|Spouse(s)||Christel Kruse (m. 1951–1990)|
Isabella Weibrecht (m. 1995; div. ?)
|Children||7 (1 deceased), including Charley Boorman and Katrine Boorman|
Sir John Boorman // ; born 18 January 1933) is a British film director, best known for feature films such as Point Blank (1967), Hell in the Pacific (1968), Deliverance (1972), Zardoz (1974), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Excalibur (1981), The Emerald Forest (1985), Hope and Glory (1987), The General (1998), The Tailor of Panama (2001) and Queen and Country (2014).(
Boorman has directed 22 films and received five Academy Award nominations, twice for Best Director (for Deliverance, and Hope and Glory). He is also credited with creating the first Academy Award screeners to promote The Emerald Forest.In 2004, Boorman received the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In January 2022, Boorman received a knighthood.
Boorman was born in Shepperton, Middlesex, England, the son of pub landlord George Boorman and his wife Ivy (née Chapman). George Boorman was of Dutch parentage.He was educated at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey.
Boorman was conscripted for military service when he became a clerical instructor in the British Army. Boorman did not serve in the Korean War,but once faced court-martial for "seducing a soldier from the course of his duty" by criticising the war to his trainees; this was abandoned when Boorman showed The Times was the source of all his comments. After army service he worked as a drycleaner and journalist in the late 1950s. He ran the newsrooms at Southern Television in Southampton and Dover before moving into television documentary filmmaking, eventually becoming head of the BBC's Bristol-based Documentary Unit. In 1963 he wrote and directed a documentary about professional football, "Six Days to Saturday" which focused on a week in the life of Swindon Town, who were then in England's second division.
Capturing the interest of producer David Deutsch, he was offered the chance to direct a film aimed at repeating the success of A Hard Day's Night (directed by Richard Lester in 1964): Catch Us If You Can (1965) is about competing pop group Dave Clark Five. While not as successful commercially as Lester's film, it drew good reviews from distinguished critics such as Pauline Kael and Dilys Powell and smoothed Boorman's way into the film industry. Boorman was drawn to Hollywood for the opportunity to make larger-scale cinema and in Point Blank (1967), based on a Richard Stark novel, brought a stranger's vision to the decaying fortress of Alcatraz and the proto-hippy world of west coast America. Lee Marvin gave the then-unknown director his full support, telling MGM he deferred all his approvals on the project to Boorman.
After Point Blank, Boorman re-teamed with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune for the robinsonade of Hell in the Pacific (1968), which tells a fable story of two representative soldiers stranded together on an island.
Returning to the United Kingdom, he made Leo the Last (US/UK, 1970). This film exhibited the influence of Federico Fellini and even starred Fellini regular Marcello Mastroianni, and won him a Best Director award at Cannes.
Boorman achieved much greater resonance with Deliverance (US, 1972, adapted from a novel by James Dickey), the ordeal of four urban men, played by Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty, who encounter danger from an unexpected quarter while whitewater rafting through the Appalachian backwoods. The film became Boorman's first true box office success, earning him several award nominations.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Boorman was planning to film The Lord of the Rings and corresponded about his plans with the author, J. R. R. Tolkien. Ultimately the production proved too costly, though some elements and themes can be seen in Excalibur (1981).
A wide variety of films followed. Zardoz (1974), starring Sean Connery, was a post-apocalyptic science fiction piece, set in the 23rd century where sex is divided into two worlds. According to the director's film commentary, the "Zardoz world" was on a collision course with an "effete" eternal society, which it accomplished, and in the story must reconcile with a more natural human nature.
Boorman was selected as director for Exorcist II: The Heretic (USA, 1977), a move that surprised the industry given his dislike of the original film. Boorman declared: "Not only did I not want to do the original film, I told the head of Warner Brothers John Calley I'd be happy if he didn't produce the film too." "I found It extremely compelling. It was based on Chardin's intoxicating Idea that biological evolution was the first step In God's plan, starting with inert rock, and culminating In humankind." Despite Boorman's continued rewriting throughout shooting, the film was rendered incomprehensible. The film, released in June 1977, was a critical disaster, but was a moderate box office success. Boorman was denounced by author William Peter Blatty, the author of the original novel The Exorcist, and William Friedkin, director of the first Exorcist film . Boorman later admitted that his approach to the film was a mistake. The Heretic is often considered not just the worst film of The Exorcist series, but one of the worst films of all time.The original script by Broadway playwright William Goodhart was intellectual and ambitious, based around the metaphysical nature of the battle between good and evil, and specifically the writings of Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard De Chardin,
Excalibur, a long-held dream project of Boorman's, is a retelling of the Arthurian legend, based on Le Morte D'Arthur . Boorman cast actors Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren against their protests, as the two disliked each other intensely, but Boorman felt their mutual antagonism would enhance their characterizations of the characters they were playing. The production was based in the Republic of Ireland, where Boorman had relocated. For the film he employed all of his children as actors and crew and several of Boorman's later films have been 'family business' productions. The film, one of the first to be produced by Orion Films, was a moderate success.
The Emerald Forest (1985) saw Boorman cast his actor son Charley Boorman as an eco-warrior, in a rainforest adventure that included commercially required elements – action and near-nudity – with authentic[ citation needed ] anthropological detail. Rospo Pallenberg's original screenplay was adapted into a book of the same name by award-winning author Robert Holdstock. Because the film's distributor faced business troubles that year, the film did not receive a traditional "For Your Consideration" advertising campaign for the 1985 Academy Awards, despite positive critical reviews. Boorman took the initiative to promote the film himself by making VHS copies available for no charge to Academy members at several Los Angeles-area video rental stores. Boorman's idea later became ubiquitous during Hollywood's award season, and by the 2010s, more than a million Oscar screeners were mailed to Academy members each year. However, Emerald Forest itself received no nominations from Boorman's strategy.
Hope and Glory (1987, UK) is his most autobiographical movie to date, a retelling of his childhood in London during The Blitz. Produced by Goldcrest Films, with Hollywood financing the film, it proved a box office hit in the US, receiving numerous Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. However, his 1990 US-produced comedy about a dysfunctional family, Where the Heart Is , was a major flop.
When his friend David Lean died in 1991, Boorman was announced to be taking over direction of Lean's long-planned adaptation of Nostromo , though the production collapsed. Beyond Rangoon (US, 1995) and The Tailor of Panama (US/Ireland, 2000) both explore unique worlds with alien characters stranded and desperate.
Boorman won the Best Director Award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for The General ,his biopic of Martin Cahill. The film is about a glamorous, yet mysterious, criminal in Dublin who was killed, apparently by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Boorman himself had been one of Cahill's burglary victims, having the gold record awarded for the score to Deliverance stolen from his home.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1994 Birthday Honours for services to the film industry.In 2004, Boorman was also made a Fellow of BAFTA.
Released in 2006, his The Tiger's Tail was a thriller set against the tableau of early 21st century capitalism in Ireland. At the same time, Boorman began work on a long-time pet project of his, a fictional account of the life of Roman Emperor Hadrian (entitled Memoirs of Hadrian ), written in the form of a letter from a dying Hadrian to his successor. In the meantime, a re-make/re-interpretation of the classic The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz with Boorman at the helm was announced in August 2009.
In 2007 and 2009 he took part in a series of events and discussions as part of the Arts in Marrakech Festival along with his daughter Katrine Boorman including an event with Kim Cattrall called 'Being Directed'.
In November 2012 he was selected as a President of the main competition jury at the 2012 International Film Festival of Marrakech.
In Autumn 2013 Boorman began shooting Queen and Country , the sequel to his 1987 Oscar-nominated Hope and Glory , using locations in Shepperton and Romania. The film was selected to be screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
John Boorman's debut novel, Crime of Passion, was published in 2016 (by Liberties Press, Dublin), with a French-language edition published by Marest in 2017.
Boorman was knighted in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to film.
Boorman has been a longtime resident of Ireland and lives in Annamoe, County Wicklow, close to the Glendalough twin lakes.According to a 2012 interview, he was recently divorced. By 2020, he was married to his third wife.
He has seven children: Katrine (b. 1958), Telsche (1960-1996), Charles (b. 1966), and Daisy (b. 1966) with his first wife, Christel Kruse, to whom he was married until 1990; and Lola, Lee, and Lily Mae with his second wife, Isabella Weibrecht, whom he married in 1995.
His son Charley Boorman has a career as an actor but reached a wider audience when he and actor Ewan McGregor made a televised motorbike trip across Europe, Central Asia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and the Midwest US during 2004. His daughter Katrine Boorman (Igrayne in Excalibur) works as an actress in France. His daughter Telschewrote the screenplay for Where the Heart Is . She died of ovarian cancer in 1996 at the age of 36. She was married to the journalist Lionel Rotcage, the son of French singer Régine, which produced a daughter.
British Academy Film Awards
Cinema for Peace
Golden Globe Awards
|1965||Catch Us If You Can||Yes|
|1968||Hell in the Pacific||Yes|
|1970||Leo the Last||Yes||Yes|
|1972||Deliverance||Yes||Yes||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture |
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture
|1977||Exorcist II: The Heretic||Yes||Yes|
|1985||The Emerald Forest||Yes||Yes|
|1987||Hope and Glory||Yes||Yes||Yes||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture |
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
|1990||Where the Heart Is||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1995||Two Nudes Bathing||Yes||Yes||Short film |
Episode of Picture Windows , a miniseries on Showtime
|1998||Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait by John Boorman||Yes|
|2001||The Tailor of Panama||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2004||In My Country||Yes||Yes||Won—The Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Film of the Year|
|2006||The Tiger's Tail||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2014||Queen and Country||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Trevor Alfred Charles Jones is a South African composer of film and television scores. Having spent much of his career in the United Kingdom, Jones has worked on numerous well-known and acclaimed films including Excalibur, Runaway Train, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Mississippi Burning, The Last of the Mohicans, and In the Name of the Father; collaborating with filmmakers like John Boorman, Andrei Konchalovsky, Jim Henson, and Michael Mann. He has composed for numerous films and his music has been critically acclaimed for both its depth and emotion, and he has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and three BAFTA Awards for Best Film Music.
Deliverance is a 1972 American survival thriller film produced and directed by John Boorman, and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox, with the latter two making their feature film debuts. The screenplay was adapted by James Dickey from his 1970 novel of the same name. The film was a critical and box office success, earning three Academy Award nominations and five Golden Globe Award nominations.
Hope and Glory is a 1987 comedy-drama war film, written, produced and directed by John Boorman and based on his own experiences of growing up in London during the Second World War. The title is derived from the traditional British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory". The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film tells the story of the Rowan family and their experiences as seen through the eyes of the son, Billy.
Zardoz is a 1974 Irish-American science fantasy film written, produced, and directed by John Boorman and starring Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling, and featuring Sara Kestelman. The film was shot by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth on a budget of US$1.57 million. It depicts a post-apocalyptic world where barbarians worship "Zardoz", a stone god with the power to grant either death or eternal life, and who - in the opening scene - declares: "The gun is good! The penis is evil!". In this future dystopia, while the Brutals live in a wasteland, their overlords luxuriate in the Vortex, apparently as self-satisfied as landed gentry. The Eternals created Zardoz to control the Brutals, inciting them to mass murder. However, Zed refuses to accept the status quo and his place among the oppressed, embarking on a journey that explores the theme of genetic engineering and exposes the devastating truth about the corrupt society he lives in.
Krzysztof Kieślowski was a Polish film director and screenwriter. He is known internationally for Dekalog (1989), The Double Life of Veronique (1991), and the Three Colours trilogy (1993 –1994). Kieślowski received numerous awards during his career, including the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (1988), FIPRESCI Prize, and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (1991); the Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize (1989), Golden Lion (1993), and OCIC Award (1993); and the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear (1994). In 1995, he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
Excalibur is a 1981 American epic medieval fantasy film directed, produced, and co-written by John Boorman that retells the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, based loosely on the 15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory. It stars Nigel Terry as Arthur, Nicol Williamson as Merlin, Nicholas Clay as Lancelot, Cherie Lunghi as Guenevere, Helen Mirren as Morgana, Liam Neeson as Gawain, Gabriel Byrne as Uther Pendragon, Corin Redgrave as Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and Patrick Stewart as Leondegrance. The film is named after the legendary sword of King Arthur that features prominently in Arthurian literature. The film's soundtrack features the music of Richard Wagner and Carl Orff, along with an original score by Trevor Jones.
Louis Marie Malle was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. His film Le Monde du silence won the Palme d'Or in 1956 and the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1957, although he was not credited at the ceremony; the award was instead presented to the film's co-director Jacques Cousteau. Later in his career he was nominated multiple times for Academy Awards. Malle is also one of only four directors to have won the Golden Lion twice.
Ned Thomas Beatty was an American actor and comedian. In a career that spanned five decades, he appeared in more than 160 films. Throughout his career, Beatty gained a reputation for being "the busiest actor in Hollywood". His film appearances included Deliverance (1972), All the President's Men (1976), Network (1976), Superman (1978), Back to School (1986), Rudy (1993), Shooter (2007), and Toy Story 3 (2010). Beatty was nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and a Golden Globe Award; he also won a Drama Desk Award.
Exorcist II: The Heretic is a 1977 American horror film directed by John Boorman and written by William Goodhart, and starring Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid and James Earl Jones. It is a sequel to William Friedkin's 1973 film The Exorcist based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty and the second installment of The Exorcist series. The film is set four years after the original film and centers on the now 16-year-old Regan MacNeil, who is still recovering from her previous demonic possession.
Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and film critic. He first received widespread recognition through his screenplay for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). He later continued his collaboration with Scorcese, writing or co-writing Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Bringing Out the Dead (1999). Schrader has also directed 24 films, including Blue Collar (1978), Hardcore (1979), American Gigolo (1980), Cat People (1982), Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), Light Sleeper (1992), Affliction (1997), and First Reformed (2017); the latter earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Schrader's work is known for its frequent depiction of alienated men struggling through existential crises, a premise he dubbed "God’s lonely man."
James Francis Ivory is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. For many years, he worked extensively with Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant, his domestic as well as professional partner, and with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. All three were principals in Merchant Ivory Productions, whose films have won seven Academy Awards; Ivory himself has been nominated for four Oscars, winning one.
Charley Boorman is a British TV presenter, travel writer and actor. As a noted motorbike enthusiast, Boorman is widely known for a series of three long-distance motorcycle rides with friend Ewan McGregor, documented in Long Way Round, Long Way Down, and Long Way Up.
Thomas Nicol Williamson was a British actor, once described by playwright John Osborne as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando". He was also described by Samuel Beckett as "touched by genius" and viewed by many critics as "the Hamlet of his generation" during the late 1960s.
The Emerald Forest is a 1985 British adventure drama film set in the Brazilian rainforest, directed by John Boorman, written by Rospo Pallenberg, and starring Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, and Charley Boorman with supporting roles by Rui Polanah, Tetchie Agbayani, Dira Paes, Estee Chandler, and Eduardo Conde.
Tom Priestley is a British film and sound editor, whose career spans from 1961 to 1990.
Rospo Pallenberg is a screenwriter and film director. He was involved in the writing of the John Boorman films Exorcist II: The Heretic, Excalibur, and The Emerald Forest.
I Dreamt I Woke Up is a 1991 Irish short film directed by John Boorman. It stars John Hurt and Janet McTeer as well as Boorman and his son Charley. Commissioned by the BBC as part of "The Director's Place" series, the essay/documentary explores the home and neighbours of John Boorman and the mystical qualities of the Wicklow Mountains as well as their influence on some of Boorman's films, namely "Excalibur", "Deliverance" and "Hope And Glory".
Katrine Boorman is an English actress and director of film, television and stage since 1974. She is the daughter of British director John Boorman.
Charles Orme was a British film producer. He worked regularly with Powell & Pressburger, Ralph Thomas, Basil Dearden and John Boorman. He has over 50 credits on a number of classics including The 39 Steps (1959), Khartoum (1966), Deliverance (1972), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and The Omen (1976). He was an original member of the multiple-award-winning Powell & Pressburger production team known as The Archers. He was a production assistant, production manager and assistant director on many of their classic productions, including The Red Shoes (1948), The Small Back Room (1949), Gone to Earth (1950) and The Elusive Pimpernel (1950), The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955), The Battle of the River Plate (1956) and Ill Met by Moonlight (1957).
John Merritt (1920-1999) was a British film and television editor, writer, and director. He was born on 9 June 1920 in London. He died at the age of 79 on 6 July 1999 in Bristol, England. While John Merritt has a list of 20 credits on IMDb in all three of the categories listed above, he is most famous for his work as an editor.
"The Emerald Forest" didn't get any Oscar nominations – but Boorman's gambit made an impact: He effectively invented the movie screener, now an integral part of Hollywood's awards season apparatus.