William Friedkin - Rotten Tomatoes

William Friedkin

Highest Rated:   100% The Boys in the Band (1970)
Lowest Rated:   0% Good Times (1967)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Chicago, Illinois, USA
One of New Hollywood's most successful wunderkinder in the early '70s, William Friedkin suffered a precipitous fall from the box-office firmament in the late '70s, punctuated by the controversial cop film Cruising (1980). Nevertheless, Friedkin managed to keep his career alive, while the lasting impact of seminal horror film The Exorcist (1973) was confirmed by its enormously successful reissue in 2000. Raised in a Chicago slum, the young Friedkin fell in with a bad crowd, but his mother set him straight and Friedkin finished high school. Unable to afford college, Friedkin got a job in the mailroom at Chicago's WGN TV station. A budding cinephile who especially loved Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear (1952), Friedkin's ambition to become a director was stoked by his first viewing of Citizen Kane (1941) while working at WGN. By his early twenties, Friedkin was directing live television and making documentaries. After spending the '50s helming, in his own estimation, over 2,000 TV programs, Friedkin made a splash on the film festival circuit in the early '60s with his documentary The People vs. Paul Crump (1962), garnering several festival prizes and the eventual commutation of the title subject's death sentence. Producer David L. Wolper offered Friedkin a job in Hollywood and Friedkin headed west in 1965. After making several documentaries for Wolper and directing episodes of TV's The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Friedkin broke into fiction features with the Sonny Bono and Cher vehicle Good Times (1967). Though Good Times was not a success, the brash tyro was tapped to direct the Norman Lear-scripted vaudeville period piece The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968). Despite moments of charm, The Night They Raided Minsky's did not popularly justify its then-generous budget. Nevertheless, Friedkin forged ahead with adaptations of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (1968) and Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band (1970). While neither lived up to Friedkin's movie prodigy reputation, The Boys in the Band distinguished itself as the first Hollywood movie exclusively about gay men. On the verge of never living up to his press, Friedkin took to heart his then-potential father-in-law Howard Hawks' comments about making crowd-pleasing action pictures rather than arty, psychological studies. Cutting any scenes that slowed the pace, and returning to his documentary roots, Friedkin adapted the true crime best-seller The French Connection (1971) with streetwise élan. Shot on location in New York City with documentary-style mobile cameras, The French Connection was at once a timely story about cynical cops as brutal as their drug dealer prey -- complete with star Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle mercilessly shooting a man in the back -- and a thrilling action movie. The French Connection became a critically acclaimed hit, influencing the look of cop movies and TV series for years to come. Earning eight Oscar nominations, The French Connection went on to win the awards for Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Director, turning age-fudging Friedkin into the youngest winner to date. Friedkin's documentary experience, as well as the infamous attitude that prompted more than one wag to call him "Wild Billy," also convinced author William Peter Blatty that he could do justice to the potentially difficult adaptation of Blatty's best-selling Satanic possession thriller The Exorcist (1973). Though the production went over schedule and budget, and was plagued by mysterious accidents, The Exorcist handsomely rewarded the effort when it debuted during the 1973 Christmas season to long lines and eager crowds. Combining a starkly realist view of the supernatural with unprecedented, stomach-churning special effects and a barely veiled terror of feminine sexuality, The Exorcist reportedly caused audience members to wretch and faint, going on to break box-office records and spawn a horror revival. Though The Exorcist earned ten Oscar nomi

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet The Devil and Father Amorth
  • Director
2018
72% Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles
  • Actor
$9.3k 2014
88% A Fuller Life
  • Actor
2014
78% Killer Joe
  • Director
$1.9M 2012
No Score Yet The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style
  • Actor
2011
95% Making the Boys
  • Actor
$33.9k 2010
No Score Yet 40 X 15
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet The Man Who Shot Chinatown: The Life and Work of John A. Alonzo
  • Actor
2007
61% Bug
  • Director
$7.1M 2006
29% The Hunted
  • Director
$34.2M 2003
77% A Decade Under the Influence
  • Actor
2003
88% Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen
  • Director
$38.7M 2000
36% Rules of Engagement
  • Director
2000
92% 12 Angry Men
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet Howard Hawks: American Artist
  • Actor
1997
14% Jade
  • Director
1995
37% Blue Chips
  • Director
1994
13% The Guardian
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1990
44% Rampage
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1988
No Score Yet Barbra Streisand: Putting it Together - The Making of "The Broadway Album"
  • Director
1986
94% To Live and Die in L.A.
  • Screenwriter
1985
13% Deal of the Century
  • Director
1983
50% Cruising
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1980
No Score Yet The Brink's Job
  • Director
1978
80% Sorcerer
  • Producer
  • Director
1977
86% The Exorcist
  • Director
1973
98% The French Connection
  • Director
1971
100% The Boys in the Band
  • Director
1970
No Score Yet The Night They Raided Minsky's (The Night They Invented Striptease)
  • Director
1968
No Score Yet The Birthday Party
  • Director
1968
0% Good Times
  • Director
1967

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 2017
No Score Yet CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
2000-2015
  • Director
  • 2009
  • 2007

Quotes from William Friedkin's Characters

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