Stanley Kubrick is considered one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, admired by fans and critics alongside other icons such as Hitchcock, Fellini, Kurosawa, Spielberg, and Wilder. Yet Kubrick stands alone in his personal mystique: He was a recluse who shunned publicity and largely refused to discuss his work. His projects were surrounded by secrecy, as he spent many years perfecting his vision of each film -- allowing many years to pass before each new Kubrick film was completed.
The great, multilayered depth of his films, as well as his unusual off-camera persona combine to make Kubrick one of the most enigmatic, inscrutable figures in filmmaking.
One gauge of Kubrick's prominence is the fact that three of films are considered such masterpieces that they are included on the AFI's list of the 100 greatest films in American cinema: "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964), "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and "A Clockwork Orange" (1971).
Unlike some great directors who became masters of a single genre (such as John Ford with Westerns and Hitchcock with thrillers), Kubrick's work embodies an almost unmatched range: "2001" is widely considered the greatest science fiction film ever. "The Shining" (1980) is one of the most terrifying and critically acclaimed horror films ever. "Full Metal Jacket" (1987) is a classic, groundbreaking war movie. "Dr. Strangelove" is one of the greatest comedies of all time. Some of his noir pictures, such as "The Killing" (1956) and "Killers Kiss" (1955) are less well known than his later films, but they are nevertheless classics of that genre.
The stunning originality and overwhelming quality of Kubrick films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Dr. Strangelove" literally changed moviemaking by inspiring generations of filmmakers. For a filmmaker of his stature, Kubrick made remarkably few films. But virtually all of his feature films are studied by filmmakers today, and nearly all of them retain popular appeal. Even Kubrick's "lesser" works such as the historical "Barry Lyndon" (1975, filmed as a sort of "moving painting") and "Paths of Glory" easily exceed the quality of most directors' best work.
Filmography source: Internet Movie Database. Web page created 31 December 2001. Last modified 31 December 2001.