Old Pictures of Directors Behind the Scenes of Famous Movies


Orson Welles – Citizen Kane (1941)

orson welles citizen kane

John Kobal Foundation//Getty Images

Orson Welles co-wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane, considered by some to be the greatest film from the era, and of all time. A quasi-biopic which created the fictional character Charles Foster Kane, an amalgamation of several media moguls and tycoons at the time, Citizen Kane featured a nonlinear narrative and strong stylistic choices which were controversial at the time.


Howard Hawks – His Girl Friday (1940)

his girl friday

Hulton Archive//Getty Images

Director Howard Hawks sits with the leads Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell while shooting the comedy His Girl Friday. It was revolutionary at the time for its speedy dialogue, with actors being encouraged to speak over each other in a more organic way and ad-lib lines where they liked.


John Huston – The Maltese Falcon (1941)

walter and john huston on maltese falcon set

Bettmann//Getty Images

Legendary director John Huston is directing his father, the actor Walter Huston in an uncredited role in his debut feature The Maltese Falcon. Huston reportedly planned the film meticulously, with detailed notes and sketches for how he envisioned scenes accompanying his screenplay.

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Billy Wilder – Double Indemnity (1944)

stanwyck and wilder

John Kobal Foundation//Getty Images

This period was a high point for film noir, and Double Indemnity by Billy Wilder has a case for being one of the very greatest films in the genre. It was hugely influential for later film noirs, with the cinematographer John F. Seitz using now-classic techniques like “venetian blind” lighting to cast bars of light over characters.


Alfred Hitchcock – Psycho (1960)

on the set of psycho

Hulton Archive//Getty Images

Here’s Alfred Hitchcock with the slate, shooting one of his many masterpieces—the horror film Psycho. You’ve got to also hand it to cinematographer John L. Russell, whose Oscar-nominated photography brought this film to the next level. If you somehow don’t know the twist of this film yet, give it a watch!


David Lean – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

lean films 'lawrence of arabia'

Columbia TriStar//Getty Images

Lean glances through the camera on a shoot by St. Paul’s cathedral, London. This historical epic drama is based on the wild life experiences of T.E. Lawrence, though they absolutely took creative liberties for the film. Other filming locations for Lawrence of Arabia included deserts in Jordan, Morocco, as well as Almería and Doñana in Spain.

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Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1966)

2001 a space odyssey

Keith Hamshere//Getty Images

Spoiler alert for for an almost 60-year-old movie, but here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at the mind-bending final scene from his wildly ambitious sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even after they was done shooting actors, Kubrick and the special effects crew created tons of impressive in-camera effects like the intricate models of spaceships and the flashing lights in the “Stargate” sequence.


Gordon Parks – Shaft’s Big Score (1972)

shaft's big score

Michael Ochs Archives//Getty Images

The legendary director and photographer Gordon Parks directs star Richard Roundtree for a scene in Shaft’s Big Score, the follow-up to their stellar blaxploitation action crime film Shaft. The original film was such a smash that Parks was given a budget of nearly $2 million to expand on his vision.


François Truffait – Day for Night (1973)

jacqueline bisset and francois truffaut

John Springer Collection//Getty Images

Truffaut gives notes to star Jacqueline Bisset for his acclaimed romantic dramedy Day For Night, or La Nuit Americane in French. The film’s story takes place on a film set in its own right, so there’s a melodrama within a comedy drama going on here!

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Sidney Lumet – Network (1976)

director sidney

Screen Archives//Getty Images

Sidney Lumet (center) is directing Peter Finch and William Holden in a scene from the biting satire film Network, which he directed from a script by Paddy Chayefsky.


Ingmar Bergman – Fanny and Alexander (1982)

on the set of 'fanny och alexander'

Sunset Boulevard//Getty Images

The legendary Swedish director of Persona and The Seventh Seal films a scene with his director of photography, Sven Nykvist, for this semi-autobiographical period drama following two siblings in a well-off family in 1907 Sweden.


Robert Altman – Vincent & Theo (1990)

film director robert altman

Micheline Pelletier//Getty Images

The masterful director Robert Altman dramatized the life of painter Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo in this drama. He collaborated with his son, Stephen Altman, on this film with Stephen acting as the production designer.


Jacob Linden

Temporary Editor, Partnerships

Jacob is a Temporary Partnerships Editor at Hearst based in Queens, New York with his partner and cat Tiger. He loves learning and writing about Film and TV, Video Games, and the weird histories of unexpected subjects.

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