Robert Joseph Flaherty, (; February 16, 1884 – July 23, 1951) was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature-length documentary film, Nanook of the North (1922).
The film made his reputation and nothing in his later life fully equaled its success, although he continued the development of this new genre of narrative documentary with Moana (1926), set in the South Seas, and Man of Aran (1934), filmed in Ireland's Aran Islands.
Flaherty is considered the "father" of both the documentary and the ethnographic film.
Flaherty was married to writer Frances H.
Flaherty from 1914 until his death in 1951.
Frances worked on several of her husband's films, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story for Louisiana Story (1948).