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Milpitas Library

160 North Main Street
Milpitas, CA 95035

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Who is Fred Zinnemann?

Beach Scene from From Here to Eternity

...and why should a movie fan celebrate his birthday?

While the late film director Fred Zinnemann's name might not be recognizable to the average movie goer a look back at his incredible career reveals several great films that many movie fans cherish including the most famous beach kiss ever filmed.

Fred Zinnemann was born on April 29th 1907 in Vienna. After he came to America, he shot some acclaimed documentaries and films.  Zinnemann really came into his own in the fifties starting with The Men, High Noon and then with his crowning achievement, From Here to Eternity.  He eventually won two Academy Awards for directing.

Zinnemann has said that his films are "about the human spirit refusing to be broken" but they are also visually beautiful, stunningly acted and well worth your time. 

Here are some of his best to celebrate his birthday.


High Noon

High Noon

"Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" sings Tex Ritter over the beginning of this classic western.  Gary Cooper plays a small town sheriff who must stand alone against a gang murderous gunmen looking to settle a score. The film won four Academy Awards including Best Actor for Cooper and Best Song. 

From Here to Eternity

From Here to Eternity

One of the most popular and iconic films of all time which follows the lives of a group of servicemen on a base in Hawaii a few days before Pearl Harbor.  It won the Oscar for Best Picture and seven more awards including: Directing, Supporting Actor-Frank Sinatra and Supporting Actress-Donna Reed.

The Nun's Story

The Nun's Story

Audrey Hepburn stars as a nun working in a mental asylum and later in the Belgian Congo who is eventually torn between the church and the outside world.  The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress for Audrey Hepburn's luminous performance.

The Sundowners

The Sundowners

A married couple (Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr) in Australia find themselves at odds when the wife wants to settle down on a farm of their own, but the husband finds settling down more than his untethered spirit can bear. Nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress-Deborah Kerr and Best Supporting Actress-Glynis Johns.


A Man for All Seasons

A Man for All Seasons

The battle of wills and ethics between Henry VIII and Thomas More from Robert Bolt's acclaimed play.  The movie is highlighted by powerful performances by Paul Scofield and Wendy Hiller. It won six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor-Paul Scofield.

JuliaDVD Cover for Julia


Playwright Lillian Hellman is pulled into a resistance movement and a smuggling mission by her life long friendship with Julia.  Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, the movie is also notable for being Meryl Streep's film debut.  The film went on to win three Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actor-Jason Robards and Best Supporting Actress-Vanessa Redgrave.

Discover more great movies and music by checking out our Music & Movies blog!

Image from Consuming Cultures