Love him or not, it is impossible to deny Hideo Kojima's revered status within the gaming industry. After all, few developers could amass the resources for such a unique project as Death Stranding. The game designer is a noted cinephile, something immediately apparent when playing the new title or an older classic from the Metal Gear franchise.
To go through a short list of his favorites, the following list will detail some movies he fancies and rank them by Rotten Tomatoes score. Ten is hardly comprehensive, but it should give a basic idea of his tastes and the wide variety of genres from which he draws inspiration.
10 El Topo (78)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's films are as perplexing as the man himself. His 1970 feature is equal parts western, fantasy, comedy, and drama. Some moments elicit chuckles, while others are bound to have audiences recoil in disgust. It's all thought-provoking entertainment, however.
In a conversation with Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kojima explained how the main character's initial goal of besting four-gun masters inspired the boss battles in Metal Gear. Like in the movie, each boss passes on their knowledge and philosophy to Snake either before or after defeat.
9 Escape From New York (85)
The most basic description of Metal Gear can be summed up as "sneak in, do something, sneak out." Escape From New York's similar structure is no coincidence. Snake Plissken's name and look were also a direct influence on Solid Snake's design.
Canal Plus, part-owner of Escape From New York, wanted to pursue a lawsuit against Kojima because of the similarities, but John Carpenter halted it because he knew Kojima personally and liked him.
8 Planet Of The Apes (88)
Kojima's love of science-fiction is no secret, and it is even more apparent with Death Stranding's release. Many of the new game's ideas feel like they come from older sci-fi stories, and few movies from the '60s represent the genre better than Planet of the Apes.
The whole series is a worthwhile endeavor, but the first entry stands as a film making achievement. At more than fifty years old, the visuals, performances, and makeup all hold up perfectly. Kojima also notes the movie as an inspiration for the anti-war themes present in Metal Gear.
7 2001: A Space Odyssey
Fans of both Kubrick and Kojima already know the game designer wears this film's influence on his sleeve. Snake's real name is David and Otacon's is Hal, the same first names of the astronaut and AI in the 1968 space opera.
In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the AI are all represented with a glowing red dot, similar to Hal 9000's appearance. This movie forever changed cinema, though it's surprising to see its impact expanded beyond its own medium into gaming as well.
6 Godzilla (93)
The 1954 monster movie classic spawned a massive franchise, but none of those sequels and reboots have beaten the original, though Shin Godzilla comes close. The movie's staunch anti-nuke message and musings about the dangers of unhinged scientific development is similar to some of Metal Gear's themes.
The movie's titular monster is a byproduct of science run amuck and threatening to destroy humanity, while many of the scientists in Metal Gear either unintentionally make or are forced to create weapons of mass destruction.
5 Dawn Of The Dead (93)
This one may come as a bit of a surprise. The closest zombies ever come to invading Metal Gear is during the ends of acts one and two in Metal Gear Solid 4. However, Dawn of the Dead's unique premise and tension did have an effect on the series' design.
The claustrophobic nature of the mall influenced the small areas Snake sneaks through in the early titles. One can also see a connection between the ways characters play with the undead in George A. Romero's classic and the way players can toy with guards in Kojima's games.
4 The Great Escape (94)
Before Metal Gear Solid 3, one could already see Kojima's affinity for this classic due to its plot of scheming right under the enemy's nose. The 2004 game finally made direct reference to it with Major Zero's first code name.
He took the name Major Tom from the movie, erroneously remembering it as the tunnel the protagonists used to escape the POW camp. This could also be seen as a reference to David Bowie's popular song, Space Oddity, and its central character, Major Tom.
3 The Deer Hunter (94)
This movie is less about the Vietnam War and more about its tragic impact on those who fought in the conflict. Three friends from a small town fight overseas and the experience changes them forever, mostly for the worse. The film was wrought with difficulties during production and faced some controversy due to its subject matter, but critics welcomed it with open arms and it made bank at the box office.
Director Michael Cimino would never reach similar heights again, especially after his next project, Heaven's Gate, was a legendarily colossal failure. The bandanas worn by Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken influenced Snake's headpiece, and Metal Gear Solid 3 even features several segments with a modified version of Russian Roulette Revolver Ocelot uses as a sadistic head game.
2 The Guns Of Navarone (95)
The sixties has a small handful of infiltration movies with parallels to Metal Gear. Where Eagles Dare deserves an honorable mention, but The Guns of Navarone is an all-time classic and one of Hideo Kojima's favorites.
A handful of men are sent out on a mission and the movie details all the ups and downs they come across. It may seem like too simple a concept for a two and a half hour movie, but it manages to enthrall audiences from beginning to end.
1 Taxi Driver (97)
Martin Scorsese's classic character study is just as stunning for its plot and performances as it is for its function as a time capsule of mid-70s New York. Kojima related to this movie and the main character's loneliness despite living in a heavily populated city.
Fortunately, he didn't try to emulate Travis Bickle's actions at the conclusion. We also hope his dates went better than Bickle's. Other popular pieces of New York fiction had an impact on Kojima as well, particularly Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy.