Busby Berkeley (November 29, 1895 March 14, 1976), born William Berkeley Enos, was a film director and choreographer best known for his trademark of forming large groups of dancers into intricate geometric patterns, usually filmed from overhead.
He is best known for his films produced during the Great Depression. Berkeley was choreographer or "director of musical numbers" on many of the most famous musicals made in the 1930s. Later in his career he got occasional non-musical directing gigs, like the 1939 drama They Made Me a Criminal with John Garfield.
Today any scene depicting large groups of people choreographed into intricate, highly disciplined routines and patterns is an homage to Busby Berkeley.
Films featuring his work:
- Whoopee!, Berkeley's first film (choreographer)
- 42nd Street (choreographer)
- Gold Diggers of 1933 (choreographer)
- Footlight Parade (choreographer)
- Dames (choreographer/director of musical numbers)
- They Made Me a Criminal (director) — No singing! No dancing! No scantily-clad chorus girls!
- Babes in Arms (director)
- Ziegfeld Girl (director of musical numbers)
- The Gang's All Here (director)
- Million Dollar Mermaid (choreographer) (Berkeley only worked on two Esther Williams films; this is one of them.)