Philip Kaufman (born October 23, 1936) is an American film director and screenwriter who has directed fifteen films over a career spanning more than six decades. He has been described as a "maverick" and an "iconoclast," notable for his versatility and independence. He is considered an "auteur", whose films have always expressed his personal vision.:1
Kaufman's works have included genres such as realism, horror, fantasy, erotica, Westerns, underworld crime, and inner city gangs. His choice of topics has been eclectic and sometimes controversial, having adapted novels with diverse themes and stories. Examples are Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Michael Crichton's Rising Sun (1993), a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), and the erotic writings of Anaïs Nin's Henry & June. His film The Wanderers (1979) has achieved cult status. But his greatest success was Tom Wolfe's true-life The Right Stuff, which received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
According to film historian Annette Insdorf, "no other living American director has so consistently and successfully made movies for adults, tackling sensuality, artistic creation, and manipulation by authorities.":1 Other critics note that Kaufman's films are "strong on mood and atmosphere," with powerful cinematography and a "lyrical, poetic style" to portray different historic periods. His later films have a somewhat European style, but the stories always "stress individualism and integrity, and are clearly American."