Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme

Highest Rated: 100% Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (2016)

Lowest Rated: 7% The Incredible Melting Man (1977)

Birthday: Feb 22, 1944

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


Highest Rated Movies



94% 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
33% Song One Producer $20.7K 2015
81% A Master Builder Director $47.4K 2014
No Score Yet Old Fires Director 2014
64% Enzo Avitabile Music Life Director Producer 2013
89% 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
80% The Manchurian Candidate Director Producer $65.8M 2004
94% The Agronomist Producer Director 2004
91% Adaptation Producer $22.2M 2002
34% 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
88% 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
80% Philadelphia Producer Director 1993
20% Amos & Andrew Executive Producer 1993
50% Household Saints Executive Producer 1993
No Score Yet Cousin Bobby Screenwriter Producer Director Actor 1992
96% The Silence of the Lambs Director 1991
81% Miami Blues Producer 1990
90% Married to the Mob Actor Director 1988
100% Swimming To Cambodia Director 1987
89% Something Wild Director Producer 1986
38% Into the Night Federal Agent 1985
97% Stop Making Sense Director 1984
87% Swing Shift Director 1984
No Score Yet Who Am I This Time? Director 1982
90% Melvin and Howard Director 1980
29% Last Embrace Director Man On Train 1979
No Score Yet Roger Corman: Hollywood's Wild Angel Actor 1978
100% Citizens Band Director 1977
7% The Incredible Melting Man Matt 1977
No Score Yet Fighting Mad Director Screenwriter 1976
88% Crazy Mama Director 1975
79% 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


86% The New Yorker Presents
Appearing 2016
70% The Killing
Director 2013
66% A Gifted Man
Director Executive Producer Producer 2012
No Score Yet POV
Director 2012
87% Enlightened
Director 2011
No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Reports
Director 2010
No Score Yet American Playhouse
Director 1982
No Score Yet Columbo
Director 1978


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