While having an interest for movies, but more concise, good movies, you hear about different actors, producers, directors, filmmakers etc, but one person has come up a lot while researching information. Stanley Kubrick has been mentioned a lot in my research, so hearing about this film maker I watched a few of his movies.

I watched his early short films (Flying Padre, Day of the Fight and The Seafarers), they were alright, so I then watched some of his more acclaimed and more well know films like Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket. After watching them I didn't think they were bad films but I didn't think they were the best films I have ever seen, like a lot of people say they were.

So thinking about this I was wondering why people class him as one of the best directors ever, I have heard that it is because cinematography as he was previously a photographer. Or was it that he could get the best performances out of actors? I was just wanting to know why people class him as the best director, and knowing, was it me who just doesn't like his story plots or is he outdated and his movies don't connect with modern day audiences? So I was asking anyone to give input to reasons to his fame.

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    – user7812
    Jul 12, 2015 at 16:53
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    Just because you don't find his films to your taste does not mean that he's not a good director. I've never particularly liked the, either, but the people who write those lists are film specialists who recognize what he has done to significantly add to the history of film. Some of his films have been so copied, seeing them after you see other films can make them boring but, for the most part, he did it first, and that's what makes the films so special.
    – Catija
    Jul 12, 2015 at 19:53
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    Regardless of that, while it is certainly the OP's opinion that Kubrick isn't the best, one can objectively explain why he is generally considered one of the best directors and cite sources to that (and even against that belief), so I disagree that this question should be closed as primarily opinion based. The question is "Why is he considered one of the best directors?", not "Why is he the best director?"
    – Catija
    Jul 12, 2015 at 20:05
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    This seems way too broad of a topic here. Any topic that could warrant a semester class at film school likely isn't going to be a good fit here. Plus, this can be figured out via Google pretty quickly.
    – DA.
    Jul 12, 2015 at 21:30
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2 Answers 2


A brief summary of Stanley Kubrick's Films:

  1. Sparatcus (1960)

    Nominated for 6 Academy awards, winner of 4.
    96% on Rotten Tomatoes

  2. Lolita (1962)

    4 Golden Globe award nominations
    1 BAFTA award nomination
    1 Academy award nomination
    95% on Rotten Tomatoes

  3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

    99% on Rotten Tomatoes
    4 Academy award nominations
    7 BAFTA award nomibations (4 wins)

  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    96% on Rotten Tomatoes
    made more than 190 million dollars
    3 Academy award nominations (1 win)

  5. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    89% on Rotten Tomatoes

  6. Barry London (1975)

    96% on Rotten Tomatoes

  7. The Shining (1980)

    Made 44 million against a budget of 19 million
    92% on Rotten Tomatoes

  8. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

    Made 46 million
    94% on Rotten Tomatoes

  9. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

    74% on Rotten Tomatoes
    made 55 million dollars
    Nominated for several awards.

Additional points:

  1. On a personal level (since the question is also slightly subjective), I have watched The Shining and Full Metal Jacket, and they are among my favorite films ever.

  2. Kubrick often picked very controversial and complex stories which others found too difficult to make a movie on. eg. - Lolita and Clockwork orange.

  3. Check AFI's 100 years 100 films/thrills/..., Kubrick's films are all over these.

Summing it up, Kubrick was indeed very successful at his trade. His films enjoyed both critical & commercial success. His films won a lot of awards. That is why he is considered among the best (by a lot of people)

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    Oh and for "Barry Lyndon" he wanted to shoot using only candle-light, something nobody had ever done before - so he talked NASA into loaning him some of the fastest lenses ever made that they use in space - attention.to.detail :)
    – Chopper3
    Jul 13, 2015 at 10:23
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    This does not answer the question. The Op seems to be well aware already that there was something about Kubrick, they just can't see what that something is for themselves. Jul 13, 2015 at 11:29
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    My answer explains that Kubrick's films were received very positively. They frequently gathered critical & commercial success. That means he was very successful in his trade and hence that is why he is considered among the best. How can I answer why OP should consider him among the best. All I am saying is why others consider him among the best.
    – Ankit
    Jul 13, 2015 at 15:02
  • CominSansMS in correct. Jul 15, 2015 at 6:23
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    @Chopper3 the Zeiss NASA f0.7 lenses : )
    – Janardan S
    Mar 18, 2017 at 5:39

Few if any directors controlled their sets, props, lighting and cameras like Kubrick - I honestly don't think anyone would be allowed to do that to the extents he went to on a modern film. Watch 'Room 237' about the making of 'The Shining' - you'll see some real precision and use of visual metaphor at work.

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