Robert Wise

Lowest Rated: 0% Rooftops (1989)
Birthday: Sep 10, 1914
Birthplace: Winchester, Indiana, USA
One of the most successful directors of the 1960s, when he became an efficient maker of epic-length pictures, Robert Wise is one of Hollywood's few popularly recognized filmmakers. He joined RKO in the 1930s as a cutter and eventually became one of the studio's top editors, working in this capacity on classics such as The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), Citizen Kane (1941), and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). He became a director with help from producer Val Lewton, who assigned Wise to finish Curse of the Cat People (1944), a B-movie that had fallen behind schedule, and the resulting picture proved extremely haunting and enduring. Wise later directed The Body Snatcher (1945) for Lewton, but after the producer left RKO, he found himself locked into B-movies. His 1948 psychological Western Blood on The Moon, starring Robert Mitchum, and the acclaimed boxing drama The Set-Up (1949) were the only two important pictures that Wise got to do during his last four years at the studio. Wise left RKO at the end of the 1940s and went to 20th Century Fox, where his most important film, among a string of popular releases, was the visionary pacifist science fiction/drama The Day the Earth Stood Still. He also formed a short-lived production company with his former RKO colleague, Mark Robson, producing the acclaimed fact-based crime-drama Captive City (1952). During the mid-'50s, Wise's films rapidly rose in importance and visibility, including Executive Suite (1954), I Want To Live (1958), and Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), all of which embraced important topical and sociological subjects amid their compelling performances. However, Wise's breakthrough as a "money director" came with West Side Story (1961), a screen adaptation of the stage hit (co-directed with Jerome Robbins) that earned multiple Oscars and a huge return at the box office. After a return to occult subjects with The Haunting (1963), which he also produced, Wise found himself in a position to establish himself as a major producer. Director William Wyler had been chosen by 20th Century Fox to direct the screen version of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, but had balked at the last moment and went to England to film The Collector. Wise was suggested as a replacement, and agreed to make the movie, but only if the studio agreed to finance Wise's production of The Sand Pebbles (1966), which he had been trying to raise money to make for several years. Fox agreed, and The Sound of Music (1965) went on to become one of the biggest box-office hits of the decade, acquiring a shelf of Academy Awards in the process. The Sand Pebbles, starring Steve McQueen, was too serious a movie for the public to accept in 1966, with its overtones of the Vietnam War and its downbeat ending, although it eventually made money on re-release. Much less successful was Star (1968), Wise's epic musical based on the life of Gertrude Lawrence, which was heavily cut after a disastrous first run (but later restored to full length), and which never recovered its huge costs. After forming a new production company with Mark Robson, Wise returned to the profitable column with the science fiction/drama The Andromeda Strain (1971), based on Michael Crichton's best-seller. His serious, adult romance Two People (1973) ran into problems with the censors and was heavily cut. And The Hindenburg came out too late in the '70s disaster film cycle to attract huge audiences, despite its more-serious-than-usual theme for such a genre film. Wise's fortunes declined following Audrey Rose (1977), a sensitively made and effective occult drama; Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980) was marred by major production problems; and Rooftops, an '80s urban musical, was ignored by the public and derided by the critics. However, as a spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Robert Wise has remained a very visible and well-known director and figure in Hollywood since the 1970s.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet West Side Story Presented By TCM Director 2018
No Score Yet West Side Story: A Summer Of Musicals Director 2013
100% Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows Actor 2007
No Score Yet The Sound Of Music Sing-Along Edition Producer Director 2007
No Score Yet A Storm in Summer Director 2000
No Score Yet Hollywood Screen Tests Actor 2000
No Score Yet To the Galaxy and Beyond with Mark Hamill (Hollywood Aliens & Monsters) Actor 1997
20% The Stupids Stanley's Neighbor 1996
No Score Yet Wild Bill Hollywood Maverick Actor 1995
95% Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography Actor 1993
0% Rooftops Director 1989
No Score Yet Wisdom Executive Producer 1986
No Score Yet The Fantasy Film World of George Pal Actor 1985
42% Star Trek: The Motion Picture Director 1979
47% Audrey Rose Director Producer 1977
40% The Hindenburg Producer Director 1975
67% The Andromeda Strain Producer Director 1971
No Score Yet The Baby Maker Producer 1970
No Score Yet Star! Director 1968
94% The Sand Pebbles Director Producer 1966
84% The Sound of Music Producer Director 1965
87% The Haunting Producer Director 1963
60% Two for the Seesaw Director 1962
93% West Side Story Director Producer 1961
86% Odds Against Tomorrow Producer Director 1959
100% Run Silent, Run Deep Director 1958
92% I Want to Live! Director 1958
60% Until They Sail Director 1957
No Score Yet This Could Be the Night Director 1957
82% Somebody Up There Likes Me Director 1956
No Score Yet Tribute to a Bad Man Director 1956
No Score Yet Helen of Troy Director 1956
100% Executive Suite Director 1954
No Score Yet So Big Director 1953
80% The Desert Rats Director 1953
No Score Yet Destination Gobi Director 1953
No Score Yet Return to Paradise Producer 1953
No Score Yet Something for the Birds Director 1952
78% The Captive City Director 1952
No Score Yet The House on Telegraph Hill Director 1951
94% The Day the Earth Stood Still Director 1951
No Score Yet Three Secrets Director 1950
No Score Yet Two Flags West Director 1950
86% The Set-Up Director 1949
No Score Yet Blood on the Moon Director 1948
No Score Yet Mystery in Mexico Director 1948
80% Born to Kill Director 1947
No Score Yet Criminal Court Director 1946
90% The Curse of the Cat People Director 1945
83% The Body Snatcher Director 1945
60% Mademoiselle Fifi Director 1944


No Score Yet American Experience
  • 1996


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