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Geoff Murphy: Wikis


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Geoff Murphy (born 12 October 1938) is a successful New Zealand filmmaker best-known for his work during the renaissance of New Zealand cinema that began in the last half of the 1970s.

He directed a string of big-budget Hollywood features during the 1990s, before returning to New Zealand as second unit director on all three movies of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He has also worked as a scriptwriter, assistant director, special effects man, schoolteacher and trumpet player.


Early life

Murphy grew up in Highbury, Wellington and attended St. Vincent de Paul School in Kelburn and St. Patrick's College, Wellington (1952-56), before training and working as a schoolteacher.


Murphy was a founding member of legendary 'hippy' musical and theatrical co-operative Blerta, which toured New Zealand and Australia performing multi-media shows in the early 1970s, and together made the feature film Wild Man. Many members of the group would work in Murphy's later films - in particular drummer, and founder, Bruno Lawrence.

Early films

Murphy made his name with the classic road movie Goodbye Pork Pie (1981), one of the first New Zealand films to attract large-scale audiences in its home country. Murphy demonstrated his versatility and ability to attract mainstream audiences with the two films that followed: Māori western Utu (1983) and the last man on earth piece The Quiet Earth (1985), both starring Bruno Lawrence.[1]


In the 1990s Murphy spent a number of years working in Hollywood directing big-budget movies such as Young Guns II, Freejack, and the Steven Seagal sequel Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; the latter being his most successful film at the box-office (grossing over US$100 million worldwide). However, none of the movies were successful with critics.

Return to New Zealand

He returned to New Zealand and worked with Peter Jackson on each of the The Lord of the Rings films; made a documentary film chronicling the Blerta phenomenon - and the critically-panned thriller Spooked, featuring Cliff Curtis. More recently Murphy directed the New Zealand television comedy series "Welcome to Paradise"[2], worked on the remastered DVD release of Goodbye Pork Pie and was 2nd unit director on another Hollywood movie.


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