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Vilmos Zsigmond (16 June 1930 – 1 January 2016)

Vilmos Zsigmond

During the Seventies, Vilmos Zsigmond’s work as a cinematographer was a guarantee of excellence. He lensed twenty-three movies during the decade, and won an Oscar for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977 – where he faced being fired on several occasions), not bad for a cinematographer who started out (with fellow émigré Laszlo Kovács) shooting footage of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and who found fame, of sorts, as a DoP on movies such as Al Adamson’s Psycho a Go-Go (1965) and Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970) (movies where he was credited as William Zsigmond). But it was his Seventies output that brought him to a wider, international audience, and it was his use of natural light and colour that made his work stand out from that of his colleagues. His last movie was the comedy-drama Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (2014), but he was still working at the time of his death, with one movie in pre-production and four others announced. His talent will be missed, as well as his generosity to others, but thankfully we have a tremendous body of work to remember him by.

1 – McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

McCabe & Mrs Miller

2 – Deliverance (1972)

3 – The Long Goodbye (1973)

4 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)


5 – The Deer Hunter (1978)

6 – Winter Kills (1979)

7 – Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Heaven's Gate

8 – The Crossing Guard (1995)

9 – The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

10 – The Black Dahlia (2006)

The Black Dahlia