John Schlesinger - Rotten Tomatoes

John Schlesinger

Highest Rated:   100% Billy Liar (1963)
Lowest Rated:   8% Eye for an Eye (1996)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   London, England, UK
London-born director John Schlesinger worked steadily in both Hollywood and Britain in films, television, and on the stage. By exploring the complexities of human relationships, some of his films made it possible for later filmmakers to bring controversial subjects into the mainstream. He started making short films as a boy before attending the Uppingham School with the intent to study architecture. In 1943 he was drafted into the British army and ended up in a magic act entertaining the troops abroad. By 1947, he was back in school studying English literature at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was president of the Experimental Theatre Club. Following graduation, he worked as an actor with the Colchester Repertory Company and the Ngaio Marsh Touring Company. He continued making short films and started directing documentaries for the BBC programs Tonight and Monitor. He won a BAFTA award for his debut film Terminus, a chronicle of the Waterloo railway station. His first two feature films, A Kind of Loving and Billy Liar, both received critical praise from the British Academy. They also introduced Schlesinger to his longtime filmmaking allies: producer Joseph Janni, actor Alan Bates, and actress Julie Christie. In 1965 he received international attention and his first Oscar nomination for the drama Darling about the London fashion scene during the mod '60s. After adapting the Thomas Hardy novel Far From the Maddening Crowd, Schlesinger made his first American film, Midnight Cowboy, starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. A compassionate story about friendship, it was also the first X-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also earned Schlesinger his first Oscar for Best Director. The next year, he was honored with the appointment of Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Back in England, he earned his third Oscar nomination for the psychological drama Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Starring Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, and Murray Head, it was one of the first mainstream films to deal with homosexual themes with sensitivity and perception. During the '70s he continued directing stage productions in between his film work, eventually becoming the associate director of the National Theatre in London. After a few meager successes with the psychological thriller Marathon Man and the war drama Yanks, he moved over to television to make the well-received Separate Tables and An Englishman Abroad. During the late '80s he made the spy film The Falcon and the Snowman and cast Shirley MacLaine in the choice lead role of Madame Sousatzka before making a minor comeback with the comedy Cold Comfort Farm, based on the novel by Stella Gibbons. After bringing the play The Tale of Sweeny Todd to the small screen, he made his last film, The Next Best Thing, starring Madonna and Rupert Everett. Schlesinger died at age 77 in Palm Springs due to complications following a severe stroke. He is survived by photographer Michael Childers, his companion of 36 years.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
20% The Next Best Thing
  • Director
2000
No Score Yet The Tale of Sweeney Todd
  • Director
1998
43% The Twilight of the Golds
  • Adrian Lodge
1997
83% Cold Comfort Farm
  • Director
1996
96% The Celluloid Closet
  • Interviewee
1996
8% Eye for an Eye
  • Director
1996
25% The Innocent
  • Director
1995
No Score Yet The Lost Language of Cranes
  • Derek
1992
No Score Yet Question of Attribution
  • Director
1992
43% Pacific Heights
  • Director
  • Man in Elevator
1990
75% Madame Sousatzka
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1988
33% The Believers
  • Producer
  • Director
1987
84% The Falcon and the Snowman
  • Producer
  • Director
1985
No Score Yet Separate Tables
  • Director
1983
No Score Yet Honky Tonk Freeway
  • Director
1981
71% Yanks
  • Director
1979
80% Marathon Man
  • Director
1976
64% The Day of the Locust
  • Director
1975
40% Visions of 8 - The Olympics of Motion Picture Achievement
  • Director
1973
92% Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Director
1971
90% Midnight Cowboy
  • Director
1969
72% Far From the Madding Crowd
  • Director
1967
70% Darling
  • Director
1965
100% Billy Liar
  • Director
1963
100% A Kind of Loving
  • Director
$3.8k 1962
80% The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee)
  • German Officer
1956
No Score Yet The Divided Heart
  • Ticket Collector
1954
No Score Yet Sailor of the King
  • Actor
1953
No Score Yet Yellow Sky
  • Director
1948

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Masterpiece
1971-2015
  • Director

Quotes from John Schlesinger's Characters

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