(1925-) US film director and producer. His films vary in tone from the comic to the elegiac, but are frequently ambitious in both content and form, taking a quizzical view of American life and culture and utilizing a complex and sometimes fragmentary style. His antiwar comedy M.A.S.H 1970 was a critical and commercial success. Subsequent films include The Player 1992, Short Cuts 1993, and Pręt-ŕ-Porter 1994.
Altman began by making industrial films in Kansas City. His first feature was a low-budget “quickie”, The Delinquents 1957. M.A.S.H. won the Palme d’Or at Cannes 1970, but the poor box-office performance of his subsequent 1970s films, with the exception of Nashville 1975, led to his being restricted in the 1980s to small scale films, often of theatrical origin, such as Streamers 1983 and Fool for Love 1985. In the 1990s the Hollywood satire The Player marked a comeback to big-scale films and achieved wide popularity. Pręt-ŕ-Porter, a lampoon of the fashion industry, was also a popular success in spite of a hostile critical reaction.
Other films include McCabe and Mrs Miller 1971, The Long Goodbye 1973, Popeye 1980, and Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean 1982.