Director and Producer
Irwin Winkler’s career as a producer, director and writer encompasses popular and influential
movies that have impacted contemporary culture. With a passion for big, bold, meaningful stories,
his films include an array of true screen classics, garnering among them 12 Academy Awards and
52 Oscar nominations.
Among Winkler’s multiple nominations include five Best Picture nominations, each for a
pioneering film: the tale of underdog sports triumph, ROCKY, which forged one of most globally
recognizable movie characters and themes in history; RAGING BULL, which turned the biopic
into a gritty, lyrical work of art; the history-capturing look at the U.S. space program, THE RIGHT
STUFF; the iconic gangster tale, GOODFELLAS; and the recent THE WOLF OF WALL
STREET. Winkler is the only producer honored with three films on the American Film Institute’s
list of the “Top 100 Films.”
Winkler was recently honored by the Producers Guild of America with the prestigious David O.
Selznick Achievement Award which recognized his lifetime body of work.
In April 2016, Winkler spoke at Harvard University’s Kennedy School on the political and social
influence his films have had on both the U.S. and international culture.
In December 2016 The American Cinematheque held a three-day retrospective to honor Winkler
by showcasing such works as Goodfellas, New York, New York and Raging Bull, culminating
with an onstage conversation alongside Martin Scorsese to discuss Winkler’s storied career.
Winkler most recently produced the critically acclaimed SILENCE with longtime collaborator
Martin Scorsese, written by Jay Cocks and starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam
In 2016 Winkler produced CREED, the latest installment of his Academy Award winning
franchise, ROCKY. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, with Ryan Coogler
directing, the film garnered both commercial and critical success; earning a Golden Globe
nomination and Academy Award nomination for Sylvester Stallone. The film was named
Outstanding Motion Picture from the NAACP Image Awards, the Black Film Critics Circle and
named as one of the top films by the National Board of Review.
In 2013, Winkler Executive Produced the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated THE
WOLF OF WALL STREET, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio,
illustrates his continual presence as one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers making an
indelible impact with his ability to showcase emotional storytelling with hard hitting relevance.
For Winkler, success has come from his constant instinctual draw to fresh, current, even
controversial subjects and visionary talents. As a storyteller he has been fascinated by both the
dangers of corruption and the beauty of courage and compassion.
Winkler first made a resounding impact producing a series of raw, edgy human dramas that
helped to define the gritty landscape of 70s and 80s cinema. These the fiercely original THEY
SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?, about the desperate contenders in a Depression-era dance
contest, starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin, which would seal Winkler’s reputation with 9
Academy Award nominations and status as a Hollywood classic.
Other highlights from his Gotham period include NEW YORK, NEW YORK, starring Liza
Minnelli and Robert De Niro, which produced one of the most recognizable songs in pop culture;
the enduring masterpiece, RAGING BULL, considered by many to be among the great cinematic
works of the 20th Century and highlighted by DeNiro’s Oscar winning performance; and
GOODFELLAS, which was honored with numerous critics’ awards and has become etched in
filmgoers’ consciousnesses as the paragon of the American crime drama.
In that era, Winkler also produced the Mafia comedy THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT
STRAIGHT; the timely comedy UP THE SANDBOX starring Barbra Streisand; THE
GAMBLER a penetrating look at gambling addiction, starring James Caan; the stirring modern
Western, COMES A HORSEMAN teaming Caan with Jane Fonda; the atmospheric period
mystery, TRUE CONFESSIONS written by Joan Didion and John Dunne starring Robert
DeNiro and Robert Duvall; the critically-acclaimed suspense thriller about a woman who
discovers her father is an accused Nazi war criminal, MUSIC BOX, which earned an Oscar
nomination for star Jessica Lange and the homage to the Jazz Era, ROUND MIDNIGHT, with
Herbie Hancock winning an Academy Award for his musical composition and a Best Actor
nomination for Dexter Gordon.
In 1989, Winkler made an auspicious directorial debut from his own potent screenplay, GUILTY
BY SUSPICION, hailed by the New York Times as “A stirring and tragic evocation of terrible
times” about Hollywood’s all-too-real blacklisting era. Starring Robert DeNiro as a prominent
director asked to “name names” and Annette Benning as his wife, the film presaged a writing
and directing career that would, like Winkler’s producing career, be focused on taut human
drama and politically-charged themes and debuted in the Cannes Film Festival.
Winkler’s next directorial outing reunited him with both Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange in a
stylish update of the noir crime drama, NIGHT AND THE CITY, which would close the
prestigious New York Film Festival in 1992 and become a rousing critical success. He went on
to direct and produce AT FIRST SIGHT, a romantic drama based on a true story by Dr. Oliver
Sacks, starring Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino and Nathan Lane and the prescient cyber-crime thriller
THE NET, starring Sandra Bullock, one of the big box-office hits of 1995.
Winkler’s directorial career would continue to take intriguing turns. He broached the thoughtprovoking
question of what happens when a man suddenly faces his own mortality in the
poignantly complex LIFE AS A HOUSE, featuring a landmark performance by Kevin Kline.
Radically switching gears, Winkler next directed one of his most distinctive features, the
musical biography of the legendary composer Cole Porter: DE-LOVELY. Featuring Golden
Globe-nominated performances from Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, as well as performances
from pop and rock music talents, including Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Elvis Costello,
Robbie Williams, Natalie Cole, and Diana Krall, all performing Porter’s classic songs, the film
was selected as the closing night gala event at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Winkler became one of the very first American filmmakers to turn his camera on an issue
currently of vital significance -- the return of U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq – when he
directed and produced the provocative drama HOME OF THE BRAVE, starring Samuel L.
Jackson, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jessica Biel and Brian Presley.
Winker’s motion picture producing career began in the late 1960s when he left his successful
management company behind. His made his first film, the Elvis Presley movie DOUBLE
TROUBLE, with the legendary director Norman Taurog. Soon after, he entered into a
partnership with Robert Chartoff, producing such films as the classic revenge thriller POINT
BLANK. In 1970, an eclectic trio of Winkler/Chartoff films each made a splash at the Cannes
Film Festival: LEO THE LAST won the Best Director prize, the counter-culture cult film, THE
STRAWBERRY STATEMENT received the Jury Award THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T
THEY? garnered the closing night honors.
For his contributions to the popular culture, Winkler has been the recipient of numerous
American and international honors, including the Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, the French
government’s highest decoration for contribution to the arts. In 1989, the British Film Institute