Prominent editor, mostly of US films and some TV. An adept handler of powerful and violent action scenes, Zinner has several very important films to his credit. His earliest work dates back to the late 1950s; one of his first films was the early Sam Peckinpah Western, "The Deadly Companions" (1961). His mid-60s work is distinguished by two solid films for director Richard Brooks, the exciting Western "The Professionals" (1966) and the chilling docudrama "In Cold Blood" (1967). Zinner has not been a prolific craftsman, but in the 70s, after working on Mikhail Kalatozov's "La Tenda Rossa" (1970), he spliced together the vivid imagery for Francis Ford Coppola's landmark revisionist gangster epics, "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather, Part II" (1974).
Zinner followed with several high profile but rather routine credits in "A Star Is Born" (1976) and "Mahogany" (1975) before his next major achievement, "The Deer Hunter" (1978). A film full of wrenching, suspensefully edited sequences vividly chronicling the horrors of war, Michael Cimino's Vietnam epic won Zinner an Oscar for his work. His work on "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982) was justly acclaimed, and he added punch to action fare like "The Hunt for Red October" (1990). Zinner also took a stab at directing with "Salamander" (1981), a competently handled but ultimately uninvolving action film which received little exposure. Much of his editing skill during the 80s was directed towards his nascent work for the small screen, as Zinner handled the cutting for two lengthy and prestigious miniseries, "The Winds of War" (1983) and its sequel, "War and Remembrance" (1988), winning an Emmy for the latter.