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Three of the best directors of all time are rescuing old movies

Directors behind many of the best movies ever made are banding together to make sure more of Hollywood's history isn't lost to time.

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg

Sadly, it’s a fact of the industry that some of the best movies are lost to time because of poor preservation. Many of the best drama movies, best action movies, best musicals, and more have disappeared into the ether thanks to a lack of care in keeping them accessible.

Three of the best directors currently alive – Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson – have banded together to prevent this from happening more. Scorsese started the process in 1990, founding The Film Foundation as a way to make sure less great films were lost.

As part of the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival, Spielberg and Thomas Anderson spoke about continuing that work during a panel. “We try to find the films, not the films that are our favourite movies, but films that tell a very unique story of this country and the people of [the US],” Spielberg says. “Not only this country, but we’re rescuing experimental films, documentaries. We’re rescuing international films now. We’ve already rescued 97 international films. So this is something that’s not going to stop.”

That self-awareness of Hollywood’s hegemony is important, because lots of the best science fiction movies and best adventure movies come from around the world. And plenty more besides, too. Film is a rich medium from all corners.

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“It starts to end up being the protection of memories – very, very important memories – that we each individually have,” Thomas Anderson added during the panel. “Where was I when I saw E.T.? I remember it very well, and I remember the friends I was with. I remember who I took to see that film as much as I remember the film.”

We have lists of the best Steven Spielberg movies and best Paul Thomas Anderson movies if you’d like to see what they’re about. Check out our list of new movies so you don’t miss any history being written.