Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder

Highest Rated: 100% Night Will Fall (2014)

Lowest Rated: 26% Casino Royale (1967)

Birthday: Jun 22, 1906

Birthplace: Sucha, Galicia, Austria-Hungary

One of Hollywood's most consistent and enduring filmmakers, Billy Wilder was also among its most daring. In feature after feature, in a wide variety of styles and genres, he explored the taboo subjects of the day with insight, wit, and trenchant cynicism; adultery, alcoholism, prostitution -- no topic was too controversial or too racy for Wilder's films. Unlike the majority of Hollywood's other historically provocative voices, however, he was a major commercial success as well as a critical favorite, with two of his features garnering Best Picture Oscars and numerous others honored with various Academy nominations. Sophisticated and acerbic, his intricate narratives, sparkling dialogue, and painterly visuals combined to illuminate the darker impulses of modern American society with rare brilliance.He was born Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Austria. After first studying law, he began a career as a journalist with a Vienna newspaper, later relocating to Berlin as a reporter for the city's largest tabloid. By 1929, he was working as a screenwriter, often collaborating with director Robert Siodmak. He swiftly became one of the German film industry's most prolific and sought-after writers, but Adolf Hitler's 1933 rise to power effectively brought his career to a halt as Wilder, a Jew, was forced to flee for his life.His first stop was France, where in 1934 he made his debut behind the camera, co-directing Mauvaise Graine with Alexander Esway. He soon landed in the United States, settling in Hollywood to begin his work anew. After moving in with Peter Lorre, Wilder set about learning English, eventually gaining entry into the American film industry with a 1934 adaptation of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein musical Music in the Air, directed by Joe May and starring Gloria Swanson. He worked on a number of other films including 1935's The Lottery Lover and 1937's Champagne Waltz prior to forging a writing partnership with Charles Brackett on 1938's That Certain Age. The Wilder/Brackett team quickly emerged as one of Hollywood's most successful pairings, with credits including Mitchell Leisen's 1939 Midnight, the 1939 Ernst Lubitsch classic Ninotchka, and Howard Hawks' stellar 1941 effort Ball of Fire, winning widespread acclaim for their distinctively sophisticated touch. Ultimately, Wilder's success as a writer also allowed him the opportunity to direct, and he bowed in 1942 with the Ginger Rogers vehicle The Major and the Minor. The wartime thriller Five Graves to Cairo followed in 1943, and the next year Wilder helmed his first classic, the masterful film noir Double Indemnity. Even more powerful was its follow-up, 1945's The Lost Weekend, a remarkably gritty and realistic portrayal of alcoholism which won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (for Wilder and Brackett), and Best Actor (Ray Milland).Wartime duties kept Wilder out of the filmmaking arena for several years, and he did not direct another film before 1948's The Emperor Waltz. Its follow-up, A Foreign Affair, earned the wrath of reviewers over its blackly comic treatment of life in postwar Berlin, but it was later reappraised as one of his stronger efforts. The 1950 Sunset Boulevard, on the other hand, was hailed as a classic immediately upon release, and the tale of a faded movie star (Swanson) -- the final screenplay from the Wilder/Brackett team -- went on to win the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. The bitter The Big Carnival followed in 1951, with the wartime dramatic comedy Stalag 17 winning star William Holden a Best Actor Oscar two years later. Upon completing the 1954 romantic comedy Sabrina, Wilder directed 1955's The Seven Year Itch, the first of his films to star Marilyn Monroe, and after a trio of 1957 efforts -- Love in the Afternoon (the first of many projects with new writing partner I.A.L. Diamond), the Charles Lindbergh biography The Spirit of St. Louis, and Witness for the Prosecution -- he closed out a decade of sustained exc

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Tcm Presents Double Indemnity Encore Director Screenwriter 2015
No Score Yet Tcm Presents Double Indemnity Director Screenwriter 2015
100% Night Will Fall Actor 2014
No Score Yet Portrait d'un homme 'à 60% parfait': Billy Wilder (Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder) Actor 2012
No Score Yet Her Grace Commands (Ihre Hoheit Befiehlt) Screenwriter 2010
No Score Yet Il était une fois... Certains l'aiment chaud Actor 2009
63% Buddy Buddy Director Screenwriter 1981
69% Fedora Producer Screenwriter Director 1978
No Score Yet W.c. Fields And Me Director 1976
70% The Front Page Director Screenwriter 1974
81% Avanti! Director Screenwriter Producer 1972
92% The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Director Screenwriter Producer 1970
26% Casino Royale Screenwriter 1967
96% The Fortune Cookie Screenwriter Producer Director 1966
73% Kiss Me, Stupid Screenwriter Director Producer 1964
75% Irma La Douce Screenwriter Producer Director 1963
95% One, Two, Three Producer Director Screenwriter 1961
93% The Apartment Director Screenwriter Producer 1960
95% Some Like It Hot Screenwriter Director Producer 1959
100% Witness for the Prosecution Screenwriter Director 1957
88% Love in the Afternoon Producer Director Screenwriter 1957
85% The Spirit of St. Louis Director Screenwriter 1957
87% The Seven Year Itch Director Screenwriter Producer 1955
92% Sabrina Director Screenwriter Producer 1954
97% Stalag 17 Producer Screenwriter Director 1953
91% Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) Screenwriter Producer Director 1951
98% Sunset Boulevard Screenwriter Director 1950
100% A Foreign Affair Director 1948
70% The Emperor Waltz Director Screenwriter 1948
100% The Lost Weekend Screenwriter Director 1945
97% Double Indemnity Screenwriter Director 1944
100% Five Graves to Cairo Screenwriter Director 1943
100% The Major and the Minor Director Screenwriter 1942
100% Hold Back the Dawn Screenwriter 1941
100% Ball of Fire Screenwriter 1941
No Score Yet Arise, My Love Screenwriter 1940
97% Ninotchka Screenwriter 1939
92% Midnight Screenwriter 1939
No Score Yet That Certain Age Screenwriter 1938
No Score Yet Kidnapped Producer 1938
44% Bluebeard's Eighth Wife Screenwriter 1938
No Score Yet Music in the Air Screenwriter 1934
No Score Yet Mauvaise Graine Screenwriter Director 1934
No Score Yet Das Blaue vom Himmel (The Blue from the Sky) Screenwriter 1932
No Score Yet Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives) Screenwriter 1931
No Score Yet Der falsche Ehemann (The Wrong Husband) Screenwriter 1931
No Score Yet Der Teufelsreporter (Hell of a Reporter) Actor Screenwriter 1929


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