Here’s an excerpt of a conversation between Lars Von Trier and Anderson. The entire conversation is well worth a read. It’s not clear from the link when the interview took place, but it was before the release of Dogville, which came out in 2003.
LVT: Another film that is very dear to me is The Deer Hunter.
PTA: When did you see it? When it came out?
LVT: I’ve seen it ten times.
PTA: Really. What are the others? What else?
LVT: There’s a lot of old Italian films. Pasolini. Antonioni, of course. It all depends on when you become aware of film. I was ready around the time of this German period, with Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, but I was too late to be fascinated by the New French Wave. But it’s very interesting, this question of when you are open to this–I don’t think it’s very many years, five years or something.
BB: Do you have your Deer Hunter, Paul?
PTA: Yeah, the first thing that comes to my mind is Jaws.
LVT: Jaws! I’ve never seen that.
PTA: Jaws was a big, big, big, big, big deal to me. My dad was in television in Los Angeles–he did voice-overs, so he was friends with all these technical guys, and really when it was possible to get a 3/4 inch VCR machine in your home, he taped The Wizard of Oz, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and he had a bootleg copy of Jaws. So those were the three movies that I was able to watch over and over. And the VCR was as big as this room, it was like a tank, and the tape was as big as a truck–and I would come home and watch every night, every day, Jaws, Monty Python, The Wizard of Oz. Then later, things happened here and there–like I was saying when I saw Breaking the Waves. And it was interesting because I felt confident enough that I didn’t want to copy Breaking the Waves–I just felt, like, I’m allowed to do that. It was almost like it was OK to be that honest.