Becoming Mike Nichols

Director: Douglas McGrath

Institute History

  • 2016 Sundance Film Festival


This intimate portrait of director, producer, and improvisational comedy icon Mike Nichols shows his final and historic interviews filmed just months before his death. Director Douglas McGrath documents Nichols’s early life, as he opens up to his friend, director Jack O’Brien, about the storied beginnings of his career. Nichols deconstructs some of his most famous work in Barefoot in the Park, The Graduate, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He shows not just the cinematic underpinning but also his unique process, the serendipitous nature that fate played in their creation and ultimately reveals the fears and joys of a long career driven by an adventurous, creative spirit. McGrath aptly intercuts classic scenes from Nichols’s work to play out in full for true understanding of his brilliance and cutting-edge approach to his work. Whether fan or filmmaker, it is thrilling to better understand one of our gifted masters who helped shape the past and future of performing arts in America. Becoming Mike Nichols is a loving but also inspiring tribute, making it a fitting kick off to the Festival’s Art of Film Weekend.

— John Cooper

Screening Details


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