Pasqualino De Santis learned his craft at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome during the 1940s. He shot his first feature, Non c'e Pace tra gli Ulivi/Under the Olive Tree" (1950), in collaboration with his older brother, Guiseppe.
De Santis apprenticed worked as camera operator for noted cinematographer Gianni Di Venzano on such classic films as Michelangelo Antonioni's "La Notte" (1961), Federico Fellini's "8 1/2" (1963) and Francesco Rosi's "The Moment of Truth" (1965). For the latter, De Santis succeeded his teacher when Di Vezano became ill and it marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between director and cameraman which included "Re: Lucky Luciano" (1973), "Bizet's Carmen" (1984) and "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (1987).
Over his career, De Santis earned a reputation as a master of interior shots. In 1968, he earned a Best Cinematography Oscar for his lush, lyrical lensing of Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet." He was also responsible for the arresting images in Luchino Visconti's "The Damned" (1969) and, especially, "Death in Venice" (1971). De Santis went on to collaborate with directors as diverse as Robert Bresson ("Lancelot of the Lake" 1974; "L'Argent" 1983) and American Jerry Schatzberg ("Misunderstood" 1984).
While on location in the Ukraine shooting Rosi's "The Truce," De Santis suffered a fatal heart attack in June 1996.
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cinematography (TV Mini-Series)
First feature credit, "Non c'e Pace tra gli Ulivi/Under the Olive Tree", directed by his brother Guiseppe
Succeeded Di Venanzno as cinematographer on "The Moment of Truth", directed by Francesco Rosi
Won Oscar for Best Cinematography for Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet"
First collaboration with Luciano Visconti, "The Damned"
First US film, "Misunderstood", directed by Jerry Schatzberg
Last collaboration with Rosi, "The Palermo Connection"
Died on the set of Rosi's "The Truce"