Vittorio Storaro
Storaro at Cannes in 2001
Born (1940-06-24) 24 June 1940 (age 83)
Rome, Italy
EducationCentro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Years active1960–present
Known for

Vittorio Storaro, A.S.C., A.I.C. (born 24 June 1940), is an Italian cinematographer widely recognized as one of the best and most influential in cinema history, for his work on numerous classic films including The Conformist (1970), Apocalypse Now (1979), and The Last Emperor (1987). In the course of over fifty years, he has collaborated with directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Warren Beatty, Woody Allen and Carlos Saura.

He has received three Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for the films Apocalypse Now, Reds (1981), and The Last Emperor, and is one of three living persons who has won the award three times, the others being Robert Richardson and Emmanuel Lubezki.

Early life

Storaro in Camerimage Festival 23 in 2015, talking about how color affects people physically and psychologically

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 articulate his philosophy of cinematography.[14]

He was the 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] As of 2023, this unification has not happened, and the universal replacement of 4:3 televisions by large, wide-screen displays greatly reduces the need to modify scope-ratio films for home theater presentation.

Personal life

Storaro is known for stylish, fastidious, and flamboyant personal fashion. Francis Ford Coppola once noted, "Vittorio is the only man I ever knew that could fall off a ladder in a white suit, into the mud, and not get dirty."[20]


Short film

Year Title Director Notes
1961 Etruscologia Giancarlo Romitelli
1963 Un Delitto Luigi Bazzoni
1966 L'urlo Camillo Bazzoni Also writer
Rapporto segreto
Il Labirinto Silvio Maestranzi Documentary short
Sortilegio Luigi Bazzoni
1982 Arlecchino Giuliano Montaldo
1989 Life without Zoe Francis Ford Coppola Segment of New York Stories
2005 Ciro Stefano Veneruso Segment of All the Invisible Children

Feature film

Year Title Director Notes
1962 Attack of the Normans Giuseppe Vari With Marco Scarpelli
1969 Giovinezza giovinezza Franco Rossi
Delitto al circolo del tennis Franco Rossetti
1970 The Bird with the Crystal Plumage Dario Argento
The Conformist Bernardo Bertolucci
The Spider's Stratagem With Franco Di Giacomo
1971 The Fifth Cord Luigi Bazzoni
'Tis Pity She's a Whore Giuseppe Patroni Griffi
1972 Last Tango in Paris Bernardo Bertolucci
1973 Malicious Salvatore Samperi
Brothers Blue Luigi Bazzoni
Corpo d'amore Fabio Carpi
Revolt of the City Giuliano Montaldo
1974 Identikit Giuseppe Patroni Griffi
1975 Footprints on the Moon Luigi Bazzoni
Mario Fanelli
Orlando Furioso Luca Ronconi
1976 1900 Bernardo Bertolucci
Submission Salvatore Samperi
1979 Agatha Michael Apted
Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola
Luna Bernardo Bertolucci
1981 One from the Heart Francis Ford Coppola With Ronald Víctor García
Reds Warren Beatty
1985 Ladyhawke Richard Donner
1987 Ishtar Elaine May
The Last Emperor Bernardo Bertolucci
1988 Tucker: The Man and His Dream Francis Ford Coppola
1990 Dick Tracy Warren Beatty
The Sheltering Sky Bernardo Bertolucci
1992 Tosca Brian Large
1993 Little Buddha Bernardo Bertolucci
1996 Taxi Carlos Saura
1998 Bulworth Warren Beatty
Tango Carlos Saura
1999 Goya in Bordeaux
2000 Mirka Rachid Benhadj
Picking Up the Pieces Alfonso Arau
2004 Zapata - El sueño del héroe
Exorcist: The Beginning Renny Harlin
2005 Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist Paul Schrader
2008 The Trick in the Sheet Alfonso Arau
2009 I, Don Giovanni Carlos Saura
2010 The Trick in the Sheet Alfonso Arau
2012 Parfums d'Alger Rachid Benhadj
2015 Muhammad: The Messenger of God Majid Majidi
2016 Café Society Woody Allen
2017 Wonder Wheel
2018 A Rose in Winter Joshua Sinclair
2019 A Rainy Day in New York Woody Allen
2020 Rifkin's Festival
2021 The King of All the World Carlos Saura
2023 Coup de chance Woody Allen
2024 Bach Carlos Saura

Documentary film

Year Title Director
1994 Roma Imago Urbis: Parte II - L'immortalità Luigi Bazzoni
Roma Imago Urbis: Parte I - Il mito
Roma Imago Urbis: Parte V - I volti
Roma Imago Urbis: Parte III - Gli acquedotti
Roma Imago Urbis: Parte VI - Le gesta
1995 Flamenco Carlos Saura
2010 Flamenco Flamenco


TV series

Year Title Director
1971 Eneide Franco Rossi


Year Title Director Notes
1974 Orlando furioso Luca Ronconi With Arturo Zavattini
1983 Wagner Tony Palmer
1986 Peter the Great Marvin J. Chomsky
Lawrence Schiller
2000 Frank Herbert's Dune John Harrison

TV movies

Year Title Director Notes
1992 Tosca: In the Settings and at the Times of Tosca Brian Large
1992 Writing with Light: Vittorio Storaro David M. Thompson Documentary film
2000 La Traviata Pierre Cavassilas
2007 Caravaggio Angelo Longoni
2010 Rigoletto a Mantova Pierre Cavassilas

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Vittorio Storaro


  1. ^ "Back in Time: Vittorio Storaro AIC, ASC / The Early Life of Mohammed". British Cinematographer. 27 May 2015. 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. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b "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)): Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  14. ^ Jones, Jonathan (9 July 2003). "Painting with light". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  15. ^ Adetunji, Jo (25 July 2010). "Verdi's Rigoletto given 'cinematic' makeover for BBC". The Guardian. 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