Which is the best way to say that a movie is directed by someone, or a book is written by someone? (without saying directed and written).

One of my favourite movies is Indiana Jones by/from/of Lucas.

I enjoyed reading The Stranger by/from/of Camus.

  • "by" is OK for authors, but your first sentence is too vague. You cannot tell written/directed/starred etc.)
    – user3169
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:00
  • I'm not sure if I'm following you. Do you mean the Lucas one? The context is of course one where I'm talking about books/movies, so to stop repeating myself I stop saying written/directed
    – drM.
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


Usual custom dictates that the author of a book is the one who owns it and the director of a movie is the one who owns and the choreographer of a dance is the one who *owns** it

Lucas' Indiana Jones
Camus' The Stranger
Balanchine's The Nutcraker

in the above, different versions would be referred to by the owners name

Teacher: So class,what did you think of The Stranger?
Student: Which one?

Orson Welles' The Stranger
Guillermo Amoedo's The Stranger
Robert Leiberman's The Stranger

are all different films with the same title.

Which Nutcracker are they doing this year?

Balanchine's The Nutcracker
Petipa's The Nutcracker
San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker
Ballet Scotland's The Nutcracker

are different versions of the same dance.

To say that something is by someone might lead to some ambiguity of what's being referred to since movies can be based on a story in a book

P1: In Cold Blood is by Richard Brooks
P2: No its not, it's by Truman Capote
P1: I was talking about the movie
P2: But the book is much better

In Cold Blood directed by Richard Brooks based on a story by Truman Capote

has no ambiguity.

In movies there is the added layer of a screenwriter who's name might be used if they happen to be famous.

  • Great explanation! So only in a non-ambiguous scenario by would be ok?
    – drM.
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:51
  • 1
    You can always use by, just be ready to explain it. If whom you're talking to took the same classes as you, you both may think in the same way and they might instantly understand what you are referring to. If you say Purple Rain are you talking about the song, the album, or the film? Most people will think of the song if you're in film class it might be more biased towards the film. However, if you say The Stranger most people who are Western Literature educated will think Camus.
    – Peter
    Feb 27, 2016 at 22:13

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