Richard Fleischer (born December 8, 1916) is an American film director. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y, the son of animator Max Fleischer. His film career began in 1942 at the RKO studio, directing shorts, documentaries, and compilations of forgotten silent features which he called "Flicker Flashbacks". He directed his first feature in 1946; his early films were taut film noir thrillers such as The Clay Pigeon (1949), Follow Me Quietly (1949), Armored Car Robbery (1950) and The Narrow Margin (1952). In 1954, he was chosen by Walt Disney to direct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea thereby securing a status as a director of big features often employing special effects, in which vein Fleischer continued with productions such as Barabbas (1962), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Dr. Dolittle (1967), and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).
Fleischer is perhaps most effective with unpretentious action adventures such as Violent Saturday (1955), Bandido (1956), The Vikings (1958), and Mr. Majestyk (1974). Yet, he has also demonstrated a striking tendency towards social commentary in a trilogy centering on famous serial murderers and focusing on the theme of capital punishment, Compulsion (1959), The Boston Strangler (1968) and 10 Rillington Place (1971). Some of his entertainments are regarded as controversial and provocative, such as the Che Guevera biopic Che (1969) and the interracial melodrama of the Deep South Mandingo (1975). Though his latter productions appear to be journeyman efforts, Fleischer's films, particularly from his best periods in the 50s and 60s, remain seriously under-rated.