Lewis Milestone was a Russian-American motion picture director. He is known for directing Two Arabian Knights and All Quiet on the Western Front, both of which received Academy Awards for Best Director. He also directed The Front Page, The General Died at Dawn, Of Mice and Men, Ocean’s Eleven, and Mutiny on the Bounty. Milestone was born in Kishinev, Bessarabia, Imperial Russia, Moldova) to a family of Jewish heritage. He came to the United States in 1912 just prior to World War I. Milestone held a number of odd jobs before enlisting in the U.S. Signal Corps, where he worked as an assistant director on Army training films during the war. In 1919 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
After the war he went to Hollywood, where he first worked as a film cutter, and later as an assistant director. Howard Hughes promoted Milestone to director, and one of his early efforts, the 1928 film Two Arabian Knights, won him an Oscar in the first Academy Award ceremony. He also directed The Racket, an early gangster film, and later helped Hughes direct scenes for his aviation saga Hell’s Angels. Milestone won his second Academy Award for All Quiet on the Western Front, a harrowing screen adaptation of the antiwar novel by Erich Maria Remarque. His next, The Front Page, brought the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur play to the screen. It earned him another Oscar nomination. His work during the 1930s and 1940s was always easily identifiable by its lighting and imaginative use of fluid camera. He worked extensively in television from the mid 1950s.