Samuel Fuller

Samuel Fuller

date of birth : 12/08/1912 | date of death : 30/09/1997
screenwriter, novelist, film director, Fuller's work has been described as primitive by Luc Moullet and by the influential American critics Manny Farber and Andrew Sarris. Grant Tracey has used the term "narrative tabloid" to refer to Fuller's style of filmmaking. This was the result of his often lower budgets, but also reflected Fuller's pulp-inspired writing.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Samuel Fuller was born on 12-Aug-1912 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Father's name: Benjamin Rabinovitch
Mother's name: Rebecca Baum
Brother: Ving/ Ray/ Tom
Sister: Evelyn/ Tina/ Rose
Spouse: Martha Downes Fuller/ Christa Lang
Children: Samantha

Personal Information:

Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight

Life events:

Samuel Michael Fuller was born August 12, 1911, in Worcester, MA, and raised in New York City. His most famous sibling was his older brother the renowned nationally syndicated comic strip artist and animator, Ving Fuller, who created Doc Syke, Lil Doc and a Betty Boop knock off titled "The Boop-Boop-A-Doop Girl." At the age of 13 he quit school to work as a copy boy for the New York Journal and within two years was working as the personal copy boy of the tabloid's crusading editor, Arthur Brisbane. He became a crime reporter in New York City at age 17, working for the New York Evening Graphic. He broke the story of Jeanne Eagels' death. He wrote pulp novels, including The Dark Page (1944; reissued in 2007 with an introduction by Wim Wenders), which was later adapted into the 1952 movie "Scandal Sheet." His film career began in 1936, when he collaborated on the script of James Cruze's Gangs of New York, which was released in 1938. He served in 16th regiment of U.S. Army 1st Division, 1942-45, awarded Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart. His last screen credit before leaving for Europe was "Confirm or Deny," in which the seeds of his later work could be found in its story of a crusading reporter (Don Ameche) battling stateside censorship as he struggled to report on the London blitz. Fuller served as a corporal and combat reporter with the 16th Infantry Regiment in the 1st Infantry Division, known throughout the military as "The Big Red One." He was present for some of the heaviest fighting of World War II, including the landing at Normandy, and was twice wounded in battle, which earned him a Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star for bravery. Fuller also filmed 16mm footage of the liberation of the Faulkenau concentration camp, which was later incorporated into the documentary "Falkenau, The Impossible" (1998). These and other wartime experiences had a profound effect on Fuller and his work as writer and director, shaping his worldview as a complex blend of extreme violence and exceptional compassion. After the war, Fuller directed several minor action productions, for which he also wrote many of the scripts and produced. He made his directorial debut with I Shot Jesse James, in 1949. Although he did do some pictures for major studios (including Pickup on South Street for 20th Century Fox in 1953), he spent most of his career as an independent writer, producer and director. A towering figure in the history of independent film, director Samuel Fuller unleashed his deeply personal, highly stylized vision of society teetering between greatness and disaster in such polarizing films as "The Steel Helmet" (1951), "Pickup on South Street" (1953), "Shock Corridor" (1963), "The Naked Kiss" (1964) and "The Big Red One" (1980) and he died in 1997. In 2002, his autobiography, A Third Face, co-written by his wife Christa Fuller and writer Jerry Rudes, was published.

Occupations and Career:

He was a screenwriter, novelist, and film director known for low-budget genre movies with controversial themes. Hats Off (1936) marked Fuller's first credit as a screenwriter. He wrote many screenplays throughout his career, such as Gangs of the Waterfront in 1945. Fuller's third film, The Steel Helmet, established him as a major force. The first film about the Korean War made during the war,[10] he wrote it based on tales from returning Korean veterans and his own World War II experiences. Fuller scored hits with the submarine drama "Hell or High Water" (1954), which was made largely to honor Zanuck's request to experiment with the Cinema Scope process in an enclosed space, and "House of Bamboo" (1955), a hard-boiled noir about American gangsters in a postwar Japan struggling to find the balance between ancient traditions and modern attitudes. Moreover, its balance of intimate human drama with genre conventions set the tone for Fuller's efforts throughout the decade. In "China Gate" (1957), Fuller addresses issues of racism against a backdrop of corruption and greed in France's conflict in Vietnam, while the Western "Run of the Arrow" (1957), the first feature for his second production company, Globe Enterprises, took a harsh view of the American military's involvement with Native Americans in its story of a Confederate veteran (Rod Steiger) who rejected his country to live with the Sioux. Fuller next filmed 1958's Verboten!, a denunciation of neo-Nazism composed of less than 100 shots, one of them alone clocking in at over five minutes; he followed with another meditation on racial injustice, 1959's The Crimson Kimono, which explored a Los Angeles cop's shame over his Japanese heritage. The optimism so long an integral part of Fuller's vision had virtually dissolved by the point of 1961's Underworld USA, a portrait of an American society swallowed by its own apathy; among his most brutal and harsh pictures, it was also the final production of Globe Enterprises, and he made his next film, 1962's Merrill's Marauders, under the auspices of Warner Bros. Fuller then agreed to make a pair of pictures for Leon Fromkessand Sam Firks which so polarized critics and alienated mainstream audiences that they ultimately led to his expulsion from the Hollywood system. Only in 1972 was Fuller again offered the opportunity to return to the director's chair, and in West Germany he began work on Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street; while admired by critics, it earned only limited distribution, and his career was widely considered to be finished. He spent the remainder of the decade in front of the camera, occasionally delivering cameos in films like WimWenders' 1977 thriller Der Amerikanische Freund. To the surprise of many, Fuller then announced the fruition of a project he'd been discussing as far back as 1956: The Big Red One, an autobiographical account of his experiences in World War II. By 1980, Fuller was largely considered a museum piece, but to the surprise of many, he announced the launch of "The Big Red One." In 1981, he was selected to direct the film White Dog, based on a novel by Romain Gary. The controversial film depicts the struggle of a black dog trainer trying to de-program a "white dog," a stray that was programmed to viciously attack any black person. After Fuller's move to France, he never directed another American film. He directed two theatrical French films, Les Voleurs de la nuit in 1984 and Street of No Return in 1989. Les Voleurs de la nuit was entered into the 34th Berlin International Film Festival. He directed his last film, The Madonna and the Dragon, in 1990, and he wrote his last screenplay, Girls in Prison, in 1994. Fuller made a cameo appearance in Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le Fou (1965), where he famously intones: Film is like a battleground... Love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word, emotion! He also made a cameo appearance in Luc Moullet's Brigitte et Brigitte (1966) with Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer. He plays a film director in Dennis Hopper's ill-fated The Last Movie (1971); an Army colonel in Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979); a war correspondent in his own The Big Red One (scene deleted in the original release, restored in the reconstructed version), a talent agent in his film White Dog (1981), and a cameraman in Wim Wenders' The State of Things (1982). Fuller declared he would never work in Hollywood again, and moved to France. There he filmed 1983's Les Voleurs de la Nuit, his final directorial project for several years; apart from a few small acting roles, he did not mount another major project prior to 1989's Street of No Return, and with the 1990 television project The Day of Reckoning his career was finished. Still, Fuller remained a cult figure of much interest; in 1994, he sat down with acolyte Jim Jarmusch in Mika Kaurismäki's Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made, and in 1995 was the focus of the documentary portrait The Typewriter, The Rifle, and the Movie Camera. After suffering a stroke Fuller returned to Hollywood, where he made his final screen appearance in Wim Wenders'The End of Violence.

Awards /Honors:

Berlin International Film Festival
He was nominated forGolden Berlin Bear in 1984.
Cannes Film Festival
He was nominated for Palme d'Or in 1980.
Directors Guild of America, USA
He was nominated for DGA Award in 1955.
Independent Spirit Awards
He won Special Distinction Award in 1996. Locarno International Film Festival He won Leopard of Honor in 1993.
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
He won Career Achievement Award in 1987.
Valladolid International Film Festival
He won GoldenSpike in 1966.
Writers Guild of America, USA
He won WGA Award (Screen) in 1952



  • Street of No Return (17-May-1989) White Dog (7-Jul-1982)
  • The Big Red One (18-Jul-1980)
  • Shark! (6-Sep-1969)
  • The Naked Kiss (29-Oct-1964)
  • Shock Corridor (11-Sep-1963)
  • Merrill's Marauders (16-Mar-1962)
  • Underworld USA (13-May-1961)
  • The Crimson Kimono (Oct-1959)
  • Verboten! (13-Mar-1959)
  • Forty Guns (Sep-1957)
  • Run of the Arrow (2-Aug-1957)
  • China Gate (22-May-1957)
  • House of Bamboo (1-Jul-1955)
  • Hell and High Water (1-Feb-1954)
  • Pickup on South Street (17-Jun-1953)
  • Park Row (12-Aug-1952)
  • Fixed Bayonets! (20-Nov-1951)
  • The Steel Helmet (2-Feb-1951)
  • The Baron of Arizona (1-Mar-1950)
  • I Shot Jesse James (26-Feb-1949)


  • The End of Violence (11-May-1997)
  • Somebody to Love (15-Sep-1994)
  • Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made (12-Feb-1994) • Himself
  • Golem: The Spirit of Exile (19-Feb-1992)
  • Bohemian Life (18-Feb-1992)
  • Street of No Return (17-May-1989)
  • Sons (1989)
  • A Return to Salem's Lot (2-Mar-1988)
  • Helsinki-Naples All Night Long (13-Nov-1987)
  • The Blood of Others (2-May-1984)
  • Hammett (12-Sep-1982) • Old Man in Pool Hall
  • White Dog (7-Jul-1982)
  • The State of Things (1982)
  • Slapstick (of Another Kind) (1982)
  • The Big Red One (18-Jul-1980)
  • 1941 (14-Dec-1979) • Interceptor Commander
  • The American Friend (24-Jun-1977)
  • Scott Joplin (1977)
  • The Young Nurses (Mar-1973)
  • The Last Movie (29-Sep-1971) • Himself


  • 2013 A Fuller Life (Documentary) (autobiography A Third Face)
  • 1994Girls in Prison (TV Movie) (written by)
  • 1994Rebel Highway (TV Series) (writer - 1 episode)
  • 1990Tiniklingou 'La madonne et le dragon' (TV Movie) (adaptation and dialogue) / (scenario)
  • 1990Mistress of Suspense (TV Series) (written by - 1 episode)
  • 1989Samuel Fuller's Street of No Return (writer)
  • 1986Let's Get Harry (story)
  • 1984Les voleurs de la nuit (adaptation)
  • 1982White Dog (screenplay)
  • 1980The Big Red One (written by)
  • 1974Klansman (screenplay)
  • 1973The Deadly Trackers (story "Riata")
  • 1973Tatort (TV Series) (writer - 1 episode)
  • 1967The Cape Town Affair
  • 1964The Naked Kiss (written by)
  • 1963Shock Corridor (written by)
  • 1962The Virginian (TV Series) (writer - 1 episode)
  • 1962Merrill's Marauders (screenplay)
  • 1961Underworld U.S.A. (written by)
  • 1960The Roaring 20's (TV Series) (story - 1 episode)
  • 1959The Crimson Kimono (written by)
  • 1959Verboten! (Written by)
  • 1957Forty Guns (written by)
  • 1957Run of the Arrow (written by)
  • 1957China Gate
  • 1955House of Bamboo (additional dialogue)
  • 1954Hell and High Water (screenplay)
  • 1954The Command (adaptation)
  • 1953Pickup on South Street (screenplay)
  • 1952Park Row (written by)
  • 1952Scandal Sheet (based upon the novel "The Dark Page" by)
  • 1951Fixed Bayonets! (screenplay)
  • 1951The Tanks Are Coming (story)
  • 1951The Steel Helmet (written by)
  • 1950The Baron of Arizona (written by)
  • 1949Captain Video and His Video Rangers (TV Series) (writer)
  • 1949I Shot Jesse James (story and screenplay)
  • 1949Shockproof (written by)
  • 1945Gangs of the Waterfront (story)
  • 1943Power of the Press (story - as Sam Fuller)
  • 1943Margin for Error (uncredited)
  • 1941Confirm or Deny (story)
  • 1940Bowery Boy (story)
  • 1938Federal Man-Hunt (story - as Sam Fuller)
  • 1938Adventure in Sahara (story - as Sam Fuller)
  • 1938Gangs of New York (original story) / (screenplay)
  • 1937It Happened in Hollywood (screen play - as Sam Fuller)
  • 1936Hats Off (screenplay - as Sam Fuller) / (story - as Sam Fuller)


  • The Dark Page
  • A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking
  • The Big Red One
  • Crown of India
  • Quint'S World
  • 144 Piccadilly

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

He died on 30-Oct-1997 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California at the age of 86. His body was cremated.

Quotes and Memoirs:

Being a hooker does not mean being evil. The same with a pick-pocket, or even a thief. You do what you do out of necessity.
You know how you smoke out a sniper? You send a guy out in the open, and you see if he gets shot. They thought that one up atWest Point.
We have too many intellectualswho are afraid to use the pistol of common sense.
Surviving is the only glory in war.
When you're at the end of your rope, all you have to do is make one foot move out in front of the other. Just take the next step. That's all there is to it.
Movement should be a counter, whether in action scenes or dialogue or whatever. It counters where your eye is going. This style thing, for me it's all fitted to the action, to the script, to the characters.
When you're in the battlefield, survival is all there is. Death is the only great emotion.