Michael Chapman (cinematographer)

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Michael Chapman
Born (1935-11-21) November 21, 1935 (age 80)
New York City, U.S.
Other names Mike Chapman
Occupation Cinematographer
& Director

Michael Chapman, A.S.C. (born November 21, 1935) is an American cinematographer whose prominence owes most to his innovative work of the 1970s and 1980s.


He began his career as a camera operator, distinguishing himself on Steven Spielberg's Jaws. As a cinematographer, he became famous for his two collaborations with Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Chapman was also cinematographer for the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Chapman's style tends towards high contrasts and aggressive use of strong colors. He is also extremely adept at setting up complex camera movements quickly and improvising on the set. This style is epitomized in the boxing sequences in Raging Bull, during which the camera was often strapped to the actors through improvised rigs. Chapman was also the principal cinematographer on Scorsese's documentary The Last Waltz.

Besides his work with Scorsese, Chapman has worked as director of photography for directors Hal Ashby, Philip Kaufman, Martin Ritt, Robert Towne, Michael Caton-Jones, Andrew Davis, and Ivan Reitman. He occasionally makes cameos in films he shoots. He has directed several films, the best known being All the Right Moves (1983), starring Tom Cruise in one of that actor's breakthrough roles.

His most recent film was Bridge to Terabithia. According to the DVD commentary, Chapman was planning to retire after the film was finished, saying he would have the last film he shot be a good one.


Year Title Role
1968 Frontier Producer, actor
1970 The Landlord Camera operator
1972 The Godfather Camera operator
1973 The Last Detail Cinematographer
1974 The White Dawn Cinematographer
1975 Jaws Camera operator
1975 Death Be Not Proud Cinematographer
1976 The Next Man Cinematographer
1976 The Front Cinematographer
1976 Taxi Driver Cinematographer
1978 The Last Waltz Cinematographer
1978 King: The Martin Luther King Story Cinematographer
1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers Cinematographer, actor
1978 Fingers Cinematographer
1979 The Wanderers Cinematographer
1979 Hardcore Cinematographer
1980 Raging Bull Cinematographer
1982 Personal Best Cinematographer
1982 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Cinematographer
1983 The Man with Two Brains Cinematographer
1983 All the Right Moves Director, cinematographer
1986 The Clan of the Cave Bear Director
1986 Annihilator Director
1986 Legal Eagles Songwriter
1987 The Lost Boys Cinematographer
1987 Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery Producer
1988 Shoot to Kill Cinematographer, actor
1988 Scrooged Cinematographer
1988 Gotham: The Dead Can't Lie Cinematographer
1989 Third Degree Burn Actor
1989 Ghostbusters II Cinematographer
1990 Quick Change Cinematographer, actor
1990 Kindergarten Cop Cinematographer, actor
1991 Doc Hollywood Cinematographer, actor
1992 Whipsers in the Dark Cinematographer
1993 Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography Interviewee
1993 The Fugitive Cinematographer
1993 Rising Sun Cinematographer, actor
1995 The Viking Sagas Director
1996 Space Jam Cinematographer
1996 Raven Hawk Actor
1996 Primal Fear Cinematographer
1998 Six Days, Seven Nights Cinematographer
1999 The Story of Us Cinematographer
2000 The Watcher Cinematographer
2001 Evolution Cinematographer
2004 Suspect Zero Cinematographer, actor
2004 House of D Cinematographer, actor
2004 Eulogy Cinematographer, actor
2006 Hoot Cinematographer
2007 Bridge to Terabithia Cinematographer

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