Home Category Sidebar Michael Ballhaus, Who Lensed “Goodfellas” and “The Departed”, Dies at 81

Michael Ballhaus, Who Lensed “Goodfellas” and “The Departed”, Dies at 81

A picture of an older man with grey hair and a black suit jacket holding up a Golden Globe award.
Mr. Balhaus, German film director at the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood, CA.

He was a frequent collaborator of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Mike Nichols and Martin Scorsese, among others.

Michael Ballhaus


Michael Ballhaus, the revered cinematographer who brought his distinct visual sense to the works of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, has died at 81. The German director of photography earned three Academy Award nominations throughout his career, which spanned more than half a century. Last year he was recognized with a Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at the Berlin Film Festival.

READ MORE: Berlinale 2016 to Honor Scorsese, Nichols, Fassbinder Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus

Among his best-known films were Fassbinder’s “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News” (which earned him his first Oscar nod) and “The Departed,” one of several collaborations with Scorsese — Ballhaus also lensed “After Hours,” “The Last Temptations of Christ,” “Goodfellas” and “The Age of Innocence.” He began his career in Germany, first coming to attention for the many films he made with Fassbinder, before making his way to Hollywood.

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Melody Stewart is the founder of act.land and President of iactingstudioskc.com. She is a filmmaker in Kansas City.