Roger Deakins? Incredible. Wally Pfister? No question. But when we detail the cinematographers who have defined, redefined, and straight up transformed the invention of our favorite pieces of contemporary cinema, there’s one man who’s name we must all know.
Bill Pope is one of the GOATs working today, period. For over 30 years, the Kentucky-born DP has made fruitful partnerships with some of your favorite directors — Sam Raimi, Edgar Wright, The Wachowskis — while crystallizing, heightening, and pushing not only their trademark styles, but what we expect from movies moving forward. Pope’s works are technical powerhouses, achieving clarity and cleanliness while smothered in style. His use of shadow and color are always immersive, his techniques able to communicate subjectively what the characters are emotionally going through, and he has given contemporary film culture more iconic images than I can personally shake a stick at. And I’m pretty good at shaking sticks!
To celebrate this underrated powerhorse of cinematography, here’s a guided tour of Bill Pope’s 10 best movies so far (with the caveat that there are so many more!), and how they revolutionized cinema. For more on the best DPs in the game, here’s our chat with Greig Fraser.