Lee Tamahori

Lee Tamahori

Highest Rated: 93% Once Were Warriors (1994)

Lowest Rated: 17% XXX: State of the Union (2005)

Birthday: Jun 17, 1950

Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

"Once Were Warriors" was one of only three feature films made specifically by and for New Zealand in 1994, but despite its $1.4 million budget, it created an international sensation with its tale of a dysfunctional Maori family and its charting of the decline of the indigenous people of New Zealand. As a result, its director, Lee Tamahori, who is, himself of mixed Maori and European descent, was plucked by Hollywood to direct major motion pictures. Tamahori began his film career as a boom operator in the late 70s, then, in the early 80s, was an assistant director on numerous New Zealand feature films. The first of these, Geoff Murphy's "Utu" (1982), also dealt with Maori culture. But it was as a TV commercial director, beginning in the mid-80s, that Tamahori began to attract international notice. During a ten-year period, Tamahori directed more than 100 commercials, including spots for Mobius in the USA, and was particularly acclaimed for his storytelling style. The chance to direct "Once Were Warriors" (1994) came as a result of his renown in TV commercials, and the film, about an abusive father and his family dealing with being social outcasts in New Zealand, attracted enough critical acclaim that soon Hollywood called. His first studio picture, 1996's "Muholland Falls," was a stylishly crafted noir thriller with an unfortunately mediocre story involving the Los Angeles Police Department's notoriois Hat Squad of the 1950s. Tamahori's next film was the crackerjack survival thriller "The Edge" (1997) which combined a tidy sheltered-man-against-nature tale with the director's visual panache and winning performances from Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin and even Bart the Bear, Hollywood's premiere ursine actor. "Along Came a Spider" (2001) was a less chanllenging but bigger-grossing effort, as it was a prequel of sorts to the hit thriller "Kiss the Girls" and again starred Morgan Freeman as novelist James Patterson's detective Alec Cross.




No Score Yet No Score Yet Emperor Director - 2016
87% 84% The Patriarch Director - 2016
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mahana Director - 2016
54% 64% The Devil's Double Director $1.4M 2011
28% 53% Next Director $18.0M 2007
17% 32% XXX: State of the Union Director $26.0M 2005
56% 41% Die Another Day Director $160.2M 2002
32% 53% Along Came a Spider Director $74.1M 2001
64% 70% The Edge Director $27.8M 1997
31% 39% Mulholland Falls Director $11.5M 1996
93% 95% Once Were Warriors Director $1.3M 1994


92% 97% The Sopranos Director 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Ray Bradbury Theater Director 1990 1992