A philosophical probing look at our culture's relationship with celebrity, Smash His Camera documents the story of infamous New York City paparazzo Ron Galella, legendary for his restraining order from Jackie O and losing five teeth at the hands of Marlon Brando, all in the service of generating some of the most iconic and memorable celebrity photographs of the 1970s.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him, Marlon Brando broke his jaw and Steve McQueen gave him a look that would have killed, if looks could kill. To the celebrities he pursued, photographer Ron Galella was the beast who threatened beauty. As it turned out, he gave them a strange and lasting beauty they might never have known without him. Inherent in the story of this notorious paparazzo are the complex issues of the right to privacy, freedom of the press and the ever-growing vortex of celebrity worship. He sneaked around and invaded and bribed and held up his camera and shot till he dropped (or someone dropped him). His was the artistry of the sniper. Yet Galella found something essential in his real-life subjects, and he gave it permanence.