John Sayles - Rotten Tomatoes

John Sayles

Highest Rated:   100% Passion Fish (1992)
Birthday:  
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 Ro

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
72% Go For Sisters
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2013
93% Casting By
  • Actor
2013
42% Let Fury Have The Hour
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet The Normals
  • Actor
2012
92% Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel
  • John Sayles
2011
62% Amigo
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2011
65% Great Directors
  • Actor
2010
60% In the Electric Mist
  • Michael Goldman
2009
44% The Toe Tactic
  • Cramden
2009
92% Obscene
  • Actor
2008
80% The Spiderwick Chronicles
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
2008
68% Honeydripper
  • Zeke
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
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
2004
29% The Alamo
  • Screenwriter
2004
No Score Yet Limbo
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2004
No Score Yet American Storytellers
  • Director
  • Actor
2003
58% Casa de los Babys
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2003
No Score Yet American Storytellers
  • Actor
2003
80% Sunshine State
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2002
86% Lianna
  • Director
  • Jerry
  • Screenwriter
2001
No Score Yet Bruce Springsteen: Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000
  • Director
2000
87% Girlfight
  • Executive Producer
  • Science Teacher
2000
57% Little Saints (Santitos)
  • Producer
2000
72% Limbo
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1999
89% Men With Guns
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1997
61% Mimic
  • Screenwriter
1997
88% Gridlock'd
  • Cop 1
1997
93% Lone Star
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1996
56% The Quick and the Dead
  • Screenwriter
1995
98% The Secret of Roan Inish
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1995
No Score Yet Men of War
  • Screenwriter
1994
100% Passion Fish
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1992
91% Malcolm X
  • FBI Agent
1992
93% Matinee
  • Bob
1992
40% Straight Talk
  • Guy Giraldi
1992
94% City of Hope
  • Director
  • Carl
  • Screenwriter
1991
No Score Yet Little Vegas
  • Mike
1990
89% Breaking In
  • Screenwriter
1989
No Score Yet Bruce Springsteen - Video Anthology, 1978-1988
  • Director
1989
85% Eight Men Out
  • Director
  • Ring Lardner
  • Screenwriter
1988
No Score Yet My Life's in Turnaround
  • Producer
1988
93% Matewan: A Luta Final
  • Screenwriter
  • Hardshell Preacher
  • Director
1987
No Score Yet Wild Thing
  • Screenwriter
1987
88% 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
92% The Brother from Another Planet
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
  • Man In Black
1984
94% Baby It's You
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1983
60% The Challenge
  • Screenwriter
1982
No Score Yet The Lady in Red
  • Screenwriter
1982
66% The Howling
  • Screenwriter
  • Morgue Attendant (Uncredited)
1981
45% Battle Beyond the Stars
  • Screenwriter
1980
80% Return of the Secaucus Seven
  • Howie
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1980
67% Alligator
  • Screenwriter
  • Actor
1980
72% Piranha
  • Tom, sentry guarding tent
  • Screenwriter
1978

Quotes from John Sayles' Characters