Academy Award-winning director of the ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'' trilogy, ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' and ''Film/ForrestGump'', Robert Zemeckis started off as a protégé of Creator/StevenSpielberg in TheSeventies. Zemeckis and his writing partner Bob Gale (they were collectively known as The Bobs) wrote several cult films which flopped during this time, including ''Film/IWannaHoldYourHand'' (directed by Zemeckis), ''[[Film/NineteenFortyOne 1941]]'' (directed by Spielberg) and ''Used Cars'' (directed by Zemeckis).

Zemeckis first hit it big in TheEighties directing the light-hearted adventure film ''Film/RomancingTheStone''. He followed it up with ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' (which The Bobs had written a few years before, but couldn't get made) and ''Roger Rabbit''. At the end of the decade, The Bobs made sequels to ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' [[ExecutiveMeddling to please Universal's executives]]. Starting in TheNineties, Zemeckis went on to direct more "serious" fare such as ''Forrest Gump'', ''Film/{{Contact}}'' and ''Film/CastAway''.

At the TurnOfTheMillennium, Zemeckis made several animated films with [[MotionCapture performance capture]] technology, giving us ''WesternAnimation/ThePolarExpress'', ''WesternAnimation/{{Beowulf 2007}}'' and ''Film/AChristmasCarol2009''. Responses to these films are [[LoveItOrHateIt mixed]], mostly due to how [[UncannyValley disturbing they all looked]], and this phase of his career is now considered his DorkAge. After the [[BoxOfficeBomb box office cataclysm]] that was ''WesternAnimation/MarsNeedsMoms'' [[CreatorKiller caused his studio to shut down]], he then had to head back to live-action cinema. In 2012 he released ''Film/{{Flight}}'' starring DenzelWashington, his first live-action movie in 12 years (and his first R-rated movie as a director since 1980's ''Used Cars'' - The Bobs' script ''The Looters'', written in the pre-[=McFly=] era, was made by Creator/WalterHill Hill in 1992 as ''Trespass''). It was a critical and commercial success, and helped usher in a CareerResurrection.

His most recent film ''The Walk'' starring Creator/JosephGordonLevitt and based off the famous 1974 Twin Towers tightrope walk that was detailed in ''Film/ManOnWire'' was released in 2015.

!!Common tropes in his films:

* ActingForTwo
* ChekhovsGun: Zemeckis was a master of what he referred to as [[http://backtothefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Setup_and_payoff "setup and payoff"]], a storytelling technique that relies on setting up seemingly irrelevant details or statements that have importance that only comes later in the payoff.
* HistoricalInJoke
* ItWillNeverCatchOn
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: The two Christmas-set motion capture films do this with their principal actors.
** Also did this with the ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' sequels, where Michael J. Fox played Marty [=McFly=] and numerous members of his family.
* MotionCapture: From about 2004-2011, Zemeckis made nothing but Motion Capture movies which always proved to be commercial successes in spite of falling into the UncannyValley. After the abysmal failure of ''WesternAnimation/MarsNeedsMoms'' (which he didn't direct, yet had his production company behind it.) helped shut down his studio, he's back to making live action movies.
* TheOner
* PeriodPiece
* PlayingAgainstType: Often casts actors this way.
* StarringSpecialEffects: ''Many'' of his films, even the live-action ones, are quite the pioneers in special effects advancement.
* TimeTravel
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: Intentionally does this with his films (the one for ''Cast Away'' gives away [[spoiler: that he does get off the island]] while the one for ''What Lies Beneath'' [[spoiler: gives away Harrison Ford as the bad guy, which renders the first 90 minutes of the heroine trying to figure it out moot.]]) He says that the market research shows that people want to know everything before going in.
* UncannyFamilyResemblance: The ''Back To The Future'' sequels and ''Forrest Gump''.