skip navigation
George Miller

George Miller

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

Babe (1995) ... Babe doesn't quite know his place in the world. But when Farmer Hoggett (James... more info $11.95was $14.98 Buy Now

Swamp People: Season 4 ... In Season 4 of Swamp People on HISTORY, the resolute crews face wild weather, a... more info $18.95was $24.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Dr. George Miller Died:
Born: March 3, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chinchilla, Queensland, AU Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, second unit director, physician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A wildly imaginative Australian filmmaker, writer-director George Miller received critical and popular success in both live-action and animation over the course of several decades. After life as a medical doctor, Miller rose to critical acclaim as a filmmaker, thanks to his post-apocalyptic action movie "Mad Max" (1979), starring a then-unknown Aussie actor named Mel Gibson. But it was the much better sequel "The Road Warrior" (1980) that catapulted both director and star into international fame. From there, he directed Gibson in the studio-made sequel, "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" (1985) and helmed the horror comedy "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), starring Jack Nicholson as Satan lusting after three lonely women. After producing "Flirting" (1991), Nicole Kidmanâ¿¿s final Australian production before transitioning to Hollywood, Miller wrote and directed the acclaimed tearjerker "Lorenzoâ¿¿s Oil" (1992). He had one of his biggest critical and commercial hits with the endearing "Babe" (1995) and itâ¿¿s equally delightful sequel "Babe: Pig in the City" (1996), before winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film for his box-office smash "Happy Feet" (2006). Though he stumbled a bit with the inferior...

A wildly imaginative Australian filmmaker, writer-director George Miller received critical and popular success in both live-action and animation over the course of several decades. After life as a medical doctor, Miller rose to critical acclaim as a filmmaker, thanks to his post-apocalyptic action movie "Mad Max" (1979), starring a then-unknown Aussie actor named Mel Gibson. But it was the much better sequel "The Road Warrior" (1980) that catapulted both director and star into international fame. From there, he directed Gibson in the studio-made sequel, "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" (1985) and helmed the horror comedy "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), starring Jack Nicholson as Satan lusting after three lonely women. After producing "Flirting" (1991), Nicole Kidmanâ¿¿s final Australian production before transitioning to Hollywood, Miller wrote and directed the acclaimed tearjerker "Lorenzoâ¿¿s Oil" (1992). He had one of his biggest critical and commercial hits with the endearing "Babe" (1995) and itâ¿¿s equally delightful sequel "Babe: Pig in the City" (1996), before winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film for his box-office smash "Happy Feet" (2006). Though he stumbled a bit with the inferior sequel "Happy Feet Two" (2011), Miller remained one of the more underappreciated, but successful filmmakers working in Hollywood.

Miller was born to Greek immigrant on March 3, 1945, settling in Australia. He attended Sydney Boys School, and was an altar boy, but throughout his youth, he nurtured a deep love of movies. Still, he veered away from pursuing films professionally, opting to study medicine at the University of South Wales alongside his non-identical twin brother, John. But the bug remained, and during their last year of med school, the brothers made a one-minute short film which went on to win a prize at a student film festival: a slot at a film workshop. Dividing his time between film and medicine, Miller attended the workshop at Melbourne University, and also volunteered his time working as a crew member on films, all the while completing his residency at Sydney's St. Vincent's Hospital. During this period, Miller befriended another film fanatic, Byron Kennedy. The two of them helped each other out in their fledgling crew member days, and would go on to enjoy fruitful creative collaborations later on. Their first project together was the 1971 short film, "Violence in the Cinema, Part 1."

Throughout the 1970s, Miller and Kennedy continued to collaborate on short, experimental films, while Miller supported himself working part-time as a doctor. Miller also wrote screenplays, one of which became his first feature as director, the post-apocalyptic action film "Mad Max" (1979), starring a then unknown Aussie actor, Mel Gibson, as a rough and tumble member of a futuristic police force dedicated to fending off violent motorcycle gangs in a mostly lawless society. Shot in desolate desert regions of Australia, the film, with its rag-tag roustabouts, dune buggies and bizarre language, set the tone for countless futuristic films to follow, although few demonstrated the wit and humor that Miller brought to what could have been another B-level action film.

Miller followed up his first big success with 1981's "Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior," which Kennedy produced. Thanks to its success, Miller was considered part of the "Australian New Wave" â¿¿ an emerging group of filmmakers and actors that included Gibson, actress Judy Davis and director Peter Weir. As his reputation grew, he was asked by Steven Spielberg to helm a segment of "Twilight Zone: The Movie," (1982), alongside John Landis, Joe Dante, and Spielberg himself. Miller's was the fourth chapter in the film, an adaptation of the episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," starring John Lithgow in the role of an airline passenger who must convince his fellow travelers he sees a creature crawling along the wing of the plane. Miller's chapter was considered by many to be the strongest segment of the film. After this stateside success, he returned to Australia to work with Kennedy on the 1983 television miniseries, "The Dismissal" (Network Ten).

Miller and Kennedy were in the process of planning the third Mad Max installment when Kennedy was tragically killed in a helicopter crash. Uncertain of continuing without his friend and collaborator, Miller eventually plunged ahead to make 1985's "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome," which broke through to mainstream audiences with its tie-in single, "We Don't Need Another Hero," by Tina Turner, who also starred opposite Gibson in the film. The movie was also recognized for its tagline, "Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves." Although Miller co-wrote and co-produced "Thunderdome," he shared directing credit with George Ogilvie. Offers to direct more mainstream Hollywood fare began pouring in. In 1987, he directed "The Witches of Eastwick," starring Susan Sarandon, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jack Nicholson â¿¿ the latter of whom was perfectly cast as the Devil. Miller also found time to produce a number of films, including 1989's "Dead Calm," a thriller starring Nicole Kidman in her first major role, as well as 1991's "Flirting," also starring Nicole Kidman. He returned to the director's chair â¿¿ and his original love of medicine â¿¿ with 1992's "Lorenzo's Oil," which he also co-wrote. The film centered around parents (Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte) struggling to find an alternative cure for their young son's rare mental degenerative disorder. Miller and co-writer Nick Enright earned an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay for their efforts on the deeply emotional film.

In 1995, Miller co-wrote along with Chris Noonan, "Babe," a critically acclaimed film centering around a barnyard pig who decides to become a sheep pig in order to escape slaughter. Filmed in and set in Australia, the film featured groundbreaking visuals in both animatronics and computer-generated technology, all in an effort to create the highly realistic effect of talking animals such as pigs, sheep and border collies. But aside from its convincing effects, the film was also celebrated for its sensitive but unsentimental take on class systems, earning Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. But Miller stumbled commercially with the follow-up, 1998's "Babe 2: Pig in the City," which he directed himself. While continuing the tradition of brilliant effects and voice work â¿¿ and despite good reviews for taking the sequel in a different direction â¿¿ the film, much of which took place at a creepy home for lost animals, for was considered too dark in contrast to the original. Audiences stayed away in droves, but the movie went on to become an kind of unappreciated gem among serious film fans.

Despite the unexpected setback, Miller came back with a vengeance with "Happy Feet" (2006), an animated musical featuring the voice and singing talents of Robin Williams, among others. Completely in control, Miller performed all three behind-the-camera duties as writer, producer and director. Despite a glut of animated CGI films in recent years and a marketplace already saturated with penguin stories, Miller's film was a commercial smash, combining standout animation with themes of both individualism and ecological responsibility. The film earned an Oscar nomination and would go on to win for Best Animated Feature, putting Miller onstage with an Oscar in hand at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Miller went right back to work on a sequel, "Happy Feet Two" (2011), with Elijah Woods and Robin Williams reprising their voice roles. Despite its promise, the sequel failed to come close to living up to the box-office success of its predecessor while also earning mixed reviews from critics.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
4.
  Lorenzo's Oil (1992) Director
5.
  Dead Calm (1989) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)
6.
7.
8.
  Twilight Zone--The Movie (1983) Director ("Nightmare At 20,000 Feet")
9.
  Road Warrior, The (1982) Director
10.
  Chain Reaction, The (1980) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to Melbourne, formed production company with Byron Kennedy
1980:
Wrote and directed the Mad Max movies starring Mel Gibson, "Mad Max" (1980), "The Road Warrior" (1981), and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985)
1987:
Directed "The Witches of Eastwick," starring Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer
1987:
Returned to Australia to concentrate on producing dramatic TV programming such as "Bangkok Hilton" and "Vietnam" under his Kennedy Miller company; both starring Nicole Kidman
1989:
Produced and served as second unit director of "Dead Calm," directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman
1991:
Reunited with Kidman to direct her in the Australian film "Flirting"
1992:
Directed "Lorenzo's Oil," a dramatic film based on the true story of Augusto and Michaela Odone, two parents in a relentless search for a cure for their son Lorenzo's adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD)
1995:
Produced and co-wrote the family film "Babe"
1998:
Wrote and directed the sequel "Babe: Pig in the City"
2006:
Wrote, produced and directed the computer-animated film "Happy Feet"; also co-produced with brother Bill Miller
2011:
Wrote, directed, and produced the animated sequel "Happy Feet Two"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California -
Ipswich Grammar School: -
University of New South Wales: - 1964 - 1970
Melbourne University: - 1971

Family close complete family listing

brother:
Bill Miller. Producer. Associate producer on "Mad Max".

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute