School of Cinema {College of Liberal & Creative Arts}

Photo collage of students and faculty of the Cinema Department at SFSU.

Joseph McBride

A photo of Joseph McBride
Professor; Screenwriting Advisor, on leave Fall 2015
Office & Hours: 
BH 265; Thursdays 2:30-4:30
(415) 405-2179
  • Ph.D. equivalency, San Francisco State University
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Faculty Profile Video: 

Professor McBride, who has taught at SFSU since 2002, has written or edited sixteen books. They include the critically acclaimed biographies Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, and Searching for John Ford; three books on Orson Welles; and the Howard Hawks interview book Hawks on Hawks. In 2012, McBride’s book Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless will be published by Vintage Books (New York) and Faber and Faber (London). Many of his books have been published in foreign editions; the French edition of Searching for John Ford, A la recherche de John Ford, won an award in 2008 from the French film critics’ association as Best Foreign Film Book of the Year. McBride was a reporter, reviewer, and columnist for Daily Variety in Hollywood for many years. His screenwriting credits include co-writing the cult classic punk rock musical Rock ’n’ Roll High School and five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials on CBS-TV. He has received a Writers Guild of America Award, four other WGA Award nominations, two Emmy Award nominations, and a Canadian Film Awards nomination. He spent six years acting for Welles as a film critic in the still-unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind, for which he wrote his part with the director.

Selected Publications & Filmography: 
  1. McBride, J. (2012) Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless. New York: Vintage, and London: Faber and Faber.
  2. McBride, J. (2011, 1997 editions) Steven Spielberg: A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, and Jackson: University Press of Mississippi (and Chinese and Korean editions).
  3. McBride, J. (2009) “The Screenplay as Genre” in A New Literary History of America, eds. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors. Cambridge: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press.
  4. McBride, J. (2001) Searching for John Ford. New York: St. Martin’s Press, and Jackson: University Press of Mississippi (and French, Spanish, and UK editions)
  5. McBride, J. (2000, 1992 editions) Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. New York: Simon & Schuster, and Jackson: University Press of Mississippi


  1. McBride, J. (subject). Behind the Curtain: Joseph McBride on Writing Film History. (Writer-director Hart Perez), 2011.
  2. McBride, J. (coproducer) et al. John Ford Goes to War (Starz/Encore True Stories cable channel), 2002.
  3. McBride, J. (writer). “War and Peace” segment of 100 Years . . . 100 Movies (AFI/TNT), 1998.
  4. McBride, J. (coproducer) et al. Obsessed with “Vertigo”: New Life for Hitchcock’s Masterpiece (American Movie Classics/MCA Universal Home Video/Signal Hill Entertainment), 1997.
  5. McBride, J. (cowriter) et al. The American Film Institute Salute to Lillian Gish (CBS-TV), 1984.
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