U.S. culture (week 39): Homage to famous American Movie Directors

HTP is committed to maintaining a strong cultural component of it J-1 Program and regularly publishes topics related to U.S. culture. This week, HTP Program Manager Kira Udo talks about film making in America and highlights some of America’s most famous movie Directors.

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I want to start by talking about the American Film Institute. This institution preserves the history of film making in America; honors the artists and their work and educates the next generation. AFI is lead by an esteemed board of trustees and to be honored by this Institution is what everyone in the industry strives for.

So this week I wanted to talk a little about some of the greatest American Film Directors. I again, surveyed some of my friends and came up with a top four with a list of some of their more famous movies. I’m sure there are many more that I’m not touching on, movies and directors; these are just the most mentioned ones.

First, Francis Ford Coppola; some of his greats are The Godfather series and the (original) Great Gatsby (with Robert Redford). He was born in Michigan but later moved to NY when his father was named principal flautist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. As a child Coppola had polio and was bedridden for an extended period of time. During this time he would often entertain himself with homemade puppet theater and many think this was the beginning of his theatrical career.

Second, Martin Scorsese; my two favorite Scorsese movies are Gangs of New York and The Departed. Scorsese grew up in New York to working parents that were also actors. He had some health issues as a kid that limited his ability to play sports so he was taken to the movies instead. This is believed to be the beginning of his love for the cinema. Many argue that he is the greatest of all time and I would be hard pressed to disagree.

Third, Steven Spielberg; responsible for Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan, ET, Jurassic Park, and Schindler’s List. Spielberg was born in Ohio but grew up in New Jersey and Arizona. He began his movie making career as an adolescent making 8mm movies with his friends. He won his first award for a movie in 1958 when he received a merit badge for photography in Boy Scouts; the beginning to a long and impressive career.

Last, Quentin Tarantino; to name a few Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards, Reservoir Dogs, From Dusk til Dawn, and Django Unchained. Tarantino is probably my personal favorite. His movies are controversial and dramatic and awesome. He was born in Tennessee but grew up in California where he attended acting classes until his mid teens. If you read his bio information you will see that he kind of “happened” into film making and what a “happening” it was.

So there it is; my short list. I know there are many more Directors and films that deserve honorable mentions but I didn’t want to take up too much of your time.

So grab your best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend, a bag of popcorn, and curl up on the couch and watch some movies! I know you won’t be disappointed! And don’t forget to tell us what your favorites are!

All information above obtained from these websites: 




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