Obituaries

'Godfather' Cinematographer Gordon Willis Dead at 82

A master has passed away

Gordon Willis dead
Gordon Willis attends the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14, 2009
Photo: Michael Yada / A.M.P.A.S.

When you think of Gordon Willis you think of his work on Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather trilogy, his lensing of All the President's Men, his work on The Parallax View and Klute for Alan J. Pakula and, of course, Annie Hall and the beautiful black-and-white photography of Manhattan for Woody Allen. He's an icon in the realm of cinema and cinematographers and over the weekend he passed away at the age of 82.

Willis was nominated for only two Oscars (The Godfather: Part III and Zelig) if you can believe it and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2009 for "unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion." At least they got that right.

Below I've included a two-part interview with Willis from 2013 along with the iconic opening to Allen's Manhattan, though that entire film could serve as a sizzle reel for his career. Also, click here for a great study in the color palettes Willis used for The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Manhattan and Annie Hall.

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  • Kingsley_Zissou

    Manhattan didn't get a cinematography nom? That's crazy. That movie is so beautiful. That scene where they're walking through the museum is another favorite of mine.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Torryz/ Torryz

    Sad news. He may not have been nominated much but at least we have his movies to enjoy forever.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    His work on The Godfather is unparalleled. He will be missed.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    I love where he talks about blocking and how the camera is an instrument to tell a story- rather than just allowing things to happen in front of the camera.

    I love seeing and hearing what people were passionate about. Thanks for compiling this.