Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story

Director: Daniel Raim

Film Info

  • Year: 2016
  • Film Format: DCP, Blu-ray and DVD
  • Origin: USA
  • Runtime: 94
  • Color
  • Language: English

Movie fans know the work of Harold and Lillian Michelson, even if they don’t recognize the names. Working largely uncredited in the Hollywood system, storyboard artist Harold and film researcher Lillian left an indelible mark on classics by Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski and many more. Through an engaging mix of love letters, film clips and candid conversations with Harold and Lillian, Danny DeVito, Mel Brooks, Francis Ford Coppola and others, this deeply engaging documentary from Academy Award®-nominated director Daniel Raim offers both a moving portrait of a marriage and a celebration of the unknown talents that help shape the films we love. 

HAROLD AND LILLIAN opened in New York on April 28 and Los Angeles on May 12.

Watch a clip about Harold’s work on Hitchcock's THE BIRDS at IndieWire.

To book this film please contact Nancy Gerstman or Emily Russo or call 212-274-1989.

Download a promotional flyer template for your screening of HAROLD AND LILLIAN here.

HAROLD AND LILLIAN is now available to pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber

Daniel Raim

Daniel Raim is an Oscar®-nominated film director born in Israel and raised in the US. From 1994 to 1997, Daniel served in the Israeli Defense Forces (Education Corps) as a documentary filmmaker. During his service, Daniel made short films about soldiers who performed music and theater for communities living in underground air raid shelters in the Northern borders of Israel during wartime. In 1997, Daniel attended the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles where he studied under one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most esteemed collaborators, Production Designer Robert F. Boyle.

Daniel is known for his “informative and deeply moving” (Variety) trilogy of documentaries about unsung heroes of Hollywood’s Golden Age. His debut film, an intimate profile on Boyle entitled The Man on Lincoln’s Nose (2000, 40 min), was nominated for the 2000 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. His second film, Something’s Gonna Live (2010, 78 min), confirmed his talent as a director and storyteller and premiered at the AFI Film Fest. Something’s Gonna Live was critically acclaimed during its theatrical release, and received a Los Angeles Times Critics’ Pick from Kenneth Turan. His third film, Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015, 94) premiered as an Official Selection of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for The Golden Eye Award.

Daniel has a passion for education, and in 2016 he embarked on an academic tour through India, where he screened his trilogy and lectured on cinema literacy and the art and craft of documentary filmmaking.

Daniel is currently creating a series of short films focusing on the art of design for the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. Harold and Lillian will be theatrically released in April 2017, followed by the television premiere on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). 


Written and Directed by



HAROLD MICHELSON – storyboard artist, production designer

LILLIAN MICHELSON – film researcher

GENE ALLEN – production designer

JAMES D. BISSELL – production designer

MEL BROOKS – actor, director

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA – writer, director


RICK CARTER – production designer

DANNY DEVITO – actor, director

GABRIEL HARDMAN – storyboard artist

BILL KROHN – journalist, film critic

PATRICK MATE – animator


NORM NEWBERRY – art director

RICHARD SYLBERT – production designer

TOM WALSH – production designer

MARC WANAMAKER – archivist, historian

Produced and Edited by


Original Storyboards of Harold and Lillian by


Cinematography by


Music by


Executive Producer


“CAPTIVATING... The delightful duo at the center of Raim’s film are storyboard artist Harold Michelson and researcher Lillian Michelson, whose 60-year marriage began in 1947 and ended with Harold’s death at age 87. Subtitled “A Hollywood Love Story,” the doc chronicles not just their mutual adoration and respect, but also Hollywood’s love for them, and the joy they derived from their work. Their personal story is no less fascinating than their experiences working on hundreds of movies, together and separately.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“Casts light on two respected but relatively unknown people, who made major contributions to film and managed to have a normal life — and in Hollywood, of all places. It’s nice to know such things are possible.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“Truly charming...A terrifically moving human story!” – Glenn Kenny, Vanity Fair
“You don’t have to be a movie buff to fall in love with the story of Harold and Lillian Michelson. Their sixty-year marriage—with more than its share of ups and downs—would be compelling enough... Be warned: you may tear up, as I did, toward the end of this affectionate tribute.” – Leonard Maltin, LeonardMaltin.com
“CRITICS' PICK! Charming... Like flipping through misplaced leaves in a photo book, the documentary maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.” – Monica Castillo, The New York Times
“For an hour and a half, this charming little movie, with its chatty talking heads and its sweet-natured subjects, offers a glimpse into the lives of two fascinating people whom I had never heard of, and who shared an unlikely life filled with achievements and setbacks, wonder and pain.” – Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“The film’s real ace in the hole, however, proves to be Lillian, an endlessly quotable interview subject whose pixyish presence can’t mask the sense that she knows exactly where all of the industry bodies are buried.” – Andrew Wright, The Stranger
“Beautiful... The stories Lillian tells are a treasure-trove of personal and professional anecdotes, doubling as a side history of Hollywood itself. But Harold and Lillian is most affecting as a tribute to their marriage... In a business where individual success waxes and wanes, and each new production is a job that will eventually be lost, the Michelsons rode out its crazy vicissitudes with something approaching harmony and grace. Theirs is a model few will ever get to follow.” – Scott Tobias, NPR.org
“One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies...I have rarely seen any movie, fact or fiction, that was quite so suffused with love—movie love and human love—as this one.” – David Noh, Film Journal
“An awesome film... funny, heartbreaking, and packed with delicious film lore.” – Ken Kwapis, director of The Office
“Daniel Raim's outstanding documentary quickly becomes one of the best I have seen in years...Not only a great window into the past of cinema looking ahead but such a touching and beautiful story on the love of cinema and the love that cinema can have on two amazing people. Tears of joy at the end of this film, and highly recommended even if you have the slightest interest in just how important things behind the scenes can be.” – Jason Whyte, eFilmCritic