Alan Parker: Wikis


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Alan Parker

Alan Parker, Warsaw (Poland), 15th October 2005
Born 14 February 1944 (1944-02-14) (age 65)
Islington, London, England

Sir Alan William Parker, CBE (born 14 February 1944) is an English film director, producer, writer and actor. He has been active in both the British film industry and Hollywood and was a founding member of the Director's Guild of Great Britain.


Life and career

Parker was born into a working class family in Islington, North London, the son of Elsie Ellen, a dressmaker, and William Leslie Parker, a house painter.[1] He attended Dame Alice Owen's School. Parker started out as a copywriter for advertising agencies in the 1960s and 1970s and later began to write his own television commercial scripts. His most celebrated and enduring advertising work was when he worked for famed London agency Collett Dickenson Pearce where he directed many award winning commercials, including the famous Cinzano vermouth advertisement, starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, shown in the UK.

His film career began through his association with producer David Puttnam, now Lord Puttnam, when he wrote the screenplay for the feature Melody (1971). Puttnam would later produce a number of Parker's films including Midnight Express (1978). This, his breakthrough, was a highly controversial film set in a Turkish prison that was lauded by critics and ended up earning Parker a number of Oscar nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture. He was later nominated for Best Director with Mississippi Burning (1988).

Parker has directed a number of off-beat musicals including Bugsy Malone (1976), Fame (1980), Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996).

He was knighted in the New Year's Honours for 2002. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Sunderland in 2005 of which his long time associate Lord Puttnam is chancellor. Parker is an Arsenal fan and attends their home games.[2]


One of his films, Midnight Express, stirred enormous controversy in the world especially in Turkey. The film derives from a book written by Billy Hayes. Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay of the film and David Puttnam is the producer. After the release of the film, it was and is condemned in Turkey for its portrayal of Turkish people, Turkish institutions and consequently damaging the public image of Turkey.

Unlike Parker, Putnam, Stone and Hayes who were producer, screenwriter and author of the original book respectively expressed their concerns with the film regarding its anti-Turkish agenda. Screenwriter of that film, Oliver Stone, who won an Academy Award for the film, visited Turkey in 2004, made an apology for the portrayal of the Turkish people in the film.[3] In parallel with Stone, an amateur interview with Billy Hayes who is the author of the book that Midnight Express is based on, appeared on YouTube (Part 1 - Part 2) recorded during the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, in which he expressed his disappointment with the film adaptation.[4] In an article for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Hayes stated that the film "depicts all Turks as monsters".[5]

In an interview in 1984, David Puttnam, producer of the film, called the book dishonest.[6] In addition to Putnam, Parker and Stone, film reviewers described the film as "violent", "national hate-film", "a cultural form that narrows horizons", "confirming the audience’s meanest fears and prejudices and resentments".[7]



See also


  1. ^ Alan Parker Biography (1944-)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Smith, Helena. "Stone sorry for Midnight Express", The Guardian;, 16 December 2004
  4. ^ Interview with Billy Hayes about 'Midnight Express' on YouTube
  5. ^ The real Billy Hayes regrets 'Midnight Express' cast all Turks in a bad light - Seattle Post Intelligencer
  6. ^ Shipman D (1984). The Story Of Cinema. London: Hadder and Stoughton.  
  7. ^ John Wakeman(ed) (1988). World Film Directors. New York: T.H. W. Wilson Co.  

External links

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