On directing > The best director is the one you don't see | Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder and his favorite leading man, Jack Lemmon, on set of 1960’s The Apartment


"You have to have a dream so you can get up in the morning."

Billy Wilder, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn on the set of Sabrina, photographed by Dennis Stock, 1954


"A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard."

"An actor entering through the door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you've got a situation."

"I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have right of final cut."

"The best director is the one you don't see."


Billy Wilder, Ray Milland on the set of  The Lost Weekend, 1945


"An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, 
but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark - that is critical genius."

"Don't be too clever for an audience. Make it obvious. Make the subtleties obvious also."

"Hindsight is always twenty-twenty."


Billy Wilder, William Holden and Gloria Swanson on the set of Sunset Blvd., 1950


"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."

"The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that Hitler was a German and Beethoven an Austrian."

"If you're going to tell people the truth, be funny or they'll kill you."

"If there's anything I hate more than not being taken seriously, it's being taken too seriously."

"It was hell at the time, but after it was over, it was wonderful."


Billy Wilder

Charles Eames for his friend Billy Wilder designed this special chair in which the restless 
Wilder can easily jump around while watching television.” Life, September 11, 1950

Billy Wilder


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