Jonathan Demme - Rotten Tomatoes

Jonathan Demme

Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA
Jonathan Demme proved to be that rare maverick filmmaker who managed to find a place for his talents within the Hollywood system while still making movies his own way and on his own terms. A director who invested his characters with an unusual depth and humanity, Demme was unafraid to take on challenging and controversial subject matters in his films, but also knew how to make his stories absorbing and entertaining, and the results have included both box-office blockbusters (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) and critical favorites (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild). Born in Baldwin, NY, on February 22, 1944, Demme's mother was an actress, and his father worked in public relations. When he was 15, his family moved to Miami, where his father had landed a job at the Fountainbleau Hotel. Demme's original career goal was to become a veterinarian, and, after working at animal clinics as a teenager, he enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville. College-level chemistry, however, proved to be his Achilles' heel, and, realizing animal medicine was not a practical goal, he began searching for a new path. An enthusiastic cinema fan since childhood, he applied for an open position as film critic at the university's newspaper. After finishing college, Demme continued as a film critic for a small paper in Coral Gables until his father introduced him to flamboyant producer Joseph E. Levine. Levine was impressed with the young man's writing, and, after a stint in the military, Demme was given a job as a publicist in the producer's organization. Over the next several years, Demme worked for several film companies, including United Artists, and continued to write about film and music during a stint in New York, where he helped to compile the score for a low-budget thriller called Sudden Terror. While in London in 1970, a friend from his days at UA recommended Demme as a unit publicist to Roger Corman, then in Ireland shooting Von Richtofen and Brown. The independent producer/director soon gave Demme the opportunity to write a motorcycle picture for him, and Demme teamed up with friend Joe Viola to turn the premise of Rashomon into a biker film; after a few rewrites, Corman hired Demme to produce the film and Viola to direct, and the result was called Angels Hard As They Come. After serving as producer and second unit director on another Corman production, The Hot Box, Demme was given the opportunity to direct a steamy women-in-prison picture called Caged Heat; along with the requisite nudity and violence, Demme inserted a subplot about prisoners being abused through medical experiments. After two more films for Corman -- the offbeat crime feature Crazy Mama and the revenge thriller Fighting Mad -- Demme was hired to make a film about the then-current CB radio craze. The result was a charming, low-key, comedy drama called Citizen's Band, which won enthusiastic reviews from a number of critics but was a dud at the box office, even after being retitled Handle With Care. But the film's notices were strong enough for Demme to be hired to direct the Hitchcockian thriller Last Embrace, and, in 1980, he landed a project perfectly suited to his style. Melvin and Howard was based upon the true story of Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have once given Howard Hughes a ride and is later named beneficiary of 150 million dollars in a will discovered after the reclusive billionaire's death. While the film was only a modest commercial success, it received uniformly positive reviews. Screenwriter Bo Goldman and supporting actress Mary Steenburgen both received Oscars for their work on the picture, while the New York Film Critics Circle named it the Best Film of 1980. The warm reception for Melvin and Howard led to Demme's involvement in Swing Shift, a picture about women working in defense plants during World War II. Demme wanted the picture to deal primarily with working women embracing their new freedoms during wartime, but leading lady Goldie Ha

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
93% Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny
  • Actor
2016
No Score Yet Deep Time
  • Executive Producer
2016
100% Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids
  • Director
2016
No Score Yet JT + The Tennessee Kids
  • Director
2016
65% Ricki And The Flash
  • Director
2015
34% Song One
  • Producer
$20.7k 2015
82% A Master Builder
  • Director
$47.4k 2014
97% Stop Making Sense
  • Director
2014
No Score Yet Old Fires
  • Director
2014
64% Enzo Avitabile Music Life
  • Director
  • Producer
2013
88% Neil Young Journeys
  • Producer
  • Director
$0.3M 2012
No Score Yet Haiti Dreams Of Democracy
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2012
92% Corman's World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel
  • Jonathan Demme
$7.5k 2011
No Score Yet Neil Young Journey
  • Director
2011
89% Neil Young Trunk Show
  • Director
2010
84% Rachel Getting Married
  • Director
  • Producer
$12.8M 2008
79% Jimmy Carter Man From Plains
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
2007
No Score Yet New Home Movies From the Lower 9th Ward
  • Director
2007
90% Neil Young: Heart of Gold
  • Producer
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet The Pretenders: Greatest Hits
  • Director
2005
81% The Manchurian Candidate
  • Director
  • Producer
$65.8M 2004
94% The Agronomist
  • Producer
  • Director
2004
91% Adaptation
  • Producer
$22.2M 2002
33% The Truth About Charlie
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
$5.3M 2002
No Score Yet Bruce Springsteen: Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000
  • Director
2000
52% The Opportunists
  • Executive Producer
2000
No Score Yet Citizen's Band
  • Director
2000
88% Robyn Hitchcock - Storefront Hitchcock
  • Director
1998
78% Beloved
  • Producer
  • Director
1998
50% Shadrach
  • Executive Producer
1998
No Score Yet Subway Stories
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
1997
No Score Yet Mandela
  • Producer
1997
93% That Thing You Do!
  • Producer
  • Major Motion Picture Director
1996
No Score Yet Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation
  • Producer
1996
87% Devil in a Blue Dress
  • Executive Producer
1995
No Score Yet Desolation Angels
  • Executive Producer
1995
No Score Yet One Foot on a Banana Peel, the Other Foot in the Grave
  • Producer
1994
78% Philadelphia
  • Producer
  • Director
1993
21% Amos & Andrew
  • Executive Producer
1993
50% Household Saints
  • Executive Producer
1993
No Score Yet Cousin Bobby
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Actor
1992
95% The Silence of the Lambs
  • Director
1991
81% Miami Blues
  • Producer
1990
91% Married to the Mob
  • Actor
  • Director
1988
100% Swimming To Cambodia
  • Director
1987
88% Something Wild
  • Director
  • Producer
1986
41% Into the Night
  • Federal Agent
1985
92% Swing Shift
  • Director
1984
No Score Yet Who Am I This Time?
  • Director
1982
94% Melvin and Howard
  • Director
1980
33% Last Embrace
  • Director
  • Man On Train
1979
No Score Yet Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel
  • Actor
1978
100% Citizens Band
  • Director
1977
8% The Incredible Melting Man
  • Matt
1977
No Score Yet Fighting Mad
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1976
86% Crazy Mama
  • Director
1975
83% Caged Heat (Caged Females) (Renegade Girls)
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1974
No Score Yet Black Mama, White Mama
  • Screenwriter
1972
No Score Yet The Hot Box
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1972
No Score Yet Angels Hard as They Come
  • Producer
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
1971

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
86% The New Yorker Presents
2016
  • Appearing
  • 2015
70% The Killing
2011-2014
  • Director
  • 2013
73% A Gifted Man
2011-2012
  • Director
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • 2012
  • 2011
No Score Yet POV
1988
  • Director
  • 2012
  • 1993
86% Enlightened
2011-2013
  • Director
  • 2011
No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Reports
2010-2013
  • Director
  • 2010

Quotes from Jonathan Demme's Characters

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