M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

Highest Rated: 86% The Sixth Sense (1999)

Lowest Rated: 5% The Last Airbender (2010)

Birthday: Aug 6, 1970

Birthplace: Mahé, Pondicherry, India

A director who struck gold with the 1999 blockbuster The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan came out of almost nowhere to become one of the year's greatest sensations. The second biggest moneymaker of 1999 (the first being Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace), The Sixth Sense also proved to be a critical favorite, earning a slew of Oscar nominations that included Best Director and Best Picture.Born in Madras, India, on August 6, 1970, Shyamalan was raised in the posh Philadelphia suburb of Penn Valley. The son of doctors, he developed a passion for filmmaking when he was given a Super-8 camera at the age of eight. By the time he was 17, Shyamalan -- who idolized Steven Spielberg -- had made 45 home movies, and after receiving a Catholic school education, he studied filmmaking at the Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated in 1992, and that same year he made his first feature film, Praying with Anger, which was based to some extent on his trip back to the country of his birth.Shyamalan's first major theatrical effort was Wide Awake (1998), a film he partially shot in the Catholic school he had attended, as well as Bryn Mawr College. The story of a young Catholic school student attempting to cope with the death of his grandfather (Robert Loggia), the film -- which also starred Rosie O'Donnell, Dana Delany, and Denis Leary -- quickly plummeted into box office oblivion. Shyamalan had considerably better luck with his next project, 1999's The Sixth Sense. A supernatural thriller about a young boy (Oscar-nominated Haley Joel Osment) who is able to communicate with the spirits of dead people, it was a sleeper hit and gave its director his unequivocal career breakthrough. Graced with an understated cast of performers and a twist ending, the film garnered incredible word-of-mouth among audiences and became the must-see film of the late summer, well into the fall. The Academy in turn showered the film with seven Oscar nominations, including nods for Shyamalan's script and direction. He enjoyed further success that same year as the screenwriter for Stuart Little, earning praise for his smart, funny script.Following the success of The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan -- who continued to reside in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife and daughter -- directed another supernatural thriller, Unbreakable. Starring Bruce Willis (who had also starred in The Sixth Sense) as a man who undergoes mysterious changes following a train accident, the mannered, pensive thriller was released in 2000 to mixed critical reviews and a healthy -- if brief -- box-office run. A curiously low-key film considering its comic-book underpinnings, Unbreakable retained much of The Sixth Sense's sharp direction, though its lukewarm reception found the director hesitant to expand the film into a trilogy as originally planned. Approached by producer Frank Marshall to pen the fourth chapter in the further adventures of Indiana Jones, Shyamalan gracefully turned down the offer citing his reluctance to enter a collaborative effort with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford, and rejected yet another offer shortly thereafter, this time to direct the third Harry Potter film .Deciding instead on a begin work on an entirely new project, Shyamalan penned a screenplay concerning a rural family who discover crop circles on their farm, selling it to Disney in April of 2001. Though the role of the family patriarch was originally intended for an older actor, Shyamalan made a few minor alterations when Mel Gibson expressed interest in starring in the film, with You Can Count on Me star Mark Ruffalo cast as his brother. Another unforeseen casting change beset the production when Ruffalo pulled out of the film due to health problems, and Joaquin Phoenix stepped in to assume the role with production moving along as planned following the brief delay. If Unbreakable was a subdued hit, then Signs was a full-blown blockbuster, easily exceeding the 200-million-dollar mark.With late-summe


Highest Rated Movies



37% Glass Director Screenwriter Producer 2019
77% Split Jai, Hooters Lover $138.2M 2017
67% The Visit Screenwriter Director Producer $56.5M 2015
11% After Earth Producer Director Screenwriter $60.6M 2013
51% Devil Producer Screenwriter $33.6M 2010
5% The Last Airbender Screenwriter $131.6M 2010
18% The Happening Screenwriter Joey Producer Director $64.6M 2008
25% Lady in the Water Vick Ran Producer Director Screenwriter $42.3M 2006
43% The Village Screenwriter Director Producer $114.2M 2004
No Score Yet The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan Himself 2004
74% Signs Director Screenwriter Ray Reddy Producer $228M 2002
70% Unbreakable Director Producer Screenwriter Stadium Drug Dealer $95.1M 2000
67% Stuart Little Screenwriter 1999
86% The Sixth Sense Director Screenwriter Dr. Hill 1999
42% Wide Awake Director Screenwriter 1998


82% Servant
Executive Producer 2020
No Score Yet The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Guest 2019
No Score Yet Conan
Guest 2018
40% Norm Macdonald Has a Show
Appearing 2018
60% Wayward Pines
Producer Executive Producer Director 2016
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
Guest 2015
66% Entourage
Guest Himself 2007
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Guest 2006
No Score Yet Tales From the Crypt (2016)
Executive Producer


Ray Reddy says: I've never fallen asleep while driving before. It had to be at that right moment. That 10-15 seconds when I passed her walking. It's like it was meant to be.