John Sayles

John Sayles

Highest Rated: 100% Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time Volume 2: Horror and Sci-Fi (2020)

Lowest Rated: 10% The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

Birthday: Sep 28, 1950

Birthplace: Not Available

One of America's preeminent and best-respected independent filmmakers, John Sayles has established a reputation for refusing to abandon his values in favor of becoming a studio filmmaker. As a result, his films tend to be rich, nuanced explorations of personal and political relationships, a style that reflects Sayles' beginnings as a novelist; he once admitted, "My main interest is making films about people...I'm not interested in cinematic art." Sayles' interest in storytelling began at an early age: before the age of nine, he was an avid novel reader. A native of Schenectady, NY, where he was born on September 28, 1950, he went on to study at Williams College. In addition to pursuing a degree in psychology, Sayles also appeared in school plays and summer stock. It was through such activities that he met many of the people who would be his future collaborators, including actor David Strathairn and Maggie Renzi, who would serve as his producer and offscreen companion.Following his graduation from Williams, Sayles decided to embark on a career as a fiction writer. Supporting himself with jobs as an orderly, a day laborer, and a meat packer, he began to write, submitting stories to magazines and eventually publishing two novels. Both Pride of the Bimbos (1975) and Union Dues (1977) met with positive critical notices but little financial success. Sayles' 1979 short story anthology, The Anarchist's Convention, met a similar fate. Meanwhile, Sayles found additional employment, joining Roger Corman's stable of B-movie writers in the mid-'70s. Under Corman's auspices, he wrote Piranha (1978), The Lady in Red (1979), and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). Armed with this rudimentary filmmaking experience, Sayles directed his first film, Return of the Secaucus 7, in four weeks in 1978. Shot for a reported 40,000 dollars, it was a poignant look at a reunion of 1960s activists on the cusp of adulthood. Featuring future Sayles regulars like Strathairn, Renzi, and Gordon Clapp, the film garnered critical praise, winning awards for Best Screenplay from both Los Angeles and New York film critic groups when it was released in 1980, and predating by several years Lawrence Kasdan's similar but more commercially successful The Big Chill.In 1983, Sayles made Lianna and Baby, It's You. The former was an examination of the changes facing a married woman who realizes that she's a lesbian, while the latter was the first and last film the director made under the control of a studio. Sayles' negative experiences while making the film caused him to vow that he would never again trade the rights to a final cut for funding; fortunately, he didn't have to. The same year that Baby, It's You was released, the director was awarded a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, which provided him with at least 32,000 dollars per year, tax-free, for five years. One of the results was The Brother From Another Planet (1984), the story of a mute, black alien (Joe Morton) who wanders the streets of Harlem. A look at a variety of issues, including racial prejudice and drug addiction, the film won further acclaim for its director, who also wrote, edited, scored, and acted in it. Matewan (1987) and Eight Men Out (1988) followed, providing complex studies of union politics in a 1920s West Virginia coal-mining town and the 1919 Black Sox scandal in baseball, respectively. Both films provided unconventional looks at pivotal aspects of American history, further marking Sayles as a director who traveled down his own road. After beginning the 1990s with a similar exploration of (contemporary) American society in City of Hope (1991), Sayles earned further praise and a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Passion Fish (1992), a film that examined the often-fractious relationship between a paralyzed former soap opera star (Mary McDonnell) and her live-in nurse (Alfre Woodard). Sayles then changed pace with The Secret of Roan Inish in 1994. A mystical story about a small girl livin

Highest Rated Movies



100% Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time Volume 2: Horror and Sci-Fi Actor 2020
No Score Yet Sonora Screenwriter 2019
74% Go For Sisters Director Screenwriter $56.5K 2013
94% Casting By Actor $14.5K 2013
42% Let Fury Have The Hour Actor $3.9K 2012
No Score Yet The Normals Actor 2012
92% Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel John Sayles $7.5K 2011
60% Amigo Director Screenwriter $0.2M 2011
66% Great Directors Actor $18.4K 2010
58% In the Electric Mist Michael Goldman 2009
44% The Toe Tactic Cramden 2009
92% Obscene Actor 2008
80% The Spiderwick Chronicles Producer Screenwriter $71.2M 2008
69% Honeydripper Director Screenwriter Zeke 2007
43% Morirse esta en Hebreo (My Mexican Shivah) Producer Executive Producer 2007
29% Fade to Black Screenwriter 2006
88% Tell Them Who You Are Actor 2005
No Score Yet Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove: Readings From Voices of a People's History of the United States Actor 2005
48% Silver City Director Screenwriter $0.9M 2004
29% The Alamo Screenwriter $22.4M 2004
No Score Yet American Storytellers Actor Director 2003
58% Casa de los Babys Director Screenwriter $0.4M 2003
No Score Yet American Storytellers Actor 2003
80% Sunshine State Director Screenwriter $2.9M 2002
No Score Yet Bruce Springsteen: Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000 Director 2000
87% Girlfight Science Teacher Executive Producer $0.8M 2000
57% Little Saints (Santitos) Producer 2000
72% Limbo Screenwriter Director 1999
89% Men With Guns Screenwriter Director 1997
62% Mimic Screenwriter 1997
88% Gridlock'd Cop 1 1997
94% Lone Star Screenwriter Director 1996
57% The Quick and the Dead Screenwriter 1995
95% The Secret of Roan Inish Screenwriter 1995
No Score Yet Men of War Screenwriter 1994
100% Passion Fish Screenwriter Director 1992
88% Malcolm X FBI Agent 1992
94% Matinee Bob 1992
36% Straight Talk Guy Giraldi 1992
94% City of Hope Screenwriter Director Carl 1991
No Score Yet Little Vegas Mike 1990
90% Breaking In Screenwriter 1989
86% Eight Men Out Director Screenwriter Ring Lardner 1988
94% Matewan: A Luta Final Screenwriter Director Hardshell Preacher 1987
40% Wild Thing Screenwriter 1987
91% Something Wild Motorcycle Cop 1986
No Score Yet Hard Choices Don 1986
10% The Clan of the Cave Bear Screenwriter 1986
No Score Yet Unnatural Causes Lloyd Screenwriter 1986
89% The Brother from Another Planet Screenwriter Director Man In Black 1984
94% Baby It's You Screenwriter Director $2M 1983
82% Lianna Screenwriter Director Jerry 1983
No Score Yet Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Screenwriter 1983
50% The Challenge Screenwriter 1982
80% The Lady in Red Screenwriter 1982
71% The Howling Morgue Attendant (Uncredited) Screenwriter 1981
45% Battle Beyond the Stars Screenwriter 1980
81% Return of the Secaucus Seven Howie Director Screenwriter 1980
84% Alligator Screenwriter Actor 1980
72% Piranha Tom, sentry guarding tent Screenwriter 1978


No Score Yet NOW with Bill Moyers
Guest 2004


Chris says: (looking in what was Eddie Quist's morgue locker) - He's not here!

Morgue Attendant (Uncredited) says: He was here this morning!

Terry Fisher says: (noticing the damage on the inside of the locker door) - Look at the door!

Chris says: You think somebody took him?

Morgue Attendant (Uncredited) says: Well, he didn't just get up and walk away!

Morgue Attendant (Uncredited) says: (knocking on mortuary-vault door) - Visitors, Eddie!