Proficient director of mainstream international and Hollywood genre features. Cosmatos's first memorable feature was "Massacre in Rome" (1973), a solid WWII drama starring Richard Burton and Marcello...
Worked as assistant director on Otto Preminger's "Exodus"
Directed numerous commercials in Europe
First came to prominence with "Massacre in Rome"
Feature directing debut, "The Beloved/Restless" (also co-producer and screenwriter)
Proficient director of mainstream international and Hollywood genre features. Cosmatos's first memorable feature was "Massacre in Rome" (1973), a solid WWII drama starring Richard Burton and Marcello Mastroianni as, respectively, a Nazi colonel and a priest. He began his entertainment career working with a leading figure in international cinema, as an assistant director on Otto Preminger's epic "Exodus" (1960). In the late 70s, Cosmatos began to specialize in big-budget Hollywood and international action films, starting with the technically flashy, enjoyably old-fashioned adventure-on-a-train film, "The Cassandra Crossing" (1977), and followed up with "Escape to Athena" (1979), a lesser WWII action yarn starring Roger Moore and Telly Savalas.
One of Cosmatos's more notable films was "Rambo: First Blood Part II" (1985), a vigorous sequel starring Sylvester Stallone as tortured Vietnam Vet John Rambo. Condemned as a reactionary rewriting of recent American history by some critics, the film was a huge and influential success. Cosmatos, meanwhile, has pointed to the film as a positive force in raising our consciousness about getting the remaining American POWs and MIAs returned home.
Cosmatos reteamed with Stallone for the carnage-filled yet forgettable "Cobra" (1986) and attempted to cash in on the success of "Alien" with "Leviathan" (1989), an underwater sci-fi pic. After a few years off, Cosmatos returned to features, taking over the reins of "Tombstone" (1993), yet another retelling of the Wyatt Earp story starring a youthful ensemble headed by Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
Swedish; died of cancer on July 7, 1997 at age 47
National Film School
University of London
"My pictures appeal all round the world. I do slick American pictures with a European sensitivity." -- G.P. Cosmatos