Errol Morris - Rotten Tomatoes

Errol Morris

Highest Rated:   100% National Bird (2016)
Lowest Rated:   50% Uncle Nick (2015)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Part detective, part philosopher, part poet, part iconoclast, Errol Morris is one of the most important and influential non-fiction filmmakers of his generation. Like such documentary masters as Jean Rouch and Frederick Wiseman, Morris delves into vexing philosophical issues of death, identity, and society. But, unlike many other non-fiction filmmakers, Morris challenges the very presumptions of the documentary by incorporating multiple points of view and giving his works a stylistic polish usually reserved for mainstream fiction films. His movies have largely achieved great critical success, and he has received a Guggenheim fellowship and a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Born in 1948 in Hewlett, Long Island, to a Juilliard graduate and a doctor, Morris was well on his way to getting a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley until his obsession with movies overwhelmed him. He landed a job programming shows at the Pacific Film Archive, where he watched three or four films a day. Intrigued by a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle that read "450 Dead Pets Going to Napa Valley," Morris scraped together money from his family and his fellow graduate students to make Gates of Heaven (1978), a brilliantly nuanced portrait of a bankrupt pet cemetery, edged with humor, pathos, and irony. Not merely a work about dead dogs, the film is a meditation on the human experience that never condescends and never fails to entertain. The film met with great critical acclaim and a strong cult following; Roger Ebert exuberantly declared it one of the ten best films ever made. The film also prompted German director Werner Herzog to eat his shoe after losing a bet with Morris that the film would never get made. He followed the success of his debut with Vernon, Florida (1980). Originally titled Nub City, the film was to have been an exposé of residents of a sleepy swamp town who dismember themselves for insurance money. A number of death threats soon convinced Morris to rethink the film, and he instead recorded several of the town's more eccentric citizens: one believes that her collection of radioactive sand is growing, while another extols the virtues of turkey hunting. As with Gates of Heaven and his later works, Morris focused on people lost in their own eccentric worlds and managed to convey their sense of wonder about their obsessions, be they turkey hunting or astrophysics. In the years immediately following Vernon, Florida, Morris' funding dried up. Through family connections, he briefly got a job as a private detective, working primarily for the Wall Street set. This experience would later prove invaluable for his masterpiece, The Thin Blue Line (1988). Dubbed by critics "a murder mystery that actually solved a murder," the film was directly responsible for saving the life and gaining the release of Randall Adams, a man wrongly sentenced to death for killing a police officer. Instead of envisioning a non-fiction film as an objective, authentic document of reality, The Thin Blue Line self-consciously questioned the limits of documentary. The movie featured lush cinematography, slick re-enactments, and a score by Philip Glass, all of which heightened its artificial quality. Blue Line never directly asserts that one testimony is more correct than another. Instead, the film's lack of narration and multiple points of view raise the specter, like Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950), of the impossibility of objective truth. The film garnered international acclaim and was also relatively commercially successful for a documentary. Though the film failed to get an Oscar nomination (an extremely controversial snub), it was voted best documentary of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle. It has since been widely recognized as one of the finest and most influential movies of the '80s. Fresh off this success, Morris stumbled with his first foray into fiction film. The Dark Wind (1991), starring Lou Diamond Phillips, was

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
96% The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography
  • Director
$0.2M 2017
100% National Bird
  • Executive Producer
$10.5k 2016
No Score Yet An Art That Nature Makes: The Work of Rosamond Purcell
  • Actor
2016
50% Uncle Nick
  • Executive Producer
2015
96% The Look of Silence
  • Executive Producer
$48.6k 2015
97% Life Itself
  • Actor
$0.9M 2014
83% The Unknown Known
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Actor
  • Producer
2014
96% The Act Of Killing
  • Executive Producer
$0.3M 2013
91% Tabloid
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
$0.7M 2011
78% Standard Operating Procedure
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2008
84% Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary
  • Actor
2008
54% Manufacturing Dissent
  • Actor
2007
98% The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
  • Producer
  • Director
$4.1M 2003
100% Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
  • Director
1999
91% Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
  • Producer
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet The Dark Wind
  • Director
1993
94% A Brief History of Time
  • Director
1992
No Score Yet The Making of "A Brief History of Time"
  • Director
1992
100% The Thin Blue Line
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1988
No Score Yet Hotel New York
  • Actor
1984
100% Vernon, Florida
  • Producer
  • Director
1981
94% Gates of Heaven
  • Director
  • Producer
1980

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Executive Producer
  • 2017
No Score Yet POV
1988
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • 2016
  • 2014
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Guest
  • 2014
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
  • 2012

Quotes from Errol Morris' Characters

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