Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson

Highest Rated: 96% Quiz Show (1994)

Lowest Rated: 7% Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Birthday: Apr 6, 1942

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland

One of the more versatile American filmmakers of his generation, Barry Levinson's movies showcased subjects as diverse as the immigrant experience, mob intrigue, and political satire. He earned particular acclaim for his semi-autobiographical portraits of life in 1950s Baltimore, a topic that he explored to great effect in Diner, his 1982 directorial debut.Born in Baltimore on June 2, 1942, Levinson was the son of a warehouse manager. Initially intent on a career in the media, he studied Broadcast Journalism in college but didn't remain there long enough to earn a degree. He instead switched his interests to acting and standup comedy, and, after serving a stint as a staff writer on The Carol Burnett Show, he was hired by producer Mel Brooks. The first film to carry a screenwriter credit for Levinson (in the company of several other writers) was Silent Movie (1976); this was followed by Brooks' High Anxiety (1977), which also featured Levinson as a vengeful bellboy in the film's celebrated Psycho-parody scene.Levinson's first directorial job was the low-budget Diner (1982), the first installment of his "Baltimore trilogy" (the others were Tin Men (1987) and Avalon (1990)); Diner served to showcase several stars-to-be, among them Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, Paul Reiser, and Michael Tucker. A poignant, critically acclaimed, coming-of-age story, the film helped to establish Levinson as a bankable director; this status was further solidified with such purely commercial projects as The Natural (1984) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). In 1988, Levinson tackled one of his most ambitious projects in Rain Man, the remarkable saga of a disaffected yuppie's deepening relationship with his autistic savant brother. An all-around success, the film won numerous Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman).Levinson had little difficulty imposing his own personal stamp on such star-oriented films as Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), starring Robin Williams, and Bugsy (1991), starring Warren Beatty. Although he has made few missteps in his career, Levinson suffered an intensely personal defeat with Toys (1992), a morality tale acted out in a toy manufacturing company. The film had been a pet project of Levinson's for nearly 20 years, and, when finally completed, it proved to be a complete turkey. Similarly disappointing was the director's Jimmy Hollywood (1994); a comedy starring Joe Pesci as a struggling actor, it sank at the box office. He had greater luck with Sleepers (1996), the disturbing tale of four lifelong friends seeking retribution for torture and sexual abuse they suffered as young boys at a reform school. The following year proved to be a banner one, as Levinson had two critically acclaimed hits, one as the producer of Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp as an undercover cop who develops a dangerous friendship with mobster Al Pacino, and the other as the producer/director of the sharp political satire Wag the Dog, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Following a semi-disastrous foray into science fiction with Sphere (1998), Levinson literally and figuratively returned to his home turf in 1999 with Liberty Heights. The story of two Jewish boys growing up in Baltimore in the '50s, it featured the familiar Levinson themes of family ties, ethnic tension, Cold War anxiety, and the growing pains of a changing society.The 21st century started off in a less than stellar way for Levinson as his comedy An Everlasting Piece struggled to get a release in the United States. He oversaw the end of his highly respected television series Homicide by executive producing a TV-movie in 2000 that helped bring some major storylines to a close. The next year he made the quirky comedy Bandits featuring a love triangle between Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. That film was a mild success, but the same could not be said of his next feature, Envy. The Ben Stiller/Jack Black comedy, with


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Harry Haft Director Producer 2019
70% Paterno Director Executive Producer 2018
74% The Wizard of Lies Director Executive Producer 2017
7% Rock the Kasbah Director $2M 2015
52% The Humbling Director Producer 2015
38% Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight Potter Stewart 2013
49% Phil Spector Executive Producer 2013
77% The Bay Director Producer Screenwriter $31K 2012
93% Side by Side Barry Levinson $29.1K 2012
91% You Don't Know Jack Director Executive Producer 2010
No Score Yet Poliwood Director 2009
50% What Just Happened? Producer Director $1.1M 2008
50% Bee Movie Martin Benson $126.6M 2007
22% Man of the Year Screenwriter Director $37.5M 2006
65% The Outsider Actor 2006
8% Envy Director Producer $12.2M 2004
44% Deliver Us From Eva Executive Producer $17.4M 2003
27% Analyze That Producer Executive Producer $32.1M 2002
64% Possession Producer $10.1M 2002
64% Bandits Director Producer $41.2M 2001
48% An Everlasting Piece Screenwriter Producer Director $9.6K 2001
83% Shot in the Heart Executive Producer 2001
47% The Perfect Storm Executive Producer 2000
86% Homicide: The Movie Executive Producer 2000
85% Liberty Heights Producer Director Screenwriter 1999
31% Home Fries Producer 1998
12% Sphere Producer Director 1998
85% Wag the Dog Producer Director 1997
No Score Yet The Second Civil War Executive Producer 1997
88% Donnie Brasco Producer 1997
73% Sleepers Producer Screenwriter Director 1996
58% Disclosure Director Producer 1994
96% Quiz Show Dave Garroway 1994
22% Jimmy Hollywood Producer Screenwriter Director Director in Life Story 1994
25% Wilder Napalm Producer 1993
30% Toys Producer Director Screenwriter 1992
85% Bugsy Producer Director 1991
83% Avalon Producer Director Screenwriter 1990
89% Rain Man Director Doctor Screenwriter 1988
90% Good Morning, Vietnam Director 1987
77% Tin Men Director 1987
No Score Yet Suspicion Screenwriter Producer 1987
No Score Yet Legends - Live at Montreux 1997 Director 1987
64% Young Sherlock Holmes Director 1985
No Score Yet American Playhouse Producer 1985
82% The Natural Director 1984
33% Unfaithfully Yours Screenwriter 1984
62% Best Friends Screenwriter 1982
93% Diner Screenwriter Director 1982
No Score Yet Inside Moves Screenwriter 1982
58% History of the World---Part I Column Salesman - The Roman Empire 1981
82% ...And Justice for All Screenwriter 1979
72% High Anxiety Screenwriter Bellboy 1977
80% Silent Movie Executive Screenwriter 1976
No Score Yet Who? Producer 1975
No Score Yet Street Girls Screenwriter 1974
No Score Yet The Internecine Project Screenwriter Producer 1974
No Score Yet Catholics Producer 1973
No Score Yet The Amazing Mr. Blunden Producer 1972
No Score Yet First Love Producer 1970


No Score Yet Killing Fields
Executive Producer 2018
No Score Yet Shades of Blue
Director 2017
81% Copper
Producer Executive Producer 2013
No Score Yet Borgia
Producer 2011
No Score Yet 30 for 30
Executive Producer Director 2009
61% The Philanthropist
Executive Producer 2009
13% The Bedford Diaries
Executive Producer 2006
No Score Yet The Jury
Executive Producer Director Judge Horatio Hawthorne 2004
89% Oz
Producer Executive Producer 2003
91% Homicide: Life on the Street
Executive Producer Director Himself 1997
100% The Larry Sanders Show
No Score Yet American Playhouse
Producer 1985
92% The Beat
Executive Producer Director


Dr. (uncredited) says: Are you autistic?

Raymond Babbitt says: I don't think so. No, definitely not.