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Billy Wilder’s Movies Overview

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder is a prominent director and producer who made a great contribution to the development of American cinematography. He is the outstanding filmmaker who managed to give more than 50 years to the film industry. It should be stressed that Billy Wilder won six Academy Awards recognized as one of the most brilliant representatives of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

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Life Overview

Billy Wilder’s early age cannot be characterized as growth of his career or some personal achievements. It should be noted that future director and producer was not merely concentrated on the general recognition; he tried to focus on his personal life and family formation as only it could bring him the feeling of complete inner harmony and satisfaction. (Segers, 2003)

At the beginning of his career development he managed to gain success very quickly. Being the scenarist he enjoyed his early contributions to the cinematography. He married Judith Iribe in 1936; the couple lived together untill 1947 and had a daughter. Nevertheless they divorced and Wilder married his second wife, Audrey Young. Billy Wilder lived together with his second wife and the daughter from his previous marriage. Billy Wilder enjoyed every moment of his life and the early ages of his personal and professional life brought the producer deep experience reflected in future works. (Wilder, 2002)

Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder directed the movie Double Indemnity in 1944; this movie brought him several nominations and awards. Barbara Stanwyck was nominated as the best leading role actress; the leading cast also involves Fred MacMurray and Edward Robinson. (Karnick, 2006)

Double Indemnity

The movie is devoted to the crime of uswoman and her lover. The plot depicts the successful life of the Walter Neff being the insurance salesman, who meets Phyllis Dietrichson and helps her to get the necessary insurance policy on the life of her husband. The couple decides to organize the murder of the man. The movie is considered to be the process of mysterious tricks conducted by Neff and Phyllis for the purpose to hide the crime and get the benefits. (Sickels, 1998)

The movie appeared to disclose the theme of criminal world and betrayal for the purpose of money. Wilder managed to make the story close to life, reflecting human affection of material values.

Billy Wilder’s contribution to the sphere of cinematography can be evaluated through his numerous awards and nominations. To the most prominent movies of the director one can relate the following: The Apartment, The Lost Weekend, Ball of Fire, Ninotchka, A Foreign Affair and many others. Wilder’s creativity embodied in his works brought brightness and realism to the cinema sphere.

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Multiple choice:

  • Billy Wilder was born in
    • 1910
    • 1906
    • 1901
    • 1907
  • In Double Indemnity the role of Walter Neff was performed by:
    • Edward Robinson;
    • Tom Powers;
    • Fred MacMurray;
    • Richard Gaines;
  • The genre of the movie Double Indemnity is:
    • Comedy;
    • Drama;
    • Thriller;
    • Detective
  • The movie Double Indemnity was adapted by Wilder and …
    • Raymond Chandler;
    • James Cain;
    • Edward Robinson;
  • The number of Wilder’s movies within his career is:
    • over 100;
    • more than 30;
    • about 60;
    • 45;

Fill-in-the-blank questions:

  1. The name of the second wife of Billy Wilder was ________ with whom he lived since 1947. (Audrey Young);
  2. The leading role performed by________________ was a charm and cunny woman Phyllis Dietrichson deciding to kill her husband. (Barbara Stanwyck);

Short answer questions:

  1. What is Billy Wilder famous for?
  2. Could you explain the title of the movie Double Indemnity?


Karnick, S. Wilder in Retrospect. The American Culture, 2006.

Segers, Michael. Happy Birthday, Billy Wilder. Rovin’ and Ravin’ With Mike. 2003.

Sickels, C. Robert. The Life and Times of Billy Wilder. Hyperion Press, 1998.

Wilder, Billy. Starring: MacMurray, F., Stanwyck, B. Double Indemnity. Universal Legacy Series. 1944.

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Wilder, Billy. Billy Wilder: Interviews. Univ. Press of Mississipi, 2002.

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