Walter Hill

Screenwriter, Director, Producer
An auteur in every sense of the word, director Walter Hill took the baton passed him by Sam Peckinpah and became a specialist in the archetypal male action movie, reveling in the artifice of the genre, while at the same ... Read more »
Born: 01/09/1940 in Long Beach, California, USA

Filmography

Producer (100)

Prometheus 2012 (Movie)

(Producer)

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Alien vs. Predator 2004 (Movie)

(Producer)

Undisputed 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

Alien Resurrection 1997 (Movie)

(Producer)

Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

A Fatal Caper 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

A Slight Case of Murder 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

About Face 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Bordello of Blood 1996 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Cold War 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Ear Today... Gone Tomorrow 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Escape 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Horror in the Night 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Last Man Standing 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Last Respects 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Report from the Grave 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Smoke Wrings 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Tales From the Cryptkeeper 1993 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Kidnapper 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Third Pig 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

W.E.I.R.D. World 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

99 and 44/100% Pure Horror! 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Comes the Dawn 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Doctor of Horror 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

In the Groove 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Staired in Horror 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Assassin 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

You, Murderer 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Came the Dawn 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Creep Course 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Death of Some Salesmen 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Forever Ambergris 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Half Way Horrible 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

House of Horror 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

People Who Live in Brass Hearses 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Till Death Do We Part 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Two For the Show 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Well-Cooked Hams 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Curiosity Killed 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Geronimo: An American Legend 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Strung Along 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Werewolf Concerto 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Alien3 1992 (Movie)

(Producer)

Beauty Rest 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Maniac at Large 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

On a Dead Man's Chest 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Seance 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Showdown 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Split Personality 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The New Arrival 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

This'll Kill Ya 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Two-Fisted Tales 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Abra Cadaver 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Carrion Death 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dead Wait 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Easel Kill 'Ya 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Loved to Death 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Mournin' Mess 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

None But the Lonely Heart 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Split Second 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Reluctant Vampire 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Trap 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Top Billing 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Undertaking Palor 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Yellow 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

'Til Death 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dead Right 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Fitting Punishment 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

For Cryin' Out Loud 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Four-Sided Triangle 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Judy, You're Not Yourself Today 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Korman's Kalamity 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Lower Berth 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Mute Witness to Murder 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

My Brother's Keeper 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Television Terror 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Sacrifice 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Secret 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Switch 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Thing From the Grave 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Ventriloquist's Dummy 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Three's a Crowd 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

And All Through the House 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Collection Completed 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone! 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Lover Come Hack to Me 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Only Sin Deep 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Red Heat 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

Aliens 1986 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Blue City 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

Alien 1979 (Movie)

(Producer)

As Ye Sow (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Confession (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Food For Thought (TV Show)

Executive Producer

King of the Road (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Oil's Well That Ends Well (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Spoiled (TV Show)

Executive Producer

What's Cookin'? (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Director (26)

Bullet To The Head 2013 (Movie)

(Director)

Deadwood 2004 (Tv Show)

Director

Undisputed 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Supernova 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Perversions of Science 1997 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Director

Last Man Standing 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Wild Bill 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Geronimo: An American Legend 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Trespass 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Deadline 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Director

Another 48 Hours 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Cutting Cards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Director

Johnny Handsome 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

The Man Who Was Death 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director

Red Heat 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Extreme Prejudice 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Crossroads 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Brewster's Millions 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Streets of Fire 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

48 HRS. 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Southern Comfort 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

The Long Riders 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

The Warriors 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

The Driver 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Hard Times 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

Broken Trail (TV Show)

Director
Writer (25)

Undisputed 2002 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Last Man Standing 1996 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Wild Bill 1995 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Getaway 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Alien3 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Another 48 Hours 1990 (Movie)

(Characters as Source Material)

Red Heat 1988 (Movie)

(From Story)

Red Heat 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Aliens 1986 (Movie)

(From Story)

Aliens 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Blue City 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Streets of Fire 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

48 HRS. 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Southern Comfort 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Alien 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Warriors 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Driver 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Dog and Cat 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Screenplay

Hard Times 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Drowning Pool 1974 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hickey and Boggs 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Mackintosh Man 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Thief Who Came to Dinner 1972 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Getaway 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Dog and Cat (TV Show)

Creator
Actor (3)

Becoming John Ford 2006 (Movie)

(Actor)

Howard Hawks: American Artist 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

Directed by John Ford (TV Show)

Actor
Production Management (2)

Take the Money and Run 1969 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)

The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 (Movie)

(Assistant Director)

Biography

An auteur in every sense of the word, director Walter Hill took the baton passed him by Sam Peckinpah and became a specialist in the archetypal male action movie, reveling in the artifice of the genre, while at the same time, straining against its constraints. Strongly influenced by John Ford and Howard Hawks - he once claimed every film he had ever made was a Western - he allowed action to define character, believing "there is nothing more absurd than properly motivated characters," and concentrated on creating stunning visual spectacle through experiments in lighting, montage, composition and camera angles. For Hill, violence in varying degrees of stylization provided the stamp of macho gesture; women were extensions of the male world, exhibiting testosterone toughness and masculine meanness; and "home" illuminated a path for those who had lost their way. His pictures reflected a fascination with myth-making and myth-breaking and, at their best, transcended genre conventions.

Born Jan. 10, 1940 in Long Beach, CA, Hill came out of the Directors Guild of America training school and served as 2nd assistant director on two 1968 movies starring Steve McQueen - Norman Jewison's "The Thomas Crown Affair" and Peter Yates' "Bullitt" - as well as for Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" (1969), but finally acquired the clout to direct through screenwriting. His first produced screenplay, "Hickey and Boggs" (1972), became a "salt and pepper" buddy pic for "I Spy" co-stars Robert Culp (who also directed) and Bill Cosby. He also scripted (from a Jim Thompson novel) that year's "The Getaway," Peckinpah's exciting chase vehicle for McQueen, which elevated his stock considerably within the industry. When producer Lawrence Gordon enlisted him as a script doctor for "Hard Times" (1975), Hill accepted the assignment only on the condition that he also direct the film. A fairly traditional picture in terms of its approach to character development, "Hard Times" was violent and visceral pulp, casting Charles Bronson as the strong, silent loner, fighting bare-knuckled against the director's painterly Depression-era backdrop.

The critical and commercial success of "Hard Times" led Gordon to produce Hill's "The Driver" (1978) from the director's original script. A homage to film noir that further developed the chase scene iconography from "The Getaway," its failure at American box offices left him still in pursuit of the smash hit needed to win more autonomy within the industry. His next film, "The Warriors" (1979), however, was an overwhelming success, adapted from Sol Yurick's novel - itself based on Xenophon's account in Anabasis of how he led 10,000 Greek soldiers through Persia to safety after the battle of Cunaxa in 401 BC. Hill's "Warriors" were teenage gang members who must fight their way through hostile turf from Coney Island to their "home" in the Bronx. Hill himself identified the movie as a "comic book, rock-n-roll version of the Xenophon story," and the film's departure from realism actually mitigated the excessive violence, although it acquired a certain notoriety for sparking "imitative rampages" at theaters across the country.

After working on the script, casting and post-production of Ridley Scott's "Alien" (1979) - his first foray into producing - Hill directed "The Long Riders" (1980), his version of the Frank and Jesse James legend, which contained in the words of one critic, "the most ambitious slow-motion shoot-out since Peckinpah's 'Wild Bunch'." Moderately successful at the box office, it found fewer champions than any of his films up until that time, but it did team him for the first time with the musician Ry Cooder. Hill had learned from Ford the necessity for putting the best songs and musical numbers into his pictures, leading to the success of "The Warriors" soundtrack which had contributed mightily to its success. In Cooder, Hill found someone whose music meshed with his own sensibilities, and the two would work together on 11 movies through 1996. Though "Southern Comfort" (1981) met with more critical favor than its predecessor, audiences stayed away from what was essentially a retelling of "The Warriors;" this time the "lost patrol" was a National Guard unit fighting its way out of hostile Cajun country in a picture that drew many comparisons to John Boorman's "Deliverance" (1972).

Hill returned to the "buddy movie" formula and enjoyed his biggest commercial success with "48 Hours" (1982), which paired detective Nick Nolte with Eddie Murphy (in his feature debut) as the con he must liberate for two days to help him solve his case. Closer than any of Hill's prior pictures to straightforward genre fare, it was a potent mix of action and comedy, featuring a standout scene where Murphy, using his theatrical chutzpah (and Nolte's badge), terrorizes a redneck bar. "Streets of Fire" (1984), described by its director as "an Arthurian story in the rock 'n' roll idiom," featured an energetic score by Cooder and stunning photography but failed with critics and audiences alike, prefacing a long string of movies - "Brewster's Millions" (1985), "Crossroads" (1986), "Extreme Prejudice" (1987), "Red Heat" (1988), "Johnny Handsome" (1989) and "Another 48 Hours" (1990) - that, despite their professional polish, did not live up to the critical and commercial expectations established by his earlier work. After serving as executive producer and story author for James Cameron's "Aliens" (1986), his stake in the "Alien" franchise gave him his only blockbuster of the last half of the decade.

By the mid-1980s, Hill joined with such esteemed colleagues as Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver and Richard Donner as executive producer(s) of the HBO series "Tales From the Crypt" (1989-96), based on the comic book series. This lucrative franchise played like a more adult version of Rod Serling's seminal "Night Gallery," with half-hour segments devoted to creating chills with the requisite nudity and profanity allowed on premium cable channels. Hill also helmed the occasional episode. The team's attempt to repeat this success with another HBO series, "Perversions of Science" (1997), however, fell far short. Also adapted from a comic book, these tales relied more on bizarre plots and special effects and less on the off-beat humor that permeated "Tales From the Crypt."

Although "Alien3" (1992) - which he co-scripted and co-produced sans Cameron - was a pale deja vu of its predecessors, Hill's culturally disreputable "Trespass" (1992) was his most entertaining film in years, earning him a shot at making the very personal "Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993). Shooting in the same Utah locations frequently used by John Ford, the director delivered a film of great beauty and considerable intelligence, but the TNT television biopic "Geronimo" beat it to the punch, airing just a week before the feature film's release and stealing for free its potential audience. Though it wreaked of Hollywood compromise, in that it bolstered the parts of Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman at the expense of Native American actor Wes Studi in the title role, its juxtaposition of Jason Patric with Studi - whose gang of ragtag Apaches invoked "The Warriors" - brilliantly emphasizes the impossibility of ever going home.

Hill followed with another revisionist Western, "Wild Bill" (1995), an elegiac meditation on the perils of celebrity starring Jeff Bridges as Wild Bill Hickock and Ellen Barkin as an appropriately rough-and-tumble Calamity Jane, but neither it nor the subsequent "Last Man Standing" (1996) - a remake of Akira Kurasawa's "Yojimbo" (1961) starring Bruce Willis - created much activity at the turnstiles. After a three year absence, Hill returned to the big screen to replace Geoffrey Wright at the helm of "Supernova" (1999), a sci-fi thriller set in the 22nd Century which tanked at the box office. After the "Supernova" debacle, Hill directed the Wesley Snipes-Ving Rhames boxing stinker, "Undisputed" (2002), effectively leaving enough of a bad taste in his mouth to turn to directing for television. Hill regained his footing on the small screen, directing the pilot episode for David Milch's Shakespearean western, "Deadwood" (HBO, 2004-07), for which he won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. In 2007, Hill found himself on the cusp of a second Emmy award after being nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for "Broken Trail" (AMC, 2006-07), a sweeping western about an old cowboy (Robert Duvall) and his nephew (Thomas Hayden Church) trying to find safe haven for five Chinese women who were kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.

Relationships

Hildy Gottlieb Executive Producer

Wife
Married Sept. 7, 1986

Joanna Hill

Daughter
Born May 1987; mother, Hildy Gottlieb

Miranda Hill

Daughter
Born December 1989; mother, Hildy Gottlieb

EDUCATION

University of Americas

1959 - 1960

Michigan State University

East Lansing , Michigan 1963

Attended the Directors Guild of America training program for assistant directors in 1966

Milestones

2013

Returned to feature directing with action thriller "Bullet to the Head," starring Sylvester Stallone

2012

Reunited with directory Ridley Scott to produce "Prometheus"

2006

Produced and directed AMC miniseries "Broken Trail"; earned Emmy nomination for Best Directing for a Miniseries or TV Movie

2004

Directed episodes of HBO drama "Deadwood"

2000

Directed futuristic thriller "Supernova"; replaced Geoffrey Wright, who left project due to creative differences; when Francis Ford Coppola was brought in to re-cut film, he decided to credit himself with pseudonym Thomas Lee and chose not to be associate

1997

Executive produced (along with Zemeckis, Silver, Donner, and Giler) HBO anthology series "Perversions of Science"; also directed "Dream of Doom" episode

1995

Co-wrote and directed disappointing "Wild Bill," an odd revisionist take on Wild Bill Hickock (portrayed by Jeff Bridges)

1993

Directed and produced (with Neil Canton) "Geronimo: An American Legend"; co-scripted by John Milius

1992

Co-scripted and co-produced "Alien3," directed by David Fincher

1990

Returned to direct "Another 48 Hrs."; seventh collaboration with Gordon

1989

Co-executive produced HBO series "Tales From the Crypt" along with Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver, Richard Donner, and Giler; also wrote and directed several episodes

1987

Re-teamed with Nolte for "Extreme Prejudice"

1986

Made debut as executive producer with James Cameron's "Aliens"; also credited for story

1984

Co-scripted and directed rock 'n' roll fable "Streets of Fire"; flopped despite pulsating score by Cooder

1982

Scored big hit as co-writer and director of "48 Hrs."; starred Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in his film debut; re-teamed with producer Gordon

1981

Co-founded Phoenix Films with David Giler and Joseph Gallagher; company produced "Southern Comfort"; re-teamed with Keith Carradine

1980

Directed first Western "The Long Riders," which cast real-life acting brothers (the Keaches, Carradines, Quaids, and Guests) as historical outlaw siblings; first collaboration with musician Ry Cooder

1979

First producing credit, Ridley Scott's "Alien"

1979

Directed "The Warriors," a story of violent street gangs which arguably became his most popular film due to its ongoing cult following; shared screenplay credit with David Shaber

1978

Co-wrote and directed "The Driver," starring Ryan O'Neal as a laconic getaway driver for hire and Bruce Dern as a driven cop pursuing him

1977

Wrote script for ABC TV movie pilot "Dog and Cat"

1977

Credited as creator for spin-off police series "Dog and Cat"

1976

Received screenplay credit for another Newman vehicle "The Drowning Pool"

1975

Made feature directorial debut with "Hard Times"; first collaboration with producer Lawrence Gordon

1973

Received screenplay credit for John Huston's "The Mackintosh Man," starring Paul Newman

1972

First produced screenplays, "Hickey and Boggs" and "The Getaway"; both films starred McQueen

1968

Was 2nd assistant director on Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run"

1968

First professional credit, as 2nd assistant director on Norman Jewison's "The Thomas Crown Affair"; film starred Steve McQueen

Launched film career when a friend (who was a subcontractor at Brittanica Films) asked him to research historical re-enactments

Bonus Trivia

.

"Walter Hill is the best person I know at managing to be a power player in the everyday grind of making a film. Michael Mann once described him to me with a phrase whose accuracy everyone who knows Walter would acknowledge: a straight shooter. An enormous number of people work together on a film and that sometimes seems like an enormous variety of provocations for making the film mediocre, turning what you work on into something you can explain equally easily to all your collaborators. The glamorous, much admired 'genius' of a director lies in his or her ability to use this collectivity or to deny or forget it at key moments. In this, the director is a political creature in a Platonic or Machiavellian sense, at once exploiter, liberator, limiter and enabler of the group, both its servant and its master. Walter gets this through his fingertips." – from "A Film Diary by Larry Gross," Sight and Sound, October 1994

.

"I think every director thinks that he hasn't been allowed to make the films he wanted to make. I certainly haven't been able to make as many Westerns as I've wanted. [But] sometimes staying alive in a career sense is very important, and you think, 'Maybe I'll do this, which will do well and allow me to do that.' It's very easy to miscalculate. It's a dangerous game. But I think in the end, none of us have anybody to blame except ourselves. It can be very hard. The kinds of things directors most want to do are usually not things the studio perceives to be commercially viable. It really is that simple. Is that true of me? Absolutely. But it's no more true of me than 50 other people I know." – Hill quoted in The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 3, 1995

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