Robert Lee Zemeckis (born May 14, 1952) is the Academy Award-winning director of the ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'' trilogy, ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' and ''Film/ForrestGump''. He 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 ''WesternAnimation/{{A Christmas Carol|2009}}''. Responses to these films are 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 Creator/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.

''Film/{{Allied}}'' starring Creator/BradPitt and Creator/MarionCotillard was released in 2016. His next film, ''The Women Of Marwen'', starring Creator/SteveCarell is to be released in November 2018. He is also attached to direct the sci-fi film ''Steel Soldiers''. A release date for that film has yet to be announced.


* ''Film/IWannaHoldYourHand'' (1978)
* ''Film/UsedCars'' (1980)
* ''Film/RomancingTheStone'' (1984)
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' (1985)
* ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' (1988)
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'' (1989)
* ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'' (1990)
* ''Film/DeathBecomesHer'' (1992)
* ''Film/ForrestGump'' (1994)
* ''Film/{{Contact}}'' (1997)
* ''Film/CastAway'' (2000)
* ''Film/WhatLiesBeneath'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePolarExpress'' (2004)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Beowulf|2007}}'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{A Christmas Carol|2009}}'' (2009)
* ''Film/{{Flight}}'' (2012)
* ''Film/TheWalk'' (2015)
* ''Film/{{Allied}}'' (2016)
* ''The Women Of Marwen'' (2018)
* ''Steel Soldiers'' (TBA)

!!Common tropes in his films:

* 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.
* CareerResurrection: Zig-zagged: his MotionCapture films barely made a dent in his career, but his critical feedback improved immensely after ''Film/{{Flight}}''.
* CreatorKiller: While ''WesternAnimation/MarsNeedsMoms'' didn't damage his career (as the critical acclaim of ''Film/{{Flight}}'' can attest to), it did lead to the closure of Image Movers Studio and convince him to return to live-action.
* 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.
* PlayingAgainstType: Often casts actors this way.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: With only a few exceptions like Film/DeathBecomesHer and perhaps ''Used Cars'', his works are very much on the optimistic side due to the amount of heart found in his films and his positive and in-depth take on the human spirit.
* StarringSpecialEffects: ''Many'' of his films, even the live-action ones, are quite the pioneers in special effects advancement.
* 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''.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Zemeckis planned to do a DarkerAndEdgier MotionCapture remake of ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine'' but the bombing of ''WesternAnimation/MarsNeedsMoms'' shut down Image Movers and canceled the project outright.
** He was approached by Creator/GeorgeLucas to direct ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', but he declined.
** He was in talks to direct a live-action ''Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' movie for Creator/{{Universal}} in the mid-90s, but [[http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/12/business/fi-19557 production was halted.]]