Moviemaker Brian De Palma, born this day in 1940, is the thinking man’s action director. With movies including Scarface and The Untouchables under his directing belt, De Palma has made classics from what could have easily been popcorn fluff. Born in Newark, New Jersey the young moviemaking hopeful made a smash directing the “Dancing in the Dark” video for fellow garden state icon Bruce Springsteen. But a career in music television was short-lived when De Palma discovered it was his ability to tease his audiences with minor thrills and big payoffs that led to success. His recreations of Hitchcock and Eisenstein helped to label him an intellectual moviemaker with an eye for the box office. Other hits in De Palma’s oeuvre include Sisters (1973), Carrie (1976), Carlito’s Way (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996) and the upcoming The Untouchables: Capone Rising (scheduled for 2008).

In 2006 Brian De Palma received a Golden Lion nomination at the Venice Film Festival for The Black Dahlia. This year’s festival saw the writer/director honored with the Silver Lion for his movie Redacted, a fictional documentary inspired by events of the Iraq war.