Vittorio Storaro

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 The Conformist, Apocalypse Now, and The Last Emperor. In the course of over fifty years, he has collaborated with directors such as 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.

Vittorio Storaro
Vittorio Storaro at Cannes in 2001
Born (1940-06-24) June 24, 1940
EducationCentro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Years active1960–present
Known for

Early life

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.[1]


Storaro is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential cinematographers of all time.[2][3][4][5] He has worked with many important film directors, in particular Bernardo Bertolucci, with whom he has had a long collaboration.[6] His philosophy is 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.[7]

He first worked with Bertolucci on The Conformist (1970). Set in Fascist Italy, the film has been described as a "visual masterpiece."[8]

Also in 1970, he photographed The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, the directorial debut of Dario Argento and a landmark film in the giallo genre.[9]

The first American film that Storaro worked on was Apocalypse Now (1979). Director Francis Ford Coppola gave him free rein on the film's visual look.[10] Apocalypse Now earned Storaro his first Academy Award.[11]

He worked with Warren Beatty for the first time on Reds (1981), and ended up winning his second Academy Award.[12]

Storaro won a third Academy Award for The Last Emperor (1987), directed by Bertolucci.[12] Three years later he received a nomination, but did not win, for the Beatty film Dick Tracy.[13]

In 2002, Storaro completed the first in a series of books that attempt to articulate his philosophy of cinematography more substantively.[14]

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.[15]

Woody Allen's Café Society (2016) was the first film that Storaro shot digitally. He used the Sony F65 camera.[16]

In 2017, Storaro was honored with the George Eastman Award.[17] The same year he also attended the New York Film Festival at which he debated with Ed Lachman on cinematography and its transition to digital.[18]

His other film credits include 1900, 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, he created the Univisium format system to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1.[19]

Personal life

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.[20]



  1. "Back in Time: Vittorio Storaro AIC, ASC / The Early Life of Mohammed". British Cinematographer. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  2. Kay, Jeremy (16 October 2003). "And the 11 most influential cinematographers of all time are..." Screen Daily. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro Warns of "Major Problem" in the Field". The Hollywood Reporter. 4 June 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  4. "The 10 Most Visually Stunning Movies Shot by Vittorio Storaro". Taste of Cinema - Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. Jones, Jonathan (9 July 2003). "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro reveals his inspiration". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 900948621.
  6. Pizzello, Stephen (6 July 2018). "Storaro and Bertolucci Celebrated at Milan International Film Festival". American Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC personally details the richly hued artistic strategy he created to shoot Woody Allen's period drama". American Cinematographer. 30 November 2017.
  8. Berardinelli, James (1994). "Review: The Conformist". ReelViews. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  9. Gallant, Chris (7 June 2018). "Where to begin with giallo". BFI. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  10. Pizzello, Stephen (24 August 2017). "Flashback: Apocalypse Now". American Cinematographer.
  11. "Mighty Tome: Vittorio Storaro AIC ASC / The Art of Cinematography". British Cinematographer. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  12. "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro: Master of Lights and Colors". 20 September 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  13. Bob Fisher (2004). "Vittorio Storaro: Maestro of Light". International Cinematographers Guild. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  14. Jones, Jonathan (9 July 2003). "Painting with light". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  15. Adetunji, Jo (25 July 2010). "Verdi's Rigoletto given 'cinematic' makeover for BBC". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  16. Giardina, Carolyn (15 July 2016). "Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro on Filming 'Cafe Society' Digitally: "You Can't Stop Progress"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  17. "Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC Honored with George Eastman Award". American Society of Cinematographers. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  18. Chris O'Falt (13 October 2017). "Digital Cinematography Smackdown: Vittorio Storaro and Ed Lachman Debate, With Love". IndieWire. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  19. Joe Foster (24 October 2017). "The remarkable rise of the Univisium 2:1 aspect ratio". RedSharkNews. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  20. Kees van Oostrum (2 January 2018). "President's Desk: Men in White Suits - The American Society of Cinematographers". American Cinematographer.

Further reading

  • 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
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