Joel Coen

Lowest Rated: 18% Gambit (2012)
Birthday: Nov 29, 1954
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Working with his brother Ethan, screenwriter/director Joel Coen has built a reputation as one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the late 20th century. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, arch irony, and often brutal violence, the films of the Coen brothers have become synonymous with a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres -- especially film noir -- while sustaining a firmly postmodern feel. Beginning with Blood Simple, their brutal, stylish 1984 debut, the brothers have amassed a body of work that has established them as two of the most compelling figures in American and world cinemas.Born in St. Louis Park, MN, in 1954, Joel Coen studied at New York University before moving into filmmaking in the early '80s. He and his younger brother began writing screenplays while Joel worked as an assistant editor on good friend Sam Raimi's 1983 film The Evil Dead. In 1984, they made their debut with Blood Simple. Both of them wrote and edited the film (using the name Roderick Jaynes for the latter duty), while Joel took the directing credit and Ethan billed himself as the producer. It earned considerable critical acclaim and established the brothers as fresh, original talent. Their next major effort (after Crimewave, a 1985 film they wrote that was directed by Raimi), 1987's Raising Arizona was a screwball comedy miles removed from the dark, violent content of their previous movie, and it won over critics and audiences alike. Their fan base growing, the Coens went on to make Miller's Crossing (1990), a stark gangster epic with a strong performance from John Turturro, whom the brothers also used to great effect in their next film, Barton Fink (1991). Fink earned Joel a Best Director award and a Golden Palm at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the festival's Best Actor award for Turturro. A surreal, nightmarish movie revolving around a writer's creative block, it was a heavily stylized, atmospheric triumph that further established the Coens as visionary arbiters of the bizarre.Their 1994 follow-up to Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, was a relative critical and commercial disappointment, though it did boast the sort of heavily stylized, postmodern irony that had so endeared the brothers to their audience. Whatever failings The Hudsucker Proxy exhibited, however, were more than atoned for by the unquestionable success of the Coens' next film, Fargo (1996). A black, violent crime comedy with a surprisingly warm heart, it recalled Blood Simple in its themes of greed, corruption, and murder, but provided more redemptive sentiment than was afforded to the characters of the previous film. The brothers shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for their work, and another Oscar, for Best Actress, went to Frances McDormand, to whom Joel had been married since 1984.Following Fargo, the Coens went on to make The Big Lebowski in 1998. A blend of bungled crime and warped comedy, Lebowski was a laid-back, irreverent revision of the hardboiled L.A. detective genre. It met with mixed critical reception, though it did receive a Golden Bear nomination for Joel Coen at the Berlin Film Festival. The year 2000 brought the Coens into the depression-era with O Brother, Where art Thou? An admittedly loose adaptation of Homer's The Odyssey, O Brother starred George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson as escaped convicts on a surreal journey through 1930s Mississippi. Wasting no time in production of their next feature, the following year found Joel the recipient of his third Best Director award at Cannes for the darkly comic, monochromatic post-noir The Man Who Wasn't There. Starring Billy Bob Thornton as a humble, small-town barber who gets mixed up in a tangled web of blackmail and deceit, the moody atmosphere of The Man Who Wasn't There eschewed the wacky antics of O Brother in favor of a darker, more moody tone that recalled such earlier Coen efforts as Blood Simple and Barton Fink.T


Highest Rated Movies



91% The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Screenwriter Director 2018
27% Suburbicon Screenwriter $5.8M 2017
86% Hail, Caesar! Director Producer Screenwriter $28M 2016
91% Bridge of Spies Screenwriter 2015
51% Unbroken Screenwriter $70.6M 2014
No Score Yet Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis Producer Actor 2013
92% Inside Llewyn Davis Producer Screenwriter Director $9.7M 2013
18% Gambit Screenwriter $0.7M 2012
96% True Grit Producer Director $171.1M 2010
89% A Serious Man Screenwriter Producer Director $9.2M 2009
78% Burn After Reading Screenwriter Producer Director $60.4M 2008
93% No Country for Old Men Screenwriter Producer Director $74.3M 2007
54% Romance & Cigarettes Producer Executive Producer $0.4M 2007
87% Paris Je T'aime Screenwriter Director $4.9M 2007
54% The Ladykillers Director Screenwriter Producer 2004
78% Bad Santa Executive Producer 2003
75% Intolerable Cruelty Director Screenwriter $35.1M 2003
81% The Man Who Wasn't There Director Screenwriter $7.5M 2001
97% Down from the Mountain Executive Producer Actor 2001
77% O Brother, Where Art Thou? Director Screenwriter $45.2M 2000
No Score Yet Double Date Night: The Big Lebowski Director Producer Screenwriter 1998
83% The Big Lebowski Screenwriter Director 1998
93% Fargo Screenwriter Producer Director 1996
56% The Hudsucker Proxy Director Screenwriter 1994
90% Barton Fink Screenwriter Director 1991
91% Miller's Crossing Screenwriter Director 1990
84% Darkman Screenwriter 1990
91% Raising Arizona Director Screenwriter 1987
No Score Yet Crimewave Screenwriter 1986
32% Spies Like Us Drive-In Security 1985
94% Blood Simple Screenwriter Director 1984


97% Fargo
Executive Producer Producer
  • 2017
  • 2015
  • 2014
No Score Yet Sunday Morning
  • 2013
  • 2011
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
  • 2001


No quotes approved yet.