Looking for the best filmmaker quotes? Whether you’re an experienced filmmaker or someone shooting their first short film, these quotes from the masters of cinema are guaranteed to inspire and help take your filmmaking to the next level.

The Role of the Filmmaker

There is only one way of looking at this trade: The filmmaker is responsible for everything. To rephrase that thought: Everything is your fault, and only rarely will you be praised for anything. But face it, if something goes wrong with your work, you the filmmaker (director), who fought for total control, as we all do, should not have allowed it to happen. If you’re going to work in films then you must straight off accept total responsibility. That’s why you need to know something about all aspects of the process.

Elia Kazan

The thing is, as a film director, you’re essentially alone: You have to tell a story primarily through pictures, and only you know the film you see in your head.

Mike Nichols

One of the best things about directing movies, as opposed to merely writing them, is that there’s no confusion about who’s to blame: You are.

Nora Ephron

To be a filmmaker, you have to lead. You have to be psychotic in your desire to do something. People always like the easy route. You have to push very hard to get something unusual, something different.

Danny Boyle

Everything a director does must help the story and the performances. Otherwise, it is useless.

William Wyler

A filmmaker has almost the same freedom as a novelist has when he buys himself some paper.

Stanley Kubrick

I feel the director, or filmmaking as I prefer to think of him, is wholly responsible for the film in its completed form.

Stanley Kubrick

There are three equal things: the writing, slogging through the actual shooting and the editing.

Stanley Kubrick

Good directing is good writing and good casting.

Robert Zemeckis

You know, somebody studying sleep discovered that if they prevent you from dreaming, you go crazy. It is completely the same with me. If I could not create my dreams – my films – that would make me completely crazy.

Ingmar Bergman

I don’t dream at night, I dream at day, I dream all day; I’m dreaming for a living.

Steven Spielberg

What I try to do – I mean ‘try,’ because you don’t get there all the time – is to have impact with content. It’s those moments in which you’re trying to bring people beyond filmed theater. If I have an ambition, it’s that.

Michael Mann

Our duty as storytellers is to bring people to the station. There each person will choose his or her own train… But we must at least take them to the station… to a point of departure.

Federico Fellini

You have to steal a lot. You have to have a criminal mentality to be a film director.

Clint Eastwood

A director makes 100 decisions an hour. Students ask me how you know how to make the right decision, and I say to them, “If you don’t know how to make the right decision, you’re not a director.

George Lucas

The best director is the one you don’t see.

Billy Wilder

The director’s task is to recreate life, its movement, its contradictions, its dynamic and conflicts. It is his duty to reveal every iota of the truth he has seen, even if not everyone finds that truth acceptable.

Andrei Tarkovsky

Film is a dramatised reality and it is the director’s job to make it appear real… an audience should not be conscious of technique.

David Lean

Good directors don’t answer questions with their work. They generate debate and create discussion.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Each picture has some sort of rhythm which only the director can give it. He has to be like the captain of a ship.

Fritz Lang

There is a great skill in blending together good performances and a good story. Enormous finesse. But there’s no mystery to it from a technical point of view. Millions of people have gone to the movies all their lives could direct circles around me. They get everything going beautifully ; their photography is great and their movies are beautiful. But where they fall short, like many TV commercial directors who make movies, is that they don’t have a dramatic sense or a sense of comedy. That’s why Bunuel’s films can look terrible and still be masterpieces, because overwhelmingly what’s important is content. Every piece of junk that comes out looks good. Because a director can just go out and hire a first-rate cameraman and a first-rate editor, and they all know what to do.

Woody Allen

Unless you know every aspect and phase of the film-production process, you can’t be a movie director. A movie director is like a front-line commanding officer. He needs a thorough knowledge of every branch of the service, and if he doesn’t command each division, he cannot command the whole.

Akira Kurosawa

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