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Baker's Dozen

In Wide Angle: Simon Pegg's 13 Favourite Films
Elizabeth Aubrey , August 4th, 2018 09:07

Currently on cinema screens in the role of Benji Dunn in Mission Impossible: Fallout, Simon Pegg picks his 13 favourite films


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982 – Steven Spielberg

This was a film that was between Star Wars’ for me. I remember hearing about it when I was on holiday and my stepdad was excitedly telling me all about this “brand-new Spielberg film.” As he’d obviously done Raiders of The Lost Ark before then and Close Encounters of The Third Kind, I was already somewhat aware of Spielberg. It was another film that had a massive box office impact in the States after Star Wars came out and the idea of the “blockbuster” had just sort of been born; this was the next huge one I think.  
I remember going to see it and it really made me cry. I was wearing one of those parkas and I put my hood up to hide the tears; it made it look like I was wearing a snorkel. I started crying towards the end and I remember putting my hood up because I was embarrassed about showing emotion [laughs]. But I absolutely loved it and I even went and bought the soundtrack on cassette from Debenhams which was across the road from the cinema. I would just listen to that on a loop – the whole soundtrack from beginning to end, over and over.   
I was twelve when it came out; I might have gone to see it on my own – I can't remember. I do remember that I took my little sister years later (when it was re-released and it came back round again) to show her and I was convinced she was going to cry but she didn’t. I’m pretty sure I went to see it on my own – I seem to remember lining up to see it. There was a cinema in Gloucestershire called the ABC – it’s not there anymore, it’s a bar now – but that’s where I saw all my formative movies. I remember lining up for it and not really knowing anything about it. In those days, prior to the internet and prior to any kind of concerted film journalism for young people, there was nothing, only really what you’d seen on Film 82 or whatever. It was extraordinarily affecting for me.