, but what began with Star Wars later came to involve Blade Runner and then later yet, the Planet of the Apes series. Here in Sweden they used to air them all during the summer holidays, and I'd stay up late to watch each one. In all honesty, I only managed to stay awake for some of them, but I like to think I turned out okay.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am only 19 and so for me it has been a gradual love starting with films like Armageddon, The Assassination of Jesse James, The Dark Knight and Pan's Labyrinth. But one film that did change it all for me was Slumdog Millionaire in March 2009 and it still remains my favourite film

  • Comment number 16.

    It was probably The Matrix for me.
    You really can't deny that when you see the special effects set pieces in that film, they just completely blow your mind. That was the first film I saw that I truely fell in love with.
    However, in terms of a film that solidifies an agreement into the medium of cinema, for me, it has to be Fight Club.
    It was the first time I saw cinema in relation to art.

  • Comment number 17.

    My cinematic Road to Damascus moment wasn't a film - it was a trailer, or, rather, a specific moment lived while watching a trailer. It was the late 1970s. I was eight or nine years old and I had gone to my local cinema with my Mum and two sisters to see The Spaceman and King Arthur or some such forgettable nonsense. We were waiting for it to start when the trailer for a new film, Star Wars, came on. I was blown away by it. It was fast-moving, exotic, unique. While it was running, my Mum turned to me and said, with a big smile on her face, "Doesn't it look exciting?" That was the moment - because, at that moment, I realised - as young as I was - that film could speak to everyone and that a film like Star Wars was not merely the property of one gender or generation but a real force for shared experience and emotion. I have been in love with cinema ever since...

  • Comment number 18.

    I had a moment as a child which started a couple of my obsessions. Aged 7 I saw the opening section of 2001 on the telly, and was amazed. I can't recall why we couldn't watch all of it, but as I was interested my Dad dug out his copy of the book. I have no memory (I wish I did) of just what I made of 2001 at that age, but I loved it. So my love of film and SF perhaps started there.

    I really got into film in my teens, and had a great time going to see things at the arthouse cinema's around Birmingham with some friends. I remember coming out of Short Cuts at the Triangle in Aston, completely spellbound, wondering how my watch could account for the time as I had just been in moment for all of it. I haven't watched it since in case it doesn't live up to that moment, but perhaps 20 years on I should give it a go.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'd always loved films as far back as I can remember. I recall badgering my parents to let me stay up to watch House of Frankenstein (1944) on BBC2 at 12.20am; I was 11. The film that changed it all for me though was The Empire Strikes Back, I was 14. It opened my eyes to the possibility of film and I even persuaded my family to remain in the cinema and watch it all over again.

  • Comment number 20.

    ‘Jason and the Argonauts’, aged 8, in 1963. My dad loved special effects cinema, so we saw plenty, and in those days they were indeed, special. Today this film stands as a monument to Ray Harryhausen’s brilliance - filling the screen with exciting, imaginative creatures that had power and personality. I feel sorry for today’s young cinema audiences - digital effects have become so commonplace that they are no longer ‘special’. Back in the day, a film like ‘Jason’ was a rare and special treat, while today a new effects-driven movie hits the screen just about every week.

  • Comment number 21.

    I've always liked films ever since I can remember but it was perhaps moment of realisation that films where actually made by people, which sparked my absolute devotion to the medium. Before (and I know it sounds silly) I'd just assumed films presented real life and I watched them just for the story.

    For me the most vivid catalyst, was when my mum recommended the directors commentary option on the DVD of 'Pride and Prejudice' when I was about eleven-years-old. From that commentary I discovered a new dimension to the medium - the craftsmanship which makes a film in the first place.

  • Comment number 22.

    While growing up, my parents restricted my film and television diet to such an extent that renting a video cassette from our local store was an event that I would look forward to days or weeks in advance and as for a trip to the cinema... perhaps once every couple of years. Of course the outcome of this approach was to imbue films with a mystique that decades later has yet to wear off, and every film that I managed to see during my early years, good and bad alike, is burned into my memory for all time: Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, Transformers (the animated Orson Welles narrated version of course), The Wizard of Oz, Dirty Harry, The Little Mermaid, The Planet of the Apes... (good luck finding a common thread in that list...)
    The film memory that I cherish most is, funnily enough, is watching an old battered VHS copy of Charlie Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush'. It was almost certainly a title my mother picked against my will, but I was absolutely captivated and borrowed it several times before it mysteriously disappeared from the store (I remember being devastated since I assumed that I would never again have a chance to see it). Funnily enough, I don't recall thinking of it as a silent movie, as I was shocked to discover when I saw it again some years later in my teens. Obviously I was young and open minded enough not to notice the distinction.

  • Comment number 23.

    Having been traumatised by "Old Yeller" in the '60s, the first positive film experience I can recall was "Blade Runner". I'm grateful that I saw it in the cinema when it was first released as the scale of the special effects surely would not have had the same impact on a small screen.

    Its rare that I agree with Mark's opinion, but our most significant difference was over "Pirates of the Caribbean" (only the first one, the rest were rubbish). POTC1 was enormous fun with some fantastic one liners and I came out of the cinema feeling invigorated by the experience (if I'd been 30 years younger I'd have been a pirate all the way home). It doesn't all have to be Ingmar Bergman (although "The Seventh Seal" is another favourite).

  • Comment number 24.

    Great topic mark,

    Not sure how many others have a similar experience but for me my real love for cinema came from it being integrated within my education.

    I would have been around 15 Years old when our school introduced media studies. I will always remember my teacher saying "for some of you, you'll never be able to watch a film in the same way ever again", which in essence was a reference to looking at a film or any medium for that matter with an analytical eye.

    The concept of film study for enabled me to truly appreciate any piece of work in a far more holistic fashion be it the direction, the writing, the acting and so on, it has inspired me to become a film critic myself, and fuels the urge to seek out as many positive cinematic experiences as possible.

  • Comment number 25.

    Star Wars changed everything for me as an impressionable 9 year old.It totally blew me away,i had never seen anything like it at the time.I still remember the feelings i had walking out onto the cinema steps that day...correction i didn't walk out of the cinema,i think i floated out.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have to say it was Disney's The Little Mermaid in 1989, when I was just 3 years old. My parents took me to see it in a dingy little single screen cinema that you had to walk down an alleyway to even get to. It was my first cinema experience and it will stay with me for the rest of my life as THE moment when I realised cinema was an escape and a journey into a world - not possible otherwise.

    You may think that's nuts for someone as young as that, but nothing has changed for me since I watched that film and continue to love film.

  • Comment number 27.

    That is really difficult topic to talk about. But perhaps The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King made a huge impact on me whilst I saw it in the cinema when I was 12 It was actually the first time I got to see a trilogy finish in the cinema So at the it was hugely groundbreaking for me at the time. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was in fact the first trilogy I ever saw in the cinema prior to that I only The Star Wars trilogy on tape so I was aware of the concepts of trilogies thanks to these films. But as I said The Lord of the Rings was the first trilogy I saw from beginning to end in the cinema. An American Werewolf in London was the first film that really got me into werewolves I was essentially obsessed with the film for about two months but I got the chance to see it on DVD. Batman 1989 version also captivated me when I saw it on tape I actually got creeped out because of the lack of daylight in the film.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's 1967 and I'm 5 years old. Auntie Kitty treats me to a trip to the Old Woolston Cinema (location of many a riotous Saturday Morning pictures in later years). We're going to see Rex Harrison in "Dr Doolittle". My excitement knows no bounds.

    I remember two things from that afternoon: amazement that such a thing as a 'pushme-pullyou' actually existed ( saw it with my own eyes!!) and the strangest feeling of sadness and joy when Dr Doolittle flew away on the giant moth.

    Movie magic in its purest form.

  • Comment number 29.

    One film? 1968, and as a 5 year old I went down to the Ritz cinema in Linlithgow, handed over two Barrs bottles as my admission price (the cinema claimed the deposit back on the bottles and kept the money) and watched the original Planet of The Apes with my older brother. I don't remember a lot about the film, save the ending which stuck in my mind, and I realised what a wonderful medium this was. Don't think I've ever looked back...

  • Comment number 30.

    Dear Dr. K.

    I've been waiting for this topic to be brought up. I'm always fascinated by what critics, film lovers and film makers have to say on this topic. It is never what you really expect.

    There have a couple of landmark moments for me in the evolution of my love for cinema.

    The first was the earliest cinema experience that I can remember which was The Little Mermaid back in 1989 when I was three (Apologies if that makes you feel old but you managed to see films in the cinema that I wish I saw on the big screen). Anyway I can't remember much of that screening only that I remember sitting in the cinema and being absolutely terrified by Ursula the witch. It is the only time when I've been genuinely terrified in a cinema.

    Then it became more of a gradual thing. I just started watching films naturally. It was after my parents got divorced when I was young and my dad every weekend, would take me to the cinema to see whatever I wanted. I remember the first film he took me to see was Groundhog Day.

    It's funny, every weekend after when I dragged him along to the cinema, his response to whatever film would always been the same. "It's rubbish" he would say. Something that whenever I do now manage to drag him along to the cinema, is a sentiment that he gladly reiterates time and time again.

    But the film that really did it for me was Michael Mann's Heat starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Never had I been so engrossed in a film before then and never had I realised what cinema could achieve with a simple cops and robbers story. Little did I know that I had barely scratched the surface of what cinema could achieve.

    Naturally after that I gorged on the delights of cinema, exploring the classics of hollywood from Hawks, to Ford, to Curtiz e.t.c before expanding my knowledge to the rest of the world, to Godard, Truffaut, Kurosawa, Richardson and Reisz, Coppola and Woo e.t.c.

    Thus, my love of cinema is now ingrained into the fabric of my very being and it continues to grow when I discover old and new films that continue to affirm my love of this medium.

    And the rest as they say is history. Cinema is now a part of me and has thus made me want to become a screenwriter (and possible critic) in the near future.

    I have my dad to thank for that.

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't remember what they were now, but the many foreign films that were broadcast late at night on Ch4 and BBC2. That showed me film could not only be entertaining, but it could be great, and there was another world away from my staple diet of Arnie / Stallone films.

  • Comment number 32.

    Around 6 years ago, I was but only around 13 or 14 years old. Film for me at the time was only something I would often view as occassional entertainment. Until that is one fateful day my father gave me a copy of his then favourite film, Blade Runnner. Since then, I have always upheld that one film as the key moment in my life where film no longer was just something throwaway, but truly an artform.

    This was further solidified by such films as for me the greatest of all war epics Cross Of Iron, the baroque and criminally underviewed space opera Macross: Do You Remember Love? along with the post apocalyptic fable Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind. To this day, the latter two films being the greatest pieces of animation I have ever seen.

    Now a grown man, I hope to become a teacher and spread this incredible artform to new generations. Cheers.

  • Comment number 33.

    ...These days BBC2 shows very little foreign films, however, BBC4 is much better than it ever was. Ch4 is a different matter, and Stewart Lee put it best: "Channel 4 is like a flurry of sewage that comes into your house unbidden, whereas E4 is like you constructed a sluice to let it in"

  • Comment number 34.

    If had to pick one film, it would have to be Star Wars. A New Hope that is, not that I called it that then. It was just Star Wars.

    Over the years I've added Blade Runner (I must've seen it a dozen times), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Taxi Driver.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm fairly young (19), so I can remember clearly enough the moment when I first realized the arcane power of cinema: I once skived with some friends and went to the local street market in the centre of the small town I live in, here in Italy.I bought an attractive book from a stall just for curiosity: it was "Le cinéma selon Hitchcock". Gosh, reading it and seeing those great men talking with so much love for a thing that until that moment was completely unknown to me made me understand the importance of cinema and its intrinsic beauty. Paradoxically I fell in love with it by means of literature, and only afterwards through Hitchcock's movies and Truffaut's...

  • Comment number 36.

    When I was 16 (I'm now 28) I went to see Fight Club with my Dad. Whilst I liked films long before seeing this, it was (and still is) the finest cinema experience I've ever had. It was the first time I fully appreciated the craft and style of cinema and I've been hooked ever since.

    Also Fight Club (whilst not my favourite film) was great film to see at that impressionable age. I came out wishing I was as cool as Tyler Durden (although most of us are like the Narrator) and tried to tell my friends that I've just seen one of the greatest films ever made but no one believed me or cared. Oh how wrong they were. Considering it's of the definitive films for my generation, I'm so glad I saw it at cinema :D

  • Comment number 37.

    A film that is very important to me for it's impact at an early age is Tim Burton's Batman. It was a film that I watched constantly on video as a kid and it's probably the film I've watched the most in my life. It's importance for me is that not only is it a film that really made me see how exciting the visual aspect of cinema can be, but it began my love of all things gothic.

  • Comment number 38.

    My parents took me to 2001 when it first came out. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old. I fell asleep half way though and was a bit bewildered when I woke to see an old man turn into a glowing baby.

    I went on to become a rabid SF fan, books, films, whatever. The two times I have tried to watch 2001 since then I fell asleep half way through and have no idea what happened until the baby.

  • Comment number 39.

    The film that made me fall in love with cinema is also the first film I ever watched... FLASH GORDON, a film so bright so loud and so colourful. The next day I went to school and my scooter was a rocket cycle, My um' Bungo was a walkie talkie and my best mate was Voltan.
    Ever since then I've become a huge Sci-fi fan, and cannot resist everytime I pick up one of my nephews juice boxes from saying 'You owe me Bird'.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was 10, my mother took me and my sister to our local cinema on a glorious sunny day. Inside in this dark huge theater i was introduced, first, to a girl who had lost her mother, then to her new sweet and playful friend Casper. I will alway's remember the train scene as Casper begins to remember his life.. and death, the rain drop like notes of the piano hauntingly filling the scene.
    This is clearly not the best film in the world, it probably wasn't the best movie that month, but it was magic to a 10 year old boy who would later use the cinema to get away from the stresses of collage and work, as a routine catch up with his sister,... and as a first date with a beautiful women women who is magic in her own right and whom with i will hopefully pass on this experience to another 10 year boy/girl.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't think there was one film that ignited my love of cinema. I did however have a similar experience to Steven Spielberg when I was told that I was going to the 'pictures' for the evening, and I was expecting an art gallery or something. It turned out that I was being taken to the cinema to see Jumanji, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

  • Comment number 42.

    The moment was....
    Me and my dad was fighting he wanted to take me to see "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" at this repertory cinema in Portland, OR (my hometown) and I was saying like "it's some crappy old film blah blah" and he convinced me eventually when he said "it's by the guy who did Time Bandits" so I went. It was a gorgeous 35MM print of Munchausen and that was the moment I fell in love with film.

  • Comment number 43.

    Lion King... I was three that time a only thing I can remember is that I cried... A lot. I´m not sure if that made me fall in love with cinema but I like to think that. Otherwise it´s Howard the Duck and saying out loud "I love cinema because Howard the Duck" is really weird.

  • Comment number 44.

    The first film I remember seeing at the cinema is Toy Story when I was 6 years old. I really loved it but that's not what made me fall in love with cinema.

    It was when channel 4 was showing obscure Jackie Chan movies late at night during the 90s (his 70s and early 80s Hong Kong output). My older brother taped them and I would watch them back later without my parents knowing. I found them immensely entertaining and Jackie Chan was such a good-natured and energetic presence, he was like a modern version of the early silent comedians Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. I found myself copying his moves in my bedroom. But it was when I saw the out-takes and behind-the-scenes footage at the end of the films when I realised what movie making is all about. I had a glimpse into how movie were made, and the trickery that was involved and I wanted to be part of this. Then the credits would flash up and it would say directed by, produced by and starring Jackie Chan. Ever since I have been obsessed with movies and how movies are made.

  • Comment number 45.

    This is what I remember, the experience may have been completely different....

    The first cinematic experience was in 1999; I had just turned 6 years old, when my Mum and Dad took me to see a double bill of Toy Story 1 and 2 at the cinema on Freeman Street in Grimsby (Toy Story 2 had just been released, and the cinema we travelled too decided to re-release the first movie as well). At such an impressionable age, and living in Grimsby, a town which does not really boast itself a culture hotspot, seeing these films back to back really showed me the power of art and cinema; I laughed, I cried, I went home and immediately wanted a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Seeing the final film of the trilogy last year only cemented both the film's and the character's significance in my life, and I cried like I was 6 again in the films closing scenes.

    So, all I have left to say is to say is "Thank You Pixar", for showing me just how much 24 frames a second can have an impact on your life.

  • Comment number 46.

    Although I didn't know it when I first saw it, the film which would have the greatest influence on me was Back to the Future.

    When I was about 5 or 6 (my mum reliably tells me) I could recite every line of dialogue from the film, such was the number of times I watched it on video, and I remember tearing pages out of my gran's phone book a la the diner scene and jumping off of my dad's speakers singing Johnny B Goode.

    Although it was certainly my favourite film when I was younger, it wasn't until a few years ago that I rewatched it for the first time in years and was STILL blown away by how fantastic the film is. I still laughed out loud when Biff was covered in manure and still wanted to be Marty McFly when he lets the skateboard run underneath the car as he climbs over the top (the greatest set piece in all cinema, I assure you).

    Rewatching Back to the Future re-ignited my love of film and made me realise what great taste I had as a youngster :)

  • Comment number 47.

    I believe Return Of The Jedi was the moment 9 year old me was hooked. Specifically where the Millenium Falcon sweeps up to fill the screen and then fall away again. It was absolute magic.

    But it wasn't until I was 15 that I realised I had a real love for film in any form. That Eureka moment was when I saw Dances With Wolves for the first time on TV. I'm proud to say it is still my favourite film. You may think that's an odd thing to say, that I'm "proud", but it's because I believe that many people are concious of deciding on their favourite film, but this one found me. It seems so perfectly tuned to my personality that I don't feel I have to justify it, and believe me, a lot of friends have demanded that I try! "Dances with bloody Wolves? Really? What's wrong with you?" I've seen it many times since and it is still one of very few films I can't deconstruct, it just kind of grabs me and refuses to let go.

    As well as the story being very personal for me, there was also the fact I was watching a four-hour long film, with subtitles and hardly any action. It made me realise for the first time that I could enjoy something that wasn't a typical genre mainstream flick. I haven't looked back since.

  • Comment number 48.

    For me it has to be when I somehow managed to see 'Way of the Dragon' in a small cinema whilst visiting relatives in Ireland. I wasnt even in my teens when my cousin took me to see it. My previous viewing experiences had consisted of Disney films etc. The cinematic fight scene (even though it was dubbed) against Chuck Norris in The Coliseum in Rome made me fall in love with movies on the big screen.

  • Comment number 49.

    When I was young (in the 70s), the area where I lived didn't have a cinema (that was in the Gaspé, in the north-east of Québec). But we had a drive-in theater where they would have family friendly double bills on saturday evenings during summers. The first such evening really I remember was showing Marie Poppins (wonderful and funny, even if they kept falling into songs!) and La puce et le grincheux (Little Miss Marker) with Shirley Temple, one of the most touching films I've seen, and not without its funny moments despite its somber subject. I may have been to those evenings before that one, as I have vague recollections of Star Wars (I would have been four), but that was the first time I really enjoyed cinema.

  • Comment number 50.

    In the cinema: it would have to be Star Wars. I know it's a pretty obvious choice, but I saw it when it first came out in 1977: I was 6, and we were on a family holiday. I'd never seen a film with so much spectacle: laser battles, huge space ships, wonderful creatures etc.

    Home entertainment-wise, it would have to be Kurosawa's Seven Samurai: it wasn't just a great action film, but it had emotion and heart. It was the film that woke me up to world cinema.

  • Comment number 51.

    My love for movies began when I was 11 or 12 years old. I was raised Jewish, and my Synagogue used to show us a movie if our parents weren’t able to pick us up right after Sunday school. My Hebrew teacher chose Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

    Everyone was captivated on what was playing on the screen, everything from the bizarre story and characters, to the beautiful animation and music. It was the first truly extraordinary movie viewing experience I've ever had.

  • Comment number 52.

    My love of film isn't gradual, it's like falling deeply in love over and over again, right? If there were only one film worth an epiphany, it wouldn't be a medium worth loving. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, BLUE VALENTINE, HUD, ROMANCE & CIGARETTES. How can it end? Even if it did, it wouldn't, because they become new every time you see them.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm like many here and found this to be a more gradual process. When I was a kid in the mid-80s my Dad would often sit with me as we watched movies that had been recorded off of the TV. A lot of popular films from the late 70s and early 80s, notably Star Wars, fill many of my early memories as I sat on his lap and was in shock upon discovering the true identity of Darth Vader.

    While my love for movies was evident at an early age, the film that changed my life was Terminator 2. Yes it is not high-brow cinema, but certainly one of the best in its genre. While we may condemn my parents for allowing a 12 year old boy to watch the film, the concept of artificially intelligent robots and time travel subsequently blew my young mind.

    Fast forward 16 years and I am now a Doctor in Computer Science and specialise in Artificial Intelligence research. While the reality of the science grounds my aspirations, the magic of that one film and others of its ilk have maintained an interest and passion that has truly defined my adult life.

    "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

  • Comment number 54.

    I have fallen in love with cinema many times over. I first saw Jurrasic Park at the age of eleven and fell in love with cinema for its ability to enthrall, amaze and terrify me. I developed an obsession with dinosaurs for many years due to the impact of that film. I watched the whole thing curled in a ball with my hands over my ears but loved every second of it!

    Films I have watched since have had a similar impact but for very different reasons. This is Spinal Tap, The Fountain, The Exorcist, Pans Labyrinth, Inception, Waltz with Bashir, Avatar, and most recently for me Senna. Each of these films has captivated me with feelings of wonder, joy, sadness, fear or empathy and each one has given me a new reason to fall in love with cinema all over again.

  • Comment number 55.

    You know what, I honestly have no idea. I just fell in love with cinema during the summer of 2010. I can’t tell you why. It just happened and I’m glad it did. However as a kid I always used to sit every Christmas in front of the TV captivated by The Wizard of Oz but I honestly can’t for the life of me pinpoint the moment I fell in love with cinema and wanted to go into the industry.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think my love of cinema was a slow-burn thing. The first thing I went to see at the cinema was a version of Pinnocchio (this would've been about '93); I can't remember whether I liked it or not but I have looked it up and apparently it's pants. However, I always could watch films again and again whereas the rest of my family couldn't be bothered.
    The real catalyst though, was at the age of 15, seeing 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' having taped it off Channel Four. That was the first time I guess I was aware of film as a work of art and I wanted to know how it was made and what mindset produced those pictures and that sound. That last twenty minutes - well, I've never seen anything better, before or since. It was the film that made me want to make films and although now I have gone on and seen many, many other films by many, many other directors, it will always be THAT film. I can't count Leone as as much of an influence anymore as I could others, I know that there is still that part of me that wants to be like him and emulate his achievements with the Dollars trilogy.

  • Comment number 57.

    Much like danguardace @ 24, my first real experience of movies was 'forced' on me in Media Studies when we were made to watch 'The Third Man'. Not many of us were too keen to watch and old black and white film, myself included, but WOW what a film! Harry Lime emerging out of the shadows ... the zither soundtrack ... the central character a villain ... the good guy not getting the girl ... just amazing! Can't get the theme tune out of my head now...

  • Comment number 58.

    For me it's very clear. About year after the release of The Empire Strikes Back they re-released both Star Wars and Empire at the Cinema on a double bill. I went with my Dad and my sister to watch both for the first time at the cinema. I was six. Wow! Would I still have the love for those films if I had seen them for the first time as an adult? Probably not. For a six year old it was pure magic! Never forget it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Jurassic Park...When I got a first glimpse of the dinosaurs. Sold!

  • Comment number 60.

    For me it's a very simple answer. My parents took me to see Jurassic Park when I was four years old. I vividly remember two scenes; the terrifying opening when the worker is dragged into the velociraptor holding cell and the other is the t-rex attack. It was those sequences that started my obsession

  • Comment number 61.

    When I was bout 8 or 9, my mother let me stay up with her to watch One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest on the telly*. It completely changed how I saw cinema as an artform. Prior to this, the kind of films I enjoyed were fun, exciting, escapist stuff like Back To The Future and the Bond movies but watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was a wholly new experience. I don't think I fully understood what the film was about but there was something in the performances and the tone of the film that resonated with me. The idea of watching a film that actually 'made you feel sad' was an alien concept to me, I was used to happy endings where the good guy hero gets the girl and everything ends up swell. Everything I knew about storytelling at that age had just been totally ripped apart. I've never experienced a feeling like it since.

    *My mum was quite liberally minded about what she let me watch as a kid, I'd seen the majority of Arnold Schwarzenegger's cinematic output by the age of ten and she was more than happy for us to come together as a family every week and watch the latest episode of Twin Peaks.

  • Comment number 62.

    The first film I say was the Lion King when I was four and whilst I was captivated with the magic of cinema It wasn't until about ten years later when I saw the Godfather for the first time that my obsession started. Just the best film ever made, greatest casting, acting and direction. For me anyway...

  • Comment number 63.

    The first time I can really recall being totally amazed and spellbound in a cinema was at a Saturday morning cinema club at the Darlington Odeon in around 1971. I was completely entranced by Fantastic Voyage; especially Donald Pleasance being killed by the giant white blood cells, and the whole miniaturization process. That, the Jon Pertwee Doctor and Star Trek on TV turned me into a firm science fiction fan. Seeing Apocalypse Now in the late 70's began turning me into a film fan with a penchant for long, slow films where sometimes nothing much seems to happen for several hours.

  • Comment number 64.

    The film that gave me that wide eyed feeling of wonder and awe as a child was the original Clash Of The Titans. I remember how much tension I felt as Perseus and his band of expendable soldiers approached the dreaded lair of Medusa and of course no need to mention the wonderfully imaginative and charming stop motion work of Ray Harryhausen.

    This in turn made me seek out every other film featuring Harryhausens work and taking an interest in earlier works of stop motion such as King Kong.

    Another film which inspired me greatly for different reasons is Eraserhead. It was one of those “everyone else is in bed, whats this?” moments from childhood which revealed to me that film could transform the viewer into a cryptic code breaker.

    I loved that first experience of thinking about a film for days after, trying to place all the pieces of the puzzle together.

  • Comment number 65.

    The first film that I remember seeing in the cinema was Titanic. I was much to little to understand it but I still remember the sounds and the sinking of the ship that not only amazed me but scared me as well.

    Then when i got older and I saw films like There Will be Blood, which i consider a masterpiece. BUT the FILM that truly reignited that flame for my love of cinema and movie making was HANDS DOWN the recent french film TOMBOY directed by Céline Sciamma. This was so beautiful in so many different aspects and the simplicity of the shots felt unreal. It felt like I was watching everything for myself from a window. It was done so well that my LOVE for cinema grew ten fold and I hope for films like that in future.

  • Comment number 66.

    The very first film I saw at the cinema was The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 (and don't remember much about it apart from the AT-AT attack and the Falcon flying out of the mouth of the monster).

    After that I started going regularly to the cinema in 1989 (Batman) and can't give specific moment when I can honestly say I was in love with movies. I love them now and it's a special kind of love.

    I don't know about anyone else but I can honestly say that a good 80% of what I see is merely average. 10% is absolute rubbish (Transformers: Dark of Loon, Sucker Punch) and the other 10% is wonderful (Moon, Dark City, The King's Speech, Inception, Lord of the Rings). When I do see a film that is in the top 10% it is WONDERFUL because I bubble with happiness for days afterward and happily tell people about films that I think are great and are worth seeking out.

  • Comment number 67.

    I've just finished film school and have always been making films since around the age of 7 but the moment I became conscious of the fact that this is what I wanted to do with my life was around the age of 12 or 13 when I was off school on a bank holiday and The NeverEnding Story came on TV. Like everyone else does, I at first thought of the typical joke that it's inappropriately titled because it's actually about 90 minutes long but by the time it was over I was enchanted.

    It's strange because I grew up with Disney movies and was about 5 years old when Jurassic Park came to cinemas but something about this film that was released 4 years before I was born, really resonated with me. I remember that after seeing that film I became more interested in the idea of exploring fantasy worlds and going places that only cinema could take you to.

    The great thing is I still get a sense of that feeling I had on first watching it, whenever I watch it again and always look beyond it's dated style. Only recently I went to a screening of The NeverEnding Story in which only a few people were in attendance. I'm sure they were all fans but when the truly overly dramatic and cheesy moments arose in the film many of them were laughing, but I wasn't.

  • Comment number 68.

    It was only last year when I discovered a love for cinema. I'd already seen Inception once at my local cinema with some friends and to be honest I didn't understand it much and I wasn't impressed - but it didn't stop me thinking about it. I finally persuaded my family to come and see it at the IMAX because it wasn't on at the local anymore and I really wanted to understand it. I'm so glad I did go again because even though I remembered the general story, it had been a while since watching it the first time and everything just clicked. I already knew the ending but it had a whole new meaning this time.
    Now as you've said before Mark, we keep watching new films in search of recreating moments like this, but I can't imagine topping the feeling I got as the end credits started to roll.

    Are there any films that you've loved the 2nd time round after not being happy with the first viewing? or vice versa?

  • Comment number 69.

    I've had a series of film loving epiphanies throughout my life:
    As young child, Snowwhite & the 7 dwarfs. Mesmerizing scary and beautiful.
    Slightly older: Star Wars and Jaws for similar reasons.
    Emerging adult: That sinking feeling and Gregory's girl for that awkward teen empathy.
    Art House: Wings of desire and Paris Texas for sublime cinematography and tender humanity.
    Weird and wonderful: Most of David Lynch
    Life affirming: Life is Sweet, Tree of Life
    Melancholia: Melancholia, Midnight Cowboy
    Hell on toast: Snowtown, Henry Portrait of a serial killer

  • Comment number 70.

    I think my love of film is one of those gradual things that happened. I started by buying quite a number of DVDs and my Dad would tell me too watch this film or that film. I do think though, that my passion to be in the film industry (now at film school) was probably discovering the likes of David Lynch, David Croenenberg, Lars von Trier, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick...I could go on. I love the surreal-ness of how film can be. Films should be like dreams can be beautiful, can be awe-inspiring and can be terrifying. Beauty is in the absurd.

  • Comment number 71.

    As far back as I can remember watching films has always been important to me but only when I saw Ozu Yasujiro's masterpiece "Tokyo Story" did I really begin to understand the true power of film - I've since watched many Ozu films, There is just nobody out there like him - He manages to take those big themes of life and death/our place in the universe and put it in the familiar setting of family life - His films are so universal - It's a shame he is still so unknown -
    If you are not familiar with his work then I am envious of you - I only wish I could discover him all over again -

  • Comment number 72.

    My earliest memory of seeing a movie in a theater was "Spaced Invaders." Of course, at the age of five I loved it. It was a kooky comedy with little green men cracking wise, and I'm pretty sure it's what got me hooked on cinema. But to see it now as an adult---well, it's like seeing my first girlfriend. I'm happy to know she's still alive and well and all, but I really don't want to... see her.

  • Comment number 73.

    I remember distinctly 5 years ago, in the very month of December, being abroad from my native Romania and watching almost back to back El laberinto del fauno and Apocalypto. From that point on, I knew I couldn't watch, read or listen to anything the way I did before. The punch of those 2 films hit me hard, and, although I was almost 19 by the time, I remember welling up a bit at the end of El laberinto, and almost shouting in joy at the end of Apocalypto. I have seen a lot of powerful films since, but none has hit me as hard.

  • Comment number 74.

    The film that changed my life was Midnight Cowboy. It was 1998 and I was 13, my parents had finally resolved a messy divorce and the aftermath had left me in dispair. One evening I was flicking through channels and I stumbled upon this film. By the end I had watched frangments of a nasty and seedy world and how people won't think twice about stabbing you in the back, but even in this horrible world, I realised that there are people you can still trust. Hoffman's portrayel of Ratzo Rizzo is a tour de force and the fact that this character goes from being a repelling insect who exploits naive innocent people to a guide and trusted confident and friend is testement on how you should not give up anything. All the elements of Midnight Cowboy is perfect, from the basic stroy outline to the performances all the way to the score. A masterpiece that deserves all its plaudits and the rare time the acadamy awards got it right.

  • Comment number 75.

    I suspect it was probably something like Star Wars, although my memories of the film I loved when I was a kid that made me really love film are stronger for things like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Back to the Future. Star Wars was a big part of my childhood because it was bound up with the whole merchandising thing, so I don't think it really affected me as much as Raiders did. I still consider that, and Back to the Future, to be almost perfect films, great adventures with visual effects that still work now, and characters that last. They were exciting and funny and scary, particularly Raiders, with its exploding heads and the famous truck stunt sequence.

    Falling in love with film, the actual art, and learning to appreciate it, didn't come until later, probably when I began to see foreign films and the "Wow!" moment of seeing David Lynch's Fire Walk With Me, which I really didn't get first time around, but had a huge impact on second viewing. The first foreign language film I saw that really got me into French cinema, was called The Edge of the Horizon, a strange film that I have only ever seen on BBC2 at about midnight.

  • Comment number 76.

    Actually it wasn't a cinema-going experience that turned me on to films - it was more the process of absorbing images and descriptions from my father's film books. Books such as Daniel Blum's "A Pictorial History of the Talkies" and John Douglas Eames' "The MGM Story", full of startling images and beautiful portraits. Even now, I'll be watching a film and will recognise within in it a still that I recall from one of those old books.

    And in fact a lot of my early memories about films are to do with watching them on TV, often with my Dad. I remember watching all the Johnny Weissmuller-era Tarzan movies during the school holidays and the Rathbone / Bruce Sherlock Holmes films too. I did go to the cinema as well but, as much as I enjoyed that, I always preferred the more intimate experience of watching films at home.

  • Comment number 77.

    The first film I ever saw was the 1950s The Three Musketeers and although I don't remember actually watching it, it clearly had an effect as I then re-enacted the film with me as 'Tagnan (a female one!) and my Dad as the horse. A bit older, my mother took me with her to see Yves Montand in The Wages of Fear and that I do remember, with its images still with me today. From that time I've always enjoyed going to the cinema and don't understand people who never go!

  • Comment number 78.

    As a kid I always enjoyed films, going to see a film for me as a kid was one the most exciting experiences. I was raised in São Paulo and back in the late 80's/early 90's some films there were shown in these fantastic and huge theaters, it elevated the whole experience, the films felt larger than life.

    Now I'm a sound designer, just graduated from a film school from Finland, and until today I recall 3 important moments that led me to this area that not I love but also work for:

    1. Watching at home in the early 90's, "Planet of the Apes". It scared the hell outta me! But it was too fascinating to stop watching.
    2. Going to see David Lynch's "Lost Highway". I was only 14 and although I was a bit familiar with his work in the "Twin Peaks" tv series, I didnt what to expect. At that point it was my favorite film, it was the best example of sound and image in any film.
    3. Meeting Lloyd Kaufman of Troma. He came to Finland in November 2002 to do a seminar about the digitalization of cinema and I was able to "help" him during the seminar dressed as the Toxic Avenger. After his seminar, talking to him a lot and reading his books I finally decided that working in films was what I had to do with the rest of my life. No matter what my financial situation will be, working with films and being a part of them makes it all worth.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think the first movie I went to watch in the cinema was 'Snowball Express',a Walt Disney comedy featuring Dean Jones and Harry Morgan,who sadly passed away recently.

    I was having a children's birthday party,probably my sixth birthday at the time,and can't really remember anything about it.The film that really opened my eyes to cinema was, believe it or not,watching a Laurel and Hardy short on TV,'BUSY BODIES',which was set in a sawmill,and it was the scene where Oliver
    Hardy falls into and travels through a sawdust flue.And I've been massive fans of Stan & Ollie and cinema in general ever since.

  • Comment number 80.

    The first movie I ever saw at the cinema, was in an old fashion theather house that was the first cinema of my home town, and I sat in the balcony. It was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action movie and it blew my mind, cause as a kid I really liked the animated series and comic books. To see them with interact real people, was cause for great joy for me, even though I knew them not to be real.
    But I had seen movies before that, on tv, so it wasn't only a gradual thing for me, but also a normal thing in my life. The thing is, I think I couldn't live without movies now... I mean I could, but it wouldn't be the same! :D
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  • Comment number 81.

    For me it wasn't really a cinema moment in that it happened when I was at home. When I was in secondary school I was off for a few weeks with tonsilitis, and my Dad worked shifts so he'd be gone by the time I got up.

    He would leave me films to watch and the 2 that stick in my head are Alien and the Exorcist, and I think it was my experience watching these films in the dark on my own that really got me into the power of cinema.

  • Comment number 82.

    My obsession with film began when i was 10 or 11, i was fascinated with movie facts like the highest grossing, most expensive etc then i was given 'The Guinness book of movie facts and feats' and in the back pages it had a Time out critics poll of the 100 greatest films most of which i'd never heard of. So every Tuesday i would get the Radio Times turn straight to the film section and look for titles i recognised i saw 'A Matter of life and death' not even knowing what it was about i once set the video for 'Blue Velvet' having no idea as to the subject matter but it "failed" to record. My brother gave me my bible 'The Virgin film guide' which had detailed reviews of foreign films and my desire to see them meant my prejudice against subtitles went out the window. I was seeing such interesting and diverse films that i decided to keep a diary so on Mayday bank holiday 1992 i got an unused school text book and filled the first page with various titles with a rating of 1-5. On the second page i listed every new film from that point on by the age of 18 i'd seen 1200 titles and this year i passed the 3000 mark.

  • Comment number 83.

    Just now, watching The Knowing on Film4. I'm 25.

    But really, I feel that my love of film is very much something I've grown into. There are a few big moments for me, though; the first is when I was very young (maybe 5 or 6) seeing The Blob on tv. I do not know why, but it had a particularly big effect on me. Another moment was when I was a little older, maybe 10, and I sneakily didn't go to bed when I was supposed to and stayed up until the wee small hours watching Forbidden Planet followed by Barbarella, also on tv. Around this time I also saw Westworld, of which I have very fond memories.

    The first time I remember watching a film as a film and for it's film qualities, was The Man Who Would Be King, on my father's recommendation. I was about 15, and it is still one of my favourite films.

  • Comment number 84.

    One of the first movies i remember going to the cinema for was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although it was a great movie for a kid, it wasn’t till I was older that I started to love what cinema had to offer. It was David Finchers Fight Club. The thing about this film was its preciseness (if there is such a word) its sub plots and how the story weaved in and out. But so very precise and most importantly, told the story incredibly well. From that point, I always look out for a David Fincher or a Paul Thomas Anderson or a Terence Malik film coming out into the cinema

  • Comment number 85.

    Crikey, that's a tricky question Mark. In a way it was never one specific film more of a plethora!
    It's also quite an emotional question for me too as it was my dear old Mum that sparked a love of movies in me. Sadly I recently lost her to cancer but my fascination with all things film is one of the gifts that I will always treasure from her.
    We never went to the pictures much when I was very young even though Mum used to go every week when she was a kid herself. Most of the films I saw were via tv back from a time when the xmas Radio Times was exciting because you hadn't already seen the movies in the cinema, or on bluray. We weren't one of those families that had a video recorder when they first came out either.
    Movies that come to mind are The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn (Mum adored him), Moonfleet with Stewart Granger, big blockbusters like Ben Hur, Spartacus and The Robe, Bond movies, westerns, musicals, the obligatory airing of The Wizard of Oz at Christmas and copious amounts of Lassie films which broke my young heart. Basically we watched anything and everything together and my appreciation has continued to this day.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hi Mark,
    A bit of a left field question but where did you get your eyewear frames?
    I saw you do the Sherlock Holmes review tonight and they looked great,
    Thanks in advance,

  • Comment number 87.

    I was 6. My mother and older sister had gone off into the garden, thinking I was asleep. They'd left the tv on, and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet was on. I couldn't stop watching then; and I haven't stopped watching since. I'm sure I couldn't have understood half of it; but what I did understand was that it was important, and true, and deeply moving. I reckon that holds firm to this day: a great film is important, true, and deeply moving.

  • Comment number 88.

    For me it was the 1990 re-release of Fantasia. It showed me that you don't need words to tell a story, that the magic of cinema lies in the marriage of images and sound, not in pages of dialogue. In those two hours i began to understand the unique power and universal appeal of the motion picture, and it kick started a love affair that has lasted a quarter of a century so far.

  • Comment number 89.

    By the time I was 8 years old I had very vague memories of films I had seen before, mainly because they were kids animated films, films that washed over me. However just like yourself I had that moment that sparked something. I remember very clearly seeing a trailer for Jurassic Park on the TV and believing it to be an actual place to visit. My dad burst that bubble before I saw the movie but I was still excited to see it. Being 8 I was shocked, scared and amazed by what I saw, I had a crush on Ariana Richards for ages and from that moment on the only thing that would satisfy me at the cinema were live action blockbusters. My love and appreciation for cinema grew over time but that was the definite seed of my lasting obsession.

  • Comment number 90.

    Mid - late 90's, being about 8 years old, and watching fire in the sky on television being scared senseless. That was the moment I realised how fantastic movies can be.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hi Mark .. The film that changed my life was 'Breaking Away'. At 13 years old it had everything I needed as a teenager. Ambition, love, father and son tensions and the aimlessness of youth. Unfortunately I didn't see it on the big screen, but from betamax to VHS to DVD I've always kept a copy to bring out when I'm laid up on the sofa with man flu and mum's chicken soup. This beautiful and neglected film is a favourite because it made me feel good at 13 and again at 38 and no other has come close. Except 'The Goonies' of course ;)

  • Comment number 92.

    I can for sure say that there is ONE movie that is so special to me that the rumours of a sequal or prequal can make me kinda sad.. It is something that is both holy and beloved and that movie is Sir. Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (based upon a story from Phillip K. Dick).

    I remember falling asleep when I first rented the 1982 theatrical cut on VHS (and yes, I own the very same VHS I rented the first time) and I thought it was somewhat dull but after giving the movie a second, a third chance I fell in love with Vangelis music, the tone of the movie (and even the narration).. It was dark, gloomy and not like Star Wars or Star Trek at all.. It was set on Earth, in a world that I could belive be the same world I some day might live in.

    It is to me one of a kind, also the same reason I'm somewhat sceptic of a getting a followup. The story can very well continue on, but it is a story that should continue on in your mind and NEVER ever get a solution on the big screen since it's questions on what it means to be human never has a final answer).

    I have spent hours on this movie and every time I've seen it, it has blown my mind.. It's both dark and beautiful at the same time and it deals with some very important questions (One, which is the "Is Deckard a Replicant that Mark Kermode got the final answer on in "On The Edge Of Blade Runner" which is one of the best documenturies besides the one called "Dangerous Days" which is included in all of the "Final Cut" versions).

    It was released almost 30 years ago, we got a "Final Cut" with some truly amazing extras in 2007 and we, the die-hard fans of this movie have our get togethers on the internet (so it has also given me some very dear friends from all over the world) and our discussions will never end.

    So, this is a movie that I will love and carry with me for the rest of my life.. It has deeper meaning for me than any other movie ever can have.

    It is also proof that a movie can be so much more than just moving images on a screen, it can also in some way make an impact that re-defines one's ideas and values.

  • Comment number 93.

    the film that changed my life was Lynch's Lost Highway.

    my grandfather owned a video store and i spent my summers watching all sorts of movies one after the other. so in a sense i don't remember a time in which i didn't get inspired by watching films; but watching Lost Highway for the first time in the cinema switched something in my brain. i was like 'you can do this in a film? this is brilliant'. when i got out of that film i knew i wanted to be involved with films, on way or another.

  • Comment number 94.

    It all changed for me the day I saw the remake of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'...I realised there was no hope for Humanity. Any creature that makes such butt-clenchingly terrible films doesn't deserve to survive. However, Mankind's one saving grace was 'The Diving-bell And the Butterfly'. The very least it should earn us a reprieve.

  • Comment number 95.

    Being born in the late 80's, I've always felt extraordinarily blessed to have grown up alongside the golden period of the Walt Disney studios, where the House of Mouse developed their most successful and, arguably, their finest work. The four films that began this period, being 'The Little Mermaid', 'Beauty and the Beast' (my personal favourite), 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King' were the first films that I ever saw either at home or the cinema and are the main reason why I fell in love with films.

    Stunning visuals, exciting plots and engaging characters, each of these films illustrates the power and magic that films can have and should strive for. A couple of catchy tunes also helps I should add...

    As I look back on these films, there is an added poignancy that they are the last of their kind as the rise of Toy Story and computer animation changed the animation format forever soon after (for good or for worse, I'll let you decide). I hold nothing against CGI in actual fact, but I will always hold a special place in my heart towards hand-drawn animation as an art form that requires an incredible amount of skill, patience and dedication by so many for it to work.

    As I said, I've been an avid film-goer since, and I can only say thank you to all the animators who have inspired me ever since.

  • Comment number 96.

    Robert Altman's California Split. I was already a major film fan but this little film confirmed my views about what film did not HAVE to be: over-long, big in scope, full of speeches.

  • Comment number 97.

    The first time I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, it completely renewed my faith in what incredible achievements cinema was capable of, especially considering it was only a couple of years after the colossal disappointment that was The Phantom Menace.

  • Comment number 98.

    Young Frankenstein was the film that made me want to direct, not that I've followed through on that ambition significantly (Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans ...). The Ealing Comedies and Powell/Pressburger made me want to live in Britain. The first film I saw with my wife was The Commitments.

    For true cinema addicts all really great movies are life changing because we add them to our vicarious experience, those that are more vivid in our memories than our actual memories. Every new movie we see we are just jonesing for that special resonance, and why a disappointing film is not just a waste of time and money, but an affront to the core meanings of our lives.

    Not that the experiences we have while watching films aren't as important. I can't say that my memories of braving picket lines of misguided religious zealots for the first public showing of The Last Temptation of Christ at the Cineplex Odeon in New York, or blagging a ticket from the queue to the press screening of Wild at Heart at Cannes don't colour my fondness for those fine films, but they are merely as much a part of my outlook as any other of those I've thoroughly enjoyed, however I've seen them (including all those classics most accessible via telly).

    Then of course, there's those litmus films that change our lives. We expectantly watch them with our partners at the beginning of the relationship, hoping that they'll see what we love in them. The pitfall, of course, particularly for those more detained by adolescence, if they fail the test, will the relationship survive their inability to grasp the brilliance of the Evil Dead films? But there is nothing like the shared love of a good film...

  • Comment number 99.

    I bet Mark will laugh at this but the film that changed my life was Kill Bill Vol.1. I was 13 when I first watched it and I hadn't seen a Tarantino film ever before, I loved the way he used black + white, split-screens, anime, threw in an awesome soundtrack and I loved his sets, that fight at the end with the snow coming down, the quietness in between when they stopped and all you could hear was a japanese water fountain going up and down, up and down.

    There was also another film that changed my life, which would be Terminator 2. I loved it when I saw for the first time at the age of 11. I had already seen T1 and loved it. I loved what James Cameron had created, the characters, the whole terminator mythology and those action scenes (in T2 particularly) were just jaw dropping. Amazing!

    For me, those two films are the ultimate combination of what got me interested in films.

  • Comment number 100.

    For me it wasn't a precise film but the book 1001 films to see before you die. I read it cover to cover and wanted to see all of them. If I had to say one film it would be Spirited away that I was taken to see at age 4 and had never seen something as strange, funny, scary or exhilarating before.


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