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Brian De Palma

Brian De Palma

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The Black Dahlia DVD It remains one of the toughest cold cases still officially unsolved in Los... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Carlito's Way: Crime Saga Collection... Two all-star crime thrillers are in one powerful double feature set in the... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Fury DVD A psychic girl helps a spy find his psychic son, kidnapped by a renegade... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Raising Cain DVD Brian De Palma directed this chilling psychological thriller starring John... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Carlito's Way DVD Al Pacino reteams with his "Scarface" director Brian DePalma for another vivid,... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Carrie DVD Based on a novel by Stephen King, Brian De Palma's "Carrie" (1976) is a visceral... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Brian Depalma, Brian Russell De Palma Died:
Born: September 11, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he entered filmmaking at the same time as such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Arthur Penn, director Brian De Palma took a decidedly different path as his contemporaries and focused his creative efforts on making viscerally disturbing thrillers that were both stylish and excessively violent. Later dubbed the Modern Master of Suspense, De Palma owed much of his career to the original Master, Alfred Hitchcock, whose movies he remade in one fashion or another several times over. After emerging onto the scene with small independents like "Greetings" (1968) and "The Wedding Party" (1969), De Palma reworked Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958) into the unsuccessful thriller, "Obsession" (1976). But he had one of his most lasting successes with "Carrie" (1976), a graphic horror thriller about teen cruelty that featured one of the most memorable uses of fake blood in cinema history. Following "The Fury" (1978) and "Dressed to Kill" (1980), wherein he honed his signature stylistic flourishes, De Palma directed John Travolta in "Blow Out" (1981), one of his most critically regarded films that sadly suffered a bad fate at the box office. De Palma returned with renewed vigor and directed his...

Though he entered filmmaking at the same time as such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Arthur Penn, director Brian De Palma took a decidedly different path as his contemporaries and focused his creative efforts on making viscerally disturbing thrillers that were both stylish and excessively violent. Later dubbed the Modern Master of Suspense, De Palma owed much of his career to the original Master, Alfred Hitchcock, whose movies he remade in one fashion or another several times over. After emerging onto the scene with small independents like "Greetings" (1968) and "The Wedding Party" (1969), De Palma reworked Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958) into the unsuccessful thriller, "Obsession" (1976). But he had one of his most lasting successes with "Carrie" (1976), a graphic horror thriller about teen cruelty that featured one of the most memorable uses of fake blood in cinema history. Following "The Fury" (1978) and "Dressed to Kill" (1980), wherein he honed his signature stylistic flourishes, De Palma directed John Travolta in "Blow Out" (1981), one of his most critically regarded films that sadly suffered a bad fate at the box office. De Palma returned with renewed vigor and directed his most notorious film, "Scarface" (1983), which originally earned an X-rating for its graphic violence, while later becoming a favorite among many filmgoers. He followed with what many considered his best film, "The Untouchables" (1987), which was a successful blend of his usual cinematic styling with strong performances from its leading actors. The beginning of the decade saw him become responsible for one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990), while later directing the mega-successful "Mission: Impossible" (1996), perhaps his most straightforward studio film. Though he triumphed with the critically lauded, but underappreciated "Carlito's Way" (1993), De Palma also stumbled over the likes of "Snake Eyes" (1998), "Mission to Mars" (2000) and "The Black Dahlia" (2006), which demonstrated his ability to, on the heels of great cinematic triumphs, fail in unique and often maddening fashion.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Passion (2012)
2.
  Redacted (2007)
4.
  Femme Fatale (2002) Director
5.
  Mission to Mars (2000) Director
6.
  Snake Eyes (1998) Director
7.
  Mission: Impossible (1996) Director
8.
  Carlito's Way (1993) Director
9.
  Raising Cain (1992) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Rotwang (1994)
3.
 Bonfire Of The Vanities, The (1990) (Uncredited) Prison Guard
4.
 Playa's Guide to Scarface (2003) Interviewee
6.
 Tom Hanks: Hollywood's Golden Boy (1997) Interviewee
8.
 Great O'Grady, The (1993) Ambulance Attendant
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Philadelphia
1960:
Made first film, "Icarus" while at Columbia
1962:
Earned MCA writing fellowship to Sarah Lawrence on strength of third student film, "Wotan's Wake"
1963:
Began co-directing, co-writing, and co-editing (with Wilford Leach and Cynthia Munroe) first feature, "The Wedding Party" (completed in 1966; released in 1969); also initial collaboration with actor Robert De Niro
:
Shot "The Responsive Eye," a record of the opening of the 'Op' art show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, in four hours
:
Made documentaries for the US Treasury Department
1968:
Directed, wrote and edited his first theatrical feature, "Greetings," featuring De Niro
1972:
Directed first Hollywood production "Get To Know Your Rabbit," for Warner Bros.; was fired from the film; reworked by studio before release
1973:
Directed "Sisters," his first thriller; also scripted from his story
1976:
Commercial breakthrough, "Carrie" based on the Stephen King novel and starring Sissy Spacek as a teenager with psykokinetic powers; first of five movies directing then wife Nancy Allen; also marked initial collaborations with composer Pino Donaggio and actors John Travolta and Amy Irving
1978:
Continued his study of psychokinetic powers with "The Fury," starring Kirk Douglas and Amy Irving
1979:
Debut as a producer, "Home Movies"; also directed and contributed story; second teaming with Douglas, Allen and Donaggio
1980:
Wrote and directed the melodrama "Dressed to Kill," featuring a chilling score by Donaggio and an appearance by Allen
1981:
Emulated Michelangelo Antonioni with "Blow Out," which reteamed him with Travolta; last film directing Allen
1983:
First pairing with Al Pacino, "Scarface"
1987:
Scored huge commercial success with "The Untouchables"; film featured Robert De Niro as Al Capone
1989:
Directed compelling Vietnam War tale, "Casualties of War"; first collaboration with Sean Penn
1990:
Bombed with "Bonfire of the Vanities"
1992:
Returned to the world of the medium budget thriller for "Raising Cain" with little success; sixth and (to date) last collaboration with Donaggio
1993:
Reteamed with Pacino and Penn for "Carlito's Way"
1996:
Raised stock considerably helming the blockbuster "Mission: Impossible," produced by and starring Tom Cruise
1998:
Bombed with "Snake Eyes," despite a promising opening: a 12-minute continuous steadicam shot
2000:
Directed the little-seen sci-fi film "Mission to Mars"
2002:
Wrote and directed the erotic thriller "Femme Fatale" starring Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas
2006:
Helmed an adaptation of the James Ellroy crime novel "The Black Dahlia" framed around the infamous Hollywood murder of wannabe actress Elizabeth Short
2007:
Wrote and directed "Redacted," a drama based on the Mahmudiyah killings; the rape, murder, and burning of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in March 2006 by U.S. soldiers who also killed her parents and younger sister
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Sarah Lawrence College: Bronxville , New York -
Friends Central School: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1962
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1962

Notes

A film by De Palma is never accidental in any detail. He can offer a financier a precise prospectus: "Those are the actors, there's every shot of the picture, there's the script. You get exactly what you see there. I'm not a director like Francis Coppola or Marty Scorsese, who shoot so much material and work variations on a theme, trying to discover something as they are shooting. That's fine. but that's a whole different way of working. For Francis and Marty, their movies are almost created in the editing. For me, it's just finishing the design." --From The Movie Brats by Michael Pye and Lynda Myles (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979) p. 142.

"I think I first saw the irony when I was out on a publicity tour for "Greetings," he says. "I am in the midst of a society that is very capitalist, and whose values I completely reject. But I, too, became a capitalist. The problem is that by dealing with the devil, you become devilish to a certain extent. You need the machine. And once you use it, you are a tainted human being. . . . You can make message pictures, you can lead a Simon-pure life, but the very fact that you are in that world at all makes you a compromised individual. People who think they're going to sanitize this business, make it straight and honorable, are absolutely crazy." --From The Movie Brats by Michael Pye and Lynda Myles (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979) p. 153-154.

His example, still, is Orson Welles, the master he cast as a magician and teacher in "Get to Know Your Rabbit". "Just look at our gods," he says, "Look at Welles. He's the greatest director in the world, and he can't get a job and he's sold out. Totally. Orson Welles on the Johnny Carson show doesn't give us much to hope for. That is the story of this business." --From The Movie Brats by Michael Pye and Lynda Myles (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979) p. 153-154.

"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. I daresay there are no 'ugly' shots in De Palma's films--if you feel able to measure 'beauty' merely in terms of graceful or hypnotic movement, vivid angles, lyrical color, and hysterical situation. But that is the set of criteria that makes Leni Riefenstahl a 'great' director, rather than the victim of conflicting inspiration and decadence." --David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).

"De Palma's eye is cut off from conscience or compassion. He has contempt for his characters and his audience alike, and I suspect that he despises his own immaculate skill. Our cultural weakness admires and rewards technique and impact bereft of moral sense. If the thing works, it has validity--the means justify the lack of an end. De Palma is a cynic, and not a feeble one; there are depths of misanthropy there." --David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Margot Kidder. Actor. Had relationship in early 1970s.
companion:
Betty Buckley. Actor, singer. Had relationship before filming of "Carrie".
wife:
Nancy Allen. Actor. Married in 1979; divorced.
companion:
Beth Broderick. Actor. Appeared in "The Bonfire of the Vanities"; together c. 1989-90.
wife:
Gale Anne Hurd. Producer. Married on July 20, 1991; separated in September 1992; divorced.
wife:
Darnelle De Palma. Ballerina. Met c. 1993; married in October 1995; filed for separation in April 1996; divorced.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Vivienne De Palma.
father:
Anthony De Palma. Orthopedic surgeon.
brother:
Bart De Palma. Older.
brother:
Bruce De Palma. Younger.
daughter:
Lolita De Palma. Born on September 19, 1991 in Palo Alto, California; mother, Gale Anne Hurd.
daughter:
Piper De Palma. Born on October 21, 1996; mother, Darnelle De Palma.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Brian De Palma" Scarecrow Press
"Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood" Houghton Mifflin

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