Peter Ustinov


Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov CBE FRSA (born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov; April 16, 1921 – March 28, 2004) was an English actor, writer, and filmmaker. He was the recipient of numerous awards during his life, including 2 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, 3 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA Awards for acting, and a Grammy Award for best recording for children, as well as the recipient of governmental honours from, amongst others, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. He made his credited film debut in Powell & Pressburger’s One of Our Aircrafts Is Missing (1942), with Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams, Bernard Miles, Hugh Burden, Emrys Jones, Googie Withers, and Pamela Brown.

Other early roles include The Goose Steps Out (1942), with Will Hay (who also co-directed with Basil Dearden), Frank Pettingell, Julien Mitchell, and Charles Hawtrey; John Baxter’s Let the People Sing (1942), with Alastair Sim, Fred Emney, and Edward Rigby; Carol Reed’s The Way Ahead (1944), with David Niven, Stanley Holloway, and William Hartnell.

Ustinov received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Mervyn LRoy’s Quo Vadis (1951), with Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Patricia Laffan, Finlay Currie, Abraham Sofaer, Marina Berti, Buddy Baer, and Felix Aylmer. Other films in the early 1950s include Herbert Wilcox’s Odette (1950), with Anna Neagle, Trevor Howard, Marius Goring, and Bernard Lee; Ken Annakin’s Hotel Sahara (1951), with Yvonne De Carlo, David Tomlinson, and Roland Culver; John Boulting’s The Magic Box (1951), with Robert Donat, Margaret Johnston, Maria Schell, Robert Beatty, and Margaret Rutherford; an uncredited role in Irvin Pichel’s Martin Luther (1953), with Niall MacGinnis; Michael Curtiz’s The Egyptian (1954), with Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Gene Tierney, Michael Wilding, Bella Darvi, and Edmund Purdom; and Curtis Bernhardt’s Beau Brummell (1954), with Stewart Granger, Elizabeth Taylor, and Robert Morley.

Films in the mid to late 1950s include We’re No Angels (1955), with Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo G. Carroll, and Gloria Talbott; Max Ophüls’s Lola Montès (1955), with Martine Carol and Anton Walbrook; Hugo Fregonese’s The Wanderers (1956), with Carla Del Poggio and Abbe Lane; Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Spies (1957), with Curd Jürgens O.E. Hasse, Sam Jaffe, Paul Carpenter, Véra Clouzot, Martita Hunt, and Gérard Séty; and Ladislao Vajda’s The Man Who Wagged His Tail (1957), with Pablito Calvo.

Ustinov won 2 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960), with Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Simmons, Charles Laughton, John Gavin, Tony Curtis, and Woody Strode; and Jules Dassin’s Topkapi (1964), with Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Robert Morley and Akim Tamiroff. He also received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Eric Till’s Hot Millions (1969), with Maggie Smith, Karl Malden, Bob Newhart, Morley, and Cesar Romero.

Other films in the 1960s include Fred Zinnermann’s The Sundowners (1960), with Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Glynis Johns, Mervyn Johns, Dina Merrill, Michael Anderson Jr., and Chips Rafferty; J. Lee Thompson’s John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965), with Shirley MacLaine, Richard Crenna, Jim Backus, Scott Brady, Fred Clark, Wilfred Hyde-White, and Harry Morgan; Peter Glenville’s The Comedians (1967), with Richard Burton, Taylor, Alec Guinness, Paul Ford, Lillian Gish, and James Earl Jones; Robert Stevenson’s Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968), with Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, and Elsa Lancaster; Jerry Paris’s Viva Max! (1969), with Pamela Tiffin, Jonathan Winters, John Astin, Keenan Wynn, Morgan, Alice Ghostley, and Kenneth Mars.

Films in the 1970s include One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975), with Helen Hayes, Clive Revill, and Derek Nimmo; Michael Anderson’s Logan’s Run (1976), with Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Farrah Fawcett; Vincent McEveety’s Treasure at Matecumble (1976), with Robert Foxworth, Joan Hackett, and Vic Morrow; Yves Boosset’s The Purple Taxi (1977), with Charlotte Rampling, Edward Albert, Fred Astaire, and Philippe Noiret; Steno’s Double Murder (1977), with Marcello Mastroianni, Augustina Belli, and Ursula Andress; The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977), with Marty Feldman (who also directed), York, Ann-Margaret, Jones, Trevor Howard, Henry Gibson, Roy Kinnear, Spike Milligan, and Terry-Thomas; John Guillermin’s Death on the Nile (1978), with Jane Birkin, Lois Chiles, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Jon Finch, Olivia Hussey, George Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Simon MacCorkindale, Niven, Smith, Jack Warden, and I.S. Johar; Clive Donner’s Thief of Baghdad (1978), with Roddy MacDowall, Kabir Bedi, Frank Finlay, and Marina Vlady; and Richard Fleischer’s Ashanti (1979), with Michael Caine, Bedi, Beverly Johnson, Omar Sharif, Rex Harrison, and William Holden.

Films in the 1980s include Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), with Lee Grant, Brian Keith, McDowall, Rachel Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Hatch, and Angie Dickinson; Guy Hamilton’s Evil Under the Sun (1982), with Birkin, Colin Blakely, Nicholas Clay, James Mason, Roddy McDowall, Sylvia Miles, Denis Quilley, Diana Rigg, Smith; Appointment with Death (1988), with Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud, Piper Laurie, Hayley Mills, Jenny Seagrove, and David Soul; and The French Revolution (1989), with Klaus Maria Brandauer, Andrzej Seweryn, Jean-François Balmer, Jane Seymour, François Cluzet, Claudia Cardinale, Sam Neill, Christopher Lee, and Dominique Pinon.

Later films include George Miller’s Lorenzo’s Oil (1992), with Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon; Stiff Upper Lips (1998), with Sean Pertwee, Georgina Cates, Robert Portal, Samuel West, Prunella Scales, and Brian Glover; The Bachelor (1999), with Chris O’Donnell, Renée Zellweger, Hal Holbrook, James Cromwell, Artie Lange, Edward Asner, and Marley Shelton; and Luther (2003), with Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Firth, Claire Cox, and Bruno Ganz.

Ustinov made his directorial debut with School for Secrets (1946), with Ralph Richardson, Tomlinson, Raymond Huntley, Finlay Currie, Richard Attenborough, John Laurie, and Michael Hordern. His other directorial works include Vice Versa (1948), with Roger Livesey, Anthony Newley, Petula Clark, and Kay Walsh; Private Angelo (1948), with Godfrey Tearle, María Denis, and Marjorie Rhodes; Romanoff and Juliet (1961), with Sandra Dee and Gavin; Billy Budd (1962), with Terence Stamp, Robert Ryan, Melvyn Douglas, Paul Rogers, John Neville, and David McCallum; Lady L (1965), with Sophia Loren, Paul Newman, Niven, and Cecil Parker; Hammersmith Is Out (1972), with Taylor, Burton, Beau Bridges, Leon Ames, and George Raft; and Memed My Hawk (1984), with Herbert Lom, Denis Quilley, and Michael Elphick.

Voice roles include the English dub of the animated French film The King and the Mockingbird (1952), with Max Adrian, Claire Bloom, Denholm Elliott, and Philip Stainton, Disney ‘s Robin Hood (1973), with Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Pat Buttram, Monica Evans, and Carole Shelley; The Mouse and His Child (1977), with Cloris Leachman, Sally Kellerman, Andy Devine, Joan Gerber, John Carradine, Neville Brand, Bob Holt, and Robert Ridgely; Grendel Grendel Grendel (1981), with Arthur Dignam and Keith Michell; and Animal Farm (1999), with Kelsey Grammer, Ian Holm, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patrick Stewart, Julia Ormond, Paul Scofield, Charles Dale, Pete Postlethwaite, and Alan Stanford.

TV movie and miniseries roles include Barefoot in Athens (1966), with Geraldine Page, Anthony Quayle, Lloyd Bochner, and Christopher Walken; Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth (1977), with Robert Powell, Olivia Hussey, Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Ian McShane, Donald Pleasance, Stacey Keach, and Valentina Cortese; Thirteen at Dinner (1985), with Faye Dunaway, Jonathan Cecil, Diane Keen, Bill Nighy, and David Suchet; Dead Man’s Folly (1986), with Jean Stapleton, Constance Cummings, and Tim Pigott-Smith; Murder in Three Acts (1986), with Curtis, Emma Samms, Fernando Allende, and Diana Muldaur; Around the World in 80 Days (1989), with Pierce Brosnan, Eric Idle, Julia Nickson, Jack Klugman, Darren McGavin, Lee Remick, Robert Wagner, and John Mills; The Old Curiosity Shop (1995), with Tom Courtney; Alice in Wonderland (1999), with Tina Majorino,
Miranda Richardson, Martin Short, Whoopi Goldberg, Simon Russell Beale, Robbie Coltrane, Ken Dodd, Heathcote Williams, Gene Wilder, George Wendt, Christopher Lloyd, Ben Kingsley, Elizabeth Spriggs, and Liz Smith; Victoria & Albert (2001), with Victoria Hamilton, Jonathan Firth, Jonathan Pryce, and Nigel Hawthorne; and Winter Solstice (2003), with Sinéad Cusack, Geraldine Chaplin, and Brian Blessed.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942) – directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
  • Let the People Sing (1942) – directed by John Baxter
  • The Goose Steps Out (1942) – directed by Will Hay & Basil Dearden
  • The New Lot (1943) – directed by Carol Reed – uncredited
  • The Way Ahead (1944) – directed by Carol Reed – also co-writer
  • The True Glory (1945) – directed by Garson Kanin & Carol Reed – documentary
  • School for Secrets (1946) – writer, director only
  • Carnival (1946) – directed by Stanley Haynes – co-writer only
  • Vice Versa (1948) – director, writer, producer only
  • Private Angelo (1949) – also co-director, co-writer with Michael Anderson
  • Odette (1950) – directed by Herbert Wilcox
  • Hotel Sahara (1951) – directed by Ken Annakin
  • Quo Vadis (1951) – directed by Mervyn LeRoy
  • The Magic Box (1951) – directed by John Boulting
  • Pleasure (1952) – directed by Max Ophüls – uncredited narrator
  • The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird (1952) – directed by Paul Grimault – English dub
  • Martin Luther (1953) – directed by Irving Pichel – uncredited
  • The Egyptian (1954) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Beau Brummell (1954) – directed by Curtis Bernhardt
  • Peer Gynt (1954) – directed by Royston Morley – TV movie
  • The Moment of Truth (1955) – directed by Rudolph Cartier – TV movie
  • We’re No Angels (1955) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Lola Montès (1955) – directed by Max Ophüls
  • The Wanderers (1956) – directed by Hugo Fregonese
  • The Legend of Good Beasts (1956) – directed by Ted Obolensky – short
  • The Spies (1957) – directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • The Man Who Wagged His Tail (1957) – directed by Ladislao Vajda
  • Spartacus (1960) – directed by Stanley Kubrick
  • The Sundowners (1960) – directed by Fred Zinnermann
  • Romanoff and Juliet (1961) – also director, screenwriter
  • Billy Budd (1962) – also director, co-writer, director, producer
  • The Human Dutch (1963) – directed by Bert Haanstra – documentary – narrator
  • Women of the World (1963) – directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara, & Franco Prosperi – documentary – narrator
  • The Peaches (1964) – directed by Michael Gill – short
  • Topkapi (1964) – directed by Jules Dassin
  • John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965) – directed by J. Lee Thompson
  • Lady L (1965) – also director, screenwriter, uncredited actor
  • Adieu de Tabarin (1966) – directed by Marcel Achard – TV movie
  • Barefoot in Athens (1966) – directed by George Schaefer – TV movie
  • The Comedians (1967) – directed by Peter Glenville
  • Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968) – directed by Robert Stevenson
  • Hot Millions (1968) – directed by Eric Till – also co-writer
  • The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant (1968) – directed by Ed Levitt & Bill Melendez – TV short
  • Viva Max! (1969) – directed by Jerry Paris
  • The Festival Game (1970) – documentary
  • A Storm in Summer (1970) – directed by Buzz Kulik – TV movie
  • Gideon (1971) – directed by George Schaefer – TV movie
  • Babar Comes to America (1971) – directed by Ed Levitt & Bill Melendez – TV short
  • Hammersmith Is Out (1972) – also director
  • Robin Hood (1973) – directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
  • Big Truck and Sister Clare (1974) – directed by Robert Ellis Miller
  • One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975) – directed by Robert Stevenson
  • Logan’s Run (1976) – directed by Michael Anderson
  • Treasure of Matecumbe (1976) – directed by Vincent McEveety
  • Not Like Anyone Else (1976) – directed by Herman Leitner – TV movie
  • Jesus of Nazareth (1977) – directed by Franco Zeffirelli – miniseries
  • The Purple Taxi (1977) – directed by Yves Boisset
  • The Mouse and His Child (1977) – directed by Charles Swenson & Fred Wolf
  • The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) – directed by Marty Feldman
  • Double Murder (1977) -directed by Steno
  • The Winds of Change (1978) – directed Takashi Masunaga – narrator
  • Death on the Nile (1978) – directed by John Guillermin
  • Thief of Baghdad (1978) – directed by Clive Donner
  • Morte no Tejo (1979) – documentary
  • Tarka the Otter (1979) – directed by David Cobham
  • Ashanti (1979) – directed by Richard Fleischer
  • We’ll Grow Thin Together (1979) – directed by Michel Vocoret
  • Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981) – directed by Clive Donner
  • The Great Muppet Caper (1981) – directed by Jim Henson – cameo
  • Grendel Grendel Grendel (1981) – directed by Alexander Stitt
  • The Search for Santa Claus (1981) – directed by Stan Swan – short
  • Evil Under the Sun (1982) – directed by Guy Hamilton
  • Imaginary Friends (1982) – directed by Michael Darlow – TV movie
  • Venezia, carnevale – Un amore (1982) – directed by Mario Lanfranchi
  • Memed, My Hawk (1984) – also director, writer
  • Abgehört (1984) – Rolf von Sydow – TV movie
  • Thirteen at Dinner (1986) – directed by Lou Antonio – TV movie
  • Dead Man’s Folly (1986) – directed by Clive Donner – TV movie
  • Murder in Three Acts (1986) – directed by Gary Nelson – TV movie
  • Appointment with Death (1988) – directed by Michael Winner
  • Peep and the Big Wide World (1988) – directed by Kaj Pindal – narrator – short
  • Around the World in 80 Days (1989) – directed by Buzz Kulik – miniseries
  • The French Revolution: Years of Hope (1989) – directed by Robert Enrico
  • French Revolution: Years of Rage (1989) – directed by Richard T. Heffron
  • Granpa (1989) – directed by Diane Jackson short
  • There Was a Castle with Forty Dogs (1990) – directed by Duccio Tessari
  • Peter Ustinov on the Orient Express (1991) – directed by John McGreevy – TV documentary
  • Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) – directed by George Miller
  • The Old Curiosity Shop (1995) – directed by Kevin Connor – TV movie
  • The Phoenix and the Magic Carpet (1995) – directed by Zoran Perisic
  • Stiff Upper Lips (1998) – directed by Gary Sinyor
  • Alice in Wonderland (1999) – directed by Nick Willing
  • Animal Farm (1999) – directed by John Stephenson
  • The Bachelor (1999) – directed by Gary Sinyor
  • Deutschlandspiel (2000) – directed by Hans-Christoph Blumenberg
  • Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) (documentary)
  • Victoria & Albert (2001) – directed by John Erman
  • Salem Witch Trials (2002) – directed by Joseph Sargent – TV movie
  • Luther (2003) – directed by Eric Till
  • Winter Solstice (2004) – directed by Martyn Friend – TV movie
  • Siberia: Railroad Through the Wilderness (2004) (short documentary) as narrator