Nicholas Ray (born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle) (7 August 1911 – 16 June 1979) was an American film director.
Ray received a Taliesin Fellowship from Frank Lloyd Wright to study under Wright as an apprentice.
Coming from a radio background, Ray directed his first and only Broadway production, the Duke Ellington musical Beggar's Holiday, in 1946. One year later, he directed his first film, They Live By Night. It was released two years later due to the chaotic conditions surrounding Howard Hughes' takeover of RKO Pictures. An almost impressionistic take on film noir, it was notable for its extreme empathy for society’s young outsiders (a recurring motif in Ray’s films). It was influential on the sporadically popular sub-genre often called 'love on the run' movies, concerning as it does two young fugitive lovers on the run from the law. (Other examples are Gun Crazy, Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands, and Robert Altman’s 1974 remake of They Live By Night, Thieves Like Us.) The New York Times gave the film a positive review (despite calling Ray's trademark sympathetic eye to rebels and criminals "misguided") and acclaimed Ray for "good, realistic production and sharp direction...Mr. Ray has an eye for action details. His staging of the robbery of a bank, all seen by the lad in the pick-up car, makes a fine clip of agitating film. And his sensitive juxtaposing of his actors against highways, tourist camps and bleak motels makes for a vivid comprehension of an intimate personal drama in hopeless flight."