Robert Altman

Biography: A groundbreaking filmmaker/legendary troublemaker, Altman initially tried to break into Hollywood as an actor and writer before finding his niche as a director (who often penned his films' scripts). After serving in World War II, Altman learned his craft helming industrial films and finally broke into mainstream cinema with the 1957 B-movie The Delinquents. He spent the next decade directing television (Peter Gunn, Bonanza, Alfred Hitchcock Presents) before returning to features in the late '60s, but he was 45 when he made his breakthrough movie, the pitch-black 1970 comedy M*A*S*H, which spawned a television series of the same name. With M*A*S*H, Altman found both critical and commercial success, earned his first best-director Oscar nomination, and began forging his naturalistic, signature style. Famous for his deft use of large ensemble casts, overlapping, often improvised dialogue and intricate networks of interwoven story lines that came together into a complex mosaic ofA groundbreaking filmmaker/legendary troublemaker, Altman initially tried to break into Hollywood as an actor and writer before finding his niche as a director (who often penned his films' scripts). After serving in World War II, Altman learned his craft helming industrial films and finally broke into mainstream cinema with the 1957 B-movie The Delinquents. He spent the next decade directing television (Peter Gunn, Bonanza, Alfred Hitchcock Presents) before returning to features in the late '60s, but he was 45 when he made his breakthrough movie, the pitch-black 1970 comedy M*A*S*H, which spawned a television series of the same name. With M*A*S*H, Altman found both critical and commercial success, earned his first best-director Oscar nomination, and began forging his naturalistic, signature style. Famous for his deft use of large ensemble casts, overlapping, often improvised dialogue and intricate networks of interwoven story lines that came together into a complex mosaic of American attitudes and experiences, Altman was a revered and prolific auteur in the '70s, making such iconic films as Nashville (which earned him a second Oscar nod) and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and working with myriad stars including Carol Burnett, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty and Lily Tomlin. Although actors loved him, studio suits did not, as he was combative and uncompromising in his art, regardless of budget or deadlines. By the '80s, a critical backlash coupled with his cantankerous reputation and a string of high-profile flops (Beyond Therapy, O.C. and Stiggs, Popeye, which, though it made money, failed to do as well as expected), hurt his career. But the sexagenarian director made a remarkable comeback in the '90s, beginning with The Player, which brilliantly skewered the very industry that made, broke and remade him. Although the satire earned Altman his third Oscar nomination as best director, and two more came with Short Cuts and Gosford Park, he didn't take home a statuette until 2006, when the Academy finally saw fit to salute him with an honorary lifetime-achievement Oscar. During his acceptance speech, he revealed that he had quietly undergone a heart transplant in the mid-'90s, which made securing insurance for what turned out to be his last film, 2006's A Prairie Home Companion, difficult. (Ultimately, the then-80-year-old Altman had to hire Boogie Nights' Paul Thomas Anderson as a backup director.) What Altman didn't divulge during that speech was that he was also battling cancer. Although he died in November 2006, the maverick moviemaker left an indelible mark on contemporary independent cinema, influencing everyone from the aforementioned Anderson to John Sayles to Paul Haggis, who ironically scored a best-film Oscar for Crash at the very ceremony that earned Altman his honorary award. Expand

Robert Altman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 72
Highest Metascore: 96 Nashville
Lowest Metascore: 26 Trixie
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
27 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
74 Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind Jul 13, 2018 Himself 7.3
75 A Prairie Home Companion Jun 9, 2006 Director / Producer 6.5
85 Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Oct 15, 2004 Himself 6.3
73 The Company Dec 25, 2003 Director / Producer 6.9
67 A Decade Under the Influence Apr 25, 2003 Himself 7.2
71 3 Women Jun 28, 2002 Director / Producer / Written By 8.3
90 Gosford Park Dec 26, 2001 Director / Producer / Idea 7.3
64 Dr T and the Women Oct 13, 2000 Director / Producer 8.0
26 Trixie Jun 28, 2000 Producer tbd
70 Cookie's Fortune Apr 2, 1999 Director / Producer 7.4
65 The Gingerbread Man Jan 23, 1998 Director / Director 8.0
68 Afterglow Dec 26, 1997 Producer 5.0
57 Kansas City Aug 16, 1996 Director / Producer / Written By 7.7
48 Ready to Wear (Prêt-à-Porter) Dec 25, 1994 Director / Producer / Written By 5.6
66 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Nov 23, 1994 Producer tbd
79 Short Cuts Oct 3, 1993 Director / Screenplay 7.4
86 The Player Apr 3, 1992 Director 8.0
65 Vincent & Theo Nov 2, 1990 Director 6.2
64 Fool for Love Dec 6, 1985 Director tbd
64 Popeye Dec 12, 1980 Director 6.6
96 Nashville Jun 11, 1975 Director / Producer 8.8
84 California Split Aug 1, 1974 Director / Producer tbd
82 Thieves Like Us Feb 11, 1974 Director / Screenplay tbd
87 The Long Goodbye Mar 7, 1973 Director 7.8
93 McCabe & Mrs. Miller Jun 24, 1971 Director / Screenplay tbd
72 Brewster McCloud Dec 23, 1970 Director tbd
80 MASH Jan 25, 1970 Director / Director 5.8

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