Chris Menges

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Chris Menges
Born (1940-09-15) 15 September 1940 (age 83)
Occupation(s)Cinematographer and film director

Chris Menges BSC, ASC (born 15 September 1940) is a British cinematographer and film director. He is a member of both the American and British Societies of Cinematographers.

Life and career[edit]

Menges was born in Kington, Herefordshire, the son of the composer and conductor Herbert Menges.[1] He began his career in the 1960s as camera operator for documentaries by Adrian Cowell and for films including Poor Cow by Ken Loach and If.... by Lindsay Anderson. Kes, directed by Ken Loach, was his first film as cinematographer. He was also behind the camera on Stephen Frears' first feature film Gumshoe in 1971.

After several documentaries and feature films such as Black Beauty (1971), Bloody Kids (1978), The Game Keeper (1980), Babylon (1980) and Angel (1982), Menges became notable for more ambitious works, for which he was critically acclaimed.

In 1983, he received his first BAFTA nomination for the Bill Forsyth film Local Hero and only a year later won his first Academy Award for the film The Killing Fields about the genocide in Cambodia. He continued his work with helmer Roland Joffe and Menges won his second Oscar in 1986 with the historical drama The Mission. He also shot a television play titled Made in Britain, starring Tim Roth in 1983.

In 1988, Menges made his directorial debut with A World Apart. This film was celebrated at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and won three major awards.[2]

His second film as director, CrissCross with Goldie Hawn, received critical acclaim but was a box-office flop. In 1996 he moved back behind the camera to shoot the award-winning films The Boxer (directed by Jim Sheridan) and Michael Collins. For the latter, he received his third Academy Award nomination in 1997.

Menges also made documentaries. In the early 1970s, he went to Burma with British film maker Adrian Cowell to shoot The Opium Warlords, a film about the drug trade. After the release of the documentary in 1974, the Burmese government was said to have put a price on their heads. Menges is mentioned in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by Scarecrow Press.


As cinematographer[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
1969 Kes Ken Loach
1971 Black Beauty James Hill
1971 Gumshoe Stephen Frears
1979 Black Jack Ken Loach
1980 The Gamekeeper
1980 Babylon Franco Rosso
1981 Looks and Smiles Ken Loach
1982 Battletruck Harley Cokeliss
1983 Local Hero Bill Forsyth
1984 Comfort and Joy
The Killing Fields Roland Joffé
1986 The Mission
1987 Shy People Andrei Konchalovsky
1996 Michael Collins Neil Jordan
1997 The Boxer Jim Sheridan
2001 The Pledge Sean Penn
2002 Dirty Pretty Things Stephen Frears
The Good Thief Neil Jordan
2005 The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Tommy Lee Jones
North Country Niki Caro
2006 Notes on a Scandal Richard Eyre
2008 The Reader Stephen Daldry Co-cinematographer with Roger Deakins
Stop-Loss Kimberly Peirce
The Yellow Handkerchief Udayan Prasad
2010 Route Irish Ken Loach
London Boulevard William Monahan
2011 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Stephen Daldry
2013 Hummingbird Steven Knight
2019 Waiting for the Barbarians Ciro Guerra

As director[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards

Year Title Category Result
1984 The Killing Fields Best Cinematography Won
1986 The Mission Won
1996 Michael Collins Nominated
2008 The Reader Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Title Category Result
1983 Local Hero Best Cinematography Nominated
1984 The Killing Fields Won
1986 The Mission Nominated
1996 Michael Collins Nominated
2008 The Reader Nominated

American Society of Cinematographers

Year Title Category Result
1986 The Mission Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Nominated
1996 Michael Collins Nominated
1997 The Boxer Nominated
2008 The Reader Nominated

Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Year Title Category Result
1984 The Killing Fields Best Cinematography Won
1986 The Mission Won
1996 Michael Collins Won

National Society of Film Critics

Year Title Category Result
1984 Comfort and Joy Best Cinematography Won
The Killing Fields Won
1996 Michael Collins Nominated

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Title Category Result
1984 The Killing Fields Best Cinematography Won
1986 The Mission Nominated

Other awards

Year Title Award/Nomination
1984 The Killing Fields Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
1996 Michael Collins Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography


  1. ^ "Chris Menges Biography (1940-)". Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: A World Apart". Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2009.

External links[edit]