Robert Altman

Film director

1925 – 2006


Who was Robert Altman?

Robert Bernard Altman was an American film director and screenwriter. A five time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director and an enduring figure from the New Hollywood era, Altman was considered a "maverick" in making films that are highly naturalistic, but with a stylized perspective unlike most Hollywood films.

His style of filmmaking was unique among directors in that his subjects covered most genres but with a "subversive" twist, typically relying on satire and humor to express his personal vision. Altman developed a reputation for being "anti-Hollywood" and non-conformist in both his themes and directing style. However, actors especially enjoyed working under his direction because he encouraged them to improvise, thereby inspiring their own creativity.

He preferred large casts for his films, and developed a multitrack recording technique which produced overlapping dialogue from multiple actors. This produced a more natural, more dynamic, and more complex experience for the viewer. He also used highly mobile camera work and zoom lenses to enhance the activity taking place on the screen. Critic Pauline Kael, writing about his directing style, says "he can make film fireworks out of next to nothing."


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Feb 20, 1925
Kansas City
Also known as
  • Robert Bernard Altman
  • Bob
  • Robert B. Altman
  • United States of America
  • Wentworth Military Academy
  • University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Lionsgate Entertainment
Nov 20, 2006
West Hollywood

on July 23, 2013