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John Frederick Milius (born April 11, 1944) is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures. He co-wrote the first two Dirty Harry films, received an Academy Award nomination as screenwriter of Apocalypse Now, and wrote and directed The Wind and the Lion, Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn.


Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of three children to Elizabeth (nA(C)e Roe) and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. When Milius was seven his father sold his business, retired and moved to California, where Milius became an enthusiastic surfer. When he was fourteen his parents sent him to a small private school, the Lowell Whiteman School, in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, Colorado "because I was a juvenile delinquent." Milius became a voracious reader and started to write short stories. "I had learned very early, to write in almost any style. I could write in fluent Hemingway, or in fluent Melville, or Conrad, or Jack Kerouac, and whatever." He says he was also influenced by the oral story telling of surfers at the time, who had a beatnik tradition.
At one stage Milius considered becoming an artist or historian. During a rainy day on a summer vacation in Hawaii, he stumbled upon a movie theatre showing a film by Akira Kurosawa and fell in love with cinema. He studied film at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television where his classmates included George Lucas, Basil Poledouris, Randal Kleiser and Don Glut. Milius reflected that:
He made an animated short called Marcello I'm Bored (1967) with John Strawbridge which was edited by his classmate George Lucas and won best animation at the National Student Film Festival.Marcello screened around the country in various festivals and was praised by Vincent Canby of the New York Times. He received a job offer to work in animation but Milius was not interested in that field as he could not see himself "sitting there drawing cel after cel."<

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John Milius Latest News

Few Words: Joan Didion Knew How To Report A Malibu Fire

Red dawn in Santa Monica. No, not a John Milius movie, but another fire in Malibu. The sun has color from a high smoke layer. Still, there’s no ash fall, and it doesn’t smell like a tri-tip barbecue, ...
Posted: November 10, 2018, 11:56 am

Telling Stories: Great Gaming Narratives

THQ's forthcoming first-person shooter Homefront, for example, features an alternate-history narrative crafted by John Milius, the co-writer of Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. This growing trend has ...
Posted: February 18, 2019, 1:57 pm

Star Wars is a fantasy film firmly based on America’s real conflicts

After American Graffiti, Lucas initially returned to Apocalypse Now, a project he had been working on with screenwriter John Milius. It was to be a subversive film: Lucas wanted to make an anti-violen...
Posted: May 25, 2017, 2:47 am
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