Brian De Palma

"Brian De Palma is the most controversial director to have emerged from the movie brat generation of film school graduates. A misogynist, a genius, a copycat, a cine-literate aesthete, an emotionless technician, all of these epithets have been thrown his way - and they all have some validity." - Lloyd Hughes (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)

Brian De Palma

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1940- ) Born September 11, Newark, New Jersey, USA
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Country: USA
Key Genres: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime Thriller, Crime, Gangster Film, Horror, Erotic Thriller, Period Film, War Drama, War, Political Satire, Supernatural Thriller
Key Collaborators: Paul Hirsch (Editor), Stephen H. Burum (Cinematographer), Bill Pankow (Editor), Pino Donaggio (Composer), Jerry Greenberg (Editor), John Lithgow (Leading Actor), Robert De Niro (Leading Actor), David Koepp (Screenwriter), George Litto (Producer), Art Linson (Producer), Vilmos Zsigmond (Cinematographer), Charles Durning (Leading Character Actor)

"The conventional dismissal of Brian De Palma—that he is a mere “Hitchcock imitator”—though certainly unjust, provides a useful starting point, the relation being far more complex than such a description suggests. It seems more appropriate to talk of symbiosis than of imitation: if De Palma borrows Hitchcock's plot-structures, the impulse is rooted in an authentic identification with the Hitchcock thematic that results in (at De Palma’s admittedly infrequent best) valid variations that have their own indisputable originality." - Robin Wood (International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Like Hitch, De Palma is famed for his elegant camera movements, shock cutting, use of lurid colour (especially red), and meticulously staged set-pieces of violent action - in short, technique - but unlike the master he lacks originality and ideas... There is a cold, clinical misanthropy (and, indeed, misogyny) to much of De Palma's work, evident in his readiness to subordinate his thinly drawn characters to flashy visual effect." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"His early lower-budget thrillers, although superbly manufactured, were too bloody and garish for the average taste and infuriated many critics. But De Palma began gaining respectability with Dressed to Kill (1980) and following several critical setbacks, reached the apex in the late 80s with such high-powered productions as The Untouchables (1987) and Casualties of War (1989). A superb technician, he was finally crafting material worthy of his bold, often dazzling, visual flair." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"There is a self-conscious cunning in De Palma's work, ready to control everything except his own cruelty and indifference. He is the epitome of mindless style and excitement swamping taste or character. Of course, he was a brilliant kid. But his usefulness in an historical survey is to point out the dangers of movies falling into the hands of such narrow movie-mania, such cold-blooded prettification." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Brian De Palma has often been criticised for imitating Sir Alfred Hitchcock but, for modern audiences, De Palma is the superior master of suspense. His best cinematic moments - often grand, slow-moving vistas of tension and violence - are some of the most memorable in film history." - Darryl Wiggers (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"De Palma's early films (Greetings; Hi, Mom) are clever satires on the manners and mores of 1960s youth. His recent efforts are erratic explorations into genre filmmaking.." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"'I think that Hitchcock probably has had the best story ideas and cinema ideas in the history of the cinema, and I'm just trying to follow the master a little bit." - Brian De Palma (Directing the Film, 1976)
"I've dropped myself into straightforward character pieces in order to explore that form and reap its values. But you are sort of restricted visually when your first requirement is to tell a fairly straightforward story." - Brian De Palma
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Blow Out (1981) , The Untouchables (1987)
Recommended
Carrie (1976) , Scarface (1983)
Worth a Look
Sisters (1973), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), The Fury (1978), Dressed to Kill (1980), Casualties of War (1989), Raising Cain (1992), Carlito's Way (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996)
Approach with Caution
Greetings (1968), Hi, Mom! (1970), Obsession (1976), Mission to Mars (2000), The Black Dahlia (2005), Redacted (2007), Passion (2012)
Not Recommended
Body Double (1984), Snake Eyes (1998), Femme Fatale (2002)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Carrie
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