Photo of Nicholas Ray Nicholas Ray

In a career that spanned just over 15 years, director Nicolas Ray left an indelible mark on Hollywood with a slew of films that were utterly unique in their use of color, setting and socially aware psychological underpinnings.

Born Aug. 7, 1911, in Galesville, Wis., Ray studied architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, worked in left-wing theater and produced radio shows before landing in Hollywood. There, his initial directing job came on They Live by Night (1949), the first of a string of noir pictures he made for RKO Studios that included the Humphrey Bogart classic In a Lonely Place (1950).

After departing RKO, Ray made his two masterpieces -- the over-the-top proto-feminist Western Johnny Guitar (starring Joan Crawford) and the generation-defining Rebel Without a Cause (which starred James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood and received multiple Oscar nominations). Ray died June 16, 1979.

Nicholas Ray in Bitter Victory

Bitter Victory

1958 NR

British army captain Leith (Richard Burton) is handed a mission that may prove to be his most difficult yet: He must partner up with fellow military officer Brand (Curd Jürgens), with whom he doesn't get along, to steal top secret documents from a Nazi group in Libya. Complicating matters further is Leith's relationship with Brand's wife (Ruth Roman), with whom Leith once had a torrid love affair, ratcheting up the tension between them.

  • Nicholas Ray in In a Lonely Place In a Lonely Place
  • Nicholas Ray in Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition
  • Nicholas Ray in The American Friend The American Friend
  • Nicholas Ray in On Dangerous Ground On Dangerous Ground
  • Nicholas Ray in Johnny Guitar Johnny Guitar
  • Nicholas Ray in Flying Leathernecks Flying Leathernecks
  • Nicholas Ray in Macao Macao
  • Nicholas Ray in Bigger Than Life Bigger Than Life
  • Nicholas Ray in The True Story of Jesse James The True Story of Jesse James
  • Nicholas Ray in Nick's Film  Lightning Over Water Nick's Film Lightning Over Water
  • Nicholas Ray in They Live by Night / Side Street They Live by Night / Side Street
  • Nicholas Ray in James Dean: Sense Memories James Dean: Sense Memories