Year
1999
Month Day
March 07

Stanley Kubrick dies

On March 7, 1999, American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick dies in Hertfordshire, England, at the age of 70. One of the most acclaimed film directors of the 20th century, Kubrick’s 13 feature films explored the dark side of human nature.

Born in New York City in 1928, Kubrick took up photography in high school and became a staff photographer for Look magazine at age 17. A photo assignment on boxing inspired him to make The Day of the Fight, a short documentary film about boxing, in 1951. The short was bought by a news service, and he made two more documentaries before making a short feature-length film, Fear and Desire (1953), which dealt with war. The movie, produced independently, received little attention outside New York, where critics praised Kubrick’s directorial talents.

Kubrick’s next two feature films, Killer’s Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956), brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and in 1957 he directed actor Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory, a story of military injustice in the French army during World War I. Douglas later enlisted Kubrick to take over production of Spartacus (1960), a historical epic about the slave rebellion led by the Roman slave Spartacus in 73 B.C. The film was a box office smash and won four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, which was attributed to Russell Metty but was largely Kubrick’s work. Behind the scenes, the director’s characteristic obsession with detail created some tension with the cast and crew.

After Spartacus, he moved permanently to England, where he directed Lolita (1962), based on the controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Two years later, Kubrick scored another major critical and commercial hit with Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove was a dark comedy about the nuclear arms race that earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor (Peter Sellers).

Kubrick spent four years working on his next film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), co-written with English writer Arthur C. Clarke. Now widely regarded as the greatest science fiction film ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey won Kubrick a well-deserved Best Visual Effects Academy Award. Kubrick followed up 2001 with A Clockwork Orange (1971), a controversial social commentary set in the near future. It was given an X rating in the United States for its extreme violence and banned in the United Kingdom, but nonetheless received four Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

Barry Lyndon (1975) was a picturesque movie based on the 19th-century novel by William Thackeray. Kubrick, who had become famous for his perfectionist tendencies, took a record 300 days just to shoot the film. The Shining (1980), starring Jack Nicholson as the caretaker of a mountain resort who goes insane, was hailed as a masterpiece of the horror genre. Full Metal Jacket (1987) addressed the Vietnam War and was another critical and commercial success. In 1997, after a 10-year absence from filmmaking, Kubrick began work on Eyes Wide Shut (1999), an enigmatic thriller starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The director died soon after turning in his final cut of the film.

READ MORE: 11 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Tags
terms:
Film

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

John Lewis at Selma

Civil rights protesters beaten in “Bloody Sunday” attack

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, a 600-person civil rights demonstration ends in violence when marchers are attacked and beaten by white state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The day's events became known as "Bloody Sunday." The demonstrators—led by civil rights activists ...read more

Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female director to win an Oscar

On March 7, 2010, Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for best director, for her movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004. Prior to Bigelow, only three women had been nominated for a best director ...read more

Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas

On March 7, 1862, Union forces under General Samuel Curtis clash with the army of General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Pea Ridge (also called the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern),in northwest Arkansas. The following day, the battle ended in defeat for the Confederates. Pea Ridge was ...read more

Hitler reoccupies the Rhineland, violating the Treaty of Versailles

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in July 1919–eight months after the guns fell ...read more

Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone

On March 7, 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention–the telephone. The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In ...read more

U.S. jets launch heaviest air raids of the war

In the heaviest air raids since the bombing began in February 1965, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes fly an estimated 200 sorties against North Vietnam. The objectives of the raids included an oil storage area 60 miles southeast of Dien Bien Phu and a staging area 60 miles ...read more

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is published

The New Republic publishes Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The poem, beginning with the famous line “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,” has introduced millions of American students to poetry. Like most of ...read more

Writers Guild of America strike begins

After rejecting what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said was a final offer, representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) called a strike for all the union’s members to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on March 7, 1988. The origins of the ...read more

Defense rests in Andrea Yates trial

The defense rests in the trial of Andrea Yates, a 37-year-old Texas woman who confessed to killing her five young children by drowning them in a bathtub. Less than a week later, on March 13, Yates was convicted and sentenced to life in prison; however, her conviction was later ...read more

Five letters pass between Abigail and John Adams

On March 7, 1777, Continental Congressman John Adams writes three letters to and receives two letters from his wife, Abigail. He is with Congress in Philadelphia, while she maintains their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts. The remarkable correspondence between Abigail and John ...read more

British forces arrive in Greece

On March 7, 1941, a British expeditionary force from North Africa lands in Greece. In October 1940, Mussolini’s army, already occupying Albania, invaded Greece in what proved to be a disastrous military campaign for the Duce’s forces. Mussolini surprised everyone with this move ...read more