The ULTIMATE gift guide for cinema lovers by the Film Society

Shopping for a film lover this holiday season? Then look no further–the filmlinc blog scoured the expertise of our in-house corps of film fanatics to come up with this ULTIMATE gift guide.

Original picks that won’t break the bank


The Film Society staff is a pretty bookish lot. Ron Savin (House Archivist and author of the legendary Tales from the Titles) said: “What I would really like is a movie quote book, like Frankly My Dear… ($13.43 from Amazon).” Walter Reade theater employee Dan Haynes has his eye on The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror ($11.56, Amazon) by David J Skal. Member and Patron Relations Manager Joe Hsu is excited about Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films ($26.37, Amazon) by film critic David Thomson. “It’s like having a personal tour guide to some of the best films ever made.”

For the more visually inclined, Film Comment Senior Editor (and filmlinc blog contributor) Chris Chang picks the handsome Seen Behind the Scenes ($59.95), a collection of photos by Mary Ellen Mark  documenting life on the sets of legendary movies like Apocalypse Now and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, as well more recent productions such as the Oscar-winning films Moulin Rouge, Babel and Sweeney Todd.

In the DVD category, Ron, an actor himself, picks two essentials that should be in any actor’s home library: All About Eve and Waiting for Guffman, while theater manager Glenn Raucher, a self-proclaimed “music guy” says “I’m always on the lookout for music-related DVDs that reward repeat viewings.” Two that make the grade in his estimation are We Jam Econo: The Story of The Minutemen and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully–Death Cab for Cutie.

Writer/Editor (and filmlinc blog contributor) Arthur Ryel-Lindsey has a unique idea for the post-collegiate film lover in your life: Hollywood Poster Frames that will make that beloved dorm-room copy of A Clockwork Orange look a bit more, shall we say…adult. Prices start at $12.49.

Give your loved ones a break from the holiday shopping season with a series pass to Scorsese Classics at the Film Society this December 26-31. For only $40, film lovers can see five films, including Goodfellas, Casino, King of New York, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and others.

DVD box sets

DVD box sets are dime a dozen, but the Film Society staff zeroed in on idiosyncratic picks that reward repeat viewings or help fill out the library of the discriminating cineaste. Dan gives the nod to the blood-soaked The Mario Bava Collection Volume 1 ($25.99 on Amazon) (films like Black Sunday and Kill Baby Kill helped spawn the golden age of American horror most closely identified by John Carpenter). Dan also wouldn’t mind finding The Sergio Leone Anthology (on sale now at Amazon for $35.49!) under the tree; this compilation of Spaghetti Western bests includes The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Fistful of Dollars.


PR & Marketing Coordinator Oleg Dubson gives the nod to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s controversial fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, in a definitive set by Criterion. Receptionist Fletch Cossa knows that you can’t go wrong with a Fellini or Bergman box set, they are like the starter kit for a lifetime of film appreciation.

Box office manager Jamie Kaufman advocates the DIY approach for multiple film gifting: “Just take a director – say HAL ASHBY, and put together a set of individual DVDs of his; Harold & Maude, Bound for Glory, Last Detail, Being There, Shampoo – all can be found at Amazon for around 9.99 each or less (and hope they release The Landlord some time).”

For the person who everything

When buying for the true film fanatic, one cannot simply assume that a Criterion DVD of 8 1/2 or an anthology of the writing of Woody Allen will do, so the following picks represent the most unique choices among our collective film expertise.


Walter Reade Theater employee Matt Maniaci selects The Igmar Bergman Collection ($200), a unique compendium of notes, photographs, and stories from the career of the legendary director. This book won Sweden’s most prestigious literary prize when it was first published there, and each copy actually comes with a piece of film strip from a copy of Fanny and Alexander that was played on the director’s personal projector!


Production Manager Adam Leon mixes it up by suggesting rare, limited-edition posters of cinema classics, like this Czech take on Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation from Posterati.

Assistant Director of Operations and rare books enthusiast Doug Laible chooses two signed, first edition film script books from recent provocative indies Ghost World ($850, signed by comic luminary Daniel Clowes) and Kids ($350, signed by art world star Larry Clark).

For silent film buffs, Golden Silents curator Sayre Maxfield would recommend two new DVD releases from Kino International. “The first is F.W. Murnau’s 1924 masterpiece THE LAST LAUGH in a restored, deluxe edition. And second is the GRIFFITH MASTERWORKS 2 set which includes five newly restored Griffith features.”


Both Jamie Kaufman and Chris Chang have been text-messaging Santa over the Murnau, Borzage and Fox Box Set ($179.99 at Amazon). Handsomely packaged and full of long-unavailable masterworks, this set is full of gems like Sunrise and an early screen role for Spencer Tracy.

Of course, one way to give a gift that will really make a lasting impact is with a Film Society Membership. The recipient will think of you all year as they check out cutting-edge indies, world cinema and essential classics at the Walter Reade Theater for a reduced admission. Every two months their mailbox will offer a new issue of the always incisive and irreverent Film Comment magazine, and they’ll get a jump on the public in getting great tickets to the hotly anticipated New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. The benefits of a Film Society Membership are too great to outline here; suffice to say there is no better way to make the film-lover in your life feel like a VIP.

Of course, sometimes the best gifts are the intangibles. Our Director of Programming Ops Isa Cucinotta says: “The best gift would be free babysitting so I could go out to the movies more often.” An invaluable addition to any of the above gifts for film lovers!

Explore posts in the same categories: Film Comment, inside the film society, just for fun, New Directors/New Films, new york film festival, what's on


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3 Comments on “The ULTIMATE gift guide for cinema lovers by the Film Society”

  1. Austin Says:

    Berlin Alexanderplatz = worth every single penny. Beautiful set!

  2. Oleg Dubson Says:

    “One is stronger than I. If there are two of us, it grows harder to be stronger than I. If there are ten of us, it’s harder still. And if there are a thousand of us and a million, then it’s very hard, indeed.”

    15 hours of Fassbinder – what better way to spend a holiday season?

  3. […] looking for last-minute gifts? Check out the Film Society’s handy-dandy gift guide, full of unexpected picks and great ideas, including eighteen hours of Fassbinder and a way to […]

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