Richard Attenborough at 90: a director at work

As Richard Attenborough turns 90, we share 15 behind-the-scenes images of his work as director.  


Long established as a leading man in British cinema, Attenborough made his directorial debut with 1969’s Oh! What a Lovely War, a musical satire about the First World War based on a stage play of the same name.

Attenborough continued to document British history with Young Winston, a 1972 biopic of Winston Churchill in his early years.

He marshalled an all-star cast – including Robert Redford, Michael Caine, Dirk Bogarde and Sean Connery – for the wartime epic A Bridge Too Far (1977), about the failure of Operation Market Garden during World War II.

Here Attenborough talks with Michael Caine (who plays Lieutenant-Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur) on location for A Bridge Too Far.

Attenborough behind the camera for his epic 1982 biopic of Gandhi.

Dancing atop a steam train on location for Gandhi.

Attenborough and Ben Kingsley with their Oscars for Gandhi.

Showing the dancers how it’s done in production for the 1985 musical A Chorus Line.

Directing dancer Alyson Reed for A Chorus Line.

On set for his Apartheid drama Cry Freedom (1987), starring Denzel Washington.

With Robert Downey Jr (as Charlie Chaplin) on the set of his 1992 biopic Chaplin.

Directing Anthony Hopkins (as author C.S. Lewis) on location for his poignant 1993 drama Shadowlands.

Attenborough returned to the subject of the First World War for 1996’s In Love and War, starring Chris O’Donnell as Ernest Hemingway and Sandra Bullock as the nurse with whom he falls in love.

Directing Grey Owl (1998), Attenborough’s drama starring Pierce Brosnan as a former British schoolboy who becomes a Native American trapper.

On location for his most recent film, the 2007 drama Closing the Ring, starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer.

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