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.