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

We don’t make movies to make more money. We make money to make more movies.

Walt Disney

I don’t want to be an art-house movie guy, where people who go to film school can discuss your work, but people who haven’t studied cinema can’t appreciate it. By the same token, I don’t want to be the guy who’s making this commercial pap that people lap up but that disappears the minute you leave the theater.

Jon Favreau

For a director there are commercial rules that it is necessary to obey. In our profession, an artistic failure is nothing; a commercial failure is a sentence. The secret is to make films that please the public and also allow the director to reveal his personality.

John Ford

The whole reason one wants to do lower budget films is because the lower the budget, the bigger the ideas, the bigger the themes, the more interesting the art.

Francis Ford Coppola

I don’t believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there’s one thing that’s dangerous for an artist, it’s precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and the rest of it.

Federico Fellini

When you make a movie outside the system and it’s successful critically or a moderate financial success, you usually have to go back into the system and make a big hit.

Brian De Palma

If you have ideals about pictures and you direct them it’s like walking on a tightrope with an umbrella in one hand and a script in the other. For however artistically inclined a director may be he can’t afford to turn an entirely blind eye to “box-office.”

Alfred Hitchcock

The easiest way to make sure a movie is successful is to make a traditional movie very well. If you make a slightly unusual movie or [don’t] exactly follow the rules as everyone sees them, then you get in trouble or, like with Apocalypse Now (1979), wait 20 years to hear that was really good.

Francis Ford Coppola

To jump from the indie ranks to play with the big dogs, there’s a gate you have to pass through.

Richard Linklater

The “creator” of films deals with a medium of expression that interests not only himself but also millions of other people, and most of the time he feels the same desire as other artists: “I want to succeed today. I want fame now. I want to please, to delight, to move at once.” Midway between this wish and its realization is the public and they want only one thing from a film: “I’ve paid. I want to be diverted, caught up, involved. I want to forget my troubles, my surroundings, my work, I want to get away from myself. I am here, seated in the darkness, and like a woman about to give birth, I want to be delivered.”

Ingmar Bergman

If you want to make pictures and enjoy making them, you better go out and make something that a lot of people want to see. And then they’ll turn you lose and let you make what you want. And then maybe you can do some of the things that you want to do. But as a beginner, you haven’t got a chance.

Howard Hawks

[on attracting an audience] One can create the most marvellous things, but if they are not accepted, it’s a tragedy. It’s like Van Gogh, who sold only one painting, and in fact to his brother, I believe. This great painter, who is my absolute favourite, lived his life for us, not for himself. I don’t have this ambition; I would like to share my view of the world with others.

Roman Polanski

I didn’t want to go down the route of spending a year of my life making a movie that would never be seen. I may as well go down a route making a film that a lot of people will see, which is the whole idea behind cinema.

Ridley Scott

Big Budget Movies

People think bigger movies are bad, and that’s just not true – there’s bad big films, and there’s bad little ones. The bad big ones have to make their money back, so they’ll push them down your throat, but the little ones just disappear if they’re bad.

Jon Favreau

The big-budget blockbuster is becoming one of the most dependable forms of filmmaking.

Peter Jackson

The question of commercialism is a source of worry. Must one make a choice, must it be a matter of either setting your sights on winning an Academy Award and becoming a millionaire or making only the movies you want to make and starving to death?

Martin Scorsese

I think a lot of people do big movies not because they are talented artists but because they can function in the circumstances.

Ang Lee

I think you get in trouble if you make experimental big studio films.

Richard Linklater

If studios don’t get their money back, we don’t have any movies. So it is important that films are successful, and I am fully supportive of that because I’m not just a director, I’m also not stupid. I’ve been in this business long enough and, to a certain extent, I’m a businessman; I know the importance of that.

Ridley Scott

One of the troubles of directors universally is that they’ll make a big picture, it might be a hit and then they try to top it and usually fall flat on their face. I try to make it a rule, that if you make a big picture that is a hit, the next one do a cheap picture – relax for three or four weeks while you’re preparing for another story. And usually of course to my mind, the little picture is always better… some people keep on trying to top themselves and they can’t.

John Ford

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