Carol Reed was born in Putney. He was one of six illegitimate children to famous actor-manager Sit Herbert Beerbohm Tree. He was educated at King's School in Canterbury.
When he left school he tried his hand at chicken farming in the US, but soon returned to Britain and an actor's life. He joined Edgar Wallace's company which got him his introduction to films. He started as a dialogue director for Basil Dean's company and from there became an assistant director on films such as Sing As We Go and Lorna Doone.
His first film as a director, Midshipman Easy, featured Margaret Lockwood. They began a relationship and would go on to make a total of eight films together. The films of this early period were a cheery mixture of drama, comedy and social commentary. His work took on a darker tone as the War went on and as he got more control over his material. He co-directed a compilation film on the war effort, The True Glory, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary. The war years also brought him marriage to Diana Wynyard, though in 1947 they divorced and he married Penelope Dudley-Ward.
His golden period was in the immediate post-war years. He directed his first masterpiece Odd Man Out in 1946. He then joined Korda's London Films. His next two films were also masterpieces: The Fallen Idol and The Third Man.
When his contract with Korda ended, Reed's international years began with Trapeze, a hugely popular circus tale starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. Reed then moved from one big production to another with diminishing returns but he still had one last hurrah in him. Oliver! was a massive success and brought him a Best Director Oscar as well as winning Best Picture.
|1935||It Happened in Paris (co dir)|
|1937||Talk of the Devil|
|1937||Who's Your Lady Friend?|
|1939||A Girl Must Live|
|1939||The Stars Look Down|
|1940||Night Train to Munich|
|1941||The Girl in the News|
|1941||A Letter From Home (short)|
|1942||The Young Mr Pitt|
|1942||The New Lot|
|1944||The Way Ahead|
|1945||The True Glory (co dir)|
|1946||Odd Man Out|
|1948||The Fallen Idol|
|1949||The Third Man|
|1952||Outcast of the Islands|
|1953||The Man Between|
|1955||A Kid for Two Farthings|
|1959||Our Man in Havana|
|1962||Mutiny on the Bounty|
|1963||The Running Man|
|1965||The Agony and the Ecstasy|
|1970||The Last Warrior|
Carol Reed at Amazon UK
Carol Reed at Amazon US