Yesterday would have been Stanley Kubrick’s 82nd birthday. Though his films were often met with mixed critical reception at the time of their release, he is today rightfully viewed as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
While still in high school, Kubrick became a professional photographer, and the seemingly innate talent he displayed behind the camera translated naturally to motion pictures. Regardless of which cinematographer he collaborated with, Kubrick’s distinctive approach to visuals links all his films, regardless of genre.
It is in fact Kubrick’s ability to capture a stunning image or stage an unforgettable scene that has made his work so enduring and yet, accessible. So in his honor, for today’s Top 10, we are looking at the 10 most striking images from Kubrick’s films.
10. The Killing (1956)
Kubrick had a way of capturing people at their most emotionally vulnerable, and this near-final shot of “The Killing” is almost the anti-”Casablanca” in its hopelessness.
9. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
While there’s a lot of striking and beautiful imagery throughout the film, this shot captures the surreality of the plot and the naked insecurity of the protagonist (Tom Cruise) perfectly.
8. Lolita (1962)
This instantly iconic shot (of the title character, played by Sue Lyon) perfectly straddles the line between childhood and adulthood, and between innocence and sexuality.
7. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Out of all the traumatic moments scattered throughout this terrific film, its the haunting split-second before the suicide of Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) that seems to last forever.
6. Paths of Glory (1957)
Somehow, this shot of Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) atop the trench rallying his troops to face certain death captures the tragedy and injustice of “Paths of Glory,” along with its stubborn optimism.
5. Barry Lyndon (1975)
In a film overflowing with evocative and almost painterly photography, this arresting moment in the final duel represents Kubrick at his most powerful.
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Kubrick was master at ironic juxtaposition, as demonstrated by this beautiful but ominous shot of Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his droogs mocking an old drunk shortly before they attack.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
For all its breathtaking moments, the ethereal and the mundane that come together to make “2001″ such an unparalleled experience is best exemplified here, as a group of astronauts cautiously approach the proof of extraterrestrial life.
2. The Shining (1980)
Has pure terror and dread ever been captured as well as it is here?
1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
A cowboy riding an atomic bomb. Was there ever a more perfect indictment of the Cold War and the United States buildup of a nuclear arsenal than “Dr. Strangelove” and this scene in particular?