Director: Robert Benton

Information about the director.

Works

Film:Kramer vs. Kramer

Kramer vs. Kramer

Robert Benton

Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Actor, and Screenplay, Kramer vs. Kramer remains as powerfully moving today as it was when released in 1979, simply because its drama will remain relevant for couples of any generation. Adapted by director Robert Benton from the novel by Avery Corman, this is perhaps the finest, most evenly balanced film ever made about the failure of marriage and the tumultuous shift of parental roles. It begins when Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) bluntly informs her husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman) that she’s leaving him,…

Film:Places in the Heart

Places in the Heart

Robert Benton

Places in the Heart is a landmark film. Its emotionally gripping story centers around EdnaSpalding (Field) and her unending struggle against extraordinary hardships. But, as recalled from director-writer Robert Benton’s own childhood, it’s also a portrait of a time and a place and a people. It is the 1930s in Waxahachie, Texas. Against this Depression-torn background, unforgettable characters meet and collide. Like Mr. Will (John Malkovich), the blind boarder who sees all too clearly the bigotry of his time, Moze (Danny Glover), a black man who knows a lot, including his own place in a white Southern town, and Wayne (Ed Harris), Margaret (Lindsay Crouse) and Viola (Amy Madigan), decent people caught up in an adulterous triangle which threatens two marriages. Together they leave an indelible impression of faith, courage, love and, most of all, endurance.

Film:Still of the Night

Still of the Night

Robert Benton

Fresh from his huge success with the beloved Kramer vs. Kramer, writer-director Robert Benton chose to make a 180-degree turn with this frosty thriller. Roy Scheider plays a Manhattan psychologist, Sam Rice, who is dragged into a murder investigation when one of his patients is killed. The prime suspect is played by Meryl Streep, then at the height of her stardom (the film was released within a week of Streep’s triumphant Sophie’s Choice in 1982). Rice understandably lets his basic instincts take over and falls for this brisk, blond mystery woman,…

Film:Billy Bathgate

Billy Bathgate

Robert Benton

The oily allure of underground power is compelling. During the heyday of New York’s mob scene, it was more than a mysterious, dynamic draw, it was a ticket out of poverty and stepping stone to notoriety. Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, Billy Bathgate is the story of a street-smart boy (Loren Dean) who, after a chance encounter with racketeering kingpin Dutch Schultz (Dustin Hoffman), sets out to apprentice himself to the Mafia and ride the roller-coaster life of a gangster.

Central to the story development is the idea of fate and circumstance.…

Film:The Human Stain

The Human Stain

Robert Benton

Given the formidable challenge of adapting Philip Roth’s acclaimed novel to the screen, it’s a wonder that The Human Stain retains so much of what makes Roth’s novel a masterpiece. As adapted by Nicholas Meyer, Robert Benton’s film is inevitably a different animal altogether, and it’s wide open to charges of miscasting and thematic diffusion. But at its core, this delicate drama succeeds in exposing the sins that stain all of humanity, forcing men like former welterweight boxer and esteemed professor Coleman Silk (Anthony Hopkins) to forsake family and…

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