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16 Brilliant Movie Quotes from 16 Great Directors

22 April 2012 | Other Lists | by David Zou

director quotes

We know their films, but do we know their minds? What is film in the eyes of people who made them? 16 cinema masters shed some lights on their ideas of film and film making here. The only way we can understand these statements is watching more of their films.



“I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, alright? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.” – Quentin Tarantino


Alejandro Jodorowsky

“Most directors make films with their eyes; I make films with my testicles.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky



“Films are subjective-what you like, what you don’t like. But the thing for me that is absolutely unifying is the idea that every time I go to the cinema and pay my money and sit down and watch a film go up on-screen, I want to feel that the people who made that film think it’s the best movie in the world, that they poured everything into it and they really love it. Whether or not I agree with what they’ve done, I want that effort there-I want that sincerity. And when you don’t feel it, that’s the only time I feel like I’m wasting my time at the movies.” – Christopher Nolan


Jean Cocteau

“Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things that always become ugly with time.” – Jean Cocteau



“I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontation. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you’re making a horror film doesn’t mean you can’t make an artful film.” – David Cronenberg


Pier Paolo Pasolini

“When I make a film I’m always in reality among the trees, and among the people like yourselves. There’s no symbolic or conventional filter between me and reality as there is in literature. The cinema is an explosion of my love for reality.” – Pier Paolo Pasolini


David Lean

“My distinguishing talent is the ability to put people under the microscope, perhaps to go one or two layers farther down than some other directors.” – David Lean



“As if Japan weren’t small enough to begin with, I fail to understand why it is necessary to think of it in even smaller units. No matter where I go in the world, although I can’t speak any foreign language, I don’t feel out of place. I think of the earth as my home. If everyone thought this way, people might notice how foolish international friction is, and they would put an end to it. We are, after all, at a point where it is almost narrow-minded to think merely in geocentric terms. Human beings have launched satellites into outer space, and yet they still grovel on earth looking at their own feet like wild dogs. What is to become of our planet?” – Akira Kurosawa

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  • R.A. Kerr

    The Jean Cocteau quote was hilarious – and so true!

    • David Zou

      Yes,he is definitely spot on.Thanks for stopping by!!

  • SJHoneywell

    While not on topic, when you get the chance, go here:

    Once there, scroll down to the podcast player and click on the most recent episode (#112). Zoom ahead to 1:13:00 and listen for about 90 seconds. (Then feel free to go back and listen to the whole thing, but you’ll find a lot to interest you in that 90 seconds.)

    • David Zou

      Thanks for the mention,Steve(“who’s this guy honestly”,lol,I guess the guy who said this is also a Kubrick fan??)!! I think I will be a fan of your podcast now.I did apply for being a LAMB about a month ago,but I get no replies.Can you help check what’s the problem?

      • SJHoneywell

        It’s not so much a problem as just a long wait. It took three months for me to officially become a LAMB when I applied. There’s just a backlog, and the goal is to add sites one at a time so that each one gets a good number of new visitors instead of appearing as one of a group.

        Nick…has a love/hate relationship with Kubrick.

  • http://Website DukeD

    “Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls. ” – Bergman

    • David Zou

      What a brilliant quote this is,I 100% agree with that!! thanks for the addition,Duke.

  • Chris

    Great collection of quotes! I love it when a director is opinionated,where did you locate the quotes? Have you read any of the interview books, director on director series? I own Lynch on Lynch and loved reading it, and have read Trier on von Trier edited by Stig Bjorkman this year.

    • David Zou

      Chris,I collected those quotes from some tumblr sites I visit frequently.I do have some director books like Kubrick and Coen Brothers,and the famous Hitchcock/Truffaut book.However,I got most of my cinema knowledge from the documentaries and commentaries in dvds.

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  • http://Website Creative Admirer – Alexia

    It appears quite obviously to me that these statements are a window into the souls of these unique directors. Even though I am only getting a glimpse, it says tons about the mind of the man as a director, and as a man. I travel frequently on business related to my job at Dish, giving me an opportunity to research various films for my film blog. At this time, I’m doing a blog on famous directors that have really influenced the film industry. Since I carry my iPad for work, I get all my film research from Dish Online where films are abundant. It’s not only productive for my film blog, but I get to relax to classic films after a hard days work in my hotel.

    • David Zou

      Thanks for stopping by,Alexia.Those words do summarize the wisdom of these brilliant filmmmakers,that’s why I’m doing this!!

      Thanks for the info on Dish Online,I will check it out.

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  • John

    These are all fantastic, and I really enjoyed putting the quotes in the context of who said it.

    This article makes me want to go watch all of the films those filmmakers made.

    • David Zou

      Totally agree with you,John.I treat those quotes as a keyhole to peek the inner world of the masters,it would be completely different to watch their works again with their POV.

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  • alleyandthemovies

    These are all so beautiful and true. Here’s some I digger up:

  • Ramesh Kummara

    hey David, i loved this post very much.
    and i would like to reblog this post in my personal blog…
    so i am asking for your permission… can i, please??

  • Nima Parham

    Great job man. I really really liked the quotes in your site.

  • estelle

    Hey, nice stuff! I bumped on that Tarantino quote here, which I found rather useful, thanks.

  • Iam_Sparticus

    One of my favorite quotes was Martin Scorsese on Stanley Kubrick, “His films are so durable that any one of his is worth ten of ours.”

  • Allister Cooper

    I guess that the best way to make a movie is to just make a movie! – Robert Rodriguez!