Stanley Kubrick

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Stanley Kubrick (July 26, 1928 – March 7, 1999) was an American-born filmmaker who co-wrote, produced, and directed some of the most highly regarded and innovative films ever to be financed by Hollywood studios. For decades now Kubrick has been consistently acclaimed by the world’s most influential film critics and scholars as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

Introduction: Kubrick’s impact on world cinema

A telling example of Kubrick’s impact on world cinema is the following. In 2002, the British film journal Sight & Sound asked 145 film critics and scholars and 108 film directors from around the world to each submit a list of ten films deemed worthy of inclusion in an ultimate “best films of all time” list.[1] When the lists were collated and the votes tallied, Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey occupied the sixth place on the critics’ list, while Dr. Strangelove occupied the fifth place on the directors’ list. But even this extraordinary achievement is not the most telling point. What may have never before been pointed out is this: Kubrick was the one director with the most variety of films cited in the original hundreds of lists (which were published in the original September 2002 print edition of Sight & Sound). For example, although Citizen Kane graced the top spot on both critics’ and directors’ lists, taking the over two hundred lists as a whole, Kubrick himself via his other films appeared more often than Kane’s director Orson Welles. Kubrick’s name was “spread thin” because some critics cited 2001, while others cited Dr. Strangelove, or A Clockwork Orange, or Barry Lyndon, or The Shining. In the complete lists published in Sight & Sound, Kubrick had more different individual works cited than any other director’s. This can only mean that Stanley Kubrick produced a body of work that, at least according to those participating in the Sight & Sound poll, is second to none.

Early Years: 1928-1950: A Filmmaker's Beginnings

Entry into Film: 1951-1953: Documentaries

Early Feature Films: 1953-1955

Breakthrough: The Killing (1956)

Paths of Glory (1957)

Sparticus (1960)

The story of the slave and gladiator Spartacus, who leads a organized slave rebellion against the Roman empire. Stars Kirk Douglas and Lurence Olivier

Lolita (1962)

The story of a European gentleman scholar's doomed love for a young American teenage girl.


Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Lolita, not to be confused with the Adrian Lyne 1997 rendition starring Jeremy Irons, is widely regarded as one of the most controversial and deviant films in American Cinematic history.

The story focuses around the sympathetic portrayal of a middle-aged professor, who has a love affair with a 14-year-old he meets when moving to the United States. The cinematography, editing, and acting are all rated very well, as they are with most of Kubrick's body of work; but what makes this film unique is how it stays loyal to the theme of the book with a topic as socially unacceptable as pedaphelia.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

A black comedy of the Cold War about a U.S. General who goes mad and singlehandedly attempts to destroy the U.S.S.R. in a nuclear holocaust.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

A four-part science fiction story that spans millions of years and millions of light years, concerning three mysterious monoliths, artifacts from an alien civilization, which point humanity first toward the birth of logic and reason, then toward deep space, and finally to an alien world in an unknown part of the universe, where an astronaut, the representative of the human race, is reborn into a new, higher entity.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A satiric Bildungsroman of a dystopic future, in which a young man with artistic pretentions wreaks terrible violence while on drugs as a pastime, and the severe and surreal consequences that result when a government-sponsored medical program attempts to cure his violent tendencies with an experimental drug and film-watching sessions.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

A Bildungsroman, road movie, and costume drama telling the life story of a sensitive eighteenth-century Irishman, from his first love to his rise in English society to his eventual dismal downfall.'Based on the novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray.

The Shining (1980)

A horror tale about the caretaker of a hotel who slowly loses his mind and turns against his wife and child, attempting to emulate a terrible murder from the hotel's past.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

A war movie that follows a set of recruits through stages of the Vietnam War, from boot camp to a somber conclusion in a bombed-out deserted city.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

The story of a man whose sexual frustration and marital woes lead him into dangerous and absurd situations over three days in contemporary Manhattan.

Notable Abandoned Projects

Napoleon Screenplay (1969)

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence was a project only partially developed in concept before Kubrick's death. Steven Spielberg would go on to produce the film using the few notes Kubrick left behind about the project.


  • Agel, Jerome (ed.) The Making of Kubrick's 2001 (New York: New American Library, 1970).
  • Bizony, Piers. 2001: Filming the Future (London: Aurum Press Ltd, 2000).
  • Clarke, Arthur C. 2001: A Space Odyssey (New York: New American Library, 1968).
  • Clarke, Arthur C. The Lost Worlds of 2001 (New York: New American Library, 1972).
  • Kubrick, Stanley. A Clockwork Orange Screenplay (New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1972).
  • Kubrick, Stanley and Frederic Raphael. Eyes Wide Shut (London: Penguin Books, 1999).
  • Kubrick, Stanley, Michael Herr and Gustave Hasford. Full Metal Jacket: The Screenplay (New York: Knopf, 1987).
  • Modine, Matthew. Full Metal Jacket Diary (New York: Rugged Land, 2005).
  • Nelson, Thomas Allen. Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982).
  • Raphael, Frederic. Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999)


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