Michael Cimino

American film director, screenwriter, producer and author (1939-2016)

Michael Cimino ( chi-MEE-noh; February 3, 1939 – July 2, 2016) was an American filmmaker. He achieved fame as the director of The Deer Hunter (1978), which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Born in New York City, Cimino began his career filming commercials and moved to Los Angeles to take up screenwriting in 1971. After co-writing the scripts of Silent Running (1972) and Magnum Force (1973), he wrote the preliminary script for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), which became his directorial debut, and one of the highest-grossing films of its year.The critical accolades for co-writing, directing, and producing The Deer Hunter in 1978 led to Cimino receiving creative control for Heaven's Gate (1980). The film became a critical failure and a legendary box-office bomb, which lost production studio United Artists an estimated $37 million. Its failure was widely credited with Hollywood studios shifting focus from director-driven films towards high-concept, crowd-pleasing blockbusters. In recent decades, Heaven's Gate has been dramatically reappraised, being named by BBC Culture as one of the greatest American films of all-time, and by critic Robin Wood as "among the supreme achievements of the Hollywood cinema." Following the release of his final film The Sunchaser in 1996, Cimino retired from filmmaking.
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