Walter Hill


Director, Producer, Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Thomas Lee, Walter Wesley Hill
Birth Place
Long Beach, California, USA
Born
January 10, 1942

Biography

An auteur in every sense of the word, director Walter Hill took the baton passed him by Sam Peckinpah and became a specialist in the archetypal male action movie, reveling in the artifice of the genre, while at the same time, straining against its constraints. Strongly influenced by John Ford and Howard Hawks - he once claimed every film he had ever made was a Western - he allowed action...

Family & Companions

Hildy Gottlieb
Wife
Producer, former agent. Mother of three children with Hill; formerly an agent with ICM.

Notes

"I very purposely--more and more so every time I do a script--give characters no back story. The way you find about these characters is by watching what they do, the way they react to stress, the way they react to situations and confrontations. In that way, character is revealed through drama rather than being explained through dialogue." --Walter Hill, quoted in David Thomson's "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" (New York: Alred A Knopf, 1994)

"Walter Hill is the best person I know at managing to be a power player in the everyday grind of making a film. Michael Mann once described him to me with a phrase whose accuracy everyone who knows Walter would acknowledge: a straight shooter. An enormous number of people work together on a film and that sometimes seems like an enormous variety of provocations for making the film mediocre, turning what you work on into something you can explain equally easily to all your collaborators. The glamorous, much admired 'genius' of a director lies in his or her ability to use this collectivity or to deny or forget it at key moments. In this, the director is a political creature in a Platonic or Machiavellian sense, at once exploiter, liberator, limiter and enabler of the group, both its servant and its master. Walter gets this through his fingertips." --From "A Film Diary by Larry Gross" in SIGHT AND SOUND, October 1994

Biography

An auteur in every sense of the word, director Walter Hill took the baton passed him by Sam Peckinpah and became a specialist in the archetypal male action movie, reveling in the artifice of the genre, while at the same time, straining against its constraints. Strongly influenced by John Ford and Howard Hawks - he once claimed every film he had ever made was a Western - he allowed action to define character, believing "there is nothing more absurd than properly motivated characters," and concentrated on creating stunning visual spectacle through experiments in lighting, montage, composition and camera angles. For Hill, violence in varying degrees of stylization provided the stamp of macho gesture; women were extensions of the male world, exhibiting testosterone toughness and masculine meanness; and "home" illuminated a path for those who had lost their way. His pictures reflected a fascination with myth-making and myth-breaking and, at their best, transcended genre conventions.

Born Jan. 10, 1940 in Long Beach, CA, Hill came out of the Directors Guild of America training school and served as 2nd assistant director on two 1968 movies starring Steve McQueen - Norman Jewison's "The Thomas Crown Affair" and Peter Yates' "Bullitt" - as well as for Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" (1969), but finally acquired the clout to direct through screenwriting. His first produced screenplay, "Hickey and Boggs" (1972), became a "salt and pepper" buddy pic for "I Spy" co-stars Robert Culp (who also directed) and Bill Cosby. He also scripted (from a Jim Thompson novel) that year's "The Getaway," Peckinpah's exciting chase vehicle for McQueen, which elevated his stock considerably within the industry. When producer Lawrence Gordon enlisted him as a script doctor for "Hard Times" (1975), Hill accepted the assignment only on the condition that he also direct the film. A fairly traditional picture in terms of its approach to character development, "Hard Times" was violent and visceral pulp, casting Charles Bronson as the strong, silent loner, fighting bare-knuckled against the director's painterly Depression-era backdrop.

The critical and commercial success of "Hard Times" led Gordon to produce Hill's "The Driver" (1978) from the director's original script. A homage to film noir that further developed the chase scene iconography from "The Getaway," its failure at American box offices left him still in pursuit of the smash hit needed to win more autonomy within the industry. His next film, "The Warriors" (1979), however, was an overwhelming success, adapted from Sol Yurick's novel - itself based on Xenophon's account in Anabasis of how he led 10,000 Greek soldiers through Persia to safety after the battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC. Hill's "Warriors" were teenage gang members who must fight their way through hostile turf from Coney Island to their "home" in the Bronx. Hill himself identified the movie as a "comic book, rock-n-roll version of the Xenophon story," and the film's departure from realism actually mitigated the excessive violence, although it acquired a certain notoriety for sparking "imitative rampages" at theaters across the country.

After working on the script, casting and post-production of Ridley Scott's "Alien" (1979) - his first foray into producing - Hill directed "The Long Riders" (1980), his version of the Frank and Jesse James legend, which contained in the words of one critic, "the most ambitious slow-motion shoot-out since Peckinpah's 'Wild Bunch'." Moderately successful at the box office, it found fewer champions than any of his films up until that time, but it did team him for the first time with the musician Ry Cooder. Hill had learned from Ford the necessity for putting the best songs and musical numbers into his pictures, leading to the success of "The Warriors" soundtrack which had contributed mightily to its success. In Cooder, Hill found someone whose music meshed with his own sensibilities, and the two would work together on 11 movies through 1996. Though "Southern Comfort" (1981) met with more critical favor than its predecessor, audiences stayed away from what was essentially a retelling of "The Warriors;" this time the "lost patrol" was a National Guard unit fighting its way out of hostile Cajun country in a picture that drew many comparisons to John Boorman's "Deliverance" (1972).

Hill returned to the "buddy movie" formula and enjoyed his biggest commercial success with "48 Hours" (1982), which paired detective Nick Nolte with Eddie Murphy (in his feature debut) as the con he must liberate for two days to help him solve his case. Closer than any of Hill's prior pictures to straightforward genre fare, it was a potent mix of action and comedy, featuring a standout scene where Murphy, using his theatrical chutzpah (and Nolte's badge), terrorizes a redneck bar. "Streets of Fire" (1984), described by its director as "an Arthurian story in the rock 'n' roll idiom," featured an energetic score by Cooder and stunning photography but failed with critics and audiences alike, prefacing a long string of movies - "Brewster's Millions" (1985), "Crossroads" (1986), "Extreme Prejudice" (1987), "Red Heat" (1988), "Johnny Handsome" (1989) and "Another 48 Hours" (1990) - that, despite their professional polish, did not live up to the critical and commercial expectations established by his earlier work. After serving as executive producer and story author for James Cameron's "Aliens" (1986), his stake in the "Alien" franchise gave him his only blockbuster of the last half of the decade.

By the mid-1980s, Hill joined with such esteemed colleagues as Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver and Richard Donner as executive producer(s) of the HBO series "Tales From the Crypt" (1989-96), based on the comic book series. This lucrative franchise played like a more adult version of Rod Serling's seminal "Night Gallery," with half-hour segments devoted to creating chills with the requisite nudity and profanity allowed on premium cable channels. Hill also helmed the occasional episode. The team's attempt to repeat this success with another HBO series, "Perversions of Science" (1997), however, fell far short. Also adapted from a comic book, these tales relied more on bizarre plots and special effects and less on the off-beat humor that permeated "Tales From the Crypt."

Although "Alien3" (1992) - which he co-scripted and co-produced sans Cameron - was a pale deja vu of its predecessors, Hill's culturally disreputable "Trespass" (1992) was his most entertaining film in years, earning him a shot at making the very personal "Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993). Shooting in the same Utah locations frequently used by John Ford, the director delivered a film of great beauty and considerable intelligence, but the TNT television biopic "Geronimo" beat it to the punch, airing just a week before the feature film's release and stealing for free its potential audience. Though it wreaked of Hollywood compromise, in that it bolstered the parts of Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman at the expense of Native American actor Wes Studi in the title role, its juxtaposition of Jason Patric with Studi - whose gang of ragtag Apaches invoked "The Warriors" - brilliantly emphasizes the impossibility of ever going home.

Hill followed with another revisionist Western, "Wild Bill" (1995), an elegiac meditation on the perils of celebrity starring Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill Hickock and Ellen Barkin as an appropriately rough-and-tumble Calamity Jane, but neither it nor the subsequent "Last Man Standing" (1996) - a remake of Akira Kurasawa's "Yojimbo" (1961) starring Bruce Willis - created much activity at the turnstiles. After a three year absence, Hill returned to the big screen to replace Geoffrey Wright at the helm of "Supernova" (1999), a sci-fi thriller set in the 22nd Century which tanked at the box office. After the "Supernova" debacle, Hill directed the Wesley Snipes-Ving Rhames boxing stinker, "Undisputed" (2002), effectively leaving enough of a bad taste in his mouth to turn to directing for television. Hill regained his footing on the small screen, directing the pilot episode for David Milch's Shakespearean western, "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-07), for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. In 2007, Hill found himself on the cusp of a second Emmy award after being nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for "Broken Trail" (AMC, 2006-07), a sweeping western about an old cowboy (Robert Duvall) and his nephew (Thomas Hayden Church) trying to find safe haven for five Chinese women who were kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Assignment (2017)
Director
Bullet to the Head (2013)
Director
Undisputed (2001)
Director
Supernova (2000)
Director
Last Man Standing (1996)
Director
Wild Bill (1995)
Director
Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Director
Trespass (1992)
Director
Another 48 Hrs. (1990)
Director
Johnny Handsome (1989)
Director
Red Heat (1988)
Director
Extreme Prejudice (1987)
Director
Crossroads (1986)
Director
Streets Of Fire (1984)
Director
Brewster's Millions (1983)
Director
48 Hrs. (1982)
Director
Southern Comfort (1981)
Director
The Long Riders (1980)
Director
The Warriors (1979)
Director
The Driver (1978)
Director
Hard Times (1975)
Director
Take the Money and Run (1969)
Assistant Director
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
2d Assistant Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Baby Driver (2017)
Becoming John Ford (2007)
Howard Hawks: American Artist (1997)

Cinematography (Feature Film)

Little Miss Rebellion (1920)
Camera

Writer (Feature Film)

The Assignment (2017)
Story By
The Assignment (2017)
Screenplay
Undisputed (2001)
Screenplay
Last Man Standing (1996)
Screenplay
Wild Bill (1995)
Screenplay
The Getaway (1994)
Screenplay
Alien 3 (1992)
Screenplay
Another 48 Hrs. (1990)
Characters As Source Material
Red Heat (1988)
Screenplay
Red Heat (1988)
From Story
Blue City (1986)
Screenplay
Aliens (1986)
Screenplay
Aliens (1986)
Story By
Aliens (1986)
From Story
Streets Of Fire (1984)
Screenplay
48 Hrs. (1982)
Screenplay
Southern Comfort (1981)
Screenplay
The Warriors (1979)
Screenplay
Alien (1979)
Screenwriter
The Driver (1978)
Screenplay
Dog and Cat (1977)
Screenplay
Hard Times (1975)
Screenplay
The Drowning Pool (1975)
Screenplay
The Mackintosh Man (1973)
Screenwriter
The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973)
Screenplay
The Getaway (1972)
Screenwriter
Hickey & Boggs (1972)
Writer

Producer (Feature Film)

Alien: Covenant (2017)
Producer
Prometheus (2012)
Producer
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
Producer
Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Producer
Undisputed (2001)
Producer
Alien Resurrection (1997)
Producer
Bordello of Blood (1996)
Executive Producer
Last Man Standing (1996)
Producer
Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995)
Executive Producer
W.E.I.R.D. World (1995)
Executive Producer
Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Producer
Alien 3 (1992)
Producer
Two Fisted Tales (1991)
Executive Producer
Red Heat (1988)
Producer
Aliens (1986)
Executive Producer
Blue City (1986)
Producer
Alien (1979)
Producer

Special Thanks (Feature Film)

Grand Canyon (1991)
Thanks

Director (Special)

Deadline (1991)
Director
Cutting Cards (1990)
Director
The Man Who Was Death (1989)
Director

Cast (Special)

Commemoration: Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo (2007)
Himself

Writer (Special)

Deadline (1991)
Writer
Cutting Cards (1990)
Writer
The Man Who Was Death (1989)
Writer

Producer (Special)

Last Respects (1996)
Executive Producer
Cold War (1996)
Executive Producer
A Slight Case of Murder (1996)
Executive Producer
About Face (1996)
Executive Producer
Horror in the Night (1996)
Executive Producer
Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow (1996)
Executive Producer
Confession (1996)
Executive Producer
Report from the Grave (1996)
Executive Producer
Escape (1996)
Executive Producer
Smoke Wrings (1996)
Executive Producer
The Kidnapper (1996)
Executive Producer
A Fatal Caper (1996)
Executive Producer
You, Murderer (1995)
Executive Producer
Doctor of Horror (1995)
Executive Producer
Comes the Dawn (1995)
Executive Producer
99 and 44/100% Pure Horror! (1995)
Executive Producer
In the Groove (1994)
Executive Producer
The Assassin (1994)
Executive Producer
Staired in Horror (1994)
Executive Producer
Till Death Do We Part (1993)
Executive Producer
Oil's Well That Ends Well (1993)
Executive Producer
Death of Some Salesmen (1993)
Executive Producer
Half Way Horrible (1993)
Executive Producer
Food for Thought (1993)
Executive Producer
Creep Course (1993)
Executive Producer
Two For the Show (1993)
Executive Producer
Forever Ambergris (1993)
Executive Producer
Came the Dawn (1993)
Executive Producer
House of Horror (1993)
Executive Producer
Well-Cooked Hams (1993)
Executive Producer
As Ye Sow (1993)
Executive Producer
People Who Live in Brass Hearses (1993)
Executive Producer
Strung Along (1992)
Executive Producer
King of the Road (1992)
Executive Producer
Werewolf Concerto (1992)
Executive Producer
Split Personality (1992)
Executive Producer
Beauty Rest (1992)
Executive Producer
This'll Kill Ya (1992)
Executive Producer
Curiosity Killed (1992)
Executive Producer
None But the Lonely Heart (1992)
Executive Producer
The New Arrival (1992)
Executive Producer
What's Cookin'? (1992)
Executive Producer
On a Dead Man's Chest (1992)
Executive Producer
Maniac at Large (1992)
Executive Producer
Showdown (1992)
Executive Producer
Seance (1992)
Executive Producer
The Trap (1991)
Executive Producer
Loved to Death (1991)
Executive Producer
Yellow (1991)
Executive Producer
Spoiled (1991)
Executive Producer
Abra Cadaver (1991)
Executive Producer
Split Second (1991)
Executive Producer
Deadline (1991)
Executive Producer
Top Billing (1991)
Executive Producer
Mournin' Mess (1991)
Executive Producer
Undertaking Palor (1991)
Executive Producer
Easel Kill 'Ya (1991)
Executive Producer
Carrion Death (1991)
Executive Producer
The Reluctant Vampire (1991)
Executive Producer
Dead Wait (1991)
Executive Producer
The Thing From the Grave (1990)
Executive Producer
Dead Right (1990)
Executive Producer
Korman's Kalamity (1990)
Executive Producer
Three's a Crowd (1990)
Executive Producer
Mute Witness to Murder (1990)
Executive Producer
Lower Berth (1990)
Executive Producer
For Cryin' Out Loud (1990)
Executive Producer
Four-Sided Triangle (1990)
Executive Producer
The Sacrifice (1990)
Executive Producer
The Switch (1990)
Executive Producer
Judy, You're Not Yourself Today (1990)
Executive Producer
Television Terror (1990)
Executive Producer
The Ventriloquist's Dummy (1990)
Executive Producer
My Brother's Keeper (1990)
Executive Producer
Fitting Punishment (1990)
Executive Producer
The Secret (1990)
Executive Producer
Cutting Cards (1990)
Executive Producer
Collection Completed (1989)
Executive Producer
The Man Who Was Death (1989)
Executive Producer
Only Sin Deep (1989)
Executive Producer
Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone! (1989)
Executive Producer
And All Through the House (1989)
Executive Producer
Lover Come Hack to Me (1989)
Executive Producer

Special Thanks (Special)

Deadline (1991)
Writer
Cutting Cards (1990)
Writer
The Man Who Was Death (1989)
Writer

Producer (TV Mini-Series)

The Third Pig (Do Not Use) (1996)
Executive Producer

Life Events

1968

First professional credit, as 2nd assistant director on Norman Jewison's "The Thomas Crown Affair"; film starred Steve McQueen

1969

Was 2nd assistant director on Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run"

1972

First produced screenplays, "Hickey and Boggs" and "The Getaway"; both films starred McQueen

1973

Received screenplay credit for John Huston's "The Mackintosh Man," starring Paul Newman

1975

Made feature directorial debut with "Hard Times"; first collaboration with producer Lawrence Gordon

1976

Received screenplay credit for another Newman vehicle "The Drowning Pool"

1977

Credited as creator for spin-off police series "Dog and Cat"

1977

Wrote script for ABC TV movie pilot "Dog and Cat"

1978

Co-wrote and directed "The Driver," starring Ryan O'Neal as a laconic getaway driver for hire and Bruce Dern as a driven cop pursuing him

1979

First producing credit, Ridley Scott's "Alien"

1979

Directed "The Warriors," a story of violent street gangs which arguably became his most popular film due to its ongoing cult following; shared screenplay credit with David Shaber

1980

Directed first Western "The Long Riders," which cast real-life acting brothers (the Keaches, Carradines, Quaids, and Guests) as historical outlaw siblings; first collaboration with musician Ry Cooder

1981

Co-founded Phoenix Films with David Giler and Joseph Gallagher; company produced "Southern Comfort"; re-teamed with Keith Carradine

1982

Scored big hit as co-writer and director of "48 Hrs."; starred Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in his film debut; re-teamed with producer Gordon

1984

Co-scripted and directed rock 'n' roll fable "Streets of Fire"; flopped despite pulsating score by Cooder

1986

Made debut as executive producer with James Cameron's "Aliens"; also credited for story

1987

Re-teamed with Nolte for "Extreme Prejudice"

1989

Co-executive produced HBO series "Tales From the Crypt" along with Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver, Richard Donner, and Giler; also wrote and directed several episodes

1990

Returned to direct "Another 48 Hrs."; seventh collaboration with Gordon

1992

Co-scripted and co-produced "Alien3," directed by David Fincher

1993

Directed and produced (with Neil Canton) "Geronimo: An American Legend"; co-scripted by John Milius

1995

Co-wrote and directed disappointing "Wild Bill," an odd revisionist take on Wild Bill Hickock (portrayed by Jeff Bridges)

1997

Executive produced (along with Zemeckis, Silver, Donner, and Giler) HBO anthology series "Perversions of Science"; also directed "Dream of Doom" episode

2000

Directed futuristic thriller "Supernova"; replaced Geoffrey Wright, who left project due to creative differences; when Francis Ford Coppola was brought in to re-cut film, he decided to credit himself with pseudonym Thomas Lee and chose not to be associated with finished product

2004

Directed episodes of HBO drama "Deadwood"

2006

Produced and directed AMC miniseries "Broken Trail"; earned Emmy nomination for Best Directing for a Miniseries or TV Movie

2012

Reunited with directory Ridley Scott to produce "Prometheus"

2013

Returned to feature directing with action thriller "Bullet to the Head," starring Sylvester Stallone

Videos

Movie Clip

MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Open, You See Before You A Villain A stately if simple opening from director John Huston, crossing the Thames to Parliament and finding James Mason as a Tory MP, Harry Andrews in the gallery, then star Paul Newman crossing Trafalgar Square, in The MacKintosh Man, 1973, also starring Dominique Sanda, from a novel by Desmond Bagley.
MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Diamonds In The Mail Paul Newman has just entered an office off Trafalgar Square where exposition begins, as we learn he’s Rearden, who might be some sort of agent, greeted by Dominique Sanda as in-the-know office help Mrs. Smith and Harry Andrews as the title character, with oblique chat about crime, early in John Huston’s The MacKintosh Man, 1973.
MacKintosh Man, The (1973) - Anything In There For Me? Set up by earlier conversation, though we don’t exactly know his status or motivation, Paul Newman as agent Rearden, posing as an Aussie, with support from Dominique Sanda as “Mrs. Smith,” mugs a London postman (Eric Mason) for a package of diamonds, early in John Huston’s spy thriller The MacKintosh Man, 1973.
Getaway, The (1972) - He Didn't Make It In the third and fourth shots, the orange VW was driven by James Garner, who was visiting a friend on the shooting location in San Marcos, Texas, a stunt for which director Sam Peckinpah paid Garner $1, as Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw flee the bank heist, dodging their own diversionary explosions, Al Lettieri their fickle partner, in The Getaway, 1972.
Getaway, The (1972) - There Ain't No Morals SPOILER because this comes after the big shootout near the end, but Slim Pickens appears as a bystander, with a truck, as Doc and Carol (Steve McQueen, Alil MacGraw) are headed for sure now to Mexico, in Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 hit The Getaway.
Getaway, The (1972) - Rudy Got Ambitious After their violent Texas bank job, McCoy (Steve McQueen) and wife Carol (Ali MacGraw) visit prison official Benyon (Ben Johnson), who got him released after she agreed to have sex with him, to split the loot, Sam Peckinpah directing, with surprises from the original Jim Thompson novel, in The Getaway, 1972.
Getaway, The (1972) - You Boys Just Do Your Job Not nearly so built-up as it is now, at the River Walk in San Antonio, Steve McQueen as McCoy, visits crooked parole official Benyon (Ben Johnson), who just got him sprung and, we learn, was planning a job all along, Al Lettieri and Bo Hopkins on the crew, in Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway, 1972.
Getaway, The (1972) - Tell Him I'm For Sale Director Sam Peckinpah shooting at the Huntsville State Prison in Texas, his star Steve McQueen as McCoy, who’s just been denied parole, at work with real inmates, visited by his wife Carol (Ali MacGraw), whom he sends to see parole board member Benyon (Ben Johnson), early in The Getaway, 1972.
Drowning Pool, The (1975) - Your Wife's Amorous Activities L-A P-I Harper (Paul Newman) visiting his client and one-time lover Iris (Joanne Woodward, of course Mrs. Newman) who summoned him to her Louisiana manor home, where she explains her problem, early in The Drowning Pool, 1975, from the Ross MacDonald novel.
Drowning Pool, The (1975) - Are You Slant Drilling Me? Out-of-town detective Harper (Paul Newman) has been invited at gunpoint to meet Louisiana oil-man J-Hugh Kilbourne (Murray Hamilton), who seems to know all about the case at hand, in The Drowning Pool, 1975, Stuart Rosenberg directing from the Ross MacDonald novel.
Drowning Pool, The (1975) - The Door Was Unlocked Paul Newman as the title character, an L-A detective based on Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer, having learned that the client who flew him to New Orleans was an ex-lover, heads for his motel across Lake Ponchartrain, meeting teenage Schuyler (Melanie Griffith), and cop Richard Jaeckel, early in The Drowning Pool, 1975.
Driver, The (1978) - Two-Eleven In Progress We know Isabelle Adjani has just cashed out at a presumably illegal casino, which we learn is the place Ryan O’Neal has been approaching in his stolen sedan, then we meet two cops (Bruce Dern, Matt Clark), and director Walter Hill will never give any of them names, in The Driver, 1978.

Trailer

Family

Joanna Wesley Hill
Daughter
Born in May 1987.
Maura Joan Hill
Daughter
Born in August 1988.
Miranda Ellen Hill
Daughter
Born in December 1989.

Companions

Hildy Gottlieb
Wife
Producer, former agent. Mother of three children with Hill; formerly an agent with ICM.

Bibliography

Notes

"I very purposely--more and more so every time I do a script--give characters no back story. The way you find about these characters is by watching what they do, the way they react to stress, the way they react to situations and confrontations. In that way, character is revealed through drama rather than being explained through dialogue." --Walter Hill, quoted in David Thomson's "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" (New York: Alred A Knopf, 1994)

"Walter Hill is the best person I know at managing to be a power player in the everyday grind of making a film. Michael Mann once described him to me with a phrase whose accuracy everyone who knows Walter would acknowledge: a straight shooter. An enormous number of people work together on a film and that sometimes seems like an enormous variety of provocations for making the film mediocre, turning what you work on into something you can explain equally easily to all your collaborators. The glamorous, much admired 'genius' of a director lies in his or her ability to use this collectivity or to deny or forget it at key moments. In this, the director is a political creature in a Platonic or Machiavellian sense, at once exploiter, liberator, limiter and enabler of the group, both its servant and its master. Walter gets this through his fingertips." --From "A Film Diary by Larry Gross" in SIGHT AND SOUND, October 1994

"I think every director thinks that he hasn't been allowed to make the films he wanted to make. I certainly haven't been able to make as many Westerns as I've wanted. . . . "[But] sometimes staying alive in a career sense is very important, and you think, 'Maybe I'll do this, which will do well and allow me to do that.' It's very easy to miscalculate. It's a dangerous game. But I think in the end, none of us have anybody to blame except ourselves. It can be very hard. The kinds of things directors most want to do are usually not things the studio perceives to be commercially viable. It really is that simple. Is that true of me? Absolutely. But it's no more true of me than 50 other people I know." --Walter Hill quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 3, 1995