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John Boorman

John Boorman

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Point Blank DVD "Point Blank" (1967) is one of John Boorman's tough films, with a stylish and... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Zardoz DVD It only takes one person to start a rebellion. Director John Boorman's... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Deliverance: Deluxe Edition... John Boorman directed this startling backwoods thriller starring Burt Reynolds,... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Excalibur DVD Forged By A God. Foretold By A Wizard. Found By A Man.The legend of King Arthur... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Leo The Last DVD Marcello Mastroianni plays the last in a line of princes who gradually emerges... more info $19.95was $19.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 18, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Surrey, England, GB Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, journalist, producer, assistant editor, owned dry cleaning business

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Renowned for pushing actors and crews to their very limit in order to achieve transcendent results, director John Boorman was a committed filmmaker who refused to settle into fixed genres while remaining as commercially unpredictable as he was artistically fascinating. Routinely dismissing realism in favor of fantasy and myth, Boorman often focused on mankind's unrelenting battle against nature. After getting his start in British television, he moved on to features, directing the gritty, realistic crime thriller, "Point Blank" (1967), which stood the test of time as one of his finest pieces of work. Perhaps his greatest contribution to cinema was "Deliverance" (1972), a dark, intense action thriller that featured great performances from its four leads while containing one of the most notorious rape scenes in film history. Though he spent the remaining part of that decade indulging himself with misfires like "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977), he completely immersed himself in myth and archetypal imagery for "Excalibur" (1981), one of the best movies about King Arthur and Camelot ever made. Following the dreamlike drama "The Emerald Forrest" (1985) and the surprisingly simple "Hope and Glory" (1987),...

Renowned for pushing actors and crews to their very limit in order to achieve transcendent results, director John Boorman was a committed filmmaker who refused to settle into fixed genres while remaining as commercially unpredictable as he was artistically fascinating. Routinely dismissing realism in favor of fantasy and myth, Boorman often focused on mankind's unrelenting battle against nature. After getting his start in British television, he moved on to features, directing the gritty, realistic crime thriller, "Point Blank" (1967), which stood the test of time as one of his finest pieces of work. Perhaps his greatest contribution to cinema was "Deliverance" (1972), a dark, intense action thriller that featured great performances from its four leads while containing one of the most notorious rape scenes in film history. Though he spent the remaining part of that decade indulging himself with misfires like "Exorcist II: The Heretic" (1977), he completely immersed himself in myth and archetypal imagery for "Excalibur" (1981), one of the best movies about King Arthur and Camelot ever made. Following the dreamlike drama "The Emerald Forrest" (1985) and the surprisingly simple "Hope and Glory" (1987), Boorman went off the radar with several forgettable projects until he directed "The General" (1998), a critically hailed crime drama filmed in glorious black and white, which he followed with the fully engaging spy dramedy, "The Tailor of Panama" (2001). Abstract, dreamlike and surrealistic, a Boorman film was always original and consistently displayed a cinematic virtuosity that often triumphed over substance.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  In My Country (2004) Director
3.
  Tailor of Panama (2001) Director
4.
  General, The (1998) Director
5.
  Lumiere Et Compagnie (1996) Featured Director
6.
  Two Nudes Bathing (1995) Director
7.
  Beyond Rangoon (1995) Director
8.
  I Dreamt I Woke Up (1991) Director
9.
  Where the Heart Is (1990) Director
10.
  Hope and Glory (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 I Dreamt I Woke Up (1991) Himself
4.
 Hope and Glory (1987) Narration
5.
 Long Shot (1978) The Director
6.
 Me and Me Dad (2012)
7.
8.
 The Rock (1967)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Left school at age 16, going into partnership with a friend to open what became a thriving dry-cleaning business
1951:
Served in British Army
1955:
Began working for Independent Television News as assitant editor; while there launched ITN magazine program "Day by Day"
1958:
Moved to Southern Television; began producing documentaries
1960:
Moved to BBC-TV, where he became head of the Documentary Film Unit in Bristol
1965:
Feature film directing debut, "Having a Wild Weekend/Catch Us If You Can"
1966:
Made documentary on D.W. Griffith, "The Great Director," for BBC
1967:
US directing debut, "Point Blank", a gangster film starring Lee Marvin; subsequently hailed as a genre landmark
1968:
Reteamed with Marvin for "Hell in the Pacific", also starring Toshiro Mifune
1969:
First screenwriting credit, "Leo the Last", starring Marcello Mastroianni; also directed; a hit in France, it was a box-office disaster in Britain and America
1972:
Made a strong recovery directing "Deliverance"; first credit as producer but would produce all pictures from here on; received two Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director
1974:
Wrote and directed "Zardoz", an unconventional piece of science fiction starring Sean Connery
:
Served as Chairman of the National Film Studios of Ireland
1977:
Bombed horribly with sequel, "Exorcist II: The Heretic"
1981:
Achieved dream project, a film based on Arthurian legend, "Excaliber"
1985:
Had box office success with "The Emerald Forest"; completely convincing performance by director's son Charley as the kidnapped son raised by rain forest Indians
1985:
Became governor of British Film Institute
1987:
Scored a hit with "Hope and Glory", an autobiographical tale of growing up in Britain during "the Blitz"; served as narrator, in addition to directing, writing and producing; received three Oscar nominations
1990:
Became a co-editor and contributor to PROJECTIONS, an annual British film journal (date approximate)
1991:
Made a remarkable one-hour film, "I Dreamt I Woke Up", a personal essay-meditation on cinema, landscape and myth made for a BBC Scotland series, "The Director's Place"
1994:
Named Commander of the British Empire
1995:
Returned to tropical environs and political realities for "Beyond Rangoon"
1995:
US TV directing debut, "Two Nudes Bathing" segment of Showtime's "Picture Windows"
1998:
Named Best Director at Cannes Filme Festival for "The General" (also wrote screenplay); black-and-white film (first since his debut feature) reteamed him with actor Jon Voight
1998:
Helmed "Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait by John Boorman" (aired on AMC in November)
2001:
Helmed "The Tailor of Panama" based on the John Le Carre novel
2005:
Produced and Directed "Country of My Skull" starring Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Jesuit Salesian School: -

Notes

"All my films use the Arthurian legend as a template; it happens to a large extent unconsciously." --John Boorman in Film Comment, July-August 1995.

"People often ask me, 'Why do you take these difficult projects--the jungle, battling rivers?' and I give various answers. But the real answer is that the only way I'm able to achieve momentarily this kind of transcendence we're talking about is when I'm making a picture in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, when I'm extended to the very limits. Then, from time to time, I'm able to reach that condition where I'm not looking at myself; I'm unselfconscious and fearless. That to me is the ultimate joy of filmmaking, when I occasionally reach that level.

"I had spent my childhood on rivers and with boats, so I handle these things fairly well, but when we started shooting the canoe sequence in 'Deliverance', when it came to it to get these actors into these boats and do this stuff, I reached a level where I could canoe those rapids myself with absolute confidence. I just knew I could do it and I did. I would always canoe the stretch of rapids first so that the actors could see that even I could do it. That's one example." --John Boorman, interviewed by Gavin Smith, Film Society of Lincoln Center (1995)

Asked whether he was flattered or agitated by the Mel Gibson vehicle "Payback" (1999), which is a remake of his "Point Blank": "When I was trying to get 'Point Blank' made with Lee Marvin, I had the producer send him the script and when I met with him (afterward), I said, 'What do you think?' He said, 'It's terrible, but the character's fascinating.' We had a number of meetings and one night, about two in the morning, he said to me, 'Well, here's what I'll do. I'll do the picture with you on one condition ...' He took the script and threw it out the window, and it fell to the ground where, apparently Mel Gibson picked it up.

"I take the view that I made the remake and Mel Gibson is doing the original." --John Boorman to Los Angeles Times, May 20, 1998

On James Dickey during the "Deliverance" shoot: "He was drunk all the time, and he was losing his distinction between fact and fantasy. He said to me, 'Everything in that book happened to me.' Well, when I saw him get into a canoe, I realized it wasn't true." --Boorman in GQ, October 1998.

"I prepared that picture ['A Simple Plan']. I cast it. I did rewrites with the author ... and then Paramount canceled it two weeks before we were to start shooting. ... the studio decided to make 'A Simple Plan' after all, and then decided to start production much earlier than I could possibly do it, and they brought in someone else to direct it [Sam Raimi]. He only had four weeks to prepare. He used my cast, my script, my locations ... People say a director has done 70 percent of the work on a film before shooting starts--so I feel it's as much my film as his." --John Boorman quoted by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith in their syndicated column "Hollywood", October 14, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Christel Boorman. German-born; married in 1957; designed costumes for "Zardoz" and "The Emerald Forest".

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Boorman. Pub landlord. Of Dutch parentage.
mother:
Ivy Boorman.
daughter:
Telsche Boorman. Screenwriter. Born in Ireland; graduated from Sorbonne University; married to publisher Lionel Rotcage, with whom she has one daughter, Daphne; co-wrote the screenplay for "Where the Heart Is" (1990) with Boorman; won 1995 Cesar for script "Gauzon maudit", co-written with Josiane Balasko.
son:
Charley Boorman. Actor. Born c. 1967; made first film appearance at age three as Jon Voight's son in "Deliverance"; co-starred in father's "The Emerald Forest" and "Hope and Glory".
daughter:
Katrine Boorman. Actor. Appeared in father's "Zardoz", "Excalibur", and "Hope and Glory".
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Zardoz"
"Money into Light"

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