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Writings on film. Shock and art. There may be blood.

Abel Ferrara

Director Abel Ferrara



Best known for:

King of New York

Bad Lieutenant

Body Snatchers

Related artists:

Christopher Walken

Harvey Keitel

Similar artists:

Martin Scorsese

Stuart Gordon

Country:US (New York)

Abel Ferrara has been noted as a director who bridges filmmaking worlds. His earlier works were considered exploitation films but were praised for their artistic elements. There is no mistaking the artistic intentions of his later films, but he by no means let up on the shock content and often increased it.

His films have been widely censored. Driller Killer was banned in England as a video nasty. Dangerous Game was banned in Ireland. Bad Lieutenant was released in the US with an NC-17 rating. Ferrara had to talk the ratings board down from "X" ratings on a couple of his earlier films. Paradoxically, his films are noted for a moralist element in which the protagonist finds redemption at the end. Said redemption may come in a way that only makes sense within that film's own twisted logic, but that only adds to the uniqueness of his approach.

This moralist streak has drawn comparisons to Martin Scorsese, one of Ferrara's filmmaking idols. The combination of raw, street-level situations and rampant violence could be compared to Stuart Gordon, who co-wrote the screenplay for Ferrara's Body Snatchers remake.

Ferrara typically relies on a few favored actors to bring his visions to life. These include Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel and, more recently, Asia Argento. Most of Ferrara's screenplays were written by until St. John's retirement in the late 1990s. A notable exception was Bad Lieutenant, written by on-again/off-again collaborator Zoƫ Lund.


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