Family & Companions
German-born cinematographer Ralf D Bode immigrated to the USA in 1954 and gravitated to filmmaking in the US Army Signal Corps. After working as a gaffer and lighting designer for director John G Avildsen, he graduated to director of photography duties on a spate of minor films before evoking the gritty, sweaty milieu of disco New York in John Badham's "Saturday Night Fever" (1977). His first collaboration with director Michael Apted, "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), brought him acclaim (and an Oscar nomination) for his effective use of Kentucky and Tennessee locations to evoke the hardscrabble beginnings of country singer Loretta Lynn. In his next pairing with Apted ("Gorky Park" 1983), he helped make Helsinki stand in for Moscow, presenting a plausible portrait of life in the then-current Soviet Union. Bode's films with Apted include two feature documentaries, "Bring on the Night" (1985) and "The Long Way Home," and he also made his directing debut in 1993 for (executive producer) Apted with an episode ("The Harvest") of the ABC series "Crossroads."
Bode's contributions greatly enhanced "Dressed to Kill," Brian De Palma's stylish 1980 exercise in ersatz-Hitchcock suspense-terror, helping maintain the fever pitch from start to finish. In addition to Apted and Avildsen, he has enjoyed multiple feature associations with directors Jack Fisk ("Raggedy Man" 1981, "Violets Are Blue" 1986), Jonathan Kaplan ("The Accused" 1988, "Love Field" 1992, "Bad Girls" 1994) and screenwriter Holly Goldberg Sloan ("The Big Green" 1995, "American Pie" 1999). Bode's best work during the 90s probably came on CBS' adaptations of "Gypsy" (1993, starring Bette Midler) and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1995, with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin) and the spectacular, multi-ethnic "Wonderful World of Disney" presentation of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" (ABC, 1997), starring Brandy in the title role and featuring Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg and Bernadette Peters, among others. He was also responsible for the hazy warm look of Anne De Salvo's hysterical 20-minute short, "Women Without Implants" (1997), shown as a segment of "The Lifetime Women's Film Festival."
Director (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cinematography (TV Mini-Series)
family emigrated to Vermont in the USA
After college, attempted to pursue an acting career; appeared on stage in the Off-Broadway productions, "A Man's a Man" and "Best Foot Forward", the latter alongside Liza Minnelli
Served in the US Army Signal Corps as a filmmaker and teacher of combat photography at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey
Began his feature career as a gaffer and lighting designer for director John G Avildsen on "The Stoolie"
First films as director of photography, "Foreplay" (co-directed by Avildsen), "Saturday Night at the Baths" and "There Is No 13"
Did second unit photography on Avildsen's "Rocky", including the famous shot of Rocky running up the steps of the Museum of Art in Philadelphia
Breakthrough feature as cinematographer, "Saturday Night Fever", helmed by John Badham
Reteamed with Avildsen as director of photography on "Slow Dancing in the City"
Received Oscar nomination for his cinematography on "Coal Miner's Daughter", starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn; first film with director Michael Apted
Collaborated with art director-turned-helmer Jack Fisk (Spacek's husband) on Fisk's feature directing debut, "Raggedy Man", starring Spacek
Reteamed with Apted for "Gorky Park"
First documentary feature with Apted, "Bring on the Night", chronicled the formation of Sting's post-Police rock-jazz band, culminating in their first concert performance
Reteamed with Fisk and Spacek on "Violets Are Blue"
Played a judge in Apted's "Critical Condition"; also worked as director pf photography
As one of four cinematographers, contributed to Apted's "The Long Way Home", a documentary about Soviet underground rock star Boris Grebenshikov; last feature collaboration (to date) with the director
Worked as 2nd unit director on Jonathan Kaplan's "Love Field"; also served as cinematographer
Crossed paths with Apted (executive producer) on ABC series "Crossroads", serving as director of photography on an untitled episode directed by Apted and directing the episodes "The Harvest"
Was director of photography on two high-profile small screen projects: "John Leguizamo's 'Spic-O-Rama'" (HBO) and the CBS remake of the musical "Gypsy", for which he earned an Emmy nod
First association with screenwriter Holly Goldberg Sloan, Richard Benjamin's "Made in America"; Sloan's first produced script
Served as director of photography for Sloan's directorial debut, "The Big Green"
Was cinematographer on the CBS remake of "A Streetcar Named Desire", starring Jessica Lange
Returned to musicals as the director of photography for "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella", a presentation of ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney"
Shot "American Pie", co-helmed by Paul and Chris Weitz from a script by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Served as cinematographer for the ABC/Disney adaptation of "Annie"; earned Emmy nomination