In a way, the Billy Wilder story is a tale of two Bills. Billy’s first name was actually Samuel, but he was nicknamed “Billie” or “Billy” by his mother and chose to make it his permanent moniker when he emigrated to America to escape the Nazis who would go on to claim most of the rest of his family. That was despite the fact that he actually had an older brother named William, who himself emigrated to America and became a B-movie director.
Billy, by contrast, was very much an A-movie director; in fact, he was a master writer-director. His finest films, especially his “famous five,” constitute perhaps the finest handful of films ever made by one director, and the best of them (including Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity) are often the best in their genre.
Here are his Top 10 films.