Biography of Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis is an American film director best known for Romancing the Stone, the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away, Beowulf, and Welcome to Marwen. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Forrest Gump and has been applauded for his innovative approach to special effects.

An early lover of television and film, Zemeckis was inspired to go to film school after learning about the concept from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. At The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Zemeckis was disillusioned with the more artistic trappings of film school, eschewing intellectualism and foreign film in favor of "Clint Eastwood and James Bond and Walt Disney, because that's how we grew up," as he once said in an interview. Immediately after graduating, he got the attention of Steven Spielberg, who helped to produce his first films, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars.

Zemeckis' breakthrough film was Romancing the Stone, which earned him a good reputation and paved the way for him to direct the Back to the Future series, a major blockbuster hit. His half-animated film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, won three Academy Awards, and was followed up by Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump, perhaps his best-known film. In 1997, he directed an adaptation of a Carl Sagan novel, Contact.

Since the 1990s, Zemeckis has directed Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, The Polar Express, Flight, Beowulf, and Welcome to Marwen.


Study Guides on Works by Robert Zemeckis

"Would I have become friends with my father if I went to school with him?"

That question was the germ (courtesy of producer/co-writer Bob Gale) for a film that eventually became science fiction classic Back to the Future (1985). Gale and...

Based on the novel of same name by Winston Groom, Robert Zemeckis' 1994 film Forrest Gump tells the story of a mentally and physically challenged man in 1960s Alabama, and his various foibles and incredible luck. It chronicles Forrest's early...