His films have been called raw, outrageous, sensational, and daring. In four decades of directing, Samuel Fuller created a legendarily idiosyncratic oeuvre, examining U.S. history and mythmaking in westerns, film noirs, and war epics. And characteristically, it all began with a bang: after printing the legend with the elegant B-pictures I Shot Jesse James and The Baron of Arizona, he got himself into hot water with the FBI on The Steel Helmet, the first American movie to portray the Korean War. These three independent films showed off Fullers genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking.
I Shot Jesse James
Fuller's directorial debut is a psychological western, excavating, with pathos and humor, the tale of Robert Ford, the member of Jesse James's gang who shot the famed outlaw in the back.
The Baron of Arizona A devilishly witty Vincent Price plays a nineteenth-century con man who sets out to commit the most epic swindle in U.S. history: to claim himself as the rightful inheritor of Arizona.
The Steel Helmet With its low budget and high ambitions, Fuller's snarling Korean War film, an examination of race relations as well as a visceral plunge into battle, remains one of the director's most discussed and admired works.