Kubrick didn’t make all that many films during his lifetime – just 16 according to IMDb, and only 13 of those were features. But he made them count. Almost all of his films were thought-provoking, intelligent, and sometimes challenging. He began working in the early 1950s, but you’d have to be a Kubrick biographer to have heard of any of his early films. The decade of the sixties saw him break out, and his first major hit was Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas.
Kubrick not only directed, but also wrote the screenplays for most of his films. When he worked, he wanted to control everything. That’s not unusual for a director, you say? True…but when his movies went to foreign markets, Kubrick reshot scenes with newspaper headlines for each language of its release. Control.
Here are the movies that put Stanley Kubrick in the pantheon of America’s greatest directors:
- Spartacus (1960)
- Lolita (1962)
- Dr. Strangelove (1964 – Oscar Nomination)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968 – Oscar Nomination)
- A Clockwork Orange (1971 – Oscar Nomination)
- Barry Lyndon (1975 – Oscar Nomination)
- The Shining (1980)
- Full Metal Jacket (1987 – Oscar Nomination)
Film historian John Baxter said this about Kubrick’s technique:
Instead of finding the intellectual spine of a film in the script before starting work, Kubrick felt his way towards the final version of a film by shooting each scene from many angles and demanding scores of takes on each line. Then over months… he arranged and rearranged the tens of thousands of scraps of film to fit a vision that really only began to emerge during editing.