Stephen Frears

Director, Actor
Armed with a keen visual awareness and compelling ability to tell a story, director Stephen Frears became established in British cinema and television during the 1970s and 1980s before receiving international acclaim ... Read more »
Born: 06/20/1941 in Leicester, England, GB


Director (34)

Florence Foster Jenkins 2016 (Movie)


The Program 2016 (Movie)


Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)


Philomena 2013 (Movie)


Lay the Favorite 2012 (Movie)


Tamara Drewe 2010 (Movie)


Chéri 2009 (Movie)


The Queen 2006 (Movie)


Mrs. Henderson Presents 2005 (Movie)


The Deal 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)


Dirty Pretty Things 2003 (Movie)


Liam 2001 (Movie)


Fail Safe 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


High Fidelity 2000 (Movie)


The Hi-Lo Country 1998 (Movie)


The Van 1997 (Movie)


Mary Reilly 1996 (Movie)


Typically British 1994 (Movie)


Song of Experience 1993 (Movie)


The Snapper 1993 (Movie)


Three Men in a Boat 1993 (Movie)


Hero 1992 (Movie)


The Grifters 1990 (Movie)


Dangerous Liaisons 1988 (Movie)


Prick Up Your Ears 1987 (Movie)


Sammy and Rosie Get Laid 1987 (Movie)


Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door 1986 (Movie)


My Beautiful Laundrette 1986 (Movie)


The Hit 1983 (Movie)


Bloody Kids 1982 (Movie)


Loving Walter 1982 (Movie)


Saigon - Year of the Cat 1982 (Movie)


Gumshoe 1972 (Movie)


December Flower (TV Show)

Actor (5)

Great Directors 2010 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Chéri 2009 (Movie)


40X15: Forty Years of the Directors' Fortnight 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Howard Hawks: American Artist 1996 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Long Shot 1977 (Movie)

Biscuit Man (Actor)
Producer (2)

Night Will Fall 2014 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Brazuca 2009 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)
Production Management (2)

The Lifetaker 1974 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)

Charlie Bubbles 1967 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)
Other (1)

If... 1968 (Movie)

(to Lindsay Anderson) (Assistant)


Armed with a keen visual awareness and compelling ability to tell a story, director Stephen Frears became established in British cinema and television during the 1970s and 1980s before receiving international acclaim for "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1986). From there, Frears balanced careers in both America and his native England, helming the critically acclaimed British biopic "Prick Up Your Ears" (1987), while pushing boundaries with the lavish "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988). He went on to helm one of the best neo-noirs of the postmodern age, "The Grifters" (1990), which earned some of the best praise of his career. Though he no doubt could have further developed his Hollywood credentials, Frears instead returned to England to direct smaller indies like "The Snapper" (1993) and "The Van" (1996). His return to the studio fold proved disastrous with "Mary Reilly" (1996), a commercial and critical flop that marked one of the few low points of his career. Frears soon bounced back with a sharp adaptation of countryman Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" (2000), before earning more critical acclaim for his smart thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" (2003). With "The Queen" (2006), arguably one of his finest achievements, particularly in drawing an exemplary performance from star Helen Mirren, Frears cemented his place as one of England's most diverse and celebrated directors.


Lola Frears Actor

Born 1985; mother, Annie Rothenstein

Frankie Frears Assistant Director

Born 1983; mother, Annie Rothenstein

Russell Frears


Will Frears Screenplay

Born 1973; mother, Mary-Kay Wilmers

Ruth Frears


Sam Frears

Born 1972; mother, Mary-Kay Wilmers

Annie Rothenstein

Together since c. 1974 Married 1992

Mary-Kay Wilmers

Married 1966 Divorced 1975


University of Cambridge

Cambridge , England 1960 - 1963
Graduated from Trinity College with a law degree, but was also involved in student theater

Gresham's School

Norfolk 1954 - 1959



Directed Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in comedy feature "Lay the Favorite"; film based on memoir by Beth Raymer


Re-teamed with Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Hampton for " Chéri"; both Pfeiffer and Hampton collaborated with Frears on "Dangerous Liaisons"


Helmed "The Queen," an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the interaction between Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) during their struggle following the death of Princess Diana; received Golden Glob


Directed "Mrs. Henderson Presents," starring Judi Dench as wealthy British widow Laura Henderson who bought and ran the famous Windmill Theatre


Directed "Dirty Pretty Things," starring Audrey Tautou as an illegal immigrant in London


Directed CBS remake of "Fail Safe," a live, two-hour, black-and-white adaptation of the bestselling 1962 Cold War novel by Henry Wheeler and Eugene Burdick; George Clooney starred and was one of the executive producers; received an Emmy nomination


Garnered good reviews for the small-scale feature "Liam"


Re-teamed with Cusack for "High Fidelity"; Cusack co-adapted Nick Hornby's novel, changing the setting from London to Chicago, IL


Helmed Western "The Hi-Lo Country," starring Billy Crudup and Woody Harrelson


Narrated documentary "Howard Hawks: American Artist"


Re-teamed with actor Malkovich and writer Hampton for "Mary Reilly"


Re-teamed with Doyle for "The Van"


Co-directed (with Mike Dibb) the documentary "Typically British"


Returned to England to direct the low-budget film "The Snapper"; adapted by Roddy Doyle from his novel about a working-class Irish family


Third U.S. feature, "Hero," starring Dustin Hoffman Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia; reportedly feuded on set with star Hoffman


First film with actor John Cusack, "The Grifters"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Director


Directed first U.S. film "Dangerous Liaisons"; first collaboration with Christopher Hampton, who had first adapted the 18th-century French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses for the stage


Re-teamed with Kureishi on "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid"


Re-teamed with Bennett, who scripted for the Joe Orton biopic "Prick Up Your Ears"


Helmed breakthrough feature "My Beautiful Laundrette," first collaboration with screenwriter Hanif Kureishi


Helmed thriller "The Hit"; contained memorable theme music composed by Eric Clapton


Directed ITV movie "Saigon: Year of the Cat," scripted by David Hare; also received theatrical release


Appeared as the 'Biscuit Man' in Maurice Hatton's "Long Shot"


Collaborated with playwright Tom Stoppard on BBC film "Three Men in a Boat"


Re-teamed with writer Neville Smith for "Match of Day"


Directed first feature "Gumshoe," starring Finney and written by Neville Smith; commissioned original score from Andrew Lloyd Webber


Directed first TV film scripted by playwright Alan Bennett, "A Day Out" (BBC)


Assisted director Lindsay Anderson in the film "If...."


Served as assistant director to Albert Finney on Finney's directorial debut "Charlie Bubbles"


Directed "The Burning," a half-hour film made for the British Film Institute's Production Board


Was an assistant director on Karel Reisz's "Morgan"


Directed "Waiting for Godot" and "Inadmissible Evidence" for the Royal Court Theatre in London, England

Bonus Trivia


About winning the race to be the first director to release a film based on Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses: "It's amazing what you can do when you've got an Oscar-winning director staring over your shoulder."I knew that Milos [Forman, who was simultaneously helming "Valmont"] takes a long time to make his movies. But it does work wonders, I mean, it's a very good thing to have somebody else making the same film a few days after you. I would thoroughly recommend it as a way of getting things done." – Frears quoted in The New York Times magazine, Dec. 18, 1988


Why he does not go back and look at his previous work: "All you ever do is wonder if someday you'll lose your talent. That's what I lie in bed and worry about. I might look at something and say, 'God, I can't do that anymore.'" – Frears to The Washington Post, Jan. 10, 1999


In March 2009, Frears was awarded the Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Culture Minister.