Five Quotes by Stanley Kubrick

Reading some of the most interesting quotes of Stanley Kubrick not only allows us to enter the mind of a genius, it also helps us better understand the world in which he lived, that of the second half of the 20th century.
Five Quotes by Stanley Kubrick

Last update: 17 October, 2022

Stanley Kubrick’s quotes are a good starting point for analyzing the world we’ve left behind, the one that we lived in during the second half of the 20th century. Many movie lovers have enjoyed his work. In fact, he was one of the most influential moviemakers during his 50 years of activity.

Stanley Kubrick was an excessive director in everything, a perfectionist to the last millimeter, capable of driving the most patient actor or screenwriter to despair. However, he also had an indisputable talent and gave birth to some of the most disturbing and wonderful films in the history of the seventh art.

Without a doubt, Kubrick never left anyone feeling indifferent to his work. He made versions of successful novels, such as The Shining, and unique interpretations of various historical conflicts with Spartacus, Paths of Glory, and Full Metal Jacket. Not forgetting his ability to dissect the human mind, a fact that was evident in A Clockwork Orange.

Indeed, it’s fascinating to analyze the human being through the eyes and thoughts of a unique and singular man like Stanley Kubrick, who died in 1999, six days after the final cut of his final movie, Eyes Wide Shut.

Stanley Kubrick’s best quotes

Let’s discover some of the best quotes from Stanley Kubrick. They’ll help us understand this unique film director who knew how to reflect the worst of the human soul with his wonderful movie adaptations.

Education

“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children using fear as motivation”.

Kubrick had a feeling that schools used fear as a method of motivation. The fear of punishment, of falling behind, of being less clever than other children. However, he was also clear that this method didn’t work, since, to extract the talent of a person, they must be encouraged and understood, not frightened and intimidated.

This quote by Kubrick is quite curious, especially when we consider the fact that, according to many bibliographies and interviews, his obsessive perfectionism greatly complicated much of his filming. As a matter of fact, some actors or screenwriters, such as Harvey Keitel and Frederic Raphael, didn’t speak too kindly of him.

Knowledge and communication

“If you can speak brilliantly enough on a subject, you will give the impression that you have mastered it”.

Here, Kubrick claimed that if you speak brilliantly about a subject, it’ll appear that you’re good at it. However, does this mean that you’ve really mastered it, or are you just giving the impression that you have?

Perhaps Kubrick, being the good film director he was, made this statement because film can act as an introduction to a subject. Indeed, the brilliance of a movie can make the viewer end up reading the credits with the feeling that they’ve become an expert on a certain subject, when, of course, in reality, they haven’t.

The worldview in the universe

“The destruction of this planet would not make sense on a cosmic scale”.

Kubrick was aware of how small our planet is on a cosmic scale. It’s like a speck of sand in an immense desert.

But did he want to say anything else? Perhaps we can interpret this quote in the context that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to play down what happens to us because it’s not always as important as we often want to believe.

Galaxy

Quotes and mistakes

“I don’t like giving interviews. There is always the danger that you will be misquoted or, worse, that they will quote exactly what you said”.

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why Kubrick wasn’t a fan of interviews and tried to limit his public life as much as possible. In fact, he did become something of a recluse in later years, only leaving his house to film.

Kubrick was as afraid that he might be misquoted as he might say something he might later regret.

Dreams come true

“If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed”.

If it can be imagined, it can be done. Kubrick was undoubtedly known for his excellent adaptations. Indeed, almost all of his movies were based on books.

Some good examples were The Shining, by Stephen King, Barry Lyndon, based on The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William M. Thackeray, and Full Metal Jacket, based on The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford, among others.

We hope that you’ll find these quotes by Stanley Kubrick inspirational. We’re certainly pleased to have been able to talk about his philosophy and way of life. There can be little doubt that Kubrick was the most methodical, talented, and perfectionist director who ever filmed in the history of cinema.

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  • Castle, A., (2011). Los Archivos de Stanley Kubrick. Colonia. Taschen Books.