Budd Boetticher (July 29, 1916-November 29, 2001) was a film director during the classical period in Hollywood most famous for the series of low-budget Westerns he made in the late 1950s starring Randolph Scott. Known for their sparse style, dramatic rocky locations near Lone Pine, California, and recurring stories of a lone man seeking vengeance amidst a brutal and abstract landscape, the films have, decades after their release, come to be known as some of the most important Westerns ever made, often compared to the works of existential writers or to Old Testament myths.
Boetticher was raised in the Midwest, born in Chicago, and was a star athlete at Ohio State University. After college he travelled to Mexico, where he learned the art of bullfighting. A chance encounter with Rouben Mamoulian landed him his first film job, as the technical advisor on Blood and Sand (1941).
Soon Boetticher began a career as a journeyman director of B movies on the backlot at Monogram, Columbia, and other small studios, making pictures he later disparaged. He got his first big break when he was asked to direct the film The Bullfighter and the Lady for John Wayne's production company, Batjac, based loosely on his own adventures studying to be a matador in Mexico. The film was edited drastically without Boetticher's consent, and his career again seemed on hold. The film has since been restored by the UCLA Film Archive and the restored print is sometimes referred to by its working title, Torero.
Boetticher finally achieved his major breakthrough when he teamed up with producer Harry Joe Brown and screenwriter Burt Kennedy to produce the six films that came to be known as the Ranown cycle. Even though his films were hailed at the time by discerning critics -- French critic Andre Bazin praised Seven Men from Now (1956) as an "exemplerary western" -- his movies were largely forgotten until a new generation of scholars and critics championed them beginning in the 1970s.
Boetticher's other most important films include The Tall T (1957), Ride Lonesome (1959), Comanche Station (1960), and The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960).