The Film That Changed My Life captures the film-going experience made future directors want to make movies. It explores 30 directors' love of a film they saw at a particularly formative moment, how it influenced their own works, and how it made them think differently.

Rebel Without a Cause inspired John Woo to comb his hair and talk like James Dean. For Richard Linklater, "something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil." Apocalypse Now inspired Danny Boyle to make larger-than-life films. A single line from The Wizard of Oz—"Who could ever have thought a good little girl like you could destroy all my beautiful wickedness?—had a direct impact on John Waters. "That line inspired my life" Waters says. "I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer"

In this volume, directors as diverse as John Woo, Peter Bogdanovich, Michel Gondry, and Kevin Smith examine classic movies that inspired them to tell stories. Here are 30 inspired and inspiring discussions of classic films that shaped the careers of today's directors and, in turn, cinema history.

Praise for The Film That Changed My Life:

“If you love films and care about filmmakers, you’ll have a hard time putting this book down. These lively conversations reveal just how much one generation of filmmakers influences the next—and how a single movie can change the course of a young person’s life and career.”

“Unlike some so-called books that are cobbled together from scraps of movie-junket interviews, The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark by Robert K. Elder is a compulsively readable volume filled with thoughtful, often passionate conversations about great movies that made a difference in the lives (and careers) of thirty significant directors.

Film journalist Elder is very savvy and engages his subjects in genuine two-way dialogue about movies as disparate as and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad… Just a warning: once you start reading this book, you won’t find it easy to stop.”
—Leonard Maltin, author of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide


“A great and provocative read. Elder begins with a simple question and leads a wide variety of filmmakers, and–I hope–a wide variety of readers down all sorts of unexpected paths. Why do we respond so passionately, even irrationally, to the movies which change our lives? The wonderful thing about being a critic or a lifelong movie lover is that life as you know it changes all the time in relation to the spells being cast on the screen. Elder’s book honors that alchemic relationship many times over. It’s addictive.”
—Michael Phillips, film critic, Chicago Tribune


“If, as John Huston once said, movies are the reigning art form of the last hundred years, then Robert Elder’s idea of asking 30 directors to talk about the movie that most influenced their careers is a bonanza for film buffs and a wonderful recommendation to all who love movies. Elder has done us all a favor: read this book, then go see for yourself why these movies made the cut!”
—Lawrence Grobel, author of Al Pacino: In Conversation


“Boasting a refreshingly eclectic group of filmmakers…Elder’s anthology manages to cover an extensive range of film history while maintaining the lure of an unedited, behind-the-scenes reel. Our rating: E for Everyone.”
Nylon Magazine


“Both delight and instruction are to be had here.”
The Globe and Mail