Why Leonardo DiCaprio thinks 2001: A Space Odyssey is essential

Leonardo DiCaprio—who was turned into a superstar by James Cameron in that director's other record-breaking blockbuster, the one that didn't require blue skin—was interviewed in the March 2010 issue of Esquire, and gave a big thumbs-up to one of sci-fi's greatest flicks.

While promoting his new film Shutter Island, DiCaprio told the magazine the titles of what he considers his five essential movies: Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, Elia Kazan's East of Eden ... and Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Said DiCaprio:

It's beyond a movie—it's a spiritual experience. You have to submerge yourself in it with the idea that Kubrick's intent was to make us understand our relationship with the universe. The more you watch it the more questions it asks.

Good thing he appreciates fine sci-fi—because he'll soon be starring in Christopher Nolan's eagerly awaited sci-fi action flick Inception.

In between his praise for directors Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, DiCaprio also showed his love for his Titanic director Cameron:

James Cameron is a unbelievable visionary. There are so few filmmakers able to command the multiple things he had to deal with on Titanic or Avatar.

Jim knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, when somebody felt a different way on the set of Titanic, there was a confrontation. Jim had it out with them right there in front of everybody. He lets you know exactly how he feels. But he's of the lineage of John Ford. He knows what he wants his film to be.

I remember sitting in a theater after it was done and being in awe. He got what he wanted.

So—do you agree with DiCaprio? Should 2001: A Space Odyssey have been the one sci-fi film on his list of essential films? If not, what film would you have placed there?

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