Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Brian De Palma

Go To

Brian Russell De Palma is an American film director and writer, born on September 11, 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. De Palma attended Columbia University in New York, New York. He made his first film, Icarus, as a student there. After De Palma graduated in 1962, he spent time at Sarah Lawrence College on a writing fellowship. In the mid-1960s De Palma began working on his feature-length debut with The Wedding Party, released in 1969 and featured an up-and-coming actor named Robert De Niro. De Palma’s career began to take off in the 1970s with the horror film Carrie, based on a Stephen King novel. Often compared to the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, De Palma has helmed numerous thrillers, such as Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981) starring John Travolta and Body Double (1984). He has also created one of Al Pacino's most famous roles—as Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who climbs the criminal ladder to become a Miami drug kingpin. In 1987, De Palma directed The Untouchables based on the television show about real life federal agent Eliot Ness' war against the Chicago bootlegging empire of Al Capone.


He's a BIG fan of Hitchcock—and it shows! Also, many of his films have moments of intense self-reflectiveness about cinema: Blow Out, for example, has a sound editor (whose equipment assists his amateur investigation) as a protagonist; Body Double has an actor (and a major plot point involving body doubles); the beginning of Femme Fatale takes place at Cannes; and The Black Dahlia has Hollywood culture in the 1940s as an important plot point. His Hitchcock appreciation makes him controversial among cinephiles. He's either considered to be the person who carried on his legacy, or an untalented pretender prone to ripping him off.

He's also well known for having heavy doses of Fanservice in his films—often linked in some way with violence. He also had a small but important impact on a little film called A New Hope; his buddy George Lucas showed him the draft for his film's opening crawl, which DePalma found too long and too "gibberish". DePalma rewrote and edited down the crawl to the now-famous text audiences know and love.


Films directed by Brian De Palma include: