Robert Kevin Brownlow, known professionally as Kevin Brownlow, (born 2 June 1938) is a British film historian, television documentary-maker, filmmaker, author, and film editor. He is best known for his work documenting the history of the silent era, having become interested in silent film at the age of eleven. This interest grew into a career spent documenting and restoring film. Brownlow has rescued many silent films and their history.
His initiative in interviewing many largely forgotten, elderly film pioneers in the 1960s and 1970s preserved a legacy of early mass-entertainment cinema. He received an Academy Honorary Award at the 2nd Annual Governors Awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on 13 November 2010. This was the first occasion on which an Academy Honorary Award was given to a film preservationist.
Books in order of publication:
How It Happened Here. London: Secker & Warburg, 1968; new edition: London & Japan: UKA Press, 2007.
The Parade’s Gone By …. London: Secker & Warburg, 1968.
The War, the West, and the Wilderness. London: Secker & Warburg, 1979. Hollywood, the Pioneers. London: Collins, 1979.
Napoleon: Abel Gance’s Classic Film. London: Jonathan Cape, 1983.
Behind the Mask of Innocence. London: Jonathan Cape, 1990.
David Lean. London: Richard Cohen, 1996.
Mary Pickford Rediscovered. Rare pictures of a Hollywood legend. New York: Abrams, 1999.
The Search for Charlie Chaplin. Le Mani – Microart (Cineteca Bologna) 2005; New edition: UKA Press 2010
Winstanley. Warts and All. London & Yorkshire: UKA Press, 2009.