Walter Wesley Hill (born January 10, 1942 in Long Beach, California) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer known, in particular, for his male-dominated action films and revival of the Western. He said in an interview, "Every film I've done has been a Western", and elaborated in another, "the Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary things."
Growing up in southern California, Walter Hill was asthmatic as a child and, as a result, missed several years of school. He spent much of his time daydreaming, reading comic books, and listening to radio serials. Hill said his father and grandfather were "smart, physical men who worked with their heads and their hands" and had "great mechanical ability." His paternal grandfather was a wildcat oil driller. Hill worked in the oil fields as a roustabout on Signal Hill near Los Angeles during summers of the latter part of his high school years and several more years while in college. During one summer, he ran an asbestos pipe-cutting machine and worked as a spray painter in the John Bean factory in Lansing, Michigan. He later majored in history at Michigan State University.
Hill began his career in the training program of the Directors Guild of America, graduating to work as second assistant director on The Thomas Crown Affair in 1968. He went on to work as the uncredited second assistant director on Bullitt in the same year. In 1969, he was the second assistant director on a Woody Allen film, Take the Money and Run, but said he remembers doing very little except passing out the call sheets and filling out time cards.