Stanley Kubrick (26 July 1928 – 7 March 1999) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer born in The Bronx, New York City who lived most of his life in England. He is widely recognized as one of the most significant movie directors of the 20th century.
- The first really important book I read about filmmaking was The Film Technique by Pudovkin. This was some time before I had ever touched a movie camera and it opened my eyes to cutting and montage.
- Interviewed by Charles Reynolds, Popular Photography (1960)
- The reason movies are often so bad out here isn't because the people who make them are cynical money hacks. Most of them are doing the very best they can; they really want to make good movies. The trouble is with their heads, not their hearts.
- Quoted in Against the American Grain (1962) by Dwight Macdonald, p. 30
- When I made my first film, I think the thing was probably helped me the most was that it was such an unusual thing to do in the early 50s for someone who actually go and make a film. People thought it was impossible. It really is terribly easy. All anybody needs is a camera, a tape recorder, and some imagination.
- Interviewed by Charles Kohler, East Village Eye (1968)
- The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
- Interviewed by Eric Nordern, Playboy (September 1968); later published in Stanley Kubrick: Interviews (2001)
- If man merely sat back and thought about his impending termination, and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility. Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space? ...
Those of us who are forced by their own sensibilities to view their lives in this perspective — who recognize that there is no purpose they can comprehend and that amidst a countless myriad of stars their existence goes unknown and unchronicled — can fall prey all too easily to the ultimate anomie. … The world's religions, for all their parochialism, did supply a kind of consolation for this great ache … This shattering recognition of our mortality is at the root of far more mental illness than I suspect even psychiatrists are aware.
- Interviewed by Eric Nordern, Playboy (September 1968)
- I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.
- Quoted in Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine (2013) by Phillipe Mather, p. 46
- You sit at the board and suddenly your heart leaps. Your hand trembles to pick up the piece and move it. But what chess teaches you is that you must sit there calmly and think about whether it’s really a good idea and whether there are other, better ideas.
- Newsweek (26 May 1980)
- I don't like doing interviews. There is always the problem of being misquoted or, what's even worse, of being quoted exactly.
- The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed.
- Quoted in Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion (1988), p. 403. Seems that this sentence first appeared in an 1968 Playboy Interview"Stanley Kubrick on Mortality, the Fear of Flying, and the Purpose of Existence: 1968 Playboy Interview"
- Anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car in an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.
- Video acceptance speech of the D.W. Griffiths Lifetime Achievement Award (1999) - video and transcript
- One man writes a novel. One man writes a symphony. It is essential that one man make a film.
- Quoted in The Edmonton Journal (8 March 1999), C3
- Never, ever go near power. Don't become friends with anyone who has real power. It's dangerous.
- Quoted in "After Stanley Kubrick" (18 August 2010), an interview of his wife Christiane Kubrick in The Guardian
- Think [Schindler's List] was about the Holocaust?... That was about success, wasn’t it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. ‘'Schindler’s List’' is about 600 who don’t. Anything else?
- Quoted in Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick (1999) by Frederic Raphael, p. 107
- There's something in the human personality which resents things that are clear, and conversely, something which is attracted to puzzles, enigmas, and allegories.
- Quoted in Kubrick : Inside a Film Artist's Maze (2000) by Thomas Allen Nelson, p. 10
- I have always enjoyed dealing with a slightly surrealistic situation and presenting it in a realistic manner. I've always liked fairy tales and myths, magical stories. I think they are somehow closer to the sense of reality one feels today than the equally stylized "realistic" story in which a great deal of selectivity and omission has to occur in order to preserve its "realist" style.
- Quoted in Kubrick : Inside a Film Artist's Maze (2000) by Thomas Allen Nelson, p. 14
- Include utter banalities.
- Notebook regarding Full Metal Jacket, quoted in movie Stanley Kubrick's Boxes (2008) by Jon Ronson
Quotes about Kubrick
- I love almost all of Stanley Kubrick, there’s almost no Stanley Kubrick I don’t love. I love Lolita, I love Dr. Strangelove. I love A Clockwork Orange, obviously. I even like a lot of Barry Lyndon (laughs). And early stuff, like The Killing and Paths of Glory. … It’s ridiculous. Look, he made the best comedy ever, he may have made one of the best science fiction movies ever, he made the best horror movie ever. I couldn’t watch the end of The Shining. I went through half The Shining for years before I could finish, because I’m a writer and as soon as he starts writing “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” I had to turn it off. It’s almost like Picasso in that he mastered so many different genres. … he took his time and patience and he had a crew of like 18 people. They were very handmade movies these were not large behemoths that he did; they were very thoughtful and his editing process was long. He’s kind of without peer really. If I was gonna settle on a director, probably Kubrick.
- Gary Ross, after being asked if he had a favorite director, as quoted in "Director Gary Ross Talks The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Deleted Scenes, and a Lot More" by Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub at Collider (22 March 2012)
- [Kubrick] always said that it was better to adapt a book rather than write an original screenplay, and that you should choose a work that isn't a masterpiece so you can improve on it. Which is what he's always done, except with Lolita.
- Diane Johnson, as quoted in Kubrick : The Definitive Edition (1980) by Michel Ciment, p. 293
- Stanley Kubrick on IMDb
- Three interviews with Stanley Kubrick
- Stanley Kubrick: The Master Filmmaker
- Senses of Cinema: Great Directors Critical Database
- Stanley Kubrick Archive at the London College of Communication
- The Authorized Stanley Kubrick Web Site by Warner Bros.
- The Kubrick Site
- Kubrick Multimedia Film Guide
- Kubrick on Senses of Cinema (In Depth Biography)
- Multi-media Kubrick archive
- "Citizen Kubrick" in The Guardian (27 March 2004)