These People Directed Influential American War Movies

by majfoalbkeopaza | created - 2 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

(As recognized by the National Film Preservation Board)

1. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

2. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

3. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

4. David Lean

Director | Lawrence of Arabia

An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...

5. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

6. Oliver Stone

Producer | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

7. Robert Altman

Director | Gosford Park

Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...

8. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

9. D.W. Griffith

Director | The Birth of a Nation

David Wark Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob "Roaring Jake" Griffith, a former Confederate Army colonel and Civil War veteran. Young Griffith grew up with his father's romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth-century literature that were to eventually shape his movies. In 1897 ...

10. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

11. Michael Cimino

Writer | The Deer Hunter

Michael Cimino studied architecture and dramatic arts; later he filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts until the actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). But his biggest success was The Deer...

13. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

14. Errol Morris

Director | The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

His documentaries helped spur a rebirth of non-fiction film in the 80s & garnered wide critical success. But until 2003's "The Fog of War," Morris was shunned by the Academy Awards.

Morris' first two films won much acclaim (Gates of Heaven (1978) and Vernon, Florida (1981)). In the second movie, ...

15. George Cukor

Director | My Fair Lady

George Cukor was an American film director of Hungarian-Jewish descent, better known for directing comedies and literary adaptations. He once won the Academy Award for Best Director, and was nominated other four times for the same Award.

In 1899, George Dewey Cukor was born on the Lower East Side of...

16. Michael Curtiz

Director | Casablanca

Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...

17. Rex Ingram

Director | The Great Problem

Renowned director Rex Ingram started his film career as a set designer and painter. His directorial debut was The Great Problem (1916). A true master of the medium, Ingram despised the business haggling required in the Hollywood system. He was also unhappy with the level of writing he found in ...

18. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S....

19. Fred Zinnemann

Director | A Man for All Seasons

Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...

20. Stanley Kramer

Producer | Judgment at Nuremberg

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Abramson. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and Inherit the Wind (1960). He was married to ...

21. Clarence G. Badger

Director | Rangle River

A graduate of the Boston Polytechnic Institute, Clarence Badger had a varied early career as an artist, stage actor, editor and journalist with several newspapers and magazines (including "The Youth's Companion"), before entering the film business with Mack Sennett in 1915. At Sennett's ...

22. Clyde Bruckman

Writer | The General

Had been out of work and was pretty much broke when he killed himself. He borrowed Buster Keaton's gun and after eating a meal that he could not pay for, shot himself. There are two stories; One says it was in the restroom of the cafe on Santa Monica Blvd, and the other story states he did it in ...

23. Julien Bryan

Producer | Israel: The Story of the Jewish People

Julien Bryan was born on May 23, 1899 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, USA as Julien Hequembourig Bryan. He was a producer and cinematographer, known for Israel: The Story of the Jewish People (1965), Rural Women (1950) and Swinguette (1939). He died on October 20, 1974 in Bronxville, New York, USA.

24. Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast

Director | Laughter

Harry d'Arrast's entry into the movie industry was somewhat unusual--he was wounded while serving in the French army during WW I, and while recuperating in a military hospital met French-born American film director George Fitzmaurice, who invited him to come to Hollywood after he had recovered. He ...

25. Peter Davis

Producer | Hearts and Minds

Peter Davis was born on January 2, 1937 in Los Angeles, California. His parents were the screenwriters Frank Davis and Tess Slesinger (who was also a short story writer and novelist). Davis is a producer and director, known for Hearts and Minds (1974), The Selling of the Pentagon (1971) and "JACK" ...

26. Connie Field

Producer | Freedom on My Mind

Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning director Connie Field is a pioneering social documentary filmmaker. Before getting involved in film she worked as an organizer in many social and human rights organizations where she established her commitment to progressive social change which she has ...

27. Victor Fleming

Director | Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the ...

28. Jack Glenn

Director | The House of the Seven Gables

Jack Glenn was born on September 17, 1904 in Terrell, Texas, USA. He was a director and actor, known for The House of the Seven Gables (1967), Cry Murder (1950) and Crusade in Europe (1949). He died on February 12, 1981 in New York City, New York, USA.

30. Stuart Heisler

Director | Saturday Island

Director Stuart Heisler began his film-industry career as a prop man in 1913, joining Mack Sennett at Keystone the following year. He worked as an editor for Samuel Goldwyn at United Artists from 1924-25 and again from 1929-34 and at Paramount from 1935-36. He graduated to second-unit director with ...

31. George W. Hill

Director | The Midnight Express

Beginning his career at age 13 as a stagehand for D.W. Griffith, George W. Hill worked his way up through cinematography and screenwriting to finally begin directing films in the early 1920s. His later films took on a stark, brutally realistic atmosphere and were renowned for their effective use of...

32. Henry King

Director | The Song of Bernadette

For more than three decades, Henry King was the most versatile and reliable (not to mention hard-working) contract director on the 20th Century-Fox lot. His tenure lasted from 1930 to 1961, spanning most of Hollywood's "golden" era. King was renowned as a specialist in literary adaptations (A Bell ...

33. Anatole Litvak

Director | The Snake Pit

The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand. In 1915, he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager, he witnessed the 1917 ...

34. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

35. Rouben Mamoulian

Director | Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Rouben Mamoulian was born on October 8, 1897 in Tiflis, Russian Empire as Rouben Zachary Mamoulian. He was a director and writer, known for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Applause (1929) and The Gay Desperado (1936). He was married to Azadia Newman. He died on December 4, 1987 in Woodland Hills, ...

36. Leo McCarey

Director | An Affair to Remember

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

37. Winsor McCay

Writer | Gertie the Dinosaur

Like many pioneers, the work of 'Winsor McCay' has been largely superseded by successors such as Walt Disney and Max Fleischer but he more than earns a place in film history for being the American cinema's first great cartoon animator. He started out as a newspaper cartoonist, achieving a national ...

38. Lewis Milestone

Director | All Quiet on the Western Front

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early ...

39. Denis Sanders

Director | A Time Out of War

Filmmaker Denis Sanders was born on January 21, 1929, in New York City. Denis studied film at the University of California. In 1954 he won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject for his masters' thesis student project A Time Out of War (1954). He and his brother Terry Sanders collaborated on the ...

40. Franklin J. Schaffner

Director | Planet of the Apes

Franklin J. Schaffner was one of the most innovative creative minds in the early days of American network television, utilizing a moving camera in the days when most television directors kept the camera static. His eye for visuals was developed in the dozens of live television programs he directed ...

41. Lowell Sherman

Actor | Bachelor Apartment

Lowell Sherman was one of the early cinema's first major stars who successfully made the transition from actor to director. Born in either 1885 or 1888, his parents were John Wm. Sherman, a theatrical producer (1855-1924), and Julia Gray Sherman, an actress and daughter of actress Kate Gray.

In 1905...

42. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

43. Anthony Veiller

Writer | The Killers

Anthony Veiller was born on June 23, 1903 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a producer and writer, known for The Killers (1946), The Night of the Iguana (1964) and The List of Adrian Messenger (1963). He was married to Grace Hornburg and Laura Kerr. He died on June 27, 1965 in Hollywood, Los ...

44. King Vidor

Director | The Crowd

King Vidor was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter of Hungarian descent. He was born in Galveston, Texas to lumberman Charles Shelton Vidor and his wife Kate Wallis. King's paternal grandfather Károly (Charles) Vidor had fled Hungary as a refugee following the failed ...

45. Josef von Sternberg

Director | The Devil Is a Woman

Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop ...

46. William A. Wellman

Director | A Star Is Born

William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his larger-than-life personality and lifestyle.

A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th...

47. Sam Wood

Director | A Night at the Opera

Following a two-year apprenticeship under Cecil B. DeMille as assistant director, Samuel Grosvenor Wood had the good fortune to have assigned to him two of the biggest stars at Paramount during their heyday: Wallace Reid (between 1919 and 1920) and Gloria Swanson (from 1921 to 1923). By the time ...

48. William Wyler

Director | The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the...



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