‘Maestro’ star Bradley Cooper’s five favourite movies
(Credit: Netflix)

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‘Maestro’ star Bradley Cooper's five favourite movies

The trailer for Bradley Cooper’s latest film, Maestro, has just been released by Netflix. The biographical drama takes a deep dive into the relationship between renowned American composer Leonard Bernstein and his wife, Felicia Montealegre. 

Directed by Cooper, Maestro features Cooper as Bernstein alongside Carey Mulligan, who portrays Montealegre. The film also features talented actors such as Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, and Sarah Silverman in supporting roles, and it is produced by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Cooper.

Cooper made his directorial debut with A Star Is Born in 2018. As we await the release of Maestro, let’s take a moment to delve into Cooper’s personal cinematic preferences to understand the maker behind the face. 

The actor once shared his five favourite films in an interaction with Rotten Tomatoes. Each choice holds a special place in his heart and has influenced his work even though “They change all the time,” he qualifies.

Cooper mentioned Martin Scorsese’s Life Lessons, a segment from the anthology film New York Stories (1989), as one of his favourite pieces of work. Cooper’s admiration for this film is evident as he praised Scorsese’s “effortless” ability to capture the complexities of obsession with both visual finesse and engaging storytelling.

“I love the subject matter of Life Lessons, it’s just great. Scorsese completely captures the obsession with women, visually and in the storyline,” Cooper mentioned while praising Nick Nolte’s performance, And Nick Nolte is never better — his performance is just f**king unbelievable. He’s on top of his game stylistically, Scorsese, melding heavy style with story without it ever feeling like you’re just watching a director, you know, show off. I never felt that.”

Cooper’s appreciation for cinematic masterpieces extends to The Celebration (1998), directed by Thomas Vinterberg. The Danish film’s exploration of family dynamics and buried secrets got Cooper’s appreciation, “It’s just very moving. The subject matter, first of all, is incredible, you have this style of humour, and the acting’s insane. It was the idea of this Dogme-type style that I hadn’t really seen before — you know, you sort of feel it with Cassavetes, but I loved the strict adherence here to the principles of no artificial lighting, no artificial action, you can’t have any dolly tracking or crane shots at all; it’s all hand-held, it’s all video.”

In Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), Cooper finds inspiration in the resilience and strength of the human spirit. The film’s unique perspective, seen through the eyes of a man with locked-in syndrome, had Cooper praising it profusely, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is just one of the best films ever made. The acting, the story, the conception visually. He’s just wonderful, the director, Julian Schnabel.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974) holds a special place in Cooper’s heart for its masterful sound editing and direction. This lesser-known gem from Coppola is auteur-driven cinema and the power of technical craftsmanship in storytelling. Cooper pointed out, “The Conversation is just, I think, a movie made by one of the best auteur directors of the ’70s and ’80s. To me, I think the reason that I would choose that one is the sound editing. Even though Hackman does play a sound guy, the sound of the movie is really innovative. You have conversations that are happening in the foreground that you can barely hear, and yet that’s the main conversation, so they play around a lot with where they put the microphone. It’s really awesome.”

Lastly, Cooper’s list includes Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner (1940). He included this classic romantic comedy due to his fondness for timeless stories that were fresh and unique for their time, “I’m sure there were ones that came before that, but to me it felt innovative in the sense that it was a bunch of disparate storylines coming together in the end.”

Bradley Cooper’s five favourite films:

  • Life Lessons – New York Stories (Martin Scorsese, 1989)
  • The Celebration (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998)
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)
  • The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)

Set to make its premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 2nd, 2023, Maestro is scheduled for limited theatrical release on November 22nd, 2023, before becoming available for streaming on Netflix starting December 20th, 2023.