Directors, Actors and Cinematographers

by hvanelst | created - 02 Dec 2016 | updated - 4 months ago | Public

Great characters behind and in front of the camera.

1. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

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. Jim Jarmusch

Director | Broken Flowers

Moved to New York City at the age of seventeen from Akron, Ohio. Graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in English, class of '75. Without any prior film experience, he was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts, New York.

4. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

5. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

6. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Arthur Sigmund Newman (died 1950) and Theresa Fetsko (died 1982). His elder brother was , Arthur S. Newman Jr., named for ...

7. Fanny Ardant

Actress | 8 femmes

Fanny Ardent was the youngest of 5 children born to a cavalry officer and his wife. She was raised in Monte Carlo where she was educated at a convent school. A voracious reader, she discovered Proust at age 15 and felt as though his writings were for her.

When she was 17 her father died and the ...

8. Jean-Luc Godard

Director | Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux

Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of ...

9. Wim Wenders

Director | Der Himmel über Berlin

Wim Wenders is an Oscar-nominated German filmmaker who was born Ernst Wilhelm Wenders on August 14, 1945 in Düsseldorf, which then was located in the British Occupation Zone of what became the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially as West Germany until ...

10. Bruno Ganz

Actor | Der Untergang

Bruno Ganz was an acclaimed Swiss actor who was a prominent figure in German language film and television for over fifty years. He is internationally renowned for portraying Adolf Hitler in the Academy Award-nominated film Downfall (2004).

Ganz was born in Zürich, to a Swiss mechanic father and a ...

11. Otto Sander

Actor | Der Himmel über Berlin

Otto Sander was born on June 30, 1941 in Hanover, Germany. He was an actor and director, known for Wings of Desire (1987), Das Boot (1981) and Faraway, So Close! (1993). He was married to Monika Hansen. He died on September 12, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

12. Nastassja Kinski

Actress | Tess

Nastassja Kinski was born Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski on January 24, 1961 in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of German actor Klaus Kinski. In 1976, she met director Roman Polanski, who urged her to study method acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States. Kinski starred in the Italian romantic ...

13. Lauren Bacall

Actress | To Have and Have Not

Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She was the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a ...

14. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

15. Cary Grant

Actor | Charade

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

16. Audrey Hepburn

Actress | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn was born as Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. Her mother, Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, was of a Dutch descent, and her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, of English and Austrian ancestry.

After her parents' divorce, ...

17. James Stewart

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

18. Grace Kelly

Actress | Rear Window

On November 12, 1929, Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to wealthy parents. Her girlhood was uneventful for the most part, but one of the things she desired was to become an actress which she had decided on at an early age. After her high school graduation in 1947, Grace ...

19. Robert Redford

Actor | The Natural

Charles Robert Redford, Jr. was born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Martha (Hart), from Texas, and Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, who was originally from Connecticut. He is of English, Scottish, Cornish, and Irish ancestry. Robert's mother died in 1955,...

20. Matthew Modine

Actor | Full Metal Jacket

The youngest of seven, Matthew was born in Loma Linda, Ca, to Dolores (Warner), a bookkeeper, and Mark Alexander Modine, a drive-in theater manager. After graduating high school in Imperial Beach, Ca. Modine moved to NYC (1979). Matthew studied with Stella Adler at her Conservatory of Acting. While...

21. Néstor Almendros

Cinematographer | Days of Heaven

One of the highest appraised contemporary cinematographers. He was born in Spain but moved to Cuba by age 18 to join his exiled anti-Franco father. In Havana, he founded a cineclub and wrote film reviews. Then, he went on to study in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale. He directed six shorts in Cuba ...

22. Henri Alekan

Cinematographer | Der Himmel über Berlin

Henri Alekan was born on February 10, 1909 in Paris, France as Henri Albert Alakan. He is known for his work on Wings of Desire (1987), Roman Holiday (1953) and La Truite (The Trout) (1982). He was married to Nadia Starcevic. He died on June 15, 2001 in Auxerre, Yonne, France.

23. Douglas Milsome

Cinematographer | Full Metal Jacket

Douglas Milsome was born in 1939 in Hammersmith, London, England. He is known for his work on Full Metal Jacket (1987), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and The Last of the Mohicans (1992).

24. Robby Müller

Cinematographer | Breaking the Waves

Robby Müller was born on April 4, 1940 in Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles as Robert Müller. He is known for his work on Breaking the Waves (1996), Paris, Texas (1984) and Dead Man (1995). He died on July 3, 2018 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.

25. Michael Ballhaus

Cinematographer | Goodfellas

Michael Ballhaus was a German cinematographer. He worked on many American films, including Baby It's You (1983), Old Enough (1984), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Dracula (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York ...

26. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Writer | Faustrecht der Freiheit

Above all, Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art was marked by gross contradiction. Openly homosexual, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. Accused variously by detractors of being anticommunist, male chauvinist, antiSemitic and...

27. Werner Herzog

Director | Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes

Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...

28. Malcolm McDowell

Actor | A Clockwork Orange

Malcolm John Taylor was born on June 13, 1943 in Leeds, England, to working-class parents Edna (McDowell), a hotelier, and Charles Taylor, a publican. His father was an alcoholic. Malcolm hated his parents' ways. His father was keen to send his son to private school to give him a good start in life...

29. Jean-Paul Belmondo

Actor | Pierrot le Fou

The son of the renowned French sculptor Paul Belmondo, he studied at Conservatoire National Superieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD); after the minor stage performances he made his screen debut in À pied, à cheval et en voiture (1957) but the episodes with his participation were cut before ...

30. Jonathan Demme

Director | The Silence of the Lambs

Jonathan Demme was born on February 22, 1944 in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA as Robert Jonathan Demme. He was a director and producer, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Rachel Getting Married (2008) and Philadelphia (1993). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died...

31. Catherine Deneuve

Actress | 8 femmes

Catherine Fabienne Deneuve was born October 22, 1943 in Paris, France. Her parents were actors. She made her movie debut in 1957, when she was barely a teenager and continued with small parts in minor films, until Roger Vadim gave her a meatier role in Vice and Virtue (1963). But her breakthrough ...

32. Jean-Pierre Léaud

Actor | Les quatre cents coups

Jean-Pierre Léaud is not everybody's cup of tea for sure, but will remain an important name in film history. As an actor he can be adored or hated for exactly the same reasons: he is one of those rare players that directors let improvise his dialogue, which gets on certain viewers' nerves while it ...

33. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

Peter Lorre was born László Lowenstein on Rózsahegy, Hungary. He was educated in elementary and secondary schools in Vienna, Austria. As a youth, he ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for ...

34. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

35. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

36. Audrey Tautou

Actress | Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Audrey Justine Tautou was born on August 9, 1976 in Beaumont, France, to Evelyne Marie Laure (Nuret), a teacher, and Bernard Tautou, a dental surgeon. Audrey showed an interest for comedy at an early age and started her acting lessons at 'Cours Florent'. In 1998 she won the best young actress award...

37. Kirk Douglas

Actor | Spartacus

Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name of his best-selling 1988 autobiography) to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. ...

38. John Wayne

Actor | True Grit

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry.

Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, ...

39. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

40. Adam Driver

Actor | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Adam Douglas Driver was born in San Diego, California. His mother, Nancy (Needham) Wright, is a paralegal from Mishawaka, Indiana, and his father, Joe Douglas Driver, who has deep roots in the American South, is from Little Rock, Arkansas. His stepfather is a Baptist minister. His ancestry includes...

41. Élodie Fontan

Actress | Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?

Élodie Fontan was born on July 9, 1987 in Bondy, Seine-Saint-Denis, France. She is an actress, known for Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014), Mission Pays Basque (2017) and Clem (2010).

42. Lois Chiles

Actress | Moonraker

Lois Chiles was born April 15, 1947 in Houston, Texas as the eldest child to a prominent couple, Barbara Wayne Kirkland and Marion Clay Chiles. She was raised with her younger brothers Bill and Clay in Alice, Texas, and received higher education at the University of Texas at Austin, and Finch ...

43. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

44. Gary Cooper

Actor | High Noon

Born to Alice Cooper and Charles Cooper (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a...

45. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).



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