"Primarily known for his Westerns, Mann portrayed a world of violence against some of the most striking natural vistas in cinema history. His crime films are gritty and real, and all his work reflects an exploration of the complex psychology of the human soul." —William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
“Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. There is no greater experience in a studio than to witness the expression of a sensitive face under the mysterious power of inspiration. To see it animated from inside, and turning into poetry.”
“I show true things using fictional techniques but maintaining truthfulness — that's where my approach differs from Ozu. He wanted to make film more aesthetic. I want to make it more real. He aspired toward a cinematic nirvana. When I was his assistant, I was very opposed to him, but now, whilst still not liking his films, I'm much more tolerant. As for me, I'd like to destroy this premise that cinema is fiction.”
“I've always loved the idea of fairy tales, but somehow I never managed to completely connect with them. What interests me is taking those classic images and themes and trying to contemporize them a bit. I believe folk tales and fairy tales have some sort of psychological foundation that makes that possible.”
[On his film Quo Vadis] "It is about a growing religion in opposition to barbarianism. It humanized the barbarian world, and that is what the film is about. I am always looking for universal problems in my films."