McBride received widespread acclaim for his superb debut feature, "David Holzman's Diary" (1967), which was shot on a budget of only $2,500 and influenced both by the cinema verite movement and the French New Wave. "Diary" recorded a day in the life of filmmaker David Holzman, who in turn was recording a day in his own life as part of an obsessive desire to capture "the truth" through the lens of his camera. McBride made intermittent excursions into film in the 1970s, trying his hand at sci-fi ("Glen and Randa" 1971) and comedy ("Hot Times" 1974). After a misguided attempt to update Godard's "Breathless" (1983), he joined the Hollywood mainstream with the atmospheric, New Orleans-set thriller, "The Big Easy" (1986). "Great Balls of Fire" (1989), which, like "The Big Easy," starred Dennis Quaid, was somewhat less successful.