Back in 2012, Vertigo dethroned Citizen Kane as the movie Sight and Sound critics considered to be the very best ever made. Alfred Hitchcock’s vision comes to life on-screen thanks to cinematographer Rovert Burks’s hugely influential work.
Stanley Kubrick has never faded from the minds of film fanatics since his death in the late 90s, with films like 2001: A Space Odyssey keeping his name relevant and beloved over 50 years since its release. Part of what keeps the film on the forefront of so many minds is its stunning camerawork, led expertly by Geoffrey Unsworth.
Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war film continues to be recut over forty years since its release, but one thing remains the same: Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography, which captures the grit and the gore of the war with just the right amount of coverage.
Roger Deakins existed in infamy for many years as the man who couldn’t seem to win an Oscar for his incredible cinematography. Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 finally gave Deakins the push he needed, earning him the Academy Award for a truly breathtaking film.
Wong Kar-Wai is one of China’s most respected and revered directors. His 2000 romance In the Mood for Love cements his status as a master, with three cinematographers sharing responsibility for the film’s gorgeous look.
David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia remains one of the best biopics ever made. Likewise, its grand shots of the desert—spearheaded by cinematographer Freddie Young—remain instantly recognizable for many movie lovers.
George Miller raised all the money he needed to make his debut feature Mad Max while working in an emergency room in Australia back in the 70s. Then, in 2015, he got the chance to make Mad Max: Fury Road—a truly singular action film that deserves endless praise (as John Seale, who captured it all on camera).
Dario Argento is unmatched in his ability to direct movies with jarring color schemes to match his genuinely horrific stories. Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli helps Argento’s incredibly unique vision come to life on Suspiria, which remains a cult classic after all these years.
Robert Elswit is the guy Paul Thomas Anderson recruited for his turn-of-the-century prospector drama—a perfect choice, truly. There Will Be Blood’s look and feel owes a huge deal to Elswit.
Terrence Malick has made very few films since emerging on the scene back with Badlands in the early 70s, but that hasn’t stopped his signature style from being copied by countless indie filmmakers. His 2011 film The Tree of Life is a great example of this style, shot perfectly by Emmanuel Lubezki.