John Milius
John Frederick Milius is an American screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, and producer of motion pictures.

Early life

Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, the son of Elizabeth (née
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

 Roe) and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected due to chronic asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

. He ascribes his fascination with guns and the military to this disappointment.


A former student at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 School of Cinema-Television, Milius started his movie career in a student film contest in 1967, taking first prize for his entry Marcello I'm Bored. Milius wrote, co-wrote or directed the films Jeremiah Johnson (with Edward Anhalt
Edward Anhalt
Edward Anhalt was a noted screenwriter, producer, and documentary film-maker. After working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for Pathé and CBS-TV he teamed with his wife Edna Anhalt, née Richards, during World War II to write pulp fiction...

), Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American crime thriller produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan....

(uncredited), Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

, Dillinger
Dillinger (1973 film)
Dillinger is a 1973 gangster film about the life and criminal exploits of notorious bank robber John Dillinger.It stars Warren Oates as Dillinger and Ben Johnson as his pursuer, FBI Agent Melvin Purvis. The film, narrated by Purvis, chronicles the last few years of Dillinger's life as the FBI and...

, Magnum Force
Magnum Force
Magnum Force is a 1973 American police thriller film and the second to feature Clint Eastwood as maverick cop Harry Callahan after the 1971 film Dirty Harry. Ted Post, who also directed Eastwood in TV's Rawhide and the feature film Hang 'Em High, directed the second film in the Dirty Harry series...

, The Wind and the Lion
The Wind and the Lion
The Wind and the Lion is a 1975 adventure film. It was written and directed by John Milius and starred Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith and John Huston...

, Rough Riders
Rough Riders (film)
Rough Riders is a 1997 three hour television miniseries about future President Theodore Roosevelt and the regiment . The series prominently shows the bravery of the volunteers at the Battle of San Juan Hill, part of the Spanish-American War of 1898. It was released on DVD in 2006...

, Big Wednesday
Big Wednesday
Big Wednesday is an American coming of age film directed by John Milius. Milius co-wrote Big Wednesday with Denny Aaberg, and it is loosely based on their own experiences at Malibu and a short story Aaberg had published in a 1974 Surfer Magazine entitled "No Pants Mance." The picture stars...

, 1941
1941 (film)
1941 is a 1979 period comedy film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and featuring an ensemble cast including John Belushi, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Toshiro Mifune, Christopher Lee and Dan Aykroyd...

, Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn
Red Dawn
Red Dawn is a 1984 American war film directed by John Milius and co-written by Milius and Kevin Reynolds. It stars Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey....

, Farewell to the King
Farewell to the King
Farewell to the King is a 1989 film written and directed by John Milius. It stars Nigel Havers, Frank McRae, Gerry Lopez and Nick Nolte, and is based on the 1969 novel L'Adieu au Roi by Pierre Schoendoerffer. Longtime Milius collaborator Basil Poledouris composed the musical score...

, Flight of the Intruder
Flight of the Intruder
Flight of the Intruder is a 1991 film directed by John Milius, which is based on the novel of the same name by A-6 Intruder pilot Stephen Coonts...

, the TNT feature Motorcycle Gang, Geronimo: An American Legend
Geronimo: An American Legend
Geronimo: An American Legend is a 1993 film, starring Wes Studi as Geronimo, Jason Patric as 1st Lt. Charles B. Gatewood, Gene Hackman as Brig. Gen. George Crook, Robert Duvall as Chief of Scouts Al Sieber, and Matt Damon as 2nd Lt. Britton Davis. The film was directed by Walter Hill from a...

, the HBO television series Rome
Rome (TV series)
Rome is a British-American–Italian historical drama television series created by Bruno Heller, John Milius and William J. MacDonald. The show's two seasons premiered in 2005 and 2007, and were later released on DVD. Rome is set in the 1st century BC, during Ancient Rome's transition from Republic...

, and contributed writing to the film adaptations of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels The Hunt for Red October
The Hunt for Red October
The Hunt for Red October is a 1984 novel by Tom Clancy. The story follows the intertwined adventures of Soviet submarine captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius and CIA analyst Jack Ryan.The novel was originally published by the U.S...

and Clear and Present Danger
Clear and Present Danger (film)
Clear and Present Danger is a 1994 film directed by Phillip Noyce, based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy. It is a subsequent release to the 1992 film Patriot Games, which in itself is a subsequent release to the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October.It is the last film to feature Harrison...

. Milius coined the famous "Charlie don't surf" and "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" lines from Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

. He was also involved in creating the famous USS Indianapolis
USS Indianapolis
Three ships of the United States Navy have been named Indianapolis: was a cargo ship commissioned 12 December 1918 and decommissioned 9 July 1919. was a heavy cruiser commissioned in 1932, active throughout World War II and sunk by torpedoes in July 1945....

monologue in the movie Jaws
Jaws (film)
Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

and the famous Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American crime thriller produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan....

 one-liners delivered by Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

, including "Go ahead, make my day" and "Do I feel lucky?" monologue.

Through work on Rough Riders (1997), he became an instrumental force in causing President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 to be awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 (posthumously), for acts of conspicuous gallantry while in combat on San Juan Hill.
Milius has made two films featuring Roosevelt: The Wind and the Lion (where he was played by Brian Keith
Brian Keith
Brian Keith was an American film, television, and stage actor who in his four decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the 1961 Disney family film The Parent Trap, the 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and the 1975 adventure saga The Wind and...

) and the made-for-TV film Rough Riders (where Tom Berenger
Tom Berenger
Tom Berenger is an American actor known mainly for his roles in action films.-Early life:Berenger was born as Thomas Michael Moore in Chicago to an Irish Catholic family. Berenger's father was a printer for the Chicago Sun-Times. Berenger has a sister, Susan...

 took the role). He considered himself too much in awe of Roosevelt to do a full-on biopic of him, but says he hopes to make a third film to complete a Roosevelt trilogy - though with Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

's upcoming adaptation of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt is a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of President Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. It is the first in a trilogy, with the second volume Theodore Rex published in 2001 and the third volume Colonel Roosevelt in late 2010.The Rise covers the time period from...

, that seems unlikely. Milius is writing and directing the movie Journey of Death, a modern day western starring WWE
World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales...

 superstar Triple H
Triple H
Paul Michael Levesque is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling authority figure, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and actor, better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of the ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley...

 and Academy Award nominee Clive Owen
Clive Owen
Clive Owen is an English actor, who has worked on television, stage and film. He first gained recognition in the United Kingdom for portraying the lead in the ITV series Chancer from 1990 to 1991...

. He is a frequent guest on The History Channel
The History Channel
History, formerly known as The History Channel, is an American-based international satellite and cable TV channel that broadcasts a variety of reality shows and documentary programs including those of fictional and non-fictional historical content, together with speculation about the future.-...

's show Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels is a documentary television series that premiered on January 1, 1995 on History. The program focuses on how technologies affect and are used in today's society....


The character Walter Sobchak in the film The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named...

, made by his friends the Coen Brothers
Coen Brothers
Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen known together professionally as the Coen brothers, are American filmmakers...

, was based on Milius.

A third Conan film, tentatively titled Crown of Iron, was drafted in 2001 by Milius, and was to be produced by the Wachowski Brothers. There was talk of either having Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise his role, or it being filmed with the wrestling star Triple H.

Milius was also instrumental during the startup of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) organization: it was his idea to use the octagon-shaped cage, and his association with UFC helped provide interest and investors to the startup UFC.

In 2007, Milius was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
The Austin Film Festival was started in 1994 in Austin, Texas and is claimed to be "the first organization of its kind to focus on the writer’s unique creative contribution to the film and television industries"...

's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

John Milius is currently working on a new HBO series called Pharaoh. In March of 2011, he finished writing for THQ
THQ Inc. is an American developer and publisher of video games. Founded in 1989 in the United States, the company develops products for video game consoles, handheld game systems, as well as for personal computers and wireless devices...

 and Kaos Studios
Kaos Studios
Kaos Studios was an American video game developer based in New York City, New York. Kaos Studios was formed in 2006 when publisher THQ hired the core members of Trauma Studios, the team behind the popular Desert Combat modification, to create a new studio based in New York City to focus on...

 for the video game Homefront
Homefront (video game)
Homefront is a first-person shooter video game developed by now defunct Kaos Studios and published by THQ, in which players play as members of a resistance movement fighting against a near-future Korean military occupation of the United States. The story was written by John Milius, who co-wrote...

, about a North Korean conquest of America. Mickey Rourke said that he was in talks with John Milius to bring to life a new Genghis Khan movie. John Milius is also in talks to adapt the novel Aztec into a miniseries.

Personal life

He is a self-proclaimed "Zen anarchist
Buddhist anarchism
Some observers believe certain Buddhist teachings form a philosophical ground for anarchism.-Inferences drawn from the Three Universal Truths:Buddhism is rooted in three fundamental truths of the universe, the dharma seals, viz.:...


He is also involved in a military think tank, the Institute for Creative Technologies
Institute for Creative Technologies
The Institute for Creative Technologies is a research institute of the University of Southern California located in Playa Vista, California. ICT was established in 1999 with funding from the US Army...

, as a consultant.

Milius is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

, an avid firearms collector and authority on firearms, and a vocal opponent of gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 legislation. Milius, a very popular personality among gun hobbyists, can be routinely seen visiting local gun shops and shooting and socializing with the public at target ranges near his residence when not at remote movie locations. Milius was one of the many people interviewed in the documentary
A documentary is a creative work of non-fiction, including:* Documentary film, including television* Radio documentary* Documentary photographyRelated terms include:...

 Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood.

His filmmaking idols are John Ford
John Ford
John Ford was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath...

 and Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
was a Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 filmsIn 1946, Kurosawa co-directed, with Hideo Sekigawa and Kajiro Yamamoto, the feature Those Who Make Tomorrow ;...

. He has also mentioned Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah was an American filmmaker and screenwriter who achieved prominence following the release of the Western epic The Wild Bunch...

, Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter most associated with the "Spaghetti Western" genre.Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots...

, David Lean
David Lean
Sir David Lean CBE was an English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor best remembered for big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia ,...

, and his friend and mentor John Huston
John Huston
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter and actor. He wrote most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics: The Maltese Falcon , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre , Key Largo , The Asphalt Jungle , The African Queen , Moulin Rouge...

 as important influences as well. His favorite films are reportedly Red River, The Battle of Algiers, They Died With Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On
They Died with Their Boots On is a 1941 western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Despite being rife with historical inaccuracies, the film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the last of eight Flynn–de Havilland collaborations.Like...

, The Searchers
The Searchers (film)
The Searchers is a 1956 American Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, and set during the Texas–Indian Wars...

, They Were Expendable
They Were Expendable
They Were Expendable is a 1945 American war film directed by John Ford and starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne. The film is based on the book by William L. White, relating the story of the exploits of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three, a PT boat unit defending the Philippines against Japanese...

, The Wild Bunch
The Wild Bunch
The Wild Bunch is a 1969 American Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah about an aging outlaw gang on the Texas-Mexico border, trying to exist in the changing "modern" world of 1913...

, Seven Samurai, Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard (film)
Sunset Boulevard is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett...

, La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come...

, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (film)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American film written and directed by John Huston, a feature film adaptation of B. Traven's 1927 novel of the same name, in which two Americans Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin during the 1920s in Mexico join with an old-timer, Howard , to prospect for gold...

, Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia (film)
Lawrence of Arabia is a 1962 British film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Sam Spiegel through his British company, Horizon Pictures, with the screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. The film stars Peter O'Toole in the title role. It is widely...

and Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...


Milius is Jewish and has been married three times. His current marriage (since 1992) is to actress Elan Oberon (who appeared in his 1989 film Farewell to the King
Farewell to the King
Farewell to the King is a 1989 film written and directed by John Milius. It stars Nigel Havers, Frank McRae, Gerry Lopez and Nick Nolte, and is based on the 1969 novel L'Adieu au Roi by Pierre Schoendoerffer. Longtime Milius collaborator Basil Poledouris composed the musical score...

and who is seen—and heard—singing Garryowen in Rough Riders
Rough Riders
The Rough Riders is the name bestowed on the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 for the Spanish-American War and the only one of the three to see action. The United States Army was weakened and left with little manpower after the American Civil War...

). He has two children by his first wife, Renee Fabri, and one child by his second wife, Celia Kaye
Celia Kaye
Celia Kaye is an American former actress who appeared in a recurring role as Marnie Massey, daughter of the character Christine Massey played by Loretta Young, on the comedy-drama series, The New Loretta Young Show. The program aired for twenty-six weeks on CBS from 1962 to 1963...


External links

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