• Ward Bond played John Ford’s alcoholic alter ego in The Wings of Eagles (1957).

Who’s the greatest alcohol-inspired filmmaker? I guess that depends if you mean directors who were known for depicting alcohol consumption or those who often worked under the influence. The first category would include George Cukor, Akira Kurosawa, Blake Edwards, and Billy Wilder; the second would include Nicholas Ray, Sam Peckinpah, John Ford (who made light of his predilection in The Wings of Eagles), and the underrated independent Eagle Pennell (The Whole Shootin’ Match). John Cassavetes and South Korea’s Hong Sang-soo straddle both camps, as drinking informs not only the content of their films but their overall makeup. Characters get drunk in their work to make confessions, start arguments, or express their joie de vivre: the movies follow suit, with scenes that circle around an unyielding conflict or else lope brazenly forward.