Karel Reisz

Director, Author, Critic
Uprooted from a secure and comfortable home at the age of 12, Karel Reisz emigrated from his native Czechoslovakia one step ahead of the Nazi invasion and arrived in his adopted England knowing scarcely a word of its ... Read more »
Born: 07/20/1926


Director (12)

Everybody Wins 1990 (Movie)


Sweet Dreams 1985 (Movie)


The French Lieutenant's Woman 1981 (Movie)


Who'll Stop the Rain? 1978 (Movie)


The Gambler 1973 (Movie)


Isadora 1968 (Movie)


Morgan 1965 (Movie)


Night Must Fall 1964 (Movie)


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 1961 (Movie)


We Are the Lambeth Boys 1958 (Movie)


Momma Don't Allow 1954 (Movie)


Act Without Words I (TV Show)

Producer (1)

This Sporting Life 1963 (Movie)

Actor (1)

Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment 2000 (Movie)



Uprooted from a secure and comfortable home at the age of 12, Karel Reisz emigrated from his native Czechoslovakia one step ahead of the Nazi invasion and arrived in his adopted England knowing scarcely a word of its language. He went about becoming as English as possible, returning after a brief repatriation to a Czechoslovakia much changed by the war to study at Cambridge. Teaching grammar school brought him in contact with working-class students and their parents, broadening his teenage socialism and fascination with the disenfranchised. Writing for the influential film journals Sequence and Sight and Sound placed him in close proximity to the likes of Tony Richardson and Lindsay Anderson, with whom Reisz championed the British version of the auteur theory, believing that the best movies were those that expressed the personal vision of a single artist--the director. In 1953, he published "The Technique of Film Editing" (co-authored with Gavin Millar), a landmark study encompassing the theory, history and practice of editing. His extensive research for the project served as a great training ground for the would-be director.


Betsy Blair Actor

Married 1963 until his death Nov. 25, 2002

Betsy Blair

second wife formerly married to actor-dancer Gene Kelly divorced

Julia Coppard


Joseph Reisz

Jewish perished in a concentration camp during WWII

Frieda Reisz

perished in a concentration camp during WWII

Paul Reisz

older educated in England, at Leighton Park School in Reading, Berkshire preceded Karel there


Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

1945 - 1947

Leighton Park School

a Quaker school which accepted him when the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia was imminent and sponsored his journey by sea to England



Broadway directing debut, Pinter's "Moonlight", with Jason Robards and Blythe Danner


Directed off-Broadway production of "Gardenia"


Last feature to date, "Everybody Wins", adapted by Arthur Miller from his play "Some Kind of Love Story"; starred Nolte and Debra Winger


Helmed "Sweet Dreams", a biopic of country singer Patsy Cline starring Jessica Lange (who was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award)


Directed screen version of John Fowles' novel "The French Lieutenant's Woman", adapted by Harold Pinter and starring Meryl Streep who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination


Helmed "Who'll Stop the Rain?", adapted by Judith Roscoe and Robert Stone from the latter's novel "Dog Soldiers"; starred Nick Nolte


First American feature, "The Gambler", scripted by James Toback and starring James Caan


Reunited with Redgrave for "Isadora", for which she received an other Best Actress Academy Award nomination


Directed the decidedly offbeat gem, "Morgan--A Suitable Case for Treatment"; Vanessa Redgrave's feature debut for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination


Reteamed with Finney (who co-produced and starred in) remake of "Night Must Fall"


Produced Anderson's "This Sporting Life"


Feature film directing debut, "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning"; scripted by Alan Sillitoe from his semiautobiographical novel; starred Albert Finney


First solo directing effort, the documentary "We Are the Lambeth Boys"; also produced


Co-produced Lindsay Anderson's documentary "Every Day Except Christmas"


Film debut as co-director (with Tony Richardson), "Momma Don't Allow", a 22-minute documentary short


Taught grammar school in London


Repatriated to Czechoslovakia


Moved to England

Was program director for National Film Theatre, London

Helmed London stage production of "The Deep Blue Sea"

Made instructional and promotional films for Ford Motor Company

Returned to England

Worked as film critic

Joined Czech squadron of Royal Air Force; war ended before he saw service

Made commercials