Happy 103rd Birthday Dino De Laurentiis

Today is the 103rd birthday of the film producer Dino De Laurentiis. His list of credits are basically just a list of the greatest films of the last half of the last century. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

king kongNAME: Dino De Laurentiis
DATE OF BIRTH: 8-Aug-1919
PLACE OF BIRTH: Torre Annunziata, Italy
DATE OF DEATH: 11-Nov-2010
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, CA
Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for producing La Strada
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

BEST KNOWN FOR: Agostino “Dino” De Laurentiis was an Italian-American film producer. Along with Carlo Ponti, he was one of the producers who brought Italian cinema to the international scene at the end of World War II.

Dino De Laurentiis left home at 17, determined to be a director. He earned tuition to film school by working as an extra, actor, and prop man, and produced his first film, L’Amore Canta, before his 21st birthday. He served in the Italian Army during World War II, then resumed making movies, and over subsequent decades he became a very successful Italian film producer. Often working with Carlo Ponti, De Laurentiis’s best Italian films include Fellini’s La Strada, Miseria e Nobiltà, and Fellini’s gloomy night with a prostitute Le Notti di Cabiria. He also produced Roger Vadim’s Barbarella, the brutal revenge drama Death Wish, and the brutal slave drama Mandingo.

Most Americans, though, had never heard of De Laurentiis until he re-made King Kong with Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, and Jessica Lange. The movie seemed tawdry and tedious, and the producer’s name was featured in big letters on the poster, so for years after that, whenever De Laurentiis released a new film critics wrote, “from the man who made the King Kong remake”. His reputation as “Dino De Horrendous” was not enhanced by such subsequent turkeys as The White Buffalo, Orca, The Hurricane, Flash Gordon, and an unnecessary sequel, King Kong Lives.

But De Laurentiis deserved more respect than he got, because between the schlock he also delivered some simply outstanding movies — the police drama Serpico, the spy story Three Days of the Condor, Ragtime, Cronenberg and King’s The Dead Zone, and David Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. De Laurentiis also produced Manhunter, an excellent thriller based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon.

Both of De Laurentiis’s brothers, both his wives, and most of his children have also worked in film. His granddaughter Giada De Laurentiis is the host and master chef of Everyday Italian on the Food Network.

Films produced

Year Title Director
1946 Black Eagle Riccardo Freda
The Bandit Alberto Lattuada
1947 The Captain’s Daughter Mario Camerini
Bullet for Stefano Duilio Coletti
1948 Bitter Rice Giuseppe De Santis
The Street Has Many Dreams Mario Camerini
1949 The Wolf of the Sila Duilio Coletti
1951 Anna Alberto Lattuada
1952 Europe ’51 Roberto Rossellini
Toto in Color Steno
1953 Funniest Show on Earth Mario Mattoli
The Unfaithfuls Mario Monicelli
Man, Beast and Virtue Steno
1954 La Strada Federico Fellini
Attila Pietro Francisci
Woman of Rome Luigi Zampa
The Gold of Naples Vittorio De Sica
Poverty and Nobility Mario Mattoli
Where Is Freedom? Roberto Rossellini
A Slice of Life Alessandro Blasetti, Paul Paviot
An American in Rome Steno
1955 Ulysses Mario Camerini
The River Girl Mario Soldati
Mambo Robert Rossen
The Miller’s Beautiful Wife Mario Camerini
1956 War and Peace King Vidor
Nights of Cabiria Federico Fellini
1958 This Angry Age René Clément
Tempest Alberto Lattuada
1959 The Great War Mario Monicelli
1960 Everybody Go Home Luigi Comencini
Five Branded Women Martin Ritt
Under Ten Flags Duilio Coletti
Crimen Mario Camerini
The Hunchback of Rome Carlo Lizzani
1961 The Last Judgment Vittorio De Sica
A Difficult Life Dino Risi
The Fascist Luciano Salce
The Best of Enemies Guy Hamilton
Black City Duilio Coletti
1962 Mafioso Alberto Lattuada
The Italian Brigands Mario Camerini
1963 Il Boom Vittorio De Sica
The Verona Trial Carlo Lizzani
1965 Battle of the Bulge Ken Annakin
1966 The Bible: In the Beginning John Huston
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die Henry Levin
1967 The Stranger Luchino Visconti
Matchless Alberto Lattuada
1968 Danger: Diabolik Mario Bava
Barbarella Roger Vadim
Anzio Edward Dmytryk, Duilio Coletti
Bandits in Milan Carlo Lizzani
1969 Fräulein Doktor Alberto Lattuada
Brief Season Renato Castellani
The Bandit Carlo Lizzani
1970 A Man Called Sledge Vic Morrow
Waterloo Sergei Bondarchuk
The Deserter Burt Kennedy
1972 The Valachi Papers Terence Young
The Assassin of Rome Damiano Damiani
The Most Wonderful Evening of My Life Ettore Scola
1973 Serpico Sidney Lumet
Chino John Sturges
Mean Frank and Crazy Tony Michele Lupo
1974 Death Wish Michael Winner
Two Missionaries Franco Rossi
Crazy Joe Carlo Lizzani
Three Tough Guys Duccio Tessari
1975 Mandingo Richard Fleischer
1976 King Kong John Guillermin
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson Robert Altman
Drum Steve Carver
The Serpent’s Egg Ingmar Bergman
The Shootist Don Siegel
1977 Orca Michael Anderson
1978 The Brink’s Job William Friedkin
King of the Gypsies Frank Pierson
1979 Hurricane Jan Troell
1980 Flash Gordon Mike Hodges
1981 Halloween II Rick Rosenthal
Ragtime Miloš Forman
1982 Fighting Back Lewis Teague
Conan the Barbarian John Milius
Amityville II: The Possession Damiano Damiani
1983 Amityville 3-D Richard Fleischer
Halloween III: Season of the Witch Tommy Lee Wallace
Dead Zone David Cronenberg
1984 The Bounty Roger Donaldson
Firestarter Mark L. Lester
Conan the Destroyer Richard Fleischer
Dune David Lynch
1985 Maximum Overdrive Stephen King
Marie Roger Donaldson
Silver Bullet Daniel Attias
Cat’s Eye Lewis Teague
Year of the Dragon Michael Cimino
Red Sonja Richard Fleischer
1986 Crimes of the Heart Bruce Beresford
Raw Deal John Irvin
Blue Velvet David Lynch
Trick or Treat Charles Martin Smith
Tai-Pan Daryl Duke
Manhunter Michael Mann
King Kong Lives John Guillermin
1987 Million Dollar Mystery Richard Fleischer
Hiding Out Bob Giraldi
Evil Dead II Sam Raimi
The Bedroom Window Curtis Hanson
From the Hip Bob Clark
1989 Collision Course Lewis Teague
1990 Sometimes They Come Back Tom McLoughlin
Desperate Hours Michael Cimino
1992 Once Upon a Crime Eugene Levy
Kuffs Bruce A. Evans
Army of Darkness Sam Raimi
Body of Evidence Uli Edel
1995 Solomon & Sheba Robert Young
Slave of Dreams Robert Young
Rumpelstiltskin Mark Jones (I)
Assassins Richard Donner
1996 Unforgettable John Dahl
Bound The Wachowskis
1997 Breakdown Jonathan Mostow
2000 U-571 Jonathan Mostow
2001 Hannibal Ridley Scott
2002 Red Dragon Brett Ratner
2006 The Last Legion Doug Lefler
2007 Hannibal Rising Peter Webber
Virgin Territory David Leland

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