Robert Zemeckis

Filmmakers

Robert Lee Zemeckis (born May 14, 1951) is an American director, screenwriter, and producer who is frequently credited as an innovator in visual effects. He made his directorial debut with the historical comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), with Nancy Allen, Bobby Di Cicco, Marc McClure, Susan Kendall Newman, Theresa Saldana, and Wendie Jo Sperber. He followed that up with the dark comedy Used Cars (1980), with Kurt Russell, Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham, Deborah Harmon; and had his first major hit with the adventure romantic comedy Romancing the Stone (1984), with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Alfonso Arau, and Manuel Ojeda.

Zemeckis then went on to direct the science-fiction comedy Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989,1990), collectively with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Claudia Wells, Jeffrey Weissman, Elisabeth Shue, Thomas F. Wilson, and Mary Steenburgen; the live-action/animated comedy noir Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), with Bob Hoskins, Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye, and Joanna Cassidy; the black comedy fantasy Death Becomes Her (1992), with Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, and Isabella Rossellini.

Zemeckis won the Academy Award for Best Director for the drama Forest Gump (1994), with Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. This was followed by the science fiction drama Contact (1997), with Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, John Hurt, Angela Bassett, Rob Lowe, Jake Busey, and David Morse; the supernatural horror thriller (2000), with Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid, Miranda Otto, James Remar, and Joe Morton; and the survival drama Cast Away (2000), with Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Nick Searcy.

Zemeckis’s next three films were done with motion capture animation: The Polar Express (2004), with Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen; Beowulf (2007), with Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Wright, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Glover, Alison Lohman, and Angelina Jolie; and A Christmas Carol (2009), with Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Hoskins, Wright, and Cary Elwes. He also executive produced the motion capture animated horror comedy Monster House (2006), with the voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jason Lee, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Catherine O’Hara, and Turner; and produced the sci-fi comedy Mars Needs Moms (2011), with Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Tom Everett Scott, Elisabeth Harnois, Mindy Sterling, and Joan Cusack.

Zemeckis’s next three films were done with motion capture animation: The Polar Express (2004), with Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett and Eddie Deezen; Beowulf (2007), with Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Wright, Brendan Gleeson, John Malkovich, Glover, Alison Lohman, and Angelina Jolie; and A Christmas Carol (2009), with Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Hoskins, Wright, and Cary Elwes. He also executive produced the motion capture animated horror comedy Monster House (2006), with the voices of Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jason Lee, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Catherine O’Hara, and Turner; and produced the sci-fi comedy Mars Needs Moms (2011), with Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Tom Everett Scott, Elisabeth Harnois, Mindy Sterling, and Joan Cusack.

Films in the 2010s include Flight (2012), with Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo; The Walk (2015), with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, and Steve Valentine; Allied (2016), with Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Simon McBurney, Lizzy Caplan; and Welcome to Marwen (2018), with Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis, Siobhan Williams, and Neil Jackson.

Films in the 2020s include The Witches (2020), with Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, and Stanley Tucci, and narration by Chris Rock.

Films in the 1990s he produced include The Public Eye (1992), with Joe Pesci, Barbara Hershey, Tucci, and Richard Schiff; Walter Hill’s Trespass (1992), with Bill Paxton, Ice Cube, Ice-T, and William Sadler; Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995), with Billy Zane, Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brenda Bakke, CCH Pounder, Dick Miller. and Thomas Haden Church; Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (1996), with Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Dee Wallace Stone, Jeffrey Combs, R. Lee Ermey, and Busey; Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996), with Dennis Miller, Erika Eleniak, Angie Everhart, Chris Sarandon, and Corey Feldman; and House on Haunted Hill (1999), with Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Peter Gallagher, and Chris Kattan.

Films in the 2000s he produced include Thirteen Ghosts (2001), with Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham; Tales from the Crypt Presents: Ritual (2002), with Tim Curry, Jennifer Grey, and Craig Sheffer; Ghost Ship (2002), with Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Karl Urban, and Emily Browning; Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men (2003), with Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Lohman, Bruce McGill; Gothika (2003), with Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton, John Carroll Lynch, Bernard Hill, and Penélope Cruz; The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005), with Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Laura Dern; Wayne Wang’s Last Holiday (2006), with Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Gérard Depardieu, Alicia Witt, and Giancarlo Esposito; The Reaping (2007), with Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, and Stephen Rea; and Shawn Levy’s Real Steel (2011), with Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, and Kevin Durand.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Lift (1972) – director, writer – short
  • A Field of Horror (1973) – director, co-writer – short
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) – director, co-writer
  • 1941 (1979) – directed by Steven Spielberg – co-writer
  • Used Cars (1980) – director, co-writer
  • Romancing the Stone (1984) – director
  • Back to the Future (1985)** – director, co-writer
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) – director
  • Back to the Future Part II (1989)** – director, co-story
  • Back to the Future Part III (1990)** – director, co-story
  • Two-Fisted Tales (1992) – co-directed with Richard Donner & Tom Holland – TV anthology movie – also executive producer
  • Death Becomes Her (1992) – director, producer
  • Trespass (1992) – directed by Walter Hill – co-writer
  • Forrest Gump (1994) – director
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995) – directed by Ernest Dickerson – executive producer
  • W.E.I.R.D. World (1995) – directed by William Malone – executive producer
  • The Frighteners (1996) – directed by Peter Jackson – executive producer
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996) – directed by Gilbert Adler – co-story, executive producer
  • Contact (1997) – director, producer
  • House on Haunted Hill (1999) – directed by William Malone – producer
  • What Lies Beneath (2000) – director, producer
  • Cast Away (2000)* – director, producer
  • Thirteen Ghosts (2001) – directed by Steve Beck – producer
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents: Ritual (2002) – directed by Avi Nesher – producer
  • Ghost Ship (2002) – directed by Steve Beck – producer
  • Matchstick Men (2003) – directed by Ridley Scott – executive producer
  • Gotgika (2003) – directed by Mathieu Kassovitz – producer
  • The Polar Express (2004) – director, co-writer, producer
  • House of Wax (2005) – directed by Jaume Collet-Serra – producer
  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005) – directed by Jane Anderson – producer
  • Last Holiday (2006) – directed by Wayne Wang – executive producer
  • Monster House (2006) – directed by Gil Kenan – executive producer
  • The Reaping (2007) – directed by Stephen Hopkins – producer
  • Beowulf (2007) – director, producer
  • A Christmas Carol (2009) – director, writer, producer
  • Behind the Burly Q (2010) – directed by Leslie Zemeckis – executive producer – documentary
  • Mars Needs Moms (2011) – directed by Simon Wells – producer
  • Real Steel (2011)* – directed by Shawn Levy – executive producer
  • Flight (2012) – director, producer
  • Bound by Flesh (2012) – directed by Leslie Zemeckis – executive producer – documentary
  • The Walk (2015) – director, co-writer, producer
  • Allied (2016) – director, producer
  • Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer (2018) – directed by Leslie Zemeckis – executive producer – documentary
  • Welcome to Marwen (2018) – director, co-writer, producer
  • The Witches (2020) – director, co-writer, producer
  • Finch (2021) – directed by Miguel Sapochnik – producer