Image: YouTube/Stanley Kubrick / Image: YouTube/Paramount Movies
Image: YouTube/Stanley Kubrick / Image: YouTube/Paramount Movies

When it comes to filmmaking, directors often get the lion’s share of the credit, but a good cinematographer – the person responsible for the framing, lighting and lens choices – can make or break a movie. Indeed, some of the industry’s biggest names have composed beautiful images on a par with fine art – and here are 20 stunning shots to prove it.

Image: YouTube/LionsgateVOD
Image: YouTube/LionsgateVOD

20. Apocalypse Now (1979)

The production of Apocalypse Now was beset by multiple problems. Not only did the crew have to cope with on-set typhoons in the Philippines, but one of them – lead actor Martin Sheen – actually suffered a heart attack on location. However, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro created something truly amazing amid the chaos and actually earned an Oscar for his efforts. This haunting image of the protagonist’s entrance into villain Colonel Kurtz’s compound, for example, is truly striking.

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Image: YouTube/20th Century Fox
Image: YouTube/20th Century Fox

19. Life of Pi (2012)

Although most of Life of Pi’s ocean scenes utilized digital effects, the film’s cinematographer Claudio Miranda wanted to create a look that was entirely naturalistic. And so the Oscar-winning director of photography (DP) came up with a brilliant idea: he carved a door into the soundstage’s roof so that sea scenes like this one could be shot in natural light.

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