MacArthur Fellows Program

Errol Morris

Filmmaker | Class of 1989

New York, New York
41 at time of award
Area of Focus
Moving Image
Published August 1, 1989

About Errol's Work

Errol Morris is an independent filmmaker whose work has helped redefine the documentary by telling the stories of unique individuals in his distinctive voice.

His early films, Gates of Heaven (1978), about pet cemeteries, and Vernon, Florida (1982), an investigation of reality in a small town, showcased his skill at creating riveting narratives from seemingly mundane topics.  Morris’s breakthrough, feature-length work, The Thin Blue Line (1988), combines testimony and stylized dramatizations to examine the possible injustices associated with the trial, conviction, and a life sentence in a murder case in Texas.  The film proved influential in overturning the conviction of the film’s subject, Randall Adams. 


His other films include A Brief History of Time (1992), Morris’s study of the physicist Stephen Hawking and his theories about the beginning of the universe; Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997), a contemporary meditation on the myth of Sisyphus depicted through profiles of four unusual professionals; and The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003), which is about the life and career of the former Secretary of Defense. 

Morris received a B.A. (1969) from the University of Wisconsin and studied at Princeton University and at the University of California, Berkeley.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Select News Coverage of Errol Morris
August 25, 2018
"The Devil in Steve Bannon"
The New York Times
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
August 24, 2018
"Errol Morris on Steve Bannon’s Dangerous ‘Dharma’"
Boston Review
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
January 9, 2018
"The Ugly Truth About Truth, According to Errol Morris"
PBS NewsHour
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
December 26, 2017
"Errol Morris Digs Deep into History in New Miniseries 'Wormwood'"
The Hollywood Reporter
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
July 7, 2017
"Errol Morris's Best Movies Don't Actually Exist"
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
July 1, 2017
"The B-Side: A Conversation with Elsa Dorfman and Errol Morris"
The Huffington Post
Errol Morris , 1989 MacArthur Fellow
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