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Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder

Birthday: 22 June 1906, Sucha, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now Sucha Beskidzka, Malopolskie, Poland]
Birth Name: Samuel Wilder
Height: 180 cm

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the ...Show More

Billy Wilder
You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning. You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning.
In certain pictures I do hope they will leave the cinema a little enriched, but I don't make them pa Show more In certain pictures I do hope they will leave the cinema a little enriched, but I don't make them pay a buck and a half and then ram a lecture down their throats. Hide
[on Ace in the Hole (1951)] I was attacked by every paper because of that movie. They loathed it. It Show more [on Ace in the Hole (1951)] I was attacked by every paper because of that movie. They loathed it. It was cynical, they said. Cynical, my ass. I tell you, you read about a plane crash somewhere nearby and you want to check out the scene, you can't get to it because ten thousand people are already there: they're picking up little scraps, ghoulish souvenir hunters. After I read those horrifying reviews about "Ace in the Hole", I remember I was going down Wilshire Boulevard and there was an automobile accident. Somebody was run over. I stopped my car. I wanted to help that guy who was run over. Then another guy jumps out of his car and photographs the thing. "You'd better call an ambulance," I said. "Call a doctor, my ass. I've got to get to the L.A. Times. I've got a picture. I've got to move. I just took a picture here. I've got to deliver it." But you say that in a movie, and the critics think you're exaggerating." Hide
[on Jack Lemmon] I'm terribly fond of Jack. We understand each other very well and it's a pleasure t Show more [on Jack Lemmon] I'm terribly fond of Jack. We understand each other very well and it's a pleasure to work with him. He is a thinking actor, but not an argumentative one. By that way I mean if we start shooting at nine o'clock, he would be there at 8:15 and would come to my office and say, "Hey, I've got a great idea! Look, why don't we do this? Blah, blah, blah, blah." And I just look at him, and he says, "I don't like it either." And he walks out. Hide
[to a cameraman on one of his pictures] Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign f Show more [to a cameraman on one of his pictures] Shoot a few scenes out of focus. I want to win the foreign film award. Hide
My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu. My English is a mixture between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archbishop Tutu.
There was an actress named Marilyn Monroe. She was always late. She never remembered her lines. She Show more There was an actress named Marilyn Monroe. She was always late. She never remembered her lines. She was a pain in the ass. My Aunt Millie is a nice lady. If she were in pictures she would always be on time. She would know her lines. She would be nice. Why does everyone in Hollywood want to work with Marilyn Monroe and no one wants to work with my Aunt Millie? Because no one will go to the movies to watch my Aunt Millie. Hide
Some pictures play wonderfully to a room of eight people. I don't go for that. I go for the masses. Show more Some pictures play wonderfully to a room of eight people. I don't go for that. I go for the masses. I go for the end effect. Hide
The Wilder message is don't bore - don't bore people. The Wilder message is don't bore - don't bore people.
If there's anything I hate more than not being taken seriously, it's being taken too seriously. If there's anything I hate more than not being taken seriously, it's being taken too seriously.
If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or they'll kill you. If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or they'll kill you.
An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles Show more An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark - that is critical genius Hide
A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard. A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard.
An actor enters through a door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through a window, you've got a Show more An actor enters through a door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through a window, you've got a situation. Hide
[on Marilyn Monroe] An endless puzzle without any solution. [on Marilyn Monroe] An endless puzzle without any solution.
[on Marlene Dietrich] Mother Teresa with better legs. [on Marlene Dietrich] Mother Teresa with better legs.
A bad play folds and is forgotten, but in pictures we don't bury our dead. When you think it's out o Show more A bad play folds and is forgotten, but in pictures we don't bury our dead. When you think it's out of your system, your daughter sees it on television and says, "My father is an idiot." Hide
My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Au Show more My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?- on Marilyn Monroe Hide
[on why his films rarely feature children]: I could direct a dog. Kids, I don't know. [on why his films rarely feature children]: I could direct a dog. Kids, I don't know.
When you say that I am searching for truth, and uh so and so, you French really know how to flatter Show more When you say that I am searching for truth, and uh so and so, you French really know how to flatter somebody. I'm just trying to make a living. Get two hours of film, and I don't really give a shit if whether how true it is, great it is. Just get it over with. Where's that? Hide
[opon seeing Sigmund Freud's therapy couch] It was a very tiny little thing. All his theories were b Show more [opon seeing Sigmund Freud's therapy couch] It was a very tiny little thing. All his theories were based on the analysis of very short people! Hide
I had no problem with Monroe. Monroe had a problem with Monroe. I had no problem with Monroe. Monroe had a problem with Monroe.
[on William Holden's death] If someone had said to me, 'Holden's dead,' I would have assumed that he Show more [on William Holden's death] If someone had said to me, 'Holden's dead,' I would have assumed that he had been gored by a water buffalo in Kenya, that he had died in a plane crash approaching Hong Kong, that a crazed, jealous woman had shot him, and he drowned in a swimming pool. But to be killed by a bottle of vodka and a night table - what a lousy fade-out of a great guy! Hide
Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's. Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
Today we spend 80% of the time making deals and 20% making pictures. Today we spend 80% of the time making deals and 20% making pictures.
The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that [Adolf Hitler] was a German and Show more The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that [Adolf Hitler] was a German and [Ludwig van Beethoven] an Austrian. Hide
The best director is the one you don't see. The best director is the one you don't see.
The close-up is such a valuable thing -- like a trump at a bridge. The close-up is such a valuable thing -- like a trump at a bridge.
[about the Hotel Marmont on Sunset Blvd., a piece of Hollywood history] I would rather sleep in a ba Show more [about the Hotel Marmont on Sunset Blvd., a piece of Hollywood history] I would rather sleep in a bathroom than in another hotel. Hide
I don't think that making movies is my entire life. But there's one thing, you know, that I hate mor Show more I don't think that making movies is my entire life. But there's one thing, you know, that I hate more than not being taken seriously, is to be taken too seriously. Hide
[asked if it was important for a director to know how to write] No, but it helps if he knows how to Show more [asked if it was important for a director to know how to write] No, but it helps if he knows how to read. Hide
[his thumbnail example of how he pictured existentialism] This boy falls in love with his mother and Show more [his thumbnail example of how he pictured existentialism] This boy falls in love with his mother and marries her. They live together quite happily until one day he learns that she isn't his mother. So he commits suicide.existialism is Hide
You watch, the new wave will discover the slow dissolve in ten years or so. You watch, the new wave will discover the slow dissolve in ten years or so.
The subtlest comedy you can get right now is MASH (1970). They don't want to see a picture unless Pe Show more The subtlest comedy you can get right now is MASH (1970). They don't want to see a picture unless Peter Fonda is running over a dozen people or unless Clint Eastwood has got a machine gun bigger then 140 penises. It gets bigger all the time, you know; it started out as a pistol and now it's a machine gun. Something which is warm and funny and gentle and urbane and civilized hasn't got a chance today. There is a lack of patience which is sweeping the nation - or the world, for that matter. Hide
Making movies is little like walking into a dark room. Some people stumble across furniture, others Show more Making movies is little like walking into a dark room. Some people stumble across furniture, others break their legs but some of us see better in the dark than others. The ultimate trick is to convince, persuade. Hide
What critics call dirty in our movies, they call lusty in foreign films. What critics call dirty in our movies, they call lusty in foreign films.
I was not a guy writing deep-dish revelations. If people see a picture of mine and then sit down and Show more I was not a guy writing deep-dish revelations. If people see a picture of mine and then sit down and talk about it for 15 minutes, that is a very fine reward, I think. Hide
France is the only country where the money falls apart and you can't tear the toilet paper. France is the only country where the money falls apart and you can't tear the toilet paper.
[after directing Marilyn Monroe for the second time in Some Like It Hot (1959)] I have discussed thi Show more [after directing Marilyn Monroe for the second time in Some Like It Hot (1959)] I have discussed this with my doctor and my psychiatrist and they tell me I'm too old and too rich to go through this again. Hide
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
[in 1976] They say Wilder is out of touch with his times. Frankly, I regard it as a compliment. Who Show more [in 1976] They say Wilder is out of touch with his times. Frankly, I regard it as a compliment. Who the hell wants to be in touch with these times? Hide
Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist. Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist.
Everybody in the audience is an idiot, but taken together they're a genius. Everybody in the audience is an idiot, but taken together they're a genius.
Hollywood didn't kill Marilyn Monroe; it's the Marilyn Monroes who are killing Hollywood. Hollywood didn't kill Marilyn Monroe; it's the Marilyn Monroes who are killing Hollywood.
[on film critic Judith Crist ] Inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Bost Show more [on film critic Judith Crist ] Inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Boston Strangler to massage your neck. Hide
[When asked what the purpose of making films is] Well, number one, it's too late for me now to chang Show more [When asked what the purpose of making films is] Well, number one, it's too late for me now to change and to become a gardener. Number two is to get away from the house and the vacuum cleaner. I want to be in my office and think. And number three, it's very exciting. I like to tell stories. Ultimately it's interesting. You meet nice people, it's glamorous, and, if you get lucky, very profitable. You suffer a great deal, but to paraphrase President Truman, if you can't take all that crap, get out of the studio. Believe me, this is not a profession for a dignified human being. I can see the interest in pictures when I talk to you students [at the American Film Institute], especially now that almost every university has something connected with movies. But if I had a son I would beat him with a very large whip trying to make a gardener, a dentist or something else out of him. Don't do it. It's just too tough. It hurts, and the moments of glory are very far between. Well, it's too late for me to turn back, too late for me to become a gardener. I can't bend over the azaleas. Not anymore. Hide
[on Marilyn Monroe] Breasts like granite and a brain like Swiss cheese. [on Marilyn Monroe] Breasts like granite and a brain like Swiss cheese.
I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have righ Show more I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have right of final cut. Hide
People copy, people steal. Most of the pictures they make nowadays are loaded down with special effe Show more People copy, people steal. Most of the pictures they make nowadays are loaded down with special effects. I couldn't do that. I quit smoking because I couldn't reload my Zippo. Hide
You're only as good as the best thing you've ever done. You're only as good as the best thing you've ever done.
I just made pictures I would've liked to see. I just made pictures I would've liked to see.
Billy Wilder's FILMOGRAPHY
as Director (15) as Creator (18)
Gomovies