Stanley Kubrick Biography

Stanley Kubrick was a screenwriter and film director known for his movies like ‘The Clockwork Orange’ and ‘The Shining’. This biography of Stanley Kubrick provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: July 26, 1928

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Stanley Kubrick Atheists

Died At Age: 70

Sun Sign: Leo

Born in: Manhattan

Famous as: Film Director


Spouse/Ex-: Christiane Kubrick (m. 1958–1999), Ruth Sobotka (m. 1955–1957), Toba Metz (m. 1948–1951)

father: Jacques Leonard Kubrick

mother: Sadie Gertrude

siblings: Barbara Mary Kubrick

children: Anya Kubrick, Vivian Kubrick

Died on: March 7, 1999

place of death: Harpenden

Personality: ISTP

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: William Howard Taft High School, City College of New York

Continue Reading Below

Stanley Kubrick, considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers in American history, was a director cum producer known for his innovation in cinematography. A highly creative personality, he worked in a number of genres ranging from romance and crime to horror and science fiction. His interest in films stems from his childhood when he used to bunk classes to watch movies. He was an intelligent boy but had no passion for academic pursuits; in fact his high school grades were so low that he could not get into a decent college! He began his career as a photographer and learnt the aspects of cinematography and film production. He directed his first film at the age of 23—it was a short documentary about the boxer Walter Cartier. Film making intrigued the young Stanley and he tried to learn all he could about the art. He made his initial films on a shoestring budget, but his fate took a turn for the better with the release of ‘Spartacus’. The film became a smash hit and established Kubrick as a major director. He was fond of innovation; many of his films are credited to have introduced new elements in cinematography. He was not someone who shied away from controversy—artistic expression was all he cared about, as is evident from the range of topics he chose to film.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Childhood & Early Life
  • Stanley Kubrick was born in New York to Jacques Kubrick and Sadie Gertrude. His father was a well-to-do doctor and the boy had a comfortable upbringing.
  • His father bought him a camera when he was 13, instilling in him a lifelong fascination for photography. He was also good at playing chess.
  • Even though intelligent, he did not do well in school and often skipped classes. He attended William Howard Taft High School and graduated in 1945.
  • Because of his poor grades, he could not secure admission in any good college, and began attending evening classes at the City College of New York in 1946.
    Continue Reading Below
  • He was a talented photographer and had sold a series of photographs to ‘Look’ magazine even while he was in high school. He found employment as an apprentice photographer for the same magazine and later got promoted to full-time staff photographer.
  • During this time he also became increasingly interested in the science and art of film making and frequented film screenings. He was particularly inspired by the style of the directors Max Ophuls and Elia Kazan.
  • In 1951, he directed his first movie, ‘Day of the Fight’, a short documentary based on the life of the boxer Walter Cartier. He financed the film himself on a shoestring budget.
  • He quit his job at Look magazine and began to focus on film making. His second movie, ‘Flying Padre’ (1951) was a nine minute long documentary based on the life of a Catholic priest.
  • He shot his first colour film, ‘The Seafarers’ in 1953. He used a sideways-shooting dolly shot in the film which would become one of the signature techniques he would use in later films also.
  • He made three more movies during the decade: ‘Killer’s Kiss’ (1955), ‘The Killing’ (1956), and ‘Paths of Glory’ (1957).
  • He got a big break with his 1960 movie ‘Spartacus’ which was based on a novel of the same name. It was his first movie to become a huge critical as well as commercial success. However, Kubrick complained that he did not have complete artistic control over the film as he would have wished.
  • In 1962, he made the highly controversial ‘Lolita’, adapted from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name. He treated the erotic subject matter of the novel in a sensible manner to create a black comedy.
  • ‘Dr. Strangelove’, the 1964 black comedy by Kubrick was a political satire starring Peter Sellers and George Scott. The movie was a big hit at the box office.
    Continue Reading Below
  • He co-wrote the screenplay for ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with Arthur C. Clarke, and produced the film in 1968. The film was made mostly in England and is know for its innovative musical effects.
  • Kubrick’s films were expressions of his artistic tendencies. His 1971 film ‘A Clock work Orange’ with its violent and disturbing imagery provoked many controversies. He was criticized for the explicit content of the film, though he was also nominated for various awards.
  • After a gap of four years, he returned to the scene with ‘Barry Lyndon’ in 1975. The film revolved around the adventures of a fictional 18th century explorer.
  • Kubrick had never been a prolific producer. He made only two movies during the 1980’s: the psychological horror, ‘The Shining’ (1980), and war film ‘Full Metal Jacket’ (1987).
  • His last film was ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (1999), a story which revolves around the sexual adventures of a young couple. The film had Tom Cruise in the lead role and was well received by the audiences.
Major Works
  • The 1964 dark comedy film, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ which he co-wrote, directed and produced was one of his biggest successes. The movie ranked by critics as one of the greatest films of all times, was nominated for four Academy Awards.
  • His film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968) was a science fiction dealing with extraterrestrial life and artificial intelligence. The film garnered a cult following and was also a critical as well as commercial success.
  • ‘Barry Lyndon’ (1975) starring Ryan O’Neal and Marisa Berenson is considered to be one of Kubrick’s finest films. The movie won four Academy Awards and was appreciated for the unconventional use of lighting in cinematography.
    Continue Reading Below
Awards & Achievements
  • He won the Locarno International Film Festival Prize for Best Director for his film ‘Killer’s Kiss’ in 1955.
  • He was awarded the Golden Globe: Best Drama Picture for the film ‘Spartacus’ in 1960.
  • He won two awards for Best Director for his 1964 film ‘Dr. Strangelove’: from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Italian national Syndicate of Film Journalists.
  • For his ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ he was given the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1968.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married his high school sweetheart Toba Metz in 1948. But the marriage did not flourish and the couple divorced three years later.
  • His second marriage was to dancer Ruth Sobotka in 1954. This marriage too ended in divorce.
  • He met German actress and artist Christiane Harlan while the two were working together in a film. The couple wed in 1958 and had two daughters. They had a happy marriage that lasted till Kubrick’s death.
  • He died in his sleep on 7 March 1999, aged 70.
  • Alan Conway, a travel agent, impersonated him during the 1990’s successfully fooling many people into believing that he was the celebrated director.
  • Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film, ‘A.I: Artificial Intelligence’ is dedicated to him.
  • Most of his movies were adapted from existing short stories or novels.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

  (Sci-Fi, Adventure)

2. The Shining (1980)

  (Drama, Horror)

3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)


4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

  (Drama, Sci-Fi, Crime)

5. Paths of Glory (1957)

  (Drama, War)

6. Spartacus (1960)

  (Adventure, War, Biography, History, Drama)

7. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

  (War, Drama)

8. Barry Lyndon (1975)

  (History, War, Drama, Adventure)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1969 Best Effects, Special Visual Effects 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
BAFTA Awards
1976 Best Direction Barry Lyndon (1975)

See the events in life of Stanley Kubrick in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Stanley Kubrick Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- October 16, 2017
Stanley Kubrick

People Also Viewed

Brie Larson
Robert De Niro
Clint Eastwood
Sylvester Stallone

John Krasinski
Danny DeVito
Jack Nicholson
Quentin Tarantino