Vittorio Storaro

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Vittorio Storaro
Vittorio Storaro at Cannes in 2001
Born (1940-06-24) June 24, 1940 (age 80)
Education Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active1960–present
Known for

Vittorio Storaro, A.S.C., A.I.C. (born 24 June 1940 in Rome) is an Italian cinematographer widely recognized for his work on numerous classic films including The Conformist, Apocalypse Now , and The Last Emperor . In the course of over fifty years, he has collaborated with directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, and Woody Allen.


He has received three Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for the films Apocalypse Now (1979), Reds (1981), and The Last Emperor (1987), and is one of three living persons who has won the award three times, the others being Robert Richardson and Emmanuel Lubezki.

Early life

Vittorio Storaro in Camerimage Festival 23 in 2015, talking about how color affects people physically and psychologically Vittorio Storaro Camerimage.jpg
Vittorio Storaro in Camerimage Festival 23 in 2015, talking about how color affects people physically and psychologically

Storaro was born in Rome. The son of a film projectionist, Storaro began studying photography at the age of 11. He went on to formal cinematography studies at the national Italian film school, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, when he was 18. [1]


Storaro is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential cinematographers of all time. [2] [3] [4] [5] He has worked with many important film directors, in particular Bernardo Bertolucci, with whom he has had a long collaboration. [6] His philosophy is largely inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's theory of colors, which focuses in part on the psychological effects that different colors have and the way in which colors influence our perceptions of different situations. [7]

He first worked with Bertolucci on The Conformist (1970). Set in Fascist Italy, the film has been described as a "visual masterpiece." [8]

Also in 1970, he photographed The Bird with the Crystal Plumage , the directorial debut of Dario Argento and a landmark film in the giallo genre. [9]

The first American film that Storaro worked on was Apocalypse Now (1979). Director Francis Ford Coppola gave him free rein on the film's visual look. [10] Apocalypse Now earned Storaro his first Academy Award. [11]

He worked with Warren Beatty for the first time on Reds (1981), and ended up winning his second Academy Award. [12]

Storaro won a third Academy Award for The Last Emperor (1987), directed by Bertolucci. [12] Three years later he received a nomination, but did not win, for the Beatty film Dick Tracy . [13]

In 2002, Storaro completed the first in a series of books that attempt to articulate his philosophy of cinematography more substantively. [14]

He was cinematographer for a BBC co-production with Italian broadcaster RAI of Verdi's Rigoletto over two nights on the weekend of 4 and 5 September 2010. [15]

Woody Allen's Café Society (2016) was the first film that Storaro shot digitally. He used the Sony F65 camera. [16]

In 2017, Storaro was honored with the George Eastman Award. [17] The same year he also attended the New York Film Festival at which he debated with Ed Lachman on cinematography and its transition to digital. [18]

His other film credits include 1900 , Last Tango in Paris , Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist , One from the Heart , Bulworth , The Sheltering Sky , Tucker: The Man and His Dream , Ladyhawke , Tango , and Goya en Burdeos .

With his son Fabrizio, he created the Univisium format system to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1. [19] As of 2020, this unification has not happened, and the universal replacement of 4:3 televisions by large, wide-screen displays greatly reduces the need to modify scope-ratio films for home theater presentation.

Personal life

Storaro is known for stylish, fastidious, and flamboyant personal fashion. Francis Ford Coppola once noted that Storaro was the only man he ever knew that could fall off a ladder in a white suit, into the mud, and not get dirty. [20]


Selected Credits:

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

1980 Best Cinematography Apocalypse NowWon [21]
1982 RedsWon
1988 The Last EmperorWon
1991 Dick TracyNominated

British Academy Film Awards

1980 Best Cinematography Apocalypse NowNominated [22]
1983RedsNominated [23]
1989 The Last EmperorNominated [24]
1991 The Sheltering SkyWon [25]

Primetime Emmy Awards

1986 Best Cinematography for a Miniseries or Special Peter the Great Nominated
2001 Frank Herbert's Dune Won

Cannes Film Festival

1998 Technical Grand PrizeTango, no me dejes nuncaWon [26]

American Society of Cinematographers

1988 Outstanding Cinematography The Last EmperorWon
1991Dick TracyNominated
2001Outstanding Achievement in CinematographyDuneNominated
Lifetime Achievement AwardN/AWon

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  25. "Past Winners and Nominees – Film Nominations 1990". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
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Further reading