A COLLECTION OF QUOTES
JOHN MILIUS: “He just had all
kinds of things to discuss- everything. He had theories. He felt most film was fraudulent. He felt most people who made films
were frauds. He was fascinated by the idea of pure film as opposed to just narrative storytelling. He felt that film broke
down to just getting the story across, like an episodic TV show.”
OLVIER STONE: "The most interesting
aspect of a scene is “controlled uncertainty”. That's what Kubrick got. Everybody else would shoot pretty conventionally,
but when I saw Godard or Kubrick, in that period when I was studying film with more intensity, there was an unpredictability
about Stanley Kubrick. Even as a kid, I didn't know what he would do next. It's the way Kubrick looks at reality. His reality
"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."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "All you can do is either pose questions or make truthful observations about
human behaviour. The only morality is not to be dishonest.”
JAMES CAMERON: “I remember going
with a great sense of anticipation to each new Stanley Kubrick film and thinking, “Can he pull it off and amaze me again?”
And he always did. The lesson I learnt from Kubrick was, “Never do the same thing twice.”
MICHAEL HERR: "Hypocrisy was not some
petty human foible, it was the corrupted essence of our predicament, which for Stanley was purely an existential predicament.
In terms of narrative, since movies are stories, the most contemptible lie was sentimentality, and the most disgusting lie
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I think that one
of the problems with twentieth-century art is its preoccupation with subjectivity and originality at the expense of everything
else. This has been especially true in painting and music. Though initially stimulating, this soon impeded the full development
of any particular style, and rewarded uninteresting and sterile originality. At the same time, it is very sad to say, films
have had the opposite problem -- they have consistently tried to formalize and repeat success, and they have clung to a form
and style introduced in their infancy. The sure thing is what everone wants, and originality is not a nice word
in this context. This is true despite the repeated example that nothing is as dangerous as a sure thing."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "Observation is a dying art."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I haven't come across
any recent new ideas in film that strike me as being particularly important and that have to do with form. I think that a
preoccupation with originality of form is more or less a fruitless thing. A truly original person with a truly original mind
will not be able to function in the old form and will simply do something different. Others had much better think of the form
as being some sort of classical tradition and try to work within it."
ROSS: “Kubrick argued that film has not progressed
at a formal level since the first pioneers discovered its basic syntax of composition, montage and mise en scene. Kubrick
himself might be one of the exceptions, and seems to me to have been chipping away at film on a formal level for years. From
"2001" onwards his narratives have been the most experimental in the mainstream. They have somehow contrived to become
both more visceral and more abstract--inviting and repelling interpretation with equal measure. They are enigmas which contain
rather than yield up their complexity, demanding to be felt and experienced before they are analysed. Kubrick likes to invert
the half-baked sentimentalities of conventional film narrative so that something more substantial can emerge. And this
"something" turns out to be moments, images, or whole narratives of stunning emotional primacy, so self-contained as to be
perfectly mysterious and dreamlike.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I never learned anything at all in school
and didn't read a book for pleasure until I was 19 years old."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "How could we possibly appreciate the Mona
Lisa if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover.'
This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don't want this to happen to 2001."
ALEXANDER WALKER (author): “Only
a few film directors possess a conceptual talent - that is, a talent to crystallise every film they make into a cinematic
concept. It transcends the need to find a good subject, an absorbing story, or an extraordinary premise to build on. Essentially,
it is the talent to construct a form that will exhibit the maker's vision in an unexpected way. It is this conceptual talent
that distinguishes Stanley Kubrick.”
MARTIN SCORSESE: “Watching a
Kubrick film is like gazing up at a mountaintop. You look up and wonder, how could anyone have climbed that high?”
NEIL LABUTE (director): "Barry Lyndon
is the most distinctive and beautiful re-creation of period on film, bar none, and its leisurely pace and novelistic approaches
to style—watch the way Kubrick slowly reverse zooms on the opening shot of many scenes, as he unveils each new chapter—are
pure cinematic pleasure."
STEVEN SPIELBERG: “He created
more than movies. He gave us complete environmental experiences that got more, not less, intense the more you watched them.”
MARTIN SCORSESE: “His audacity
is to insist on slowness in order to recreate the pace of life, and to ritualise behaviour of the time. A great example
is the seduction scene, which he stretches until it settles into a sort of trance, what always struck me is the ballet of
emotions of the film, watch the tension between the camera’s movements and the characters body language orchestrated
by the music in this scene.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without
it being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it's simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover
it for themselves."
ORSON WELLES: “Yes, but "The Killing" was better than "The Asphalt Jungle". The problem
of imitation leaves me indifferent, above all if the imitator succeeds in surpassing the model. For me, Kubrick is a
better director than Huston. I haven't seen Lolita but I believe that Kubrick can do everything."
MIKE KAPLAN (director): "One of the hallmarks of Stanley’s films is that they all have a visceral
impact: even back in 1955 it was there."
PETER BISKIND: “Long before John
Cassavetes or the auteur rebels of the '70s came along, Kubrick was there, completely self-taught, totally uncompromising,
not allowing any interference from the studios.”
MARTIN SCORSESE: “In other words, we’re all the children of D.W. Griffith and Stanley Kubrick.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: “The screen is a magic medium. It has
such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "Perhaps it sounds
ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of
any kind at all."
DAVID LYNCH: "I really love "Eyes Wide
Shut". I just wonder if Stanley Kubrick really did finish it the way he wanted to before he died."
STANLEY KUBRICK: “I've got a peculiar weakness for criminals
and artists. Neither takes life as it is. Any tragic story has to be in conflict with things as they are."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I've never achieved spectacular success with
a film. My reputation has grown slowly. I suppose you could say that I'm a successful filmmaker--in that a number of people
speak well of me. But none of my films have received unanimously positive reviews, and none have done blockbuster business."
NICK NOLTE: “He was a brilliant
director; he was a man that told stories his own way.”
STONE: “He was the single greatest director of his generation. He influenced me deeply.”
WELLES: “Among the young generation, Kubrick strikes me as a giant.”
LUIS BUNUEL: “A Clockwork Orange
is my current favourite. I was very predisposed against the film. After seeing it, I realize it is the only movie about what
the modern world really means.”
STEVEN SPIELBERG: “He was the
grandmaster. He copied no one while all of us were scrambling to imitate him."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "...then you come
across certain kinds of films that, when you go to the theatre and you see them, you're completely surprised, they make you
look at life a different way, they make you look at being human a different way, they touch areas that you don't want touched
sometimes, they provoke you, which is good...and then there's that rarest of films where when you see them continually over
years, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty years, you still see more in it. And what's even better, is that if you're making
pictures, you go back to this well, this source, for inspiration and to learn. To learn how to make pictures."
JACK NICHOLSON: “Stanley’s good on sound. So are a lot of directors, but Stanley’s good on designing a new harness. Stanley’s
good on the colour of the mike. Stanley’s good on the
merchant he bought the mike from. Stanley’s good about
the merchant’s daughter who needs some dental work.”
SIDNEY LUMET: “Each month Stanley
Kubrick isn’t making a film is a loss to everybody.”
GUILLERMO DEL TORO: "I admire Kubrick
greatly. He is often accused of being a prodigious technician and rigid intellectual, which people say makes his films very
cold. I don’t agree. I think that "Barry Lyndon" or "A Clockwork Orange" are the most perfect marriages of personality
and subject. But in fact, "Full Metal Jacket" is even more so. It looked at rigidity and brutality with an almost clinical
eye. It is, for me, a singular film about the military, about war and its consequences. The famous scenes, like the induction
with R Lee Ermey where he renames the soldiers and reshapes them into sub-human maggots, had a particular impact on me. Also
the suicide scene with Vincent D’Onofrio in the bathroom. And the sniper set-piece at the end. Those are absolutely
virtuoso pieces of filmmaking."
ROBERTO BENIGNI: “Stanley Kubrick
is one of the geniuses of this century.”
BARBET SCHROEDER: “It was a strange
phenomenon with his movies: they were never completely understood when they were released. Then, once you let a few years
pass, they are suddenly deemed masterpieces and no one really discusses them. It even happened with his last movie, “Eyes
Wide Shut”. When it came out, people were floating. In my opinion they didn’t really “get it”. There
is so much substance and so much craft, it’s visually quite staggering. The right amount of time hasn’t quite
passed for it to be reconsidered. It always takes a few years. It’s very strange. The reason for this, I think, is that
each of his films is so different, there’s no precedent for any of them. Every movie stands on its own. And that’s
what I like."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Remarkable film,
remarkable. And the more you see Eyes Wide Shut, the more you get involved in that world. At certain points you don't want
to, because it's too painful, but it's...and Bernardo Bertolucci was saying this in Rome, he said "Eyes Wide Shut is really
good, he puts you into his world!" and I said "yeah, I really know!"
KIRK DOUGLAS: "Stanley Kubrick is a
IAN WATSON: "Irrespective of writers,
Stanley was in his unique way, much preoccupied with the welfare of dumb animals...the cats all drank Evian water."
TONY KAYE (director): "Though I only
realised this recently, I have not been influenced by any other filmmaker other than Stanley Kubrick."
MICHAEL HANEKE: "I'm a
huge Kubrick fan, but I find 'A Clockwork Orange' a kind of miscalculation, because he makes the brutality so spectacular
- so stylized, with dance numbers and so on - that you almost have to admire it."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "There's many ways
I look at his films, besides the big screen. I like watching them on the television. I like watching them with the sound off.
Sometimes you can see the rhythm of the cutting and the camera moves...and when he cuts in a two shot conversation and when
he destroys the invisible line and when the cut gets tighter...on which line of dialogue."
MICHAEL MOORE: "He was the greatest
American director of all time."
MATTHEW MODINE: “One day I said: "I've got a joke for you…You're dead." He said, "It's not funny." I said: "Let me tell
the joke. Steven Spielberg's dead, too." He said, "Steven's dead, oh, that's funny." And I said: "You're dead and you're up
in heaven and Steven Spielberg has just died and he's being greeted at the gate by Gabriel and Gabriel says: 'God's really
dug a lot of your movies and he wants to make sure that you're comfortable. If there's anything you need, you come to me,
I'm your man.' And Steven says, 'Well, you know, I always wanted to meet Stanley Kubrick, do you think you could arrange that?'
And Gabriel looks at him and says: 'You know, Steven, of all the things that you could ask for, why would you ask for that?
You know that Stanley doesn't take meetings.' He says, 'Well,
you said that if there was anything I wanted.' Gabriel says: 'I'm really sorry. I can't do that.' So now he's showing him
around heaven and Steven sees this guy wearing an army jacket with a beard riding a bicycle. And Steven says to Gabriel: 'Oh,
my God, look, over there, that's Stanley Kubrick. Couldn't we just stop him and say hello?' And Gabriel pulls Steven to the
side and says, 'That's not Stanley Kubrick; that's God -- he just thinks he's Stanley Kubrick.' "Stanley liked that joke.
STANLEY KUBRICK: “The great nations have always acted like
gangsters, and the small nations like prostitutes.”
MICHAEL MANN: “It said to my whole generation of filmmakers that you could
make an individual statement of high integrity and have that film be successfully seen by a mass audience all at the same
time. In other words, you didn’t have to be making "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" if you wanted to work in the main
stream film industry, or be reduced to niche filmmaking if you wanted to be serious about cinema. So that’s what Kubrick
meant, aside from the fact that Strangelove was a revelation.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: “The most terrifying
fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference,
then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
GERALD FRIED: “When we were teenagers
hanging around the Bronx, he was just another bright, neurotic, talented guy. Just another
guy trying to get into a game with my softball club and mess around with girls like the rest of us. In those days there were
no film schools. We had to learn by going to movies. Our discussions after seeing them were primarily listening to Stanley kind of smirking at the tasteless sentimentality of most pictures.”
PAUL MAZURSKY (actor in "Fear and Desire"): “He just had so much determination, and so much of a desire to get what he wanted.
I'd never seen anything like it. The money his uncle had invested in "Fear and Desire" ran out, so Kubrick drove down from
where we were shooting in the San Gabriel Mountains to see his Uncle Martin, with Frank Silvera
and me in the back. He needed another $5,000 to finish the film, and he says, "I'm gonna get the money from him no matter
what -- I can tell you that right now." And he spat at the windshield from inside the car. I'll never forget that. He got
PAUL MAZURSKY: “He had to do
everything, all the lighting, the camera work, the editing. He didn't know how to talk to actors -- not really. He just had
a thing in his head. A few years ago, at a film festival, John Boorman was going to introduce "Fear and Desire," and Stanley got a hold of Boorman and said, "Please don't, I don't like that
movie, I hate it."
GERALD FRIED: “I knew Toba Metz,
his first wife. They were still in their teens- it almost didn't count. It was a legal marriage, but they were, like, dating.
There was no exchange of any deep affection. Now with Ruth Sobotka, Kubrick's second wife, she was a match. She was a dancer
-- bright and good-looking and accomplished, and there was a lot of sparring, but I thought they were quite perfect for each
other. He wrote that dance sequence in Killer's Kiss for her. And she also was the costume designer or something. So I was
surprised and kind of uncomfortable about their breaking up.”
JAMES B. HARRIS (director; producer; Kubrick's producing partner on "The Killing," "Paths of Glory" and "Lolita"): “Ruth was
an over-the-hill ballet dancer who wanted to be an art director. So Stanley
indulged her in that stuff. She couldn't understand why her name wasn't on the door of our office because Stanley's and my name were on there. They split up and he left. We left our wives together.
He was rehearsing me on how to break the news. We were leaving for L.A.
and we wanted to go out there on our own."
JAMES B. HARRIS: “We were not only partners, but we became best friends. We'd do all the usual stuff, like touch
football, Thanksgiving dinner with our girlfriends or family. Stanley
would start reading up on something that interested us and he'd become an expert on it. He'd get books on how to play poker
and study them and then sit in a killer game, and hold his own."
first got together, he said: "We should never have a falling out and we should never have any kind of dispute that reaches
an impasse because we're both intelligent, we're both articulate and one should be able to convince the other. If both people
are intelligent they should be able to buy the other's argument if it's on the right track." So I must be the most intelligent
person in the world because he convinced me every time.”
GERALD FRIED: “He was kind of
an awkward kid, and the fact that he was bright and talented made it even worse. He just wanted to be a regular guy, as we
all do, and he wasn't and it was very painful for him. So when he found out that he was smart and successful and all that,
then it went the other way -- everything had to be grand.”
COLEEN GRAY (actress; co-star of "The Killing"): “He was this small man wearing army fatigues and clodhopper shoes, and had
bushy hair and was very quiet. I kept waiting for him to direct and nothing happened. "When's he going to tell me what to
do?" He never did, which made me insecure. He seemed extremely preoccupied. Maybe the fact that I felt insecure was fine for
the part -- that girl was insecure.”
MARIE WINDSOR (actress; co-star of "The Killing"): “Stanley
was an introverted person. He was very quiet and while on the set I never heard him yell at the crew or anybody. When he had
some idea for me to do or change, he would wiggle his finger and we would go away from the action and he would tell me what
he wanted or didn't want. One time when I was sitting on the bed reading a magazine, he came up and said, "I want you to move
your eyes when you're reading." He was only in his 20's but you just had a sense of his having pure confidence in himself.”
MARIE WINDSOR: “When the picture
opened, he came over to our house for a party. He always wore those tan work pants that labourers wear, and he wore them to
the party. In fact, I never saw him out of them.”
RICHARD ANDERSON (actor; producer; dialogue coach and actor on "Paths of Glory"): “He had dark circles under his eyes, his hair
all over the place. Stanley was a pro at chess -- he'd sit
down and play chess on the set. He was very interested in people's motives, people's psyches.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “When he
was a very young man I think he was a chess hustler. He played it very well -- not that I could judge.”
CANDIA MCWILLIAM: “It was among the closest
intellectual contact I’ve known. Kubrick was not distractible, nor was he narrow. He was, if the word has meaning in
a debased time, a genius. Instead of, like many directors, cultivating ‘profile’, he relayed the third dimension.
He is one of the few great artists who can manifest thought.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I am certainly not
an anarchist, and I don't think of myself as a pessimist. I believe very strongly in parliamentary democracy,
and I am of the opinion that the power and authority of the State should be optimized and exercized only to the extent that
is required to keep things civilized. History has shown us what happens when you try to make society too civilized, or do
too good a job of eliminating undesirable elements. It also shows the tragic fallacy in the belief that the destruction of
democratic institutions will cause better ones to arise in their place. Certainly one of the most challenging
and difficult social problems we face today is, how can the State maintain the necessary degree of control over society without
becoming repressive, and how can it achieve this in the face of an increasingly impatient electorate who are beginning to
regard legal and political solutions as too slow? The State sees the spectre looming ahead of terrorism and anarchy, and this
increases the risk of its over-reaction and a reduction in our freedom. As with everything else in life, it is a matter of
groping for the right balance, and a certain amount of luck."
KUBRICK: “...the question must be
considered whether Rousseau's view of man as a fallen angel is not really the most pessimistic and hopeless of philosophies.
It leaves man a monster who has gone steadily away from his nobility. It is, I am convinced, more optimistic to accept Ardrey's
view that '...we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels...”
RICHARD ANDERSON: “Stanley was really smitten with Christiane.
He said he had never experienced anything like this before.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “He saw me on television in Munich. He called
my agent and hired me. I met him at a studio, and then he went to an enormous masked ball where I was performing. He was the
only one without a costume. He was quite baffled. He found a cousin of mine to help find me.”
JAMES B. HARRIS: “They fell for
each other, and that was it! She was kind of inhibited because she felt she didn't speak English well enough. She was a very
beautiful actress. They've been together ever since. It was kind of a nice love story.”
FREDERIC MORTON (author; journalist; visited set of "Paths of Glory"): “It was a real turning point. Before this, he seemed rather
gloomy. And those huge eyes of his always seemed to be lugubrious. He was extremely sensitive to everything around him. He
would put his instructions to actors in the subjunctive -- not "Do this," but "Would you do this? Would you go over there?"
RICHARD ANDERSON: “One time when
Kirk Douglas blew up at him on the set, Stanley said, "Jeez,
Kirk, you don't have to do this in front of everybody, do you?" But he admired Kirk. He said, "My God, this guy always knows
his lines." Stanley is very psychological to get what he wants.
One time he had done about 40 takes and Jimmy Harris comes and says, "Stanley,
it's now 1 o'clock and we're in terrible trouble and we gotta break this up." That was the only time I saw Stanley go nuts. He shouted, "It isn't right -- and I'm going to keep doing it until it is
right!" He shot 84 takes. I think he wanted everybody to hear that -- he wanted it to get around.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “We moved in together in Munich -- I was still
doing plays there and he was finishing his film. I was in the throes of a divorce, and so was he.
were still bought by his mother and they were very smart. So he was sort of dishevelled smart. It soon became clear that he
didn't care what he wore. Later, the children tried to dress him up a bit better but it was hopeless.”
GERALD FRIED: “By the time we
got to "Paths of Glory," he was already "Stanley Kubrick" and then it was a struggle -- I had to rationalize every note. It
was fun and stimulating, but he was already sure that he knew it all. He was also a drummer, and the score for "Paths of Glory"
was the first all-percussion score. As I remember, he also heard every single machine-gun sound effect before it went into
We had a
date once to play tennis in Central Park, and it was around 10 to 2 and our court was reserved
for 2, and he said, "Hey, we better run because if you're not there one minute before, they could give the court away." I
said, "Stanley, for God's sake, keep your paranoia to yourself,
man." And, of course, somebody showed up one minute before and took the court from us. So if you worry about enough things,
sooner or later your paranoia is going to be fulfilled. And he worried about enough things. It was as if his success gave
him permission to let his fears predominate.”
TONY CURTIS: “Stanley would never capitulate. I remember he
asked for 15 or 20 extras for a little scene and the assistant director came over and said they had talked it over with the
studio and decided to cut down the amount of extras. And Stanley
said, "No, we'll double the amount." He refused to allow anybody to tell him how to do the picture.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “Spartacus was difficult. They were all famous actors in it and they treated him, because he was so young, with
a certain arrogance. So he was arrogant right back. He loved Tony Curtis because they had lots in common -- they both liked
TONY CURTIS: “One scene with
Kirk and me, Stanley looked around and said to Russ Metty, the director of photography, "I can't see the actors' faces." Russ
was sitting in his high chair, and there was one of those lights on the floor and he pushed it with his foot and the light
skewered right into the shot. He said, "Now, is that enough light?" Stanley
looked and said, "Now it's too much light." Cool through the whole experience -- nothing made him nervous.”
JUDE LAW: "Kubrick's ideas for AI were
much more extreme. More overty sexual. Huge phallic skyscrapers, buildings with their legs wide open.”
JUDE LAW: “Spielberg's approach
to Gigolo Joe was the perfect middle ground, compared to Kubrick's far darker original vision. The character was originally
much more aggressive, sinister, and far from Spielberg's revised conception as an innocent who's abused. He's a hooker who
ultimately comes round to learning to love in a different way."
ARLISS HOWARD: “I remember him saying: "The hardest thing in making a movie is to keep in the front of your consciousness your
original response to the material. Because that's going to be the thing that will make the movie. And the loss of that will
break the movie." He said when he did "Spartacus," he was astonished at how many people were allowed to have opinions about
the content of the movie -- not just the execution of it. They'd actually have conversations with secretaries about the content.
But he was very much about finding, in each little piece that he was putting together, the essence of what had excited him
about that moment the first time.”
SHELLEY WINTERS: “He was very cognizant that actors are delicate. He would discuss the scene with you and you never thought you
were being directed until you saw the rushes the next day. You almost said, "Gee, wasn't I clever to think of that?" But it
was Stanley who had sort of planted it very subtly in your head. Like the dance I did with James Mason -- a sexy sort of South
American dance -- he didn't really tell me to make a sexy dance. I decided to flirt with him while I was dancing in a sexy
way and he said, "That's it." He was very elusive. Sometimes you might rehearse and you didn't even know he was watching.
He'd be off somewhere, sort of hidden, watching.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “He liked
working with women and worked with them very successfully. He was surrounded by women at home, nothing but daughters, and
he employed quite a lot of women. He had an absolute angel of a mother -- extraordinarily nice woman -- very smart and very
sweet. Stanley loved his parents -- he was close to them,
his mother more perhaps than his father because she was more up on films and the latest news. So, in the end, he knew a great
deal about women in general -- ranging from the sophisticated to girl talk.”
MARY DAY LANIER (potter; a production assistant on "Lolita"): “You mentioned a book, he immediately got a pencil and wrote down
the name. He called one time and said, "Come out for a drink right away." I had just come back from art school -- I was covered
in clay: "I need to shower." He said, "No, no, you haven't been digging ditches," so I went. I never thought of contradicting
had any problems they couldn't face, he would gently coax them through it. James Mason got the most terrible eczema on his
hands when something came too close to home for him. He had to hide his hands because they were totally swelled up, but Stanley knew exactly how to be very gentle. He shut down the set --
he talked to him for a long time. He was fascinated by other people -- that's why he had this power. He and Jim Harris were
very close. They used to talk about stuff a lot.”
FLORIAN VON DONNERSMARCK (director):
“My megalomaniac goal is to make a film that could stand next to the films of Kubrick.”
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (director): “I’ve
always been an enormous fan of Stanley Kubrick.”
JAMES B. HARRIS: “I assume he
must have been very confident because he always wanted me around next to him. The whole [fear of flying] thing came about
when he was a kid and he had a pilot's license. He used to go out to Teterboro and fly those one-engine jobs where he had
an experience: He started to take off and he was running out of runway and almost crashed into the fence. He had forgotten
to turn on one of the magnetos. That developed in his mind. He thought that if he -- who is so meticulous about everything
-- forgot to do something like that, then the pilots could make these errors. If he could do that, then anybody could do it.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “I suppose
he wasn't really happy to be in Hollywood, but he didn't say, "I'm never going back to California again," or anything. But we enjoyed living in England. I fit in a bit better, and it's beautiful.”
KEN ADAM (production designer; designed "Dr. Strangelove" and "Barry Lyndon"): “I don't think I ever had such a close
relationship with a director. There was a certain naiveté and charm about him, but you very quickly found out that there was
an enormous brain functioning. I think the most difficult part was his questioning, almost computerlike, mind. He knew most
of the technicians' work better than the technicians themselves. The only thing he really didn't know was design. So, obviously,
he was fascinated by it, but I also found myself having to justify practically every line I drew, which wasn't always easy.
It was particularly
so with the war room on "Dr. Strangelove" because I started doodling while we were talking about it, and he seemed to be very
impressed by it, and I thought, "Well, this is an easy battle." After about three weeks, he decided to change his mind. Because
the initial design was like an amphitheatre with two levels, he suddenly said: "Well, what am I going to do with that second
level? It's going to be full of extras, and I wouldn't know how to use them, so you'd better start thinking again." I started
redesigning it, and he was practically standing behind me all the time. When I came up with the sort of triangular solution,
he said he felt the triangle was the strongest geometric form. And so combat developed at this circular table, playing for
the fate of the world like a poker game.
often changed his mind. After two days of shooting, for example, he wasn't happy with Peter Sellers playing the B-52 bomber-captain
[in addition to his other roles] and he cast Slim Pickens instead and then decided to have him ride the atomic bomb bronco-fashion
into the Russian missile complex. It was a very exciting experience, but at the same time, I felt, you know, one film would
be enough. Being exposed to Stanley 16 hours a day, you lost
your resistance, and the danger was you would lose your confidence.”
RIDLEY SCOTT: "It's the best of the
best. No film can hope to top it(Kubrick's 2001)."
RIDLEY SCOTT: "Yes, I made this (a
recreation of the trench sequence in Paths of Glory)...this was in the 60s with the BBC. Of course it was never aired,
Kubrick would sue me, but I've always had tremendous respect for him."
MIKE NICHOLS (director): "In the end,
I think he began to have trouble, because if you can’t leave home, you lose track of reality, and I think that happened
to him. Still, he made great movies and he was a completely gifted director. If you look at “2001: A Space Odyssey”,
you suddenly realise: My God, there’s nobody in this movie!"
LARRY WACHOWSKI: "I've
always been fascinated by films that draw you visually into the picture. I first experienced that when I was taken as a kid
to see Kubrick's '2001.' I told my dad, 'That black box is the key to everything! What do you think it means?' My dad said,
'Maybe it's the consciousness of God.' I went back and was even more deeply drawn into it."
BRYAN SINGER: "There's no point in
making films unless you intend to show us something special, otherwise just go out and watch a play. Kubrick showed us something
special. Every film was a challenge, and a direct assault on cinema's conventions."
SHEKHAR KAPUR (director): "Forty years
on and we are still trying to comprehend its visual and poetic philosophy – what more can you ask from a film? Just
for sheer achievement in the art and technology of cinema, “2001” remains a defining movie for me."
NICHOLAS ROEG (director): "I must say I did like his attitude towards film and the fact that he was an artist
and complete unto himself. He wasn’t under corporate censorship, and he was never trying to make a film that you’d
be able to pigeonhole in any particular genre. I think that was the case with all his films."
EDGAR WRIGHT (director): "But just as Kubrick inspires awe with his harmonic compositions, he can equally
instil terror. The most chilling aspect of “The Shining” is the blunt symmetry of endless corridors and patterned
carpets. A shot of an empty hall and a lone, red door disturbs you even before the blood starts to flow.
It is these
graphic images that keep me coming back. I was underwhelmed when I first saw “The Shining”. Perhaps I wanted the
detail and the closure of the novel. But its eccentricity and ambiguity gnawed at me and forced me to re-watch. Its shattering
images haunt me to this day."
MARK ROMANEK: "There's no
one more daring or sincere than Stanley Kubrick."
MARK ROMANEK: "In 1968 my
parents took me to see Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". I was nine years old and the experience made an indelible impression.
Later, I saw the film again during it's 1973 re-release. It was then that I decided to be a film director."
NEIL HUNTER (director): "think of “The Killing”
as the film where Kubrick hit his stride. It has that fascination with constructing a perfect mechanism, in this case a racecourse
heist, that he returned to later in “2001” and “Dr Strangelove”. He gives us that principle of order,
the perfect crime committed by professionals, then throws in the opposite: chaos, anarchy – which is to say, humanity
– embodied by the girlfriend of one of the gang, the racecourse teller. It doesn’t have the grand philosophy he
would later lay claim to, though it does have the pessimism. It also doesn’t have the stylistic boldness and formal
clarity of his later work: it’s looser. Yet it may be his most purely enjoyable film. It’s a true genre film,
and a very powerful one, rather than an attempt to transcend genre or create a new form. His later films would employ a startling
range of different sounds, and use music very deliberately and unpredictably. Here, it’s used in a more conventional
way – the jazz, for example, telegraphing the unreliability of the teller’s girlfriend (as if her performance
wasn’t doing the job!). But above all there’s the excitement of a great filmmaker saying, “Look what can
be done. Look how easy it is.” There’s a speed and ruthlessness to the filmmaking which echoes the heist, the
JAMES EARL JONES: “His manner was casual. Very, very laid back. Chewed gum. Cool. One day he got pissed off at
me when I didn't know my lines. I had missed a section I was supposed to memorize. He said: "You don't know these words? Why
don't you know these words?" It was a quiet pissed, but he was pissed.”
VIVIAN KUBRICK: "My father was very
interested in people contributing to the film by actually experiencing it for themselves. I can give you a clue about
the way he looked at art in that, if you've ever heard of the lecture given by Leonard Bernstein called "The Unanswered Question",
there's a section in it where he parallels poetry to music. He makes the point that when you read poetry its ambiguity
allows you to have a very deep experience. I think my Dad was very interested in people contributing to his films their own
“In his essay on the uncanny, Das Unheimliche, Freud said that the uncanny is the only feeling which is more
powerfully experienced in art than in life. If the horror genre required any justification, I should think this alone would
serve as its credentials.”
WARREN BEATTY: "It was common knowledge that Stanley always knew something you didn't."
MATHEW MODINE: "He wasn't influenced
by pop culture. He was searching for the truth- the underbelly of life."
LARS VON TRIER: "I don't think that
matters. I have a great affection for Kubrick and this film only strips things further."
LARS VON TRIER: "I wrote a 'Barry Lyndon'
kind of narration because I love 'Barry Lyndon,' and in film school, they taught us that narration was poor taste."
“One of the things that amazes me
about some directors who have had great financial successes, is that they seem eager to give up directing to become film moguls.
If you care about films, I don't see how you could want someone else to direct for you.”
JOHN MILIUS: “When he did "Dr. Strangelove," the Air Force contacted him afterward and all the big shots of Strategic Air
Command, and General Le May, wanted to talk to him. And he was afraid of going to see them. He was afraid they'd be angry
with him -- that they would do something to him. I said: "Stanley,
how can you have been that paranoid? They wanted to honour you. They loved 'Dr. Strangelove.' "He said: "I know it's crazy.
I wish I'd gone to Washington and seen them."
military history and just consumed it all the time and said, "I feel perfectly safe in my love of war and military history
because I know that I'm a devout coward." He was endlessly fascinated by honor and valor, the regimental esprit de corps.
"I'd never go to war," he said, "but I'd like to experience it if I knew I wasn't going to get hurt."
LOUIS BLAU (Kubrick’s lawyer): “He did "2001: A Space Odyssey" because he didn't think that a truly scientific science-fiction
picture had ever been made. Most of them, he thought, if not all, were fantasy fiction. He told me he was going to start reading
and try to come up with something. He started from scratch and before he was finished, he knew enough to speak on a level
with the great astronomers of the world, many of whom he knew on a first-name basis.”
LOUIS BLAU: “He actually wanted
an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London to protect himself against losses in the event that an extraterrestrial intelligence
was discovered before the movie was released. Lloyd’s wouldn’t insure him.”
SAM MENDES (director): "Of course,
his films are all chilling. 2001 blew away the 3 act structure, but his other films are equally unique. We are only now catching
JOHN LENNON: "I see it (2001: A Space
Odyssey) every week."
LYNCH (when asked of his favourite directors): "I love Stanley Kubrick and I can watch his movies over and over again."
GLOVER: "I’m definitely not against commercialism. I have great admiration for Stanley Kubrick. At first Kubrick financed
his films and they made money. Studios were interested. He indicated he would make films his way, or he wouldn’t do
it with them. Kubrick utilized corporate interest to his advantage in a movie like 2001 that also appealed to what was called
“the counterculture” at the time. Corporations could point to “the counterculture” and say they would
fund movies for them. There are all kinds of major blockbuster filmmakers today who lose money on their theatrical releases.
Every single movie Kubrick made earned a lot of money in its theatrical release, and that’s extremely unusual."
GLOVER: "Stanley Kubrick is a filmmaker who, throughout his career, would consistently visit themes and ideas that exist
in a realm beyond good and evil."
NICHOLSON: "Everyone pretty much acknowledges that he's the man, and I still feel that underrates him."
NICHOLSON: "I'm ashamed to admit it, but the first thought through my mind when I heard that he died was not, Oooh, Stanley,
my dear friend. It was, "Fucking shit! Not going to get to do another movie with him. I wouldn't have suspected that would
have been my reaction, but it's true."
DULLEA: “I was always aware that he knew exactly what he wanted. He would invite
Gary Lockwood and myself to have dinner at his beautiful home. And he would invite a lot of other people from all walks of
life and different disciplines -- art historians, authors and intellectuals. And he was as informed as anybody about their
disciplines. He was like an onion -- every layer you peeled off there were two new ones to be exposed.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “When we were young, we had parties every weekend, and I think it was a bit of an excuse to keep talking to the
people he was working with, because then he could keep them interested and keep them on certain topics that he wanted them
to think about. It wasn't planned -- Oh, I'm going to keep them working." It came naturally -- Come for dinner," instead of,
"I want you to think about this." We tried to make a very formal and elegant dinner party, and eventually found that they
were more sort of casual and Bohemian -- so I don't think the formal bit went too well.
Stanley had a secret fantasy of
being a short-order cook. He was very good. The kitchen was a bit full of blue smoke and too many dirty pans, but he was very
good at that. He did a sort of American food that Europeans find so astonishing -- hamburgers, and then, later on, he was
king of sandwiches. He would pile up high things. He was a good host and was trying desperately to tidy everything up so people
didn't say we're sloppy.”
KEIR DULLEA: “We worked very
long hours. But he was very generous -- telling me he was feeling bad that he hadn't created a good enough environment, taking
the blame for some scene not working for me. If Stanley had
been an octopus, with that many arms, he would have held his own camera, done his own makeup, he would have built his own
sets. But I had a feeling that he wouldn't have acted in his own films.”
JERRY LEWIS (actor-director-writer;
edited a film at same studio Kubrick was editing "2001"): “He's in the cutting room and I'm watching this man investigate
his work, and it was fascinating. He was intrigued with the fact that I did more than one thing. He was a very big fan of
"hyphenates." I think he would have loved to have written "2001" without Arthur Clarke. But he did have a high regard for
people who directed their own material.
I was in
my cutting room around 1 in the morning, and he strolls in smoking a cigarette and says, "Can I watch?" I said: "Yeah, you
can watch. You wanna see a Jew go down? Stand there." That was the night I coined the expression, "You cannot polish a turd."
And then Kubrick looked at me and said, "You can if you freeze it."
STEVE SOUTHGATE (V.P. in charge of European technical operations
for Warner Brothers; worked on all Kubrick pictures from "A Clockwork Orange" on): “He was one person in the film industry
who knew how the film industry worked -- in every country in the world. He knew all of the dubbing people, the dubbing directors,
the actors, he had relationships with foreign directors who would supervise his work because he couldn't be there to supervise
himself. We had to go around to every cinema to make sure the projection lights were right, the sound was correct, the ratios
were right, the screens were clean.
to work 24 hours a day. We used to get calls all hours of the night. He could be very difficult but not in a difficult way.
If you ever got chewed out by Stanley on the phone you knew
you'd been chewed out. He never screamed or yelled but he had this wonderful manner and a sort of lovely New York drawl to his voice that you knew you were being carpeted. If he had any criticism
of his film, he took it terribly personally. It was body and soul to him.”
KEN ADAM: “I think he had quite
a shock from the violent reactions to "A Clockwork Orange"; even though it was at the time the most successful picture he
"Yesterday I wore a particular shirt, which was Kubrick's favourite shirt. His
last picture was costumed by an English costume designer who I used three times. She passed away a couple of years ago, but
she said Kubrick had seven sets of this particular shirt. He'd only wear that shirt every day, so she made one for me and
I love it. I just worship Kubrick. 2001, I couldn't really figure out what it was but I saw it when I was young and it captured
me. It's like an acid trip! [laughs]"
JAN HARLAN (producer; Kubrick's brother-in-law; production assistant on "A Clockwork Orange;" executive producer on all Kubrick
films since "Barry Lyndon"): “He felt very misunderstood about "Clockwork Orange," very insulted.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “On films,
sometimes you're happy for a week and then you think, Oh, no, it stinks. If you have a bad day, you can punch holes into anything.
He had those days. Ultimately, he could make every film 10 times -- he could come up with something new. That's why it took
him so long. And a lot of scripts he wrote he never made because he ultimately decided it was a waste of time. It made him
very sad -- he wanted to make more films. But he didn't want to launch into a film when he wasn't a hundred percent certain.”
LOUIS BLAU: “People think his
secrecy indicated some terrible aberration. It was totally logical because he takes a long time to make a picture. At one
point, he made a handsome, well-earned deal for a picture and said, "You know, I'm glad they don't know I would do this thing
for nothing if I had to."
JAN HARLAN: “On our pictures,
we spent in a week what big movies spend in a day. That's why we could afford to have almost a year of shooting. We had a
very small crew.”
KEN ADAM: “Though he was a patriarch, he was really a kind patriarch and in many ways very insecure. Stanley said he's got this film for me [Barry Lyndon"] and he can't afford my money. So I
said, "Stanley, it's not a good way to start talking to me,
you know." So we had an argument. He said, "Well, I'll have to use the second-best production designer." And I was quite relieved
at that time. Five weeks later, I got another phone call from him saying that the second-best production designer didn't seem
to understand what he wanted, money is no problem and will I do the picture? Our relationship was almost like a marriage in
a way, a love-hate relationship. I felt to go through another film, you know, life is too short. But I was stuck.
I became very ill. Utterly exhausted -- because he used to run dailies with me late at night. Stanley could really get away with four hours' sleep. Obviously, I couldn't. So I went back
to London, and he was unbelievably concerned. His letters
to me at the time were really quite touching. Then he wrote that he'd decided to shoot in Potsdam
with the second unit and that I should direct it! The idea of that certainly didn't improve my health!”
MARISA BERENSON (actress; co-star of "Barry Lyndon"): “We always had to be in full makeup and costume and hair and everything.
He didn't like stand-ins for lighting at all. Sometimes we'd sit a whole day just to be lit. It was very demanding because
he's a perfectionist, so he wanted people to be perfect.
a big one for complimenting or saying anything. He used to write me letters sometimes when he had something important to say
to me -- handwritten. He had a really dry, witty sense of humour. He was rather reserved. I always felt he was a very sensitive,
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “He wasn't
shy at all. He was shy only when it came to being official. I think he was probably a hopeless actor. His Griffith Award acceptance
speech [in 1997] -- he was miserable and he left it to the last minute. And he did it so badly and he got into a really bad
mood. He'd written it very well but he couldn't say it. We finally got it on tape and he said, "I'd better not see it, otherwise
I'll never send it off." So he sent it off, and then he saw it and nearly choked with laughter -- rolling on the floor --
he couldn't believe it. He said, "You see, I just can't do it." The minute it wasn't official, he was fine. The minute someone
stuck a mike in front of his mouth, he said: "My mind is blank and I say nothing, or the most stupid stuff." That's why he
didn't want to give interviews. He said, "Why should I work very hard in the film and then make a fool of myself?"
ANDREW DOMINIK (director): "It wasn't
like I saw 2001 and thought, “I have to be a filmmaker,” or anything like that. It took me six viewings until
I suddenly realized it was a masterpiece. I always thought it was dull, and then I saw a 70mm print of it, and it was the
most extraordinary experience."
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “He did see
an awful lot of films -- always. For years, he screened them at the house -- we have a beautiful theater -- and then we became
older and lazier and looked at them on tape, and he was very ashamed. He liked Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, a lot of Spanish,
Italian, Japanese films. He also loved to hate certain films. He would say, "This is the most awful thing I've ever seen,"
and keep watching.”
JOHN MILIUS: “He was very vulnerable
to criticism or to whether a movie was a success or not. He wasn't completely comfortable with "Barry Lyndon." He just felt
that people didn't understand it. People were bored by it. I think after that picture he felt no one was going to let him
make a film again. Apparently the only thing that really bothered him a great deal was that "Barry Lyndon" failed commercially.
He made "The Shining" after that. Nicholson, I remember, at the time said: "I'm glad to be off that one. That was rough duty."
JAN HARLAN: “We very often came
home at night and had a sandwich in the kitchen and then went to bed. There was nothing else left.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “Socially,
he was very much an American in Europe and did astonishing things that were very endearing.
I think he was quite unaware of certain social games that people play, especially in England, and wasn't interested either -- and I think many people found that very
nice. He was quite secure. If he wasn't, he would inform himself very carefully and very pedantically set out to not make
JOHN MILIUS: “Before "Full Metal
Jacket" he quizzed me a lot about Southeast Asia. I said, "You're never going to go anywhere
near Southeast Asia." But he wanted to know every little detail: What the food was like,
how the airport was, whether they lost your baggage. He was preparing himself as if he would go. We turned him onto a supplier
of military equipment who was going to get him uniforms and the patches and all that kind of stuff -- this guy in Oklahoma
City, great character. He called me and said, "I'm so proud to be working on the Stanley Kubrick film." And I thought six
months later the guy was ready for a medal. Stanley just drove
him nuts: "Are you sure the color of these patches is the same as the last batch? I've been looking at them and I can see
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “People always
think he was this idiotic dictator. He was always asking everyone's opinion on most things. What do you think of this? What
do you think of that? Do you think I should have done this different? He spread his palette of ideas for everyone to have
a pick at, and would dismiss you brutally if he thought that what you said was really irritating.
LEE ERMEY (Vietnam Marine Corps veteran; technical adviser, script consultant, actor on "Full Metal Jacket"):”Stanley told me he didn't understand actors. He had no actor friends
-- they were basically working associates, and he thought they were a little bit strange, totally spoiled and in most cases
had to be begged to give him a decent performance. Half the time the actor would argue with him. Vince D'Onofrio didn't like
Stanley's "craziness look." He wanted to try it some other
way. The problem with Vince was this was his first film, and he's telling Stanley Kubrick how he thinks this look should be.
They stand there arguing. Stanley finally said, "Look, do
it my way and we'll load back up and we'll shoot it your way." Well, when they shot it Vince's way they didn't have any film
in the camera.”
LOUIS BLAU: “Stanley told Vincent D'Onofrio the night before a scene, "I want you to be big -- Lon Chaney
big." They shot the scene in three takes and as they sat playing back the tape, Vincent and Stanley were seated next to each
other. And after the third take was seen, Stanley took his
fist and gently rubbed it against Vincent D'Onofrio. Vincent has never forgotten that -- it was the approval from Kubrick.”
TERRY GILLIAM: "The great difference between
Kubrick and Spielberg is - Spielberg is more successful. His films make much more money. But they're comforting, they give
you answers, always, the films are answers, and I don't think they're very clever answers.
And 2001 had an ending - I don't know what it means, I don't know, but I have to think about it, I have to work. And
it opens all sorts of possibilities, and probably the next person I speak to has a different idea of what that ending means.
So suddenly we're in discussion, now we're talking, ideas come out of that. And that's what I always want to encourage.
and the success of most films in Hollywood, I think, is down to the fact that they're comforting, they tie things up in nice
little bows, gives you answers, even if the answers are stupid, they're answers. Oh, you go home, you don't have to wory about
The Kubricks of this world, and the great filmmakers make you go home and think about it, and so...There was a
wonderful quote in a book that Freddy Raphael wrote about the making of Eyes Wide Shut, it's called Eyes Wide Open, and he's
talking to Kubrick about Schindler's List and the Holocaust, and he says: "The thing is, Schindler's List is about success,
the Holocaust was about failure." And that's Kubrick, and that's just spot on. Schindler's List had its "save those few people"
happy ending. "A man can do what a man can do", and stop death for a few people. But that's not what the Holocaust is about,
it's about the complete failure of civilization, to allow 6 million people to die. And I know which side I'd rather be on.
I'd like to have a nice house like Spielberg, but I know which side I'd rather be on."
ADAM BALDWIN: “We were a group
of green actors mostly. He had his own private little war going on there. He didn't have a lot of respect for any of us. He
would have us crawl in the asbestos and the coal dust and not care if we got hurt. I figured, get in there and get dirty.
But a couple of guys got sick of it.
a series of five or six takes and we'd go look at it on video playback, and he'd say: "Don't stand here. Don't go that far
into the frame. See, you're out of focus here." He was very much concerned with what the picture looked like. I found after
a couple of months that it was a great luxury to be able to work at that pace -- you could do it as many times as he wanted.
There was one scene where we were sitting on a wall and the tanks are firing off in the distance. We ended up doing that for
three and a half weeks -- one scene.”
ARLISS HOWARD: “My grandfather
had bird dogs so intent on being bird dogs they would run headlong into trees. And Stanley
was sort of like that without the penchant for running into things.
say: "I know how to do virtually every job on a movie. I can light, I can record sound, I know where mikes go." He could come
into a room and say, "We're two stops off in this light." They'd say, "No, we just checked the camera." He'd say, "We're two
stops off," and they'd be two stops off. But he would say: "I don't know how to act. But I'll tell you this, we will get the
What Stanley really didn't like is if you wasted his time. And what he considered
to be time-wasting was if you didn't know your lines. One day we had to do this thing called the Rifleman's Creed where we
laid on the bed and recited this speech, and we had to do it with a tiny speaker in your ear and do it to playback, which
was very disorienting for me. We got to take 16 and he said to me, "You're not prepared." And I said, "No, I know the thing
-- I'm just having trouble with this thing in my ear." And he said, "You don't know it if you don't know how to be able to
do it with that in your ear." We got into an argument about how well I knew it, but I finally realized that he was absolutely
he related a story to me about "Spartacus," that all the English actors were muttering, and he was sure they were talking
about him and he was very paranoid. It was Olivier and Peter Ustinov and Charles Laughton -- they were always muttering. And
he discovered when he snuck up behind them one time that they were doing lines from their work. And he said: "This is something
American actors don't do at all. They do not learn text." He blamed Lee Strasberg.”
MATTHEW MODINE: “I once asked
him why he so often did a lot of takes. He said it was because actors didn't know their lines. And he talked about Jack Nicholson:
"Jack would come in during the blocking and he kind of fumbled through the lines. He'd be learning them while he was there.
And then you'd start shooting and after take 3 or take 4 or take 5 you'd get the Jack Nicholson that everybody knows and most
directors would be happy with. And then you'd go up to 10 or 15 and he'd be really awful and then he'd start to understand
what the lines were, what the lines meant, and then he'd become unconscious about what he was saying. So by take 30 or take
40 the lines became something else." Stanley'd say: "I don't
know how to do it. People don't do their homework, the only thing I can do is spend time doing multiple takes while the people
are learning what their job is supposed to be."
ADAM BALDWIN: “One of the things
we did to kill time was play chess, play hearts, smoke cigarettes. We would lay out the board and he would kind of waddle
over and wipe you out in 15 moves. One time I actually got him to blunder and I won the game -- big deal, 1 out of 50. But
I said: "Hah, I got ya, I got ya. You have to resign now." And he said to me: "The only reason you won, Adam, is because I
have so little respect for your game that I made a blunder. Now get back to work." He had that little wry grin of his and
LEE ERMEY: “He didn't seem to
be too concerned if the people got hurt, but if an animal got hurt, that's serious stuff there. He wouldn't kill a mouse in
his house. One afternoon on location, we needed to use an area where there was a big stack of rubbish -- lumber and junk.
And Stanley asked construction to move that pile of rubbish somewhere else and in the process
they killed a wild rabbit, and it broke Stanley's heart. He
actually wrapped for the rest of the day, shut it down.”
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON: (while presenting
the BAFTA/LA's Stanley Kubrick Britannia award to Sean Penn) "Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist and a man of amazing intellect.
Sean's not really either one of those things. Stanley Kubrick was a photographer in the beginning of his career. Sean has
done considerable damage to photographers' cameras in the beginning of his career.”
JAMES CAMERON: "My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw
2001: A Space Odyssey."
STEVE SOUTHGATE: “We have a lady in France who supervises all the dubbing for Stanley, and she was heavily pregnant at the time and she'd got everything virtually finished,
the dubbing was all done, the mixing was all done, and she went into labor. And she was in labor for 10 or 12 hours and Kubrick
called her in the middle of the labor. And she was screaming the answers back.”
JAN HARLAN: “He actually didn't
leave his house ever unless he had to. When he was working in his office and he could see Christiane outside painting somewhere
in the distance -- that's what he liked.”
THE COEN BROTHERS: (when asked
about the constant Kubrick references in their films) "Sure, we like Kubrick."
MATTHEW MODINE: “There was a
postponement, and my wife and I were invited to go to Malaga, Spain. He said, "Why do you want to go there?" I said, "This person invited me."
He said: "Yeah, but you've come all this way -- have you seen anything in England?"
He couldn't understand why anybody wanted to go anyplace. Why his children would want to go to university. "You could take
home university classes. You don't have to go away to find something. Everything can be brought to you." He was crazy about
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Why does something
stay with you for so many years? It's really a person with a very powerful storytelling ability. A talent...a genius, who
could create a solid rock image that has conviction."
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “He thought
it was boring away from home. He liked all his stuff around him, all his telephones and televisions and fax machines. Also,
we have a zoo. We have a lot of animals and he liked those and he liked the children and later the grandchildren. He liked
being at home. But not like a hermit -- he had lots of friends -- they just weren't in the film business. He talked to everyone
-- he just didn't talk to the press.”
KEN ADAM: “His daughter Vivian
was doing music for "Full Metal Jacket," and did a documentary of Stanley
on "The Shining." But Stanley became overpowering to her and so Vivian decided about five years
ago to make her own life in Los Angeles. She really adored
Stanley but he tried to control every move she made. I think
in a way she had the guts to say, "I can't deal with that."
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “Yes, he
was extremely sad when she decided to go there.”
KEN ADAM: “He was a family man
and felt very secure in the family, and insecure even when Christiane came to a women's outing with my wife. Stanley used to ring up many times to find out how she was, when she was coming back.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “With each
film, I wanted to see it less before it was finished. He wanted that also. Neither of us liked when you're in the middle of
some work and the other says, "Can I say what I'm thinking?" But he would often sit with me when I was painting -- because
painters are sort of like sitting ducks -- and he would say, "I won't say anything." "What?!" "Nothing, nothing -- I said
I won't say anything. Can't I say just one thing?" And he would say whatever it was that he liked or didn't like or thought
he liked better the day before. I reacted badly, especially if it was something I had a sneaking feeling wasn't going well.
You hate somebody to be right, don't you? But now that he doesn't stand there, it's awful.”
SYDNEY POLLACK: “My initial take on my part [in
"Eyes Wide Shut"] was very different from what Stanley wanted.
I came in with the idea of being tougher with the character of Tom [Cruise] because he had done something that I disapproved
of strongly. And then Stanley had an idea of my wanting to
manipulate him more and therefore be kinder, and he was very specific about how to communicate that. He knew I was another
director -- he didn't have to beat around the bush. He wasn't trying to work any psychological tricks with me. And he was
crazy about both Tom and Nicole.
think of Stanley literally on the edge of a smile. His eyes
always had mischief in them. He always had this sense of the devil in him while he was very calmly asking questions. He read
everything, and knew absolutely all aspects of the business, including literally what the box-office receipts of every theater
in the world were over the past few years.”
TERRY SEMEL (co-chairman, Warner Brothers
film division; worked closely with Kubrick since "Barry Lyndon"): “He made the movie at a very modest price by today's
standards. He always shot with very small crews and very low daily rates. From time to time, he would decide to close down
for a week or two and spend a little bit more time on the script or other aspects. So, economically, his process was terrific,
since it didn't matter how long it took him to shoot because he was shooting at insignificant per-day rates. So there was
no problem -- no pressure on either himself or the studio.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “I thought
he was awfully tired, and he never slept much -- ever -- in his whole life. Then I thought he was really overdoing it with
this last film. Sleeping less and less. He also was a doctor's son and he wouldn't see a doctor. He gave himself his own medicine
if he wasn't feeling well or he would phone friends -- it was the one thing he did that I thought was really stupid.”
JAN HARLAN: “Luckily we got permission
from the local authorities to have his grave in his garden. In Hertfordshire it was only the second time -- the first was
LOUIS BLAU: “The most unique
burial ceremony was done with utmost taste and in typical Kubrick fashion. He's buried among his animals: dogs, cats, squirrels.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "One does not have
to make Frank Capra movies to like people."
MATTHEW MODINE: “At his funeral
I was so happy to find that he was being buried in his garden, in the land that he loved so much. I was going to speak, but
Tom Cruise and Nicole and Steven Spielberg had spoken before and there was sort of a program created for the funeral. I was
surprised at how little they knew of him -- in my opinion -- from the things that were being said. The person I spent almost
18 months with was very different from the one being described. With the exception of Jan Harlan, who spoke really eloquently,
and the one thing that his daughter Vivian said at the funeral. She'd read pieces of her father's diary and wanted to share
something: That he had looked for a limit to caring -- some kind of summit -- and found that whenever he felt as if he'd reached
that summit, there was always further you could go.”
STANLEY KUBRICK: "A filmmaker has almost the same freedom as
a novelist has when he buys himself some paper."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "If it can be written, or thought, it can
JAMES B. HARRIS: “I didn't speak
at the funeral. I don't think I could have stayed composed enough to do it. I sat there and I listened to all these other
people that I felt didn't really know him. I felt that I was the only one there aside from his family that knew him. And I
was listening to all that stuff and I'm thinking: It's great, heads of studios and major movie stars and all this. And I'm
the guy that played Ping-Pong with him, and went through the marriages and the divorces and all of that stuff. Knowing how
Stanley was such a perfectionist -- he may have killed himself
on this picture.
my raincoat in the tent, and I went back to get it, and the six guys who had walked in with the casket, peculiar-looking guys
dressed in morning coats or whatever, finishing up the grave. And I'm thinking: "Jesus, this is what it's come to. Six strangers
dumping the dirt on him."
GERALD FRIED: “I hope his last
hour was cool. I played on a ball club called the Barracudas in the Bronx, and I remember Stanley -- he was about 18, 19 --
he wanted to get into a game and he wasn't a good athlete and the guys didn't want him and I said, "Come on, give him a chance."
We let him play, and his face lit up.”
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: “Even the
most ordinary things, he would give them such extra insight that they became interesting. He talked all the time, and so I
now never have this rain of words. I'm very sad now but I was personally very lucky that I always felt very loved and many
people can't say that.”
SYDNEY POLLACK: “People say he had these phobias, he
wouldn't go here and wouldn't go there. The truth is he lived in a paradise -- there wasn't any reason for him to go anywhere.
It was a kind of a heaven.”
MARTIN SCORSESE: "One of his pictures
is equivalent to ten of somebody elses".
STANLEY KUBRICK: "The criminal and the
soldier at least have the virtue of being against something or for something in a world where many people have learned to
accept a kind of grey nothingness, to strike an unreal series of poses in order to be considered normal. It's difficult to
say who is engaged in the greater conspiracy- the criminal, the soldier, or us."
VINCENT LOBRUTTO: "To Clarke, Kubrick seemed
driven to the brink of neurosis, fed by an unquenchable thirst for total perfection. At 9 pm they jointly witnessed what they
perceived to be a UFO glittering in the smog-filled heavens above. Kubrick pressed Clarke for an explanation but Clarke drew
a blank. Kubrick's paranoia overwhelmed him. He feared that the discovery of aliens would destroy 2001. They phoned the pentagon..."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "If you can talk brilliantly
enough about a subject, you can create the consoling illusion it has been mastered."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "I don't think that writers or painters or
filmmakers function because they have something they particularly want to say. They have something that they feel. And they
like the art form; they like words, or the smell of paint, or celluloid and photographic images and working with actors. I
don't think that any genuine artist has ever been oriented by some didactic point of view, even if he thought he was."
RICHARD T JAMESON: "How are we supposed to
watch any Stanley Kubrick movie? Apprehension of so many of them has shifted between initial reviewing and years of re-viewing,
of reconsideration from the vantage of a culture changed, often as not, by the films themselves. That's a measure of their
impact on the artform and the audience, on how often the critics got it wrong."
MALCOLM MACDOWELL: "He's a genuius, but his
humor's black as charcoal. I wonder about his humanity."
SAUL BASS: "I can't say he's reasonable,
I can only say that he's obcessive in the best sense of the word. Because reasonableness doesn't make anything good. There
has to be a certain unreasonableness in any serious creative work and he is that way."
JONATHAN CECIL: "
I found him a likeable man. He’s also very distant. There was always going to be this Napoleon film. I always
thought he could have played the part very well himself."
SCORSESE: "Take 2001, the first film to join the camera and the computer for the creation of f/x. This was a breakthrough
of technical wizardry. Every frame of 2001 made you aware that the possibilities for cinematic manipulations are indeed infinite,
like Griffith's Intolerance, like Murnau's Sunrise, it was at once a super production, an experimental film and a visionary
SCORSESE: "The last frontier may be sexuality and beyond sexuality the complexity of the human psyches. This is the territory
that Stanley Kubrick has minded in his films, like Kazan, Kubrick was a New York rebel that converted into an iconoclast.
He emerged from independent productions and film noir to create his own unique visionary worlds. His association with Kirk
Douglas on Paths of Glory and Spartacus established him as a mayor player, but he couldn't stand being an employee on studio
projects and moved to London to make Lolita. He stayed there and hasn't worked in Hollywood since. He is one of the rare iconoclasts
who has enjoyed the luxury of operating completely on his own terms."
SCORSESE: "Here's James Mason, an European intellectual, discovering the trappings of small town America. When Kubrick made
Lolita, the subject of a middle aged man infatuated with a sexually precocious minor was still completely taboo. This is not
the contraband of a smuggler but an open defiance."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Barry Lyndon. Kubrick's boldest project, it's a period piece
set in 18th century Europe. He broke new technical ground having special lenses manufactured to capture the glow of the candle
lit mansions of aristocracy, instead of a picaresque tale, Kubrick offered another grim journey of self destruction, the rise
and fall of an opportunist, on the surface the approach was cold and distant, deceptive. But I found this to be one of the
most profoundly emotional films I've ever seen."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Kubrick's style is greatly unsettling. His audacity is to insist on slowness in order to recreate
the pace of life, and to ritualize behavior of the time, a great example is Barry Lyndon's seduction scene, which he stretches
until settles into a sort of trance, what always struck me is the ballet of emotions of the film, watch the tension between
the camera's movements and the characters body language orchestrated by the music in this scene."
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA: "In the 60's they were
four filmmakers who represented cinema and influenced everyone who came after: Fellini, Kurosawa, Bergman and Kubrick."
DARABONT: "Stanley Kubrick was a big inspiration. People accuse me of never using my own material. But when did Kubrick? You
look at his films and they are completely unique... completely seperate entities. Sometimes an artist rises above his source
material. I'd like to think that my films are personal enough to exist without harkening back to their respective novels."
BRIAN DE PALMA: "It took me 20 years
to appreciate Kubrick. I put Barry Lyndon on in my hotel room and couldn't look away. That's great film making."
DAVID CRONENBERG: "He died too young,
Stanley, and I'm sure he's absolutely pissed-off being dead. I think his movie (Eyes Wide Shut) definitely was not finished,
because he had the sound mix still to do and the looping with the actors, where you add dialogue and so change performances.
It's only people who don't know about filmmaking who think it will be Stanley's movie because a huge part of it won't be.
And I wonder who the hell is finishing editing it. Are they going to get Spielberg? It did occur to me to finish it, especially
given the subject matter. It feels a little like Crash to me on one level. But I don't know that I'd want to be in the middle
of that. It could get very political. The answer for a filmmaker is ‘Don't die!'
DAVID CRONENBERG: "I relate to Kubrick's
intelligence and literacy, and there seems to be a dearth of that in filmmaking these days, but I never thought of him as
a comrade in arms. In terms of subject matter and methodology, I think we were at far distant poles. Even the way he made
movies is much more techno-obsessed than I am. I don't think I'm techno-obsessed at all. I'm organic-obsessed. That's why
my technology is all organic. My understanding of technology is as an extension of the human body. So when people say, ‘Are
your movies about a fear of technology?' I don't see that. I see technology as innately human. It seems to be innate in us
to create and so much of our creativity comes out as technological invention. And I don't think of it as being outside ourselves.
I think it's inside us first and then it's an extension of us. And I don't get that from Kubrick's films."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Kubrick is really
the killer. The other night, there it is again--The Shining. What could I do? I had to watch the whole goddam thing."
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON:
"We're all children of Kubrick, aren't we? Is there anything you can do that he hasn't already done?"
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON: "It's so hard
to do anything that doesn't owe some kind of debt to what Stanley Kubrick did with music in movies. Inevitably, you're going
to end up doing something that he's probably already done before. It always seem like we're falling behind whatever he
came up with. 'Singin' in the Rain'' in Clockwork Orange — that was the first time I became so aware
of music in movies. So no matter how hard you try to do something new, you're always following behind."
WOODY ALLEN: "It was one of the few
times in my life that I realised that the artist was so much ahead of me."
DAVID MAMET: "The Killing is the world’s
greatest film noir. Kubrick, it seems, could and did do everything. From Dr. Strangelove, the world’s greatest
comedy (sharing the crown with Some Like It Hot), to 2001, the world’s greatest space film, and on and
on. The Killing is done in semi-documentary style, using voiceover (see also He Walked by Night, 1948, which also influenced
Jack Webb and the cop show of that golden era, Dragnet). Watching this film is, to me, like eating marzipan. There
cannot be enough of it. This film is so good it makes perfection seem tawdry. The script is perfect (by truly hard-boiled
Jim Thompson), the ending, as per Aristotle, shocking and inevitable, and, not for nothing, notice the marquee of the sleazy
burlesque house next door to the pawnshop where Hayden buys the fatal suitcase. It advertises Lenny Bruce.”
DAVID MAMET: "Kwariani, who acted in
Kubrick's "The Killing", had been a Greco-Roman champion in Europe before the war and a “professional” wrestler
in the States afterward. In the film he sits in a chess parlor and schemes with Sterling Hayden to take down a racetrack in
one of the great talk scenes in movies. Hayden hires Kola to distract the cops, get arrested and go to jail. Kola wants a
piece of the action rather than the straight salary he’s been offered, as he scents that it will be a big score. And
Hayden turns him down, and Kwariani shrugs, and they shake hands, and Kwariani heads off to do the job, take the fall and
go to jail, and isn’t life like that? I think it is. And my view, I am sure, was informed by that of the film’s
director, Stanley Kubrick, and his fighter, Kwariani."
GUS VAN SANT: "There's usually some
of Kubrick in all of my films."
GUS VAN SANT: "Kubrick was a good model.
He had an autonomy I've never had but that one desire. He organized things a certain way. And he had a good relationship with
Warner Brothers. He was their class act."
GORDON STAINFORTH: "Stanley seemed
to be much more in love with the art of the film - with visual imagery and stories with mythic/timeless themes (and to some
extent with ‘musical and poetic emotions’) - than with intellectual theories and arguments. Of course he had an
intellectual side to him, but I would not therefore describe him as an intellectual, any more than I would describe him as
a chess player because he played chess, or a marksman because he was in a local shooting club. Actually I’d sooner describe
him as those, because those were activities he took part in, whereas I never ever saw him as it were "wearing the hat" of
an intellectual, e.g discussing intellectual theories about movie-making. In other words, he never seemed remotely like a
university don or even a lecturer. He tended to keep his intellectual ideas very much to himself (perhaps as a deliberate
secret, his political views being a good example). In another walk of life I can imagine him much more as a "mad" scientist
than an academic philosopher, or a military general rather than a politician. Of course it’s possible that between movies,
and very much in private, he opened up on these issues, but I doubt it. Generally speaking, he would not be drawn, and preferred
other people to discuss his work. I know that he took an enormous amount of care with the few interviews he gave, and as far
as I know these were never verbal, but were always written answers to written questions, and that he spent a lot of time editing
TODD HAYNES: "I saw 2001:
A Space Odyssey again and knew instantly that this is what Los Angeles should look like. It should be a space zone. It should
be akin to this future world devoid of human organisms. A world in which nature is completely controlled. The formal severity
of a film like 2001, the immaculateness, the restrained camera, which is in fact used in a lot of Kubricks films, really inspired
WILLIAM FRIEDKIN: (spoken to a journalist
after he had won the Best Director Oscar for "The French Connection") "I think Stanley Kubrick is the best American
filmmaker of the year. In fact, not just this year, but the best-period."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "If Gary Cooper and
Henry Fonda had a baby, it would be Matthew Modine."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "If I did a hundred
takes on every scene, I'd never finish a film. Lee Ermey, for instance, would spend every spare second with the dialogue coach,
and he always knew his lines. I suppose Lee averaged eight or nine takes. He sometimes did it in three. Because he was prepared."
VINCENT D'ONOFRIO: "The night before
we were going to shoot the murder scene in the bathroom, Kubrick said, 'Do you know what you're going to do tomorrow?' And
I said, 'I think so,' so he walked away, and then turned and said,' Just remember, it has to be big. It has to be, like, Lon
D'ONOFRIO: "His (Kubrick's) best piece of advice was that being real is one thing, but being interesting is better."
KUBRICK: "I only want people working on this one (Full Metal Jacket) that no one will hire, or, if they hired them, would
never dream of hiring them again."
ARLISS HOWARD: "Presumably what we're looking for in this world are people who know what they want, and
Stanley Kubrick surely does. And when he doesn't, he waits until he sees what he does."
"The running gag was that Stanley had already shot the film somewhere else and when we got to London he was just going
to superimpose us over it."
HERR: "They were a joly enthusiastic crew, some very talented, some not, all thrilled to be in a Stanley Kubrick movie- I
think they all saw blue skies and high times ahead- but there was a plateau of discipline that they couldn't have known existed
before. Stanley showed them, and it hurt."
MAJOR HOWARD: "Stanley was a master among masters. He was about perfection and
his films are classic. I was a huge Stanley Kubrick fan before starring in Full Metal Jacket. Having the
opportunity to work with him only deepened my respect for his vision and talent. We will all miss you."
HERR: "Stanley Kubrick was a friend of mine, insofar as people like Stanley have friends, and as if there are any people like
Stanley now. Famously reclusive, as I'm sure you've heard, he was in fact a complete failure as a recluse, unless you believe
that a recluse is simply someone who seldom leaves their house."
" I like Stanley. Stanley is funny and human and not as eccentric as he would prehaps prefer to appear. My favourite movie
is Dr Strangelove, and Paths of Glory is one of the great classic war films. I'd stand Stnaley a glass anytime. Two, maybe."
KUBRICK: "Some people demand a five-line capsule summary.
Something you'd read in a magazine. They want you to say, 'This is the story of the duality of man and the duplicity
of governments.' I hear people try to do it -- give the five-line summary -- but if a film has any substance or subtlety,
whatever you say is never complete, it's usually wrong, and it's necessarily simplistic: truth is too multifaceted to be contained
in a five-line summary. If the work is good, what you say about it is usually irrelevant."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "One of the things that amazes me about some directors who have had financial successes, is that they
seem eager to give up directing to become film moguls. If you care about films, I don't see how you could want someone else
to direct for you."
STANLEY KUBRICK: "The novel (The Shining) is by no means a serious literary work, but the plot is for the most
part extremely well worked out, and for a film that is all that really matters.
STANLEY KUBRICK: "With The Shining, the problem was to extract the essential plot and to re-invent sections of the
story that were weak. The characters needed to be developed a bit differently than they were in the novel. It is in the pruning
down phase that the undoing of great novels usually occurs because so much of what is good about them has to do with the fineness
of the writing, the insight of the author and often the density of the story. But The Shining was a differnt matter. Its virtues
lay almost entirely in the plot, and it didn't prove to be very much of a problem to adapt it into the screenplay form. Diane
and I talked a lot about the book and then we made an outline of the scenes we thougth should be included in the film. This
list of scenes was shuffled and reshuffled until we thought it was right, and then we began to write. We did several drafts
of the screenplay, which was subsequently revised at different stages before and during shooting. To be honest, the end
of the book seemed a bit hackneyed to me and not very interesting. I wanted an ending which the audience could not anticipate."
STEVEN SPIELBERG: “Well don’t you (Kubrick) remember the sequence
(in Dr Strangelove) when they were trying to re-take Burpelson Air Force Base, and you shot that tremendous cinema verite
scene with long lenses and hand held cameras with people shooting at the base and the squibs going off…and it was all
done hand held? Well, it was the Signal Corps cameraman, and you, that influenced me on how to tell the story (Schindler’s
List) that way, and then later on how to do Saving Private Ryan.”
OLIVER STONE: "I was eighteen years old and it seemed so silly and ridiculous, and yet there was something
undeniably powerful about it. It was one of the first films I saw as a young man that pointed to the government as indifferent
to the needs of the people. Government as enemy to the people. I suppose many of our fears of big government are rooted in that theme, in Kubrick’s
VICTOR LYNDON (associate producer): "The creative side is entirely in his hands- he even
designs his own posters."
JAMES CAMERON: "It was my 40th birthday present
to myself. I was on vacation in Europe, and I called him up and said, ‘I’m coming over,’ and went
to his house in England. My wife at the time was freaked out that I wasn’t going to be back home for my birthday. But
I said, ‘I’m going to meet Stanley Kubrick. There’s no present, no surprise party, no nothing you could
give me that would supersede that.’ So I went to see this reclusive guy knocking around this big house and he just totally
wanted to know how True Lies was made. He had a print of it on his KEM down in his basement, and made me sit there and tell
him how I had done all the effects shots. So I spent the whole time talking about my movie with Stanley Kubrick, which was
not where I thought the day was going to go. But I want to be like Stanley, I want to be that guy. When I’m 80, I want
to still be the guy trying to figure it all out."
“I was actually a film student when I first saw [A Clockwork Orange] on videotape, and eventually saw it in the theatre
and discovered even more that I had missed before. And I discovered that you could actually get away with moving the camera
slowly, revealing things slowly with a zoom or with a dolly, and having it still be continually interesting.”
“The lasting and ultimately most important reputation of a film is not based on reviews, but on what, if anything, people
say about it over the years, and on how much affection for it they have.”
“Costume drama is difficult to do. So much of it seems to be, “Good morning, because it’s the Napoleonic
era.” I think a genius costume drama is Barry Lyndon, because it’s so straightforward. Kubrick’s such a
master with the camera and the actors that he doesn’t have to make any further points.”
“Open a great novel anywhere and you can find great writing; similarly, one could almost take any single image from
Barry Lyndon and hang it on the wall, as elegant and majestic as a work by any of the eighteenth-century masters that inspired
it. Evoking and exposing the hypocrisy, decaying grandeur, stultifying etiquette, cracked make-up, fussy fashions and class
cruelties of the bewigged and candle powered aristocracy, Kubrick keeps an appropriate distance for one toiling two centuries
later, yet allows the audience to be charmed first by Barry, then by the landscape, music and drama as they unfold before
MARK ROMANEK (citing 2001 as the
catalyst for him entering film-making): "We had a similar passion for Stanley Kubrick. He (Brian De Palma) showed me
his short films, which I thought were really good and showed a lot of visual flair. "
“In Barry Lyndon, Kubrick took us inside the canvases, many of them recognisable, and allowed us to live and breathe
a bygone century in a way that few other directors had done.”
“I was supposed to narrate the movie but Kubrick got some bored Englishman to do it, and if he’s bored, what’s
the audience going to be? I was thrown by what came out- it wasn’t Barry Lyndon anymore; it was about the time, and
it was a little static for me. That was my feeling, and I may have spoken up about it. He got mad and wrote me a mean letter,
and I wrote him back saying, “Look, the movie I saw was like walking through a museum. Which is all right, but we shot
an adventure story!”
“Stanley Kubrick kind of rattled me about and looked over his half-rim glasses and said, “You’re very good.”
Of course, I was very deferential: “No, no, it’s you! I’m just happy to be here!” “No,”
he said, “you’re very good, and I’m very excited to see where you’ll go from here. Are you really
going to school?” It’s what I’d wanted since I was a young kid, but everything was changing. So I had to
see that I was trying to conform to something I never really, truly believed on the inside. I knew what I really wanted to
do, and he woke me up to that.”
FORD COPPOLA: "I think he's probably the greatest American film director. He's
completely original. He's still ahead of anyone else."
IAIN SOFTLEY (director:
"Wings of the Dove"): "He makes surprising movies. "2001" is one of my favorite films.
"Clockwork Orange' is a great film as well."
MICHAEL MOORE: "I can't think of a film of his that I dislike, even the ones that weren't up to the caliber
of 'Dr. Strangelove' or '2001.' For the two-and-a-half hours spent watching a Kubrick movie I have left reality,
and I am in that place where I am totally consumed by what I am seeing and feeling."
JAN HARLAN: "Yes, AI would have been his next picture. He loved this story - a dark story
hidden under a fairy tale, a typical Kubrick story. Mankind has disappeared, and yet the story doesn't even say why. We developed
machines to such perfection that these machines were able to sustain themselves in adverse conditions. The machines reached
what we have never achieved: the absence of rivalry and jealousy. Steven Spielberg
adapted the script faithfully to his own sense of story-telling; he changed the form into a Spielberg film but left the substance
"The (Kubrick-Spielberg) admiration was not always mutual. Back in 1987, at the
end of a long interview with The Washington Post at England's Pinewood studios,
Kubrick confided that he had attempted to watch Spielberg's 'The Color Purple'. Kubrick said:
'But I had to turn it off after 10 minutes, because it made me so nauseated.'"
DAVID SIMON: “The
movie Paths of Glory with George Macready and Adolphe Menjou as the French generals?
I don't know if you ever saw it, but that is the dramatic model for our show "The Wire". We're working off Greek plays and
we're doing some other stuff, but that's the most important political film of the 20th century if you ask me."
DAVID SIMON: “I first saw Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" as an undergraduate
at the University of Maryland. The last scene -- an
affirmation of the dignity inherent in even the most common man -- shattered me.
I got that much out of it, at least, though I was still quite young and somewhat literal. I think I mistook the film for a war story, or a courtroom tale. I know
I didn't see it as indicative of anything other than what I then regarded naively as a unique
period of human history -- the charnel house of World War One. I think I now
understand the film, one of Kubrick's finest,
better. It is, I believe, the most important political film of the last century, a stark testament to the power that modern
institutions wield and the ultimate vulnerability of individuals who are
served or are supposed to be served by such institutions. Humphrey Cobb
wrote the novel before the nuclear age, and Kubrick put it to
film well before the information age and the cult of political terrorism rendered our planet small and lethal. But all the
elements by which human beings are
devalued and destroyed for the sake of someone else's greater purpose are there, latent, on display. They
actually banned Paths of Glory in France, thinking -- too literally again -- that it was about France. No. God, no.
It's all of us, lost in a rigged game.
SIMON: "I'm cynical about everybody in management. I think the archetype of all our bosses comes from Stanley Kubrick's film
"Paths of Glory". That is to me one of the fundamental political
films of the 20th century. You look at George Macready and Adolphe Menjou
in that movie and
those are The Wire bosses throughout seasons one through five.
DAVID SIMON: "Now
if you haven’t seen Paths of Glory ever or in a while, I suggest you go out and rent it. Made in 1957, it’s Stanley Kubrick’s film recounting a true incident in the French
World War I in which three soldiers were executed symbolically because of the so-called “failure” of three regiments
to undertake a suicide mission aimed
at a well-defended German hill. In the movie Kirk Douglas portrays the military lawyer defending the soldiers; Adolph Menjou plays the General who orders the suicide mission; George
Macready is the General who orders
the execution of his own men for cowardice. It’s one of the most chilling movies ever made, and I think it’s that
because it gets at a fundamental
truth of systems. Whether it’s an army, a government, a school, a business, or even a church, systems tend to organize
around the protection of the elite who
run them. That’s why Enron betrayed its employees and stockholders. That’s why the Roman Catholic hierarchy sided with abusive priests against their victims.
Even systems which exist to serve
the larger good end up being about something else; and that “something else”
usually involves both advancing and protecting the institution at the expense of the human beings involved."
JAN HARLAN: "His legacy? An artistic expression of a warning to us all:
We are not governed by our intellect and knowledge but by our emotions. Kubrick's film about Napoleon would have told yet
another story about this entrapment. No man is safe in the emotional entanglement - and he did not exclude himself, either."
TERRY GILLIAM: "The great
difference between Kubrick and Spielberg is - Spielberg is more successful. His films make much more money. But they're comforting,
they give you answers, always, the films are answers, and I don't think they're very clever answers. (...) Spielberg and the
success of most films in Hollywood, I think, is down to the fact thay they're comforting,they tie things up in nice little
bows, gives you answers, even if the answers are stupid, they're answers. Oh, you go home, you don't have to worry about it
(...) There was a wonderful quote in a book that Freddy Raphael wrote about the making of "Eyes Wide Shut", it's called "Eyes
Wide Open", and he's talking to Kubrick about "Schindler's List" and the Holocaust and he says: "The thing is, Schindler's
List is about success, the Holocaust was about failure." And that's Kubrick, and that's just spot on. "Schindler's List" had
a "save those few people" happy ending. "A man can do what a man can do", and stop death for a few people. But that's not
what Holocaust is about, it's about the complete failure of civilization, to allow six million people to die. And I know which
side I'd rather be on. I'd like to have a nice house like Spielberg, but I know which side I'd rather be on."
JEAN-JACQUES BEINEIX: "We watched all those films, but I must say that the
man for whom I had great love and reverence was Stanley Kubrick. Stanley Kubrick
is my master in terms of style, in terms of changing all the time, the topics of his movies.
Every film was a new experience, a new opportunity to comment on the world. The
use of aesthetics, music, the camera, actors. It was all brilliant. Brilliant."
JEAN-JACQUES BEINEIX: "None of those directors influenced
me in the way that Kubrick did stylistically. They all had their own ways of
making films, but it was more about the discipline, more about the way they lived, the way they were directors and how the
crew reacted to them when they were doing something. So, I learned the crew. I learned the relation with the photographer.
I learned the relation with the special effects guy, with the gophers, with the teamsters. Things you never learn in school because you cannot. So, I
learned the hard way, getting kicked in my ass many times. I had to fight. And also, I fought for them, serving them as much as possible, trying to fulfill what
they were expecting, sometimes trying to go beyond what they wanted."
STEVEN SPIELBERG: "In
the whole history of movies, there has been nothing like Kubrick's vision. It was a vision of hope and
wonder, of grace
and of mystery, of humour and contradictions.
a gift to us, and now it's a legacy."
"Kubrick's science fiction is always about the psychological. There's stuff in that movie. All the effects are inspired ideas,
as is the case with A Clockwork Orange. In fact, A Clockwork Orange had a huge inspiration on Pi in that I was fed up with
all the films that had been coming out that weren't really edgy. In the the theatres this past summer, there were no films
had any sort of style or direction - that were cool, hip and different than other films. Growing up, I always wanted to see
A Clockwork Orange. I've seen it at least ten times in the movie theatre because it's so riveting. I want to aspire to those
WENDY CARLOS: "After all, creative perfectionists have become nearly an
anathema as the centuries increment. So much of what we are asked to read, to hear, to look at, even to eat, seems the result
of expedience, a matter of pure commerce. Intelligence, even touches of genius (as he had ample times) have become quaint
relics of an earlier age. Our loss, more than you might think."
MARTIN SCORSESE: "Stanley Kubrick was one of the only modern masters we
"He was an earwig....he'd go in one ear and not come out the
other until he'd eaten clean through your head."
TONY PIPOLO: "[Ciment]...draws attention
not only to Kubrick the misanthrope, but also to the Romantic who views art as the "quintessential act of a free conscience,"
and the modernist, who embodies the "contradictory and troubled situation of the skeptic," but affirms his existence by "investing all his
Promethean energies in a work which he is determined will last. Kubrick was a modernist with a medieval craftsman's obsession
STAINFORTH: "I think then that Stanley actually told Vivian NOT to cut any of her documentary until the movie was finished
because it was going to be part of the promotion for the main movie and would contain many clips. Vivian's original final
cut worked extremely well, but unfortunately Stanley was not entirely happy with it - he always saw the main purpose of the
documentary as a way of promoting The Shining, so he had us take out two nice scenes of him directing (part of one of which
of him directing Shelley in the bathroom HAS reappeared in A Life in Pictures), so that he could have us put in two more clips
from The Shining. Vivian was very upset, but Stanley's views of course prevailed, as always! The final cut, in the sense of
what scenes of Stanley were in and what were out, was his."
FRANCO ZEFFIRELLI (Italian Director): "Kubrick made me dream, eyes wide open."
ED DIGIULIO (on Barry Lyndon): "As a technician and not a creative artist,
I asked Kubrick the obvious question: Why were we going to all this trouble when the scene could be easily photographed with
the high-quality super-speed lenses available today (such as those manufactured by Canon and Zeiss) with the addition of some
fill light. He replied that he was not doing this just as a gimmick, but because he wanted to preserve the natural patina
and feeling of these old castles at night as they actually were. The addition of any fill light would have added an artificiality
to the scene that he did not want. To achieve the amount of light he actually needed in the candlelight scenes, and in order
to make the whole movie balance out properly, Kubrick went ahead and push-developed the entire film one stop - outdoor and
indoor scenes alike. I am sure that everyone who has seen the results on the screen must agree that Kubrick has succeeded
in achieving some of the most unique and beautiful imagery in the cinematic art."
JAN HARLAN: "[Kubrick's verision of] Gigolo Joe was, and forgive the double-entendre,
Stanley went all the way with this guy. It was an interesting, black figure who was to make a lot of money and was as greedy
as his masters who built him. A very interesting character, but it would be an R-rated film, and it would be a different
story. It would still be the story about the boy who wants to become real, and the fairy tale, all of that was untouched
by Steven, that's all in Stanley's script. It is just individual characters that were much more pessimistic and much darker."
JUDE LAW: "[In the original concept], once David was dumped he met up
with a more adult mecha who led him through a more adult mecha world, and Gigolo Joe was much darker, much more aggressive,
much more twisted."
BILLY WILDER: "Kubrick was a wonderful director. I love all his movies. These are pictures any director
would be proud to be associated with, much less to make."
LEON VITALI: "There’s no doubt that after finishing
the video marketing and video mastering around the world for Eyes Wide Shut, we would have gone straight
into A.I., had he lived. It’s difficult to say how he would have proceeded with the script, especially the ending.
Stanley always had several alternative ideas in play at any given time. That was certainly true of his other films."
JAN HARLAN: "...[Eyes Wide Shut] was almost prudish, compared to his original
idea for "AI", which would've confronted pornography."
KATHARINA KUBRICK: "He did not know his health was failing. He was planning to make AI."
MARLON BRANDO: "Kubrick
projected such a completely distinctive style with so little previous filmmaking experience. Here was a typical, episodic
detective story—nothing unusual in the plot—but Stanley made a series of bizarre and interesting choices which
buttressed and embellished an ordinary story into an exciting film.”
CUNEO (film editor): "Stanley is an inspiration for all of us who worked with
him—a director who marched to his own drummer and never compromised his own unique vision.”
BO MADSEN (Mew's lead guitarist): "The hardest thing to do in creating something is to try to give
it depth and still have it relate to your audience. Stanley Kubrick makes complicated films, but they are so beautiful that
they connect with people."
TONY CURTIS: "Stanley was my favourite
[director to work with] and a genius with the camera...His greatest effectiveness was his one-on-one relationship with actors."
BRIAN DE PALMA: "I saw Barry Lyndon at the Cinerama Dome on a screen so
big I just went, "Oh my God!""
MARLON BRANDO: "Stanley is unusually perceptive, and delicately
attuned to people. He has an adroit intellect, and is a creative thinker--not a repeater, not a fact-gatherer. He digests
what he learns and brings to a new project original point of view and a reserved passion."
KIRK DOUGLAS: "He'll be a fine director some day, if he falls flat on his face just one. It might teach
him how to compromise."
GEORGE C. SCOTT: "He's so self-effacing and apologetic it's impossible to be offended
CHRIS CUNNINGHAM: "He was a really lovely, really normal bloke. He was totally relaxed
and had a brilliant sense of humour. the press totally got the wrong idea, but if you don't do interviews people have to blow
what already exists out of proportion."
DIANE JOHNSON: "He was a funny, brilliant, well-read eater of Chinese sweet-and-sour
ribs and an appreciative watcher of other people's movies, loyal to old friends, a tender-hearted animal lover, father, and
husband, and of course a brilliant filmmaker."
MATTHEW MODINE: "He's probably the most heartfelt person I ever met. It's hard for
him, being from the Bronx with that neighbourhood mentality, and he tries to cover it up. Right underneath that veneer is
a very loving, very conscientious man, who doesn't like pain, who doesn't like to see humans suffering or animals suffering.
I was really surprised by the man."
FREDERIC RAPHAEL: "That Stanley Kubrick was the most remarkable film-maker of his
generation should not need saying. He was an innovator for whom conventional formulae and habits were never appealing. He
liked to succeed but success was never enough to justify bad work; nor was good work rendered less worthwhile by lack of applause.
He knew failure - and humiliation - as well as success; he had often been frustrated by the system which, by his guile and
brilliance, he seemed - in the end, at least - to have transcended."
WENDY CARLOS: "Stanley loved animals, and was often surrounded by assorted purring
cats and affable dogs. He was mostly quiet-spoken and easy to take in person, a bit detached like the cool chess expert he
also was, and I seldom heard him angry. [...] He would meet you and at once gather closer and focus on you, your thoughts,
experiences, and collected tidbits of knowledge and expertise. It made one feel rather important, and valuable to the project
afoot, but it did not seem planned or phoney."
MICHAEL HERR: "One of the most gregarious men I ever knew"
STANLEY KUBRICK: "Heroic violence in the Hollywood sense is a great
deal like the motivational researchers' problem in selling candy. The problem with candy is not to convince people that it's
good...but to free them from the guilt of eating it. We have seen so many times that the body of a film serves merely as an
excuse for motivating a final blood-crazed slaughter by the heroes of his enemies, and at the same time to relieve the audience's
guilt of enjoying this mayhem."
SERGIO LEONE: "The Americans have always depicted the West in extremely
romantic terms - with the horse that runs to his master's whistle. They have never treated the West seriously, just as we
have never treated ancient Rome seriously...Perhaps the most serious debate on the subject was made by Kubrick in the
film Spartacus: the other films have always been cardboard fables. It was this superficiality that struck and interested me."
ROMAN POLANSKI: "We'd spend endless hours talking. I could see he was trying to understand my feelings
and I don't blame him for it. He's a very wise man."
JAMES CAMERON (on Kubrick's curiosity regarding the SFX in "True Lies"): "But it turns out that he does
this with everybody. He's like a brain vampire. He likes to get people and suck what they're doing out of their heads."
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: "He hated
the war on Iraq and watched every second. And I’m sure he was not the only man that did that. He certainly was somebody
who listened to the news all the time and had strong opinions, which he changed from day to day as anybody who is really intelligent
would, since we only get snippets of the truth anyway."
CHRISTIANE KUBRICK: "And he was ill reading up on the detail, as anybody would be. It is not survivable and its
not…you cannot…the reason Stanley gave up on it is because Steven’s film was about jews that lived and just
a few. If you tell the whole truth in a film, which is the only way you could honour all these dead people and be respectful
enough, you would have to tell the whole truth. You could not do it to the actors, you could not do it to the director and
you could not do it to the audience. It would be all that it was. Absolutely unsurvivable. Pyschologically at any case."
KUBRICK: "He read the whole SS detail catalogues of what they did and photographs...the
lot. And nobody can do that without becoming extremely depressed and disorientated."
KUBRICK: "All Stanley's life he said, 'Never, ever go near power. Don't become
friends with anyone who has real power. It's dangerous.' We both were very nervous on journeys when you have to show your
passport. He did not like that moment. We always had to go through separate entrances, he with [our] two American daughters
upstairs, and me with my German daughter downstairs. The foreigners downstairs! He'd be looking for us nervously. Would he
ever get us back?"
JEROLD J. ABRAMS: "Looking
back on this [Kubrick's] remarkable filmography, it is clear that it has the distinctly architectonic quality of any great
philosophical system: it says something about everything. All the facets of human
nature are revealed in their wide-ranging diversity: high and low culture, love and sex, history, war, crime, madness, space
travel, social conditioning, and technology. Yet, as internally diverse as Kubrick’s
filmography is, taken as a whole, it is also quite coherent. It takes all the differentiated sides of reality and unifies
them into one rich, complex philosophical vision that happens to be very close to existentialism."