Robby Müller

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Robby Müller
Robby Müller
Born(1940-04-04)4 April 1940
Willemstad, Curaçao
Died3 July 2018(2018-07-03) (aged 78)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alma materNetherlands Film Academy
Years active1965–2018
OrganizationsNetherlands Society of Cinematographers
German Society of Cinematographers
WebsiteRobby Müller Archive

Robby Müller, NSC, BVK, (4 April 1940 – 3 July 2018) was a Dutch cinematographer. Known for his use of natural light and minimalist imagery,[1][2] Müller first gained recognition for his contributions to West German cinema through his acclaimed collaborations with Wim Wenders.

Through the course of his career, he worked closely with directors Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Bogdanovich, Barbet Schroeder, and Lars Von Trier, the latter with whom he pioneered the use of digital cinematography.[3] His work earned him numerous accolades and admiration from his peers.[4] He died on 3 July 2018, aged 78, having suffered from vascular dementia for several years.

Life and work[edit]

Müller was born in Curaçao (at the time in the Netherlands Antilles) in 1940, and moved to Amsterdam in 1953. He studied at the Netherlands Film Academy from 1962 to 1964.[5] He worked as cinematographer on a number of shorts before collaborating with Wim Wenders on his first feature, Summer in the City (1970). They made many more films together, such as Alice in the Cities (1974), Kings of the Road (1976), The American Friend (1977) and Paris, Texas (1984).

Apart from the movies with Wenders, Müller contributed to both mainstream U.S. productions and independent films. His other work included Joan Micklin Silver's Finnegan Begin Again (1984), the hazy, yellow-tinted cinematography of William Friedkin's To Live and Die in LA (1985), Sally Potter's The Tango Lesson (1997), Dom Rotheroe's My Brother Tom (2001), Lars von Trier's starkly shot films Breaking the Waves (1996) and Dancer in the Dark (2000), and Jim Jarmusch's gritty-looking films Down by Law (1986), Mystery Train (1989), Dead Man (1995) and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999).

He died on 3 July 2018 at the age of 78.[6]

On 4 September 2018, the movie Living the Light - Robby Müller premiered at the Venice Film Festival. This documentary by Claire Pijman is a visual essay about the life and work of Robby Müller. On 4 October 2019, the documentary was awarded a Golden Calf for Best Long Documentary at the Netherlands Film Festival.


Year Title Director Notes
1970 Summer in the City Wim Wenders
Jonathan Hans W. Geißendörfer
1971 Carlos
Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter Wim Wenders
1973 The Scarlet Letter
Trip to Vienna Edgar Reitz
1974 Alice in the Cities Wim Wenders
Perahim – die zweite Chance Hans W. Geißendörfer
Ein bißchen Liebe Veith von Fürstenberg
1975 The Wrong Move Wim Wenders
1976 Kings of the Road
Die Wildente Hans W. Geißendörfer
Calm Prevails Over the Country [de] Peter Lilienthal
1977 The American Friend Wim Wenders
The Left-Handed Woman Peter Handke
1978 The Glass Cell Hans W. Geißendörfer
Mysteries Paul de Lussanet
1979 In for Treatment Marja Kok
Erik van Zuylen
Saint Jack Peter Bogdanovich
1980 Honeysuckle Rose Jerry Schatzberg
1981 They All Laughed Peter Bogdanovich
1982 Een zwoele zomeravond Shireen Strooker
Frans Weisz
1983 Un dimanche de flic Michel Vianey
Class Enemy [de] Peter Stein
Les îles Iradj Azimi
1984 Repo Man Alex Cox
Paris, Texas Wim Wenders
Finnegan Begin Again Joan Micklin Silver HBO TV movie with Robert Preston, Mary Tyler Moore, and Sylvia Sidney
Body Rock Marcelo Epstein
Tricheurs Barbet Schroeder
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. William Friedkin
1986 The Longshot Paul Bartel
Down by Law Jim Jarmusch
1987 Barfly Barbet Schroeder
The Believers John Schlesinger
1988 The Little Devil Roberto Benigni
1989 Mystery Train Jim Jarmusch
Notebook on Cities and Clothes Wim Wenders Documentary film
1990 Korczak Andrzej Wajda
1991 Until the End of the World Wim Wenders
1993 Mad Dog and Glory John McNaughton
When Pigs Fly Sara Driver
1995 Beyond the Clouds Michelangelo Antonioni
Wim Wenders
Dead Man Jim Jarmusch
Last Call Frans Weisz
1996 Breaking the Waves Lars von Trier
1997 The Tango Lesson Sally Potter
1998 Shattered Image Raúl Ruiz
1999 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai Jim Jarmusch
2000 Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier
2001 My Brother Tom Dom Rotheroe
2002 24 Hour Party People Michael Winterbottom
2003 Coffee and Cigarettes Jim Jarmusch Short film compilation

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Title Award/Nomination
1975 The Wrong Move German Film Award for Best Cinematography
1977 The American Friend Nominated - NSFC Award for Best Cinematography
1983 Class Enemy [de] German Film Award for Best Cinematography
1984 Paris, Texas Bavarian Film Award for Best Cinematography
German Camera Award for Best Feature Film
1986 Down by Law Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated - NSFC Award for Best Cinematography
1987 Barfly Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
1989 Mystery Train Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
1990 Korczak German Film Award for Best Cinematography
1995 Dead Man NSFC Award for Best Cinematography
NYFCC Award for Best Cinematographer
Nominated - CFCA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
1996 Breaking the Waves NSFC Award for Best Cinematography
NYCC Award for Best Cinematographer
Robert Award for Best Cinematography
Camerimage Best Independent Duo
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated - Camerimage Golden Frog Award
Nominated - BSFC Award for Best Cinematography
2000 Dancer in the Dark Nominated - Robert Award for Best Cinematography


  1. ^ "Remembering Robby Müller, NSC, BVK". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  2. ^ "A Robby Müller Retrospective". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  3. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (5 July 2018). "Robby Müller obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  4. ^ Sandomir, Richard (10 July 2018). "Robby Müller, Inventive Cinematographer, Is Dead at 78". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Robby Müller Biography". Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Robby Müller death: Cinematographer nicknamed 'master of light' dies aged 78". 4 July 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2019.

Interview with Robby Muller (Dutch and English)