Allen Daviau

Director of photography, Photographer, Photo lab technician
As a child, Allen Daviau developed an interest in photography and cameras which he has translated into a career as one of the most respected directors of photography in contemporary cinema. After studying stage lighting ... Read more »
Born: 06/13/1942 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA


Camera, Film, & Tape (26)

Van Helsing 2004 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Routine 2002 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Tigger Movie 2000 (Movie)

(live action--Simex Digital Studios/Santa Barbara--California) (Director of Photography)

Sweet 1999 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Astronaut's Wife 1999 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Congo 1995 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Fearless 1993 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Bugsy 1991 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Defending Your Life 1991 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Avalon 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Empire of the Sun 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Harry and the Hendersons 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Color Purple 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Falcon and the Snowman 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984 (Movie)

director of photography 2nd unit (Director of Photography)

Legs 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Twilight Zone - the Movie 1983 (Movie)

(("Kick the Can" "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet")) (Director of Photography)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Harry Tracy 1982 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Rage 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

The Streets of L.A. 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 (Movie)

(special edition) (Photography)

Amblin' 1968 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Amazing Stories (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Legs (Movie)


The Boy Who Drank Too Much (TV Show)

Director of Photography
Actor (4)

Cinematographer Style 2005 (Movie)


American Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography 1993 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)


As a child, Allen Daviau developed an interest in photography and cameras which he has translated into a career as one of the most respected directors of photography in contemporary cinema. After studying stage lighting and working in camera stores and photo labs, he began working on student films and as a professional photographer. In the mid-1960s, Daviau shot promotional films for recording artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin and The Who and was a still photographer for The Monkees. In 1967, he was introduced to aspiring filmmaker Steven Spielberg who eventually chose him to shoot the well-received short "Amblin'" (1969). Daviau began to find work as a cinematographer on TV-movies like "The Streets of L.A." (CBS, 1979) and "Rage" (NBC, 1990) before earning his first feature credit, for additional photography, on the special edition of Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (released in 1980).

Considered one of the masters of the Hollywood film of the past two decades, Daviau has a knack not only just for crisp, energetic images that seem to jump off the screen, but also for lighting which delves into the psychological thought processes of the characters. He has been able to capture internal thoughts of characters which some film purists think was more easily done in black and white, not color. In that sense, Daviau may be considered a master of color filmmaking. He has shot several films from the point of view of a small child ("E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" 1982; "Empire of the Sun" 1987; "Avalon" 1990). His work creates very specific worlds: a placid suburbia visited by a space creature in "E.T."; the grubby backstreets of China and the bleached out Japanese internment camp in "Empire of the Sun"; the gauzy afterlife of Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life" (1991); and the burgeoning world of Las Vegas in "Bugsy" (also 1991). For "The Color Purple" (1985), Daviau created a rich saturation of colors that blend so that the land and foliage become the people become the sky. Despite earning Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography for "E.T." "The Color Purple", "Empire of the Sun", "Avalon" and "Bugsy", he has yet to win the award. He has continued to work into the 90s earning further praise for his work on Peter Weir's "Fearless" (1993) and Frank Marshall's "Congo" (1995).


George Daviau


Alice Daviau



Loyola High School

Los Angeles , California



Was director of photography on "Congo", directed by Frank Marshall


Was one of the interview subjects in the documentary "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography"


Shot Levinson's "Bugsy"; won fifth Academy Award nomination


First screen collaboration with Barry Levinson, "Avalon"; garnered fourth Oscar nod


Served as cinematographer on Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun"; won ASC and BAFTA Awards also earned third Academy Award nomination


Shot pilot of the NBC series "Amazing Stories", executive produced by Spielberg


Won second Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography for Spielberg's "The Color Purple"


Headed the second unit photography on Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"


Chosen by Spielberg as director of photography on "ET, The Extra-Terrestrial"; earned first Academy Award nomination


First feature credit as director of photography, "Harry Tracy"


First feature film credit, Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Special Edition" (additional photography)


First TV credit as director of photography, "The Streets of L.A.", a CBS TV-movie starring Joanne Woodward


Served as cinematographer for Spielberg's short "Amblin'"


Introduced to Steven Spielberg

Studied photography and stage lighting

Produced a music show for KHJ-TV

Photographed promotional films for Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Aretha Franklin during the mid-1960s

Was still photographer for The Monkees