Robert Zemeckis

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Robert Zemeckis
Robert Zemeckis "The Walk" at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (21835891403) (cropped).jpg
Zemeckis at the 2015 Tokyo International Film Festival
Robert Lee Zemeckis

(1952-05-14) May 14, 1952 (age 67)
Residence Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Education University of Southern California (B.F.A., 1973)
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1972–present
Notable work
Mary Ellen Trainor
(m. 1980;div. 2000)

Leslie Harter(m. 2001)

Robert Lee Zemeckis ( /zəˈmɛkɪs/ ; born May 14, 1952) [1] is an American director, film producer and screenwriter frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. He first came to public attention in the 1980s as the director of Romancing the Stone (1984) and the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future film trilogy, as well as the live-action/animated comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). In the 1990s, he directed Death Becomes Her and then diversified into more dramatic fare, including 1994's Forrest Gump , [2] for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director; the film itself won Best Picture. The films he has directed have ranged across a wide variety of genres, for both adults and families.

Visual effects is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a live action shot in film making.

<i>Romancing the Stone</i> 1984 adventure comedy movie directed by Robert Zemeckis

Romancing the Stone is a 1984 American romantic comedy-adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Diane Thomas. The film stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, and was followed by a 1985 sequel titled The Jewel of the Nile.

<i>Back to the Future</i> (franchise) 1985-1990 Three films directed by Robert Zemeckis

The Back to the Future franchise is an American science fiction–adventure comedy film series written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The franchise follows the adventures of a high school student, Marty McFly, and an eccentric scientist, Dr. Emmett L. Brown, as they use a DeLorean time machine to time travel to different periods in the history of Hill Valley, California.


Zemeckis' films are characterized by an interest in state-of-the-art special effects, including the early use of the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage in Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Forrest Gump, and the pioneering performance capture techniques seen in The Polar Express (2004), Monster House (2006), Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009), and Welcome to Marwen (2018). Though Zemeckis has often been pigeonholed as a director interested only in special effects, [3] his work has been defended by several critics including David Thomson, who wrote that "No other contemporary director has used special effects to more dramatic and narrative purpose." [4]

In visual effects, match moving is a technique that allows the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage with correct position, scale, orientation, and motion relative to the photographed objects in the shot. The term is used loosely to describe several different methods of extracting camera motion information from a motion picture. Sometimes referred to as motion tracking or camera solving, match moving is related to rotoscoping and photogrammetry. Match moving is sometimes confused with motion capture, which records the motion of objects, often human actors, rather than the camera. Typically, motion capture requires special cameras and sensors and a controlled environment. Match moving is also distinct from motion control photography, which uses mechanical hardware to execute multiple identical camera moves. Match moving, by contrast, is typically a software-based technology, applied after the fact to normal footage recorded in uncontrolled environments with an ordinary camera.

<i>Back to the Future Part II</i> 1989 film by Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Bob Gale. It is the sequel to the 1985 film Back to the Future and the second installment in the Back to the Future trilogy. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, and Lea Thompson. The film follows Marty McFly (Fox) and his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Lloyd) as they travel from 1985 to 2015 to prevent Marty's son from sabotaging the McFly family's future. Their arch-nemesis Biff Tannen (Wilson) steals Doc's DeLorean time machine and uses it to alter history for his benefit, forcing the duo to return to 1955 to restore the timeline.

<i>The Polar Express</i> (film) 2004 US animated film directed by Robert Zemeckis

The Polar Express is a 2004 American 3D computer-animated adventure film based on the 1985 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, who also served as one of the executive producers on the film. Co-written, co-produced and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation. The film tells the story of a young boy who, on Christmas Eve, sees a mysterious train bound for the North Pole stop outside his window and is invited aboard by its conductor. The boy joins several other children as they embark on a journey to visit Santa Claus preparing for Christmas. The film stars Tom Hanks, who was also one of the film's executive producers, in six distinct roles, with Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen in supporting roles. The film also includes a performance by Tinashe at age 9, as the CGI model for the female protagonist.

Early life

Robert Lee Zemeckis was born on May 14, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, [1] the son of Rosa (née Nespeca) [5] and Alphonse Zemeckis. [6] His father was Lithuanian-American while his mother was Italian-American. [5] Zemeckis grew up on the south side of the city. [7] He attended a Roman Catholic grade school and Fenger High School. [8] Zemeckis has said "the truth was that in my family there was no art. I mean, there was no music, there were no books, there was no theater... The only thing I had that was inspirational, was television—and it actually was." [8]

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

As a child, he loved television and was fascinated by his parents' 8 mm film home movie camera. Starting off by filming family events like birthdays and holidays, he gradually began producing narrative films with his friends that incorporated stop-motion work and other special effects. Along with enjoying movies, Zemeckis remained an avid TV watcher. "You hear so much about the problems with television," he said, "but I think that it saved my life." Television gave Zemeckis his first glimpse of a world outside of his blue-collar upbringing; [8] specifically, he learned of the existence of film schools on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson . After seeing Bonnie and Clyde with his father and being heavily influenced by it, [3] Zemeckis decided that he wanted to go to film school. His parents disapproved of the idea, Zemeckis later said, "But only in the sense that they were concerned... for my family and my friends and the world that I grew up in, this was the kind of dream that really was impossible. My parents would sit there and say, 'Don't you see where you come from? You can't be a movie director.' I guess maybe some of it I felt I had to do in spite of them, too." [8]

8 mm film film gauge

8 mm film is a motion picture film format in which the film strip is eight millimeters wide. It exists in two main versions — the original standard 8 mm film, also known as regular 8 mm, and Super 8. Although both standard 8 mm and Super 8 are 8 mm wide, Super 8 has a larger image area because of its smaller and more widely spaced perforations.

A film school is any educational institution dedicated to teaching aspects of filmmaking, including such subjects as film production, film theory, digital media production, and screenwriting. Film history courses and hands-on technical training are usually incorporated into most film school curricula. Technical training may include instruction in the use and operation of cameras, lighting equipment, film or video editing equipment and software, and other relevant equipment. Film schools may also include courses and training in such subjects as television production, broadcasting, audio engineering, and animation.

<i>The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson</i> television series

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is an American talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from October 1, 1962 through May 22, 1992.


NIU, USC education and early films (1969–79)

Zemeckis first attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and gained early experience in film as a film cutter for NBC News in Chicago during a summer break. [9] He also edited commercials in his home state. [10] Zemeckis applied to transfer from NIU to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California, and went into the Film School on the strength of an essay and a music video based on a Beatles song. Not having heard from the university itself, Zemeckis called and was told he had been rejected because of his average grades. He gave an "impassioned plea" to the official on the other line, promising to go to summer school and improve his studies, and eventually convinced the school to accept him. Arriving at USC that fall, Zemeckis encountered a program that was, in his words, made up of "a bunch of hippies [and] considered an embarrassment by the university." The classes were difficult, with professors constantly stressing how hard the movie business was. Zemeckis remembered not being much fazed by this, citing the "healthy cynicism" that had been bred into him from his Chicago upbringing. [8]

Northern Illinois University university

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a public research university in DeKalb, Illinois. It was founded as Northern Illinois State Normal School on May 22, 1895, by Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld as part of an expansion of the state's system for producing college-educated teachers. In addition to the main campus in DeKalb, it has satellite centers in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Rockford, and Oregon

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts —formerly the USC School of Cinema-Television, otherwise known as CNTV—is a private media school within the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The school offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs covering film production, screenwriting, cinema and media studies, animation and digital arts, media arts + practice, and interactive media & games. Additional programs include the Peter Stark Producing Program and the Business of Entertainment.

At USC Zemeckis met a fellow student, writer Bob Gale. Gale later recalled, "The graduate students at USC had this veneer of intellectualism...So Bob and I gravitated toward one another because we wanted to make Hollywood movies. We weren't interested in the French New Wave. We were interested in Clint Eastwood and James Bond and Walt Disney, because that's how we grew up." [11] Zemeckis graduated from USC in 1973, [12] and he and Gale cowrote the unproduced screenplays Tank and Bordello of Blood , which they pitched to John Milius, the latter of which was later developed into a film which was released in 1996. [13] [14] [15]

Michael Robert Gale is an American screenwriter, producer and film director. He famously co-wrote the science fiction comedy film Back to the Future with writing partner Robert Zemeckis, and the screenplays for the film's two sequels. Gale also co-produced all three films, and served as associate producer on the subsequent animated TV series. Michael J. Fox noted that Back to the Future co-creator Bob Gale is "the gatekeeper" to the franchise.

New Wave is a French film movement which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a form of European art cinema, and is often referred to as one of the most influential movements in the history of cinema. New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of the traditional film conventions then dominating France, and by a spirit of iconoclasm. Common features of the New Wave included radical experimentation with editing, visual style, and narrative, as well as engagement with the social and political upheavals of the era.

Clint Eastwood American actor and film director

Clinton Eastwood Jr. is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and politician. After achieving success in the Western TV series Rawhide, he rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy of spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s and as antihero cop Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These roles, among others, have made Eastwood an enduring cultural icon of masculinity.

As a result of winning a Student Academy Award at USC for his film A Field of Honor [16] , Zemeckis came to the attention of Steven Spielberg. Spielberg said, "He barged right past my secretary and sat me down and showed me this student film...and I thought it was spectacular, with police cars and a riot, all dubbed to Elmer Bernstein's score for The Great Escape ." [11] Spielberg became Zemeckis's mentor and executive produced his first two films, both of which Gale and Zemeckis co-wrote.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), starring Nancy Allen, and Used Cars (1980), starring Kurt Russell, were well-received critically but were commercial failures. I Wanna Hold Your Hand was the first of several Zemeckis films to incorporate historical figures and celebrities into his movies. In the film, he used archival footage and doubles to simulate the presence of The Beatles. After the failure of his first two films, and the Spielberg-directed bomb 1941 in 1979 (for which Zemeckis and Gale had written the screenplay), the pair gained a reputation for writing "scripts that everyone thought were great [but] somehow didn't translate into movies people wanted to see." [11]

Breakthrough films and Forrest Gump (1980–97)

As a result of his reputation within the industry, Zemeckis had trouble finding work in the early 1980s, though he and Gale kept busy. They wrote scripts for other directors, including Car Pool for Brian De Palma and Growing Up for Spielberg; neither ended up getting made. Another Zemeckis-Gale project, about a teenager who accidentally travels back in time to the 1950s, was turned down by every major studio. [17] The director was jobless until Michael Douglas hired him in 1984 to direct Romancing the Stone . A romantic adventure starring Douglas and Kathleen Turner, Romancing was expected to flop (to the point that, after viewing a rough cut of the film, the producers of the then-in-the-works Cocoon fired Zemeckis as director), [17] but the film became a sleeper hit. While working on Romancing the Stone, Zemeckis met composer Alan Silvestri, who has scored all his subsequent pictures.

Overseeing the filming of Contact (1997) Zemeckis1997(cropped).jpg
Overseeing the filming of Contact (1997)

After Romancing, the director had the clout to direct his time-traveling screenplay, which was titled Back to the Future . Starring Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Christopher Lloyd, the 1985 film was wildly successful upon its release, and was followed by two sequels, released as Back to the Future Part II in 1989 and Back to the Future Part III in 1990. Before the Back to the Future sequels were released, Zemeckis collaborated with Disney and directed another film, the madcap 1940s-set mystery Who Framed Roger Rabbit , which painstakingly combined traditional animation and live action; its $70 million budget made it one of the most expensive films made up to that point. The film was both a financial and critical success and won three Academy Awards. In 1990, Zemeckis commented, when asked if he would want to make non-comedies, "I would like to be able to do everything. Just now, though, I'm too restless to do anything that's not really zany." [17]

In 1992, Zemeckis directed the black comedy Death Becomes Her , starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. Although his next film would have some comedic elements, it was Zemeckis's first with dramatic elements, and was also his biggest commercial success to date, Forrest Gump . Starring Tom Hanks in the title role, Forrest Gump tells the story of a man with a low I.Q., who unwittingly participates in some of the major events of the twentieth century, falls in love, and interacts with several major historical figures in the process. The film grossed $677 million worldwide and became the top-grossing US film of 1994; it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Hanks) and Best Director (for Zemeckis). In 1997, Zemeckis directed Contact , a long-gestating project based on Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name. The film centers on Eleanor Arroway, a scientist played by Jodie Foster, who believes she has made contact with extraterrestrial beings.

Later work, 1999–present

In 1999, Zemeckis donated $5 million towards the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts at USC, a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) center. When the Center opened in March 2001, Zemeckis spoke in a panel about the future of film, alongside friends Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Of those (including Spielberg) who clung to celluloid and disparaged the idea of shooting digitally, Zemeckis said, "These guys are the same ones who have been saying that LPs sound better than CDs. You can argue that until you're blue in the face, but I don't know anyone who's still buying vinyl. The film, as we have traditionally thought of it, is going to be different. But the continuum is man's desire to tell stories around the campfire. The only thing that keeps changing is the campfire." [18] The Robert Zemeckis Center currently hosts many film school classes, much of the Interactive Media Division, and Trojan Vision, USC's student television station, which has been voted the number one college television station in the country.

In 1996, Zemeckis had begun developing a project titled The Castaway with Tom Hanks and writer William Broyles, Jr.. The story, which was inspired by Robinson Crusoe, is about a man who becomes stranded on a desert island and undergoes a profound physical and spiritual change. [19] While working on The Castaway, Zemeckis also became attached to a Hitchcockian thriller titled What Lies Beneath , the story of a married couple experiencing an extreme case of empty nest syndrome that was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. [20] Because Hanks' character needed to undergo a dramatic weight loss over the course of The Castaway (retitled Cast Away for release), Zemeckis decided that the only way to retain the same crew while Hanks lost the weight was to shoot What Lies Beneath in between. He shot the first part of Cast Away in early 1999, and shot What Lies Beneath in fall 1999, completing work on Cast Away in early 2000. [20] Zemeckis later quipped, when asked about shooting two films back-to-back, "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone." [19] What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, was released in July 2000 to mixed reviews, but did well at the box office, grossing over $155 million domestically. Cast Away was released that December and grossed $233 million domestically; [21] Hanks received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Chuck Noland.

In 2004, Zemeckis reteamed with Hanks and directed The Polar Express , based on the children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The Polar Express utilized the computer animation technique known as performance capture, whereby the movements of the actors are captured digitally and used as the basis for the animated characters. As the first major film to use performance capture, The Polar Express caused The New York Times to write that, "Whatever critics and audiences make of this movie, from a technical perspective it could mark a turning point in the gradual transition from an analog to a digital cinema." [22]

In February 2007, Zemeckis and Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook announced plans for a new performance capture film company devoted to CG-created, 3-D movies. [23] The company, ImageMovers Digital, created films using the performance capture technology, with Zemeckis directing most of the projects which Disney distributed and marketed worldwide. Zemeckis used the performance capture technology again in his film, Beowulf , to retell the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the same name. It featured Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins. Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote the adaptation with Roger Avary, described the film as a "cheerfully violent and strange take on the Beowulf legend." [24] The film was released on November 16, 2007, to mostly positive reviews.

In July 2007, Variety announced that Zemeckis had written a screenplay for A Christmas Carol , based on Charles Dickens' 1843 short story of the same name, with plans to use performance capture and release it under the aegis of ImageMovers Digital. Zemeckis wrote the script with Jim Carrey in mind, and Carrey agreed to play a multitude of roles in the film, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge. [25] The film began production in February 2008 and was released on November 6, 2009, to mixed reviews. [26] Actor Gary Oldman also appeared in the film. [27]

Zemeckis' star on Walk of Fame, Hollywood, LA Robert Lee Zemeckis (Walk of Fame Star).jpg
Zemeckis' star on Walk of Fame, Hollywood, LA

In August 2008, Movies IGN revealed in an interview with Philippe Petit that Zemeckis was working with Petit to turn Petit's memoir To Reach the Clouds into a feature film. [28] Zemeckis is an avid supporter of 3-D Digital Cinema and has stated that since the 3-D presentations of Beowulf , all of his future films would be done in 3-D using digital motion capture. He has reportedly backed away from that statement and said that the decision to use 3-D will be on a film-by-film basis.[ citation needed ]

On August 19, 2009, it was reported that Zemeckis and his company were in talks with Apple Corps Ltd to remake the animated film Yellow Submarine in 3-D once again utilizing performance capture. However, on March 12, 2010, with Zemeckis' biggest Disney ally gone, former chairman Dick Cook, and amid drastic cost-cutting by the new management team, Disney announced that it was ending its relationship with ImageMovers Digital. [29] The studio's final film, 2011's Zemeckis-produced Mars Needs Moms , was the second worst box office failure in history, with a net loss of roughly $130 million. Zemeckis made his return to live-action filmmaking with Flight , a 2012 drama for Paramount, starring Denzel Washington.

Zemeckis with wife Leslie Harter, at the French premiere of Flight, January 2013 Robert Zemeckis 2013.jpg
Zemeckis with wife Leslie Harter, at the French premiere of Flight , January 2013

On January 31, 2014, it was announced that a stage musical adaptation of Zemeckis' first Back to the Future film was in production. [30] The show will be co-written by original writers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. [31] According to Gale, the musical will be "true to the spirit of the film without being a slavish remake". [32]

In 2015, he directed the true story The Walk , which is about Philippe Petit and his ambition to tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Center.

Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox announced in February 2015 that Zemeckis would direct Brad Pitt in Allied , a romantic thriller set during World War II. [33] The film was released on November 23, 2016.

On April 27, 2017, Screen Junkies reported Zemeckis was in talks to direct a movie based on The Flash for the DC Extended Universe. [34]

Welcome to Marwen , directed by Zemeckis, was released in December 2018. [35]

Personal life

Zemeckis has said that, for a long time, he sacrificed his personal life in favor of a career. "I won an Academy Award when I was 44 years old," he explained, "but I paid for it with my 20s. That decade of my life from film school till 30 was nothing but work, nothing but absolute, driving work. I had no money. I had no life." [8] In the early 1980s, Zemeckis married actress Mary Ellen Trainor, with whom he had a son, Alexander Francis. [1] He described the marriage as difficult to balance with filmmaking, [8] and his relationship with Trainor eventually ended in divorce. On December 4, 2001, he married actress Leslie Harter, [1] with whom he has three children. [6]

Zemeckis is a private pilot who has logged approximately 1,600 hours of flight time as of October 2012. [36] He flies a Cirrus SR20, known for having a parachute that safely lowers the plane to the ground in case of an emergency. [37]

According to campaign donation records, Zemeckis has frequently contributed to political candidates affiliated with the Democratic Party, as well as PACs that support the interests of aircraft owners and pilots, family planning interests, and a group that advocates for Hollywood women. [38]



1978 I Wanna Hold Your Hand YesYesNo Directorial Debut
1979 1941 NoYesNo
1980 Used Cars YesYesNo
1984 Romancing the Stone YesNoNo
1985 Back to the Future YesYesNoNominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit YesNoNo
1989 Back to the Future Part II YesYesNo
1990 Back to the Future Part III YesYesNo
1992 Death Becomes Her YesNoYes
Trespass NoYesexecutive
1994 Forrest Gump YesNoNo Academy Award for Best Director
BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
1996 Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood Nostoryexecutive
1997 Contact YesNoYes
1999Robert Zemeckis on Smoking, Drinking and Drugging
in the 20th Century: In Pursuit of Happiness
YesNoNoDocumentary [39]
2000 What Lies Beneath YesNoYes
Cast Away YesNoYes
2004 The Polar Express YesYesYes
2007 Beowulf YesNoYes
2009 A Christmas Carol YesYesYes
2012 Flight YesNoYes
2015 The Walk YesYesYes
Doc Brown Saves the World YesYesNoShort film
2016 Allied YesNoYes
2018 Welcome to Marwen YesYesYes
2020 The Witches YesYesYesFilming

Producer only

1992 The Public Eye Executive producer
1995 Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight
1996 The Frighteners Executive producer
1999 House on Haunted Hill
2001 Thirteen Ghosts
2002 Ghost Ship
2003 Matchstick Men Executive producer
2005 House of Wax
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
2006 Monster House Executive producer
Last Holiday
2007 The Reaping
2010 Behind the Burly Q Executive producer
2011 Mars Needs Moms
Real Steel Executive producer
2012Bound by FleshDocumentary;
Executive producer
2019 Chaos Walking Post-production
2020 BIOS


1986 Amazing Stories YesNo
1989/1996 Tales from the Crypt YesYes
1992 Two-Fisted Tales YesNoSegment: "Yellow"
1993 Johnny Bago YesNo
2018-present Manifest NoYes
2019-present Project Blue Book NoYes
2019-present What/If NoYes

Directorial collaborators

Geoffrey Blake Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Don Burgess Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg7
Neil Canton Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Dean Cundey Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg6
Charles Fleischer Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Michael J. Fox Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Bob Gale Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg5
Tom Hanks Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Harry Keramidas Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Christopher Lloyd Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg4
Frank Marshall Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg4
Marc McClure Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg5
Jack Rapke Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg7
Arthur Schmidt Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg9
Alan Silvestri Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg17
Wendie Jo Sperber Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg4
Steven Spielberg Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg5
Steve Starkey Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg14
Lea Thompson Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
James Tolkan Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Mary Ellen Trainor Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg4
Thomas F. Wilson Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3
Robin Wright Yes check.svgYes check.svgYes check.svg3

Awards received by Zemeckis movies

YearFilmAcademy AwardsBAFTA AwardsGolden Globe Awards
1979 1941 3
1984 Romancing the Stone 122
1985 Back to the Future 4154
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit 73512
1989 Back to the Future Part II 11
1992 Death Becomes Her 11111
1994 Forrest Gump 1368173
1997 Contact 11
2000 Cast Away 2111
2004 The Polar Express 311
2012 Flight 21
2016 Allied 11

See also

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Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth. The film stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump (Hanks), a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama who witnesses and unwittingly influences several defining historical events in the 20th century in the United States. The film differs substantially from the novel.

Tom Hanks American actor and producer

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker. Hanks is known for his comedic and dramatic roles in such films as Splash (1984), Big (1988), Turner & Hooch (1989), A League of Their Own (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Apollo 13 (1995), You've Got Mail (1998), The Green Mile (1999), Cast Away (2000), Road to Perdition (2002), Cloud Atlas (2012), Captain Phillips (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and Sully (2016). He has also starred in the Robert Langdon film series, and voices Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story film series. He is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, and is widely regarded as an American cultural icon.

<i>Who Framed Roger Rabbit</i> 1988 film directed by Robert Zemeckis

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Frank Marshall and Robert Watts and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman. Loosely based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, the film stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye and Joanna Cassidy. Set in Hollywood during the late 1940s where cartoon characters and people co-exist, the film follows Eddie Valiant, a private detective who must exonerate "Toon" Roger Rabbit, who is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman.

<i>Back to the Future Part III</i> 1990 film by Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future Part III is a 1990 American science fiction film and the third and final installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson and Lea Thompson. The film continues immediately following Back to the Future Part II (1989); while stranded in 1955 during his time travel adventures, Marty McFly (Fox) discovers that his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, trapped in 1885, was killed by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen (Wilson), Biff's great-grandfather. Marty travels to 1885 to rescue Doc and return once again to 1985, but matters are complicated when Doc falls in love with schoolteacher Clara Clayton (Steenburgen).

Alan Silvestri American composer

Alan Anthony Silvestri is an American composer and conductor known for his film and television scores.

Hanna Rose Hall is an American actress. She made her film debut in Forrest Gump (1994), and later appeared in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007).

Doug Chiang is a Taiwanese-American film designer and artist. He currently serves as vice president and executive creative director of Lucasfilm.

<i>Used Cars</i> 1980 film by Robert Zemeckis

Used Cars is a 1980 American satirical black comedy film written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale and directed by Zemeckis. Rudy Russo is a devious car salesman working for an affable but monumentally unsuccessful used car dealer Luke Fuchs. Luke's principal rival, located directly across the street, is his more prosperous brother, Roy L. Fuchs, who is scheming to take over Luke's lot. The film also stars Deborah Harmon and Gerrit Graham, and the supporting cast includes Frank McRae, David L. Lander, Michael McKean, Joe Flaherty, Al Lewis, Dub Taylor, Harry Northup, Dick Miller and Betty Thomas.

ImageMovers film production company

ImageMovers is an American independent film production company founded by director Robert Zemeckis and producers Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey in 1997. The company is known for producing such films as Cast Away (2000), What Lies Beneath (2000) and The Polar Express (2004). From 2007 to 2011, The Walt Disney Company and ImageMovers founded a joint venture animation facility known as ImageMovers Digital which produced two performance captured animated films: A Christmas Carol (2009) and Mars Needs Moms (2011) for Walt Disney Pictures.

<i>Beowulf</i> (2007 film) 2007 fantasy action movie directed by Robert Zemeckis

Beowulf is a 2007 British-American 3D computer-animated fantasy adventure film directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary and based on the Old English epic poem of the same name. Starring the voices of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman and Angelina Jolie, the film features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation, which was previously used in The Polar Express (2004) and Monster House (2006).

Arthur Robert Schmidt is an American film editor with about 27 film credits between 1977 and 2005. Schmidt has had an extended collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis from Back to the Future (1985) to Cast Away (2000).

Rick Carter is an American production designer and art director. He is known for his work in the film Forrest Gump, which earned him an Oscar nomination, as well as numerous nominations of other awards for his work in Amistad and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Other films include Cast Away, War of the Worlds, What Lies Beneath, Jurassic Park, Avatar, and Back to the Future Part II and Part III. Many of the films that he has worked on are directed by Steven Spielberg or Robert Zemeckis. For his part in the Art Direction of Avatar, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Production Design alongside Robert Stromberg and Kim Sinclair. In 2013, Carter won his second Academy Award, for production design on Steven Spielberg's biopic, Lincoln.

Steve Starkey is an American film producer and second unit director who is widely associated with Robert Zemeckis. He served as an assistant film editor for both The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).


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