The Rockstar of Film Editing: Walter Murch

February 15, 2007


If film editors are the true rockstars of Hollywood, then Walter Murch is the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined. His resume includes Apocalypse Now, all three Godfather films, The English Patient, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ghost, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Jarhead among many others. Not too shabby.

In a great NPR interview with Murch (via editblog), he modestly describes his profession: “My job as an editor is to gently prod the attention of the audience to look at various parts of the frame… And I do that by manipulating, by how and where I cut and what succession of images I work with.”

To truly appreciate Murch’s impact and the importance of film editing, read The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film and In The Blink of an Eye. They both provide amazing insight into his career and techniques. If you’re an editor, they will change the way you cut. If you watch movies, they will change the way you see them.

– chris


5 Responses to “The Rockstar of Film Editing: Walter Murch”

  1. snarf Says:

    Dammit/wonderfull … now you made me buy the Conversations book!

    God bless/damn amazons one-click buys!

  2. tropist Says:

    Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it!

  3. I own and have read both of these books. Murch is very articulate and precise. However I believe that today’s digital paradigm is radically different from the celluloid cinema of Murch’s time. He should perhaps pass the torch of everyone’s favorite editor soon.

    Murch’s writing has influenced me. But the actual editing of Chris Cunningham, Artavazd Peleshian, and Chris Marker is far more profound in its implications.

    The nature of editing has changed (and hopefully will continue changing) so much that I don’t even like the word “editor” any more. I prefer Tesseracter. For the reason why you can read some of my posts on

  4. snarf Says:

    Sounds interesting .. I’ll definitely check out those guys .. I’ve only heard of Cunningham before…

    great tips, both of ya…

  5. […] you still need more Murch be sure to check out our previous coverage. – […]

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