Vittorio Storaro

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Vittorio Storaro
Vittorio Storaro at Cannes in 2001
Born (1940-06-24) June 24, 1940 (age 78)
Rome, Italy
Nationality Italian
Education Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1960–present
Known for

Vittorio Storaro, A.S.C., A.I.C. (born 24 June 1940) is an Italian cinematographer widely recognized for his work on numerous classic films including Apocalypse Now, The Conformist, and The Last Emperor. In the course of over fifty years, he has collaborated with directors like Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, and Woody Allen. He has received three Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, a BAFTA Film Award for Best Cinematography, a Primetime Emmy Award, a Goya Award, and a David di Donatello Silver Ribbon Award, in addition to numerous lifetime achievement honours from various film organizations.

In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild judged Storaro one of history's ten most influential cinematographers,[1] and he is considered one of the greatest and most acclaimed directors of photography of all time.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Vittorio Storaro in Camerimage Festival 23 in 2015, talking about how color affects people physically and psychologically

Storaro was born in Rome. The son of a film projectionist, Storaro began studying photography at the age of 11. He went on to formal cinematography studies at the national Italian film school, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, when he was 18.


Storaro is widely regarded as a master cinematographer with a sophisticated philosophy largely inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's theory of colors, which focuses in part on the psychological effects that different colors have and the way in which colors influence our perceptions of different situations. He has worked with many important film directors, in particular Bernardo Bertolucci, with whom he has had a long collaboration.[5]

Working as a camera operator for many years, he was on his first film as cinematographer for Giovinezza, Giovinezza (Youthful, Youthful) in 1968.

In 1970, he photographed L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), the first film directed by Dario Argento.

Storaro’s first mainstream American film was Apocalypse Now (1979), for which Storaro won his first Academy Award. Francis Ford Coppola gave Storaro free rein on the film's visual look.[6] It is regarded by many critics as one of the most visually spectacular films of all time.

He worked with Warren Beatty for the first time on Reds (1981), and ended up winning his second Academy Award.

Storaro won a third Academy Award for The Last Emperor (1987), directed by Bertolucci. Three years later he received a nomination, but did not win, for the Beatty film Dick Tracy.

In 2002, Storaro completed the first in a series of books that attempt to articulate his philosophy of cinematography more substantively.[7]

He was cinematographer for a BBC co-production with Italian broadcaster RAI of Verdi's Rigoletto over two nights on the weekend of 4 and 5 September 2010.[8]

Woody Allen's Café Society (2016) was the first film that Storaro shot digitally. He used the Sony F65 camera.[9]

His other film credits include 1900, The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist, One From the Heart, Bulworth, The Sheltering Sky, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Ladyhawke, Tango, and Goya en Burdeos.

With his son, Fabrizio Storaro, he created the Univisium format system to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1.

Personal life[edit]

Storaro is known for stylish, fastidious, and flamboyant personal fashion. Francis Ford Coppola once noted that Storaro was the only man he ever knew that could fall off a ladder in a white suit, into the mud, and not get dirty.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Kay, Jeremy. "And the 11 most influential cinematographers of all time are..." Screen Daily. 
  2. ^ "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro Warns of "Major Problem" in the Field". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  3. ^ "The 10 Most Visually Stunning Movies Shot by Vittorio Storaro". Taste of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  4. ^ Jones, Interview by Jonathan (2003-07-09). "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro reveals his inspiration". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  5. ^ Pizzello, Stephen. "Storaro and Bertolucci Celebrated at Milan International Film Festival". American Society of Cinematographers. 
  6. ^ "Flashback: Apocalypse Now". American Cinematographer. 
  7. ^ Jones, Jonathan. "Painting with light". The Guardian. 
  8. ^ Adetunji, Jo. "Verdi's Rigoletto given 'cinematic' makeover for BBC". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ Giardina, Carolyn. "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro on Filming 'Cafe Society' Digitally: "You Can't Stop Progress"". Hollywood Reporter. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Masters of Light - Conversations with cinematographers (1984) Schaefer, S & Salvato, L., ISBN 0-520-05336-2
  • Writer of Light: The Cinematography of Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (2000) Zone, R., ISBN 0-935578-18-8
  • Vittorio Storaro: Writing with Light: Volume 1: The Light (2002) Storaro, V., ISBN 1-931788-03-0

External links[edit]