August 29, 1935
Chicago, Illinois

I consider myself just another member of the crew, the highest paid member of the crew.

William Friedkin (New York Times, 1989)

Best Director
“The French Connection”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
“The French Connection”

Golden Globe
Best Director – Motion Picture
“The French Connection”

Golden Globe
Best Director – Motion Picture
“The Exorcist”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Cannes Film Festival
Quinzaine des réalisateurs

Munich Film Festival
CineMerit Award

Venice Film Festival
Career Golden Lion

Locarno Intl Film Festival
Leopard of Honor


◊ Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA — George Pal Memorial Award (1991 Winner)
◊ Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA — President’s Award (1999 Winner)
◊ Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema (2014 Winner)
◊ Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival — Lifetime Achievement Award (2011 Winner)
◊ Oldenburg Film Festival German Independence Honorary Award (2020 Winner)
◊ Online Film & Television Association Hall of Fame (2023 Winner)
◊ Palm Beach International Film Festival — Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing (2000 Winner)
◊ Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival Time-Machine Honorary Award (2007 Winner)
◊ Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival Honorary Grand Prize (2017 Winner)

1962 —

The People vs. Paul Crump (1962)

Directed & Produced by William Friedkin
Aired on WBKB Channel 7 (Chicago)


Wilmer Butler (cinematography)
Glenn McGowean (editor)
Marty Rubenstein (music)

60 minutes
Budget: $6,000

Paul Crump, age 22, was caught up in a failed robbery with four other black men and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Friedkin so believed in Crump’s innocence that he made The People vs. Paul Crump in order to save his life.

Won the Golden Gate Award Winner for Film as Communication at the 1962 San Francisco International Film Festival.

“My first film was ‘The People vs. Paul Crump.’ It was instrumental in saving a man on death row.”
— William Friedkin (Washington Post, 1986)

1965 —

The Bold Men (1965)

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on NBC Network
Original Air Date: March 2, 1965


David L. Wolper (producer)
Don Bresnahan (writer)
Van Heflin (narrator)

52 minutes

About men who are courageous enough to risk their lives undertaking challenges, sports-related and not, that are at the limit of human capabilities.

First of three documentaries Friedkin made for producer David Wolper.

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1965)

Episode 329: “Off Season” (series finale)

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on NBC Network
Original Air Date: May 10, 1965


Alfred Hitchcock (executive producer)
Robert Bloch (teleplay)
Edward D. Hoch (short story)

John Gavin, Richard Jaeckel (starring)
60 minutes
Black and White

A trigger-happy ex-cop gets a job as an unarmed deputy, but still has some very violent tendencies.

One of the filming locations was the Bates Motel from Psycho (1960), also featuring John Gavin. This episode was written by the original Psycho author Robert Bloch.

“Hitchcock came over and I told him I was really honoured to meet him and I extended my hand. And he gave me his hand like a royal hand show. He handed it to me like a dead fish to shake and he said: “Mr Friedkin, I see that you’re not wearing a tie.” And I thought he was putting me on. I said: “No sir, I didn’t put on a tie today.” And he said: “Usually our directors wear ties.” And he walked away. And that was it.”
— William Friedkin (The Guardian, 1998)

Pro Football: Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon (1965)

Directed & Produced by William Friedkin
Aired on ABC Network
Original Release: November 15, 1965


David L. Wolper (producer)
Harvey Bernhard (producer)

Bernard Wiser (writer)
Van Heflin (narrator)
60 minutes

The anatomy of professional football in America – its origin and growth, and behind-the-scenes look at the sport today. Last of three documentaries Friedkin made for producer David Wolper.

Time-Life Specials: The March of Time (1965)

Directed by William Friedkin
Original Air Date: December 13, 1965


David L. Wolper (producer)
James L. Brooks (writer)
Bud Wiser (writer)
Henry Fonda (narrator)
60 minutes

Friedkin likely directed the episode about History of the automobile in America.

1966 —

The Thin Blue Line (1966)

Directed, Produced, & Story by William Friedkin
Aired on ABC Network
Original Release: March 9, 1966


David L. Wolper (producer)
David Vowell (writer)

Bud Wiser (writer)
Van Heflin (narrator)
52 minutes

This early film by William Friedkin is a documentary about the American police force and the difficulties they face in combating escalating crime throughout the country. Second of three documentaries Friedkin made for producer David Wolper.

1967 —

The Pickle Bros. (1967)

Episode 101: “Pilot”

Directed by William Friedkin


Dee Caruso (writer)
Gerald Gardner (writer)
Quincy Jones (music)
The Pickle Brothers (starring)
23 minutes

The Pickle Brothers were a three-man comedy act. The group disbanded in 1968.

Good Times (1967)

Directed by William Friedkin
Columbia Pictures
Original Release: May 12, 1967

Comedy | Musical | Western

Tony Barrett, Nicholas Hyams (writers)
Steve Broidy, Lindsley Parsons (producers)
Melvin Shapiro (editor)

Sonny Bono, Cher, George Sanders, Norman Alden, Larry Duran, Kelly Thordsen, Lennie Weinrib (starring)
92 minutes
Budget: $1.2 million
Box office: $800,000

Sonny and Cher spoof many Hollywood classic movie scenes.

Bono and Friedkin were both represented by the William Morris Agency.

“I’ve made better films than Good Times but I’ve never had so much fun.”
(The Friedkin Connection)

1968 —

The Birthday Party (1968)

Directed by William Friedkin
Continental Distributing
Original Release: December 9, 1968

Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Harold Pinter (writer)
Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky (producers)
Denys Coop (cinematography)
Antony Gibbs (edtor)
Robert Shaw, Patrick Magee, Sydney Tafler, Dandy Nichols (starring)

124 minutes
Budget: $640,000
Box Office: $400,000

The down-at-heel lodger in a seaside boarding house is menaced by two mysterious strangers, who eventually take him away. Based on the 1957 play The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. Friedkin’s passion project.

“The first film I really wanted to make, understood and felt passionate about. A film of which I’m proud. The cast played it to perfection. With the exception of an occasional over-the-top directorial flourish I think I captured Pinter’s world. The time I spent with him and the many conversations we had were the most invaluable and instructive of my career.” (The Friedkin Connection)

The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968)

Directed by William Friedkin
United Artists
Original Release: December 18, 1968


Arnold Schulman, Sidney Michaels, Norman Lear (screenwriters)
Andrew Laszlo (cinematography)
Ralph Rosenblum (editor)
Philip J. Lang, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams (music, songs)
Britt Ekland, Elliott Gould, Jason Robards (starring)

99 minutes
Box Office: $3 million

Based on the 1960 novel by Rowland Barber. A mildly exaggerated history of the creation of the striptease, and the downfall of 1920s-era burlesque clubs, in which an Amish girl performing Bible story dances at a burlesque club is being taken advantage of by the club’s owner in order to mock public decency-enforcing police officers, and who accidentally invents the striptease when she tears her costume. Shot in 58 days and edited for 9 months, the film’s budget exceeded $3 million, making it the most expensive film shot in New York City at the time. Elliot Gould’s film debut, and Bert Lahr’s last film, as he died during production.

“Minsky’s was way over my head. I didn’t have a clue what to do. Norman produced it and he was a very difficult, tough guy to work with, but I learned a great deal from him and I was struggling every day on the set. It wasn’t a great script…it was a lot of schtick. But it would’ve been a lot better if I’d been more familiar with that world of burlesque in the 20s, which I wasn’t. So because of that, I think the film suffers to a great degree from that.” (The Hollywood Interview By Alex Simon and Terry Keefe)

1970 —

“America was going through a national nervous breakdown. It started with the assassination of John F. Kennedy and then the assassination of Martin Luther King, then Robert F. Kennedy, then the onset of the Vietnam War in which America stumbled very badly and has never really recovered. The 1960s ended with the Charles Manson murders–the murder of Sharon Tate and a bunch of people for no apparent reason at all by a bunch of drug-infested people who were aimless and sort of adrift from the American culture. We [film directors] were reflecting what we could perceive, which was paranoia everywhere and irrational fear. Certainly, my films of the 1970s reflected just that.” (Independent)

The Boys in the Band (1970)

Directed by William Friedkin
National General Pictures
Original Release: March 17, 1970


Mart Crowley (writer, producer)
Kenneth Utt, Dominick Dunne, Robert Jiras (producers)
Arthur J. Ornitz (cinematography)
Gerald B. Greenberg, (editors)
Kenneth Nelson, Peter White, Leonard Frey, Cliff Gorman, Frederick Combs, Laurence Luckinbill, Keith Prentice, Robert La Tourneaux, and Reuben Greene (starring)

118 minutes
Budget: $5.5 million
Box Office: $3.5 million (US/Canada rentals)

Based on Mart Crowley’s 1968 Off-Broadway play. Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual accidentally intrudes on a homosexual party. Stars all of the same actors from the original play. Producer/author Mart Crowley insisted that the entire original cast of the off-Broadway production be used in the film. A producer and several actors would later succumbed to AIDS.

“It’s one of the few films I’ve made that I can still watch.”
(Friedkin, William (2008). The Boys in the Band (Interview) (DVD). CBS Television Distribution. ASIN B001CQONPE.)

Friedkin’s Awards for The Boys In The Band

Kinema Junpo Awards (1973)Best Foreign Language Film Kinema Junpo Award6th place

1971 —

The French Connection (1971)

Directed by William Friedkin
20th Century Fox
Original Release: October 7, 1971


Ernest Tidyman (writer)
Robin Moore (book)
Philip D’Antoni (producer)
Owen Roizman (cinematography)
Gerald B. Greenberg (editor)
Don Ellis (music)
Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi (starring)

104 minutes
Budget: $2.2 million
Box Office (domestic): $51.7 million

A pair of NYPD detectives in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a heroin smuggling ring based in Marseilles, but stopping them and capturing their leaders proves an elusive goal. At the 44th Academy Awards, the film earned eight nominations and won five for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Often considered one of the greatest films ever made. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

“After I saw Z, I realized how I could shoot The French Connection. Because he shot Z like a documentary. It was a fiction film but it was made like it was actually happening. Like the camera didn’t know what was gonna happen next. And that is an induced technique. It looks like he happened upon the scene and captured what was going on as you do in a documentary. My first films were documentaries too. So I understood what he was doing but I never thought you could do that in a feature at that time until I saw Z.”
(“William Friedkin’s Favorite Films of all Time”. Fade In Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2022 – via YouTube.)

Friedkin’s Awards for The French Connection

44th Academy Awards (1972)Best DirectorWON
26th British Academy Film Awards (1973)Best DirectionNominee
24th Directors Guild of America Awards (1972)Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesWON
29th Golden Globe Awards (1972)Best Director – Motion PictureWON

1973 —

The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by William Friedkin
Warner Bros. Pictures
Original Release: December 26, 1973


William Peter Blatty (book, writer, producer)
Owen Roizman (cinematography)
Evan A. Lottman, Norman Gay, Bud S. Smith (editors)
Jack Nitzsche (music)
Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Linda Blair (starring)

122 minutes
Budget: $12 million
Box Office (domestic): $233 million

Based on his 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty. When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. Many cast and crew were injured, some died, and unusual accidents delayed shooting. Production took twice as long as scheduled (200 days) and cost almost three times the initial budget; the many mishaps have led to a belief that the film was cursed. Became the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as nine others. Blatty won Best Adapted Screenplay, while the sound engineers took Best Sound.

“I’m not a convert to the occult, but after all I’ve seen on this film, I definitely believe in demonic possession … We were plagued by strange and sinister things from the beginning.”
(Fort, Benjamin (1974). “The Exorcist”. Castle of Frankenstein. Vol. 6, no. 22. p. 34 – via Internet Archive.)

Friedkin’s Awards for The Exorcist

46th Academy Awards (1974)Best DirectorNominee
31st Golden Globes (1974)Best Director – Motion PictureWON
26th Directors Guild of America (1974)Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesNominee
Empire Awards, UK (1999)Movie Masterpiece AwardWON
The Guardian’s Best Films (2010)The Greatest Films of All Time (Horror)WON

1975 —

Fritz Lang Interviewed by William Friedkin (1975)

Directed by William Friedkin


William A. Fraker (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)

140 minutes

American director William Friedkin interviewed Austrian director Fritz Lang on February 21st and 24th, 1975. Lang died August 2nd, 1976.

February 8, 1977

Friedkin marries French actress, Jeanne Moreau (div. 1979)

Sorcerer (1977)

Directed & Produced by William Friedkin
Universal Pictures + Paramount Pictures
Original Release: June 24, 1977

Adventure | Drama | Thriller

Walon Green (writer)
John M. Stephens, Dick Bush (cinematography)

Bud Smith, Robert K. Lambert (editors)
Tangerine Dream (music)
Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou (starring)

121 minutes
Budget: $22 million
Box Office (worldwide): $9 million

Based on Georges Arnaud’s 1950 French novel “Le Salaire de la peur.” Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous Latin American jungle. The film’s commercial failure was attributed to its release at roughly the same time as Star Wars, which instantly became a pop-culture phenomenon. Friedkin considered it among his favorite works, and the most personal and difficult film he ever made. “Sorcerer (1977) is the only film I’ve made that I wouldn’t change a frame of.” (Los Angeles Times, 2014)

“The Sorcerer is an evil wizard and in this case the evil wizard is fate. The fact that somebody can walk out of their front door and a hurricane can take them away, an earthquake or something falling through the roof. And the idea that we don’t really have control over our own fates, neither our births nor our deaths, it’s something that has haunted me since I was intelligent enough to contemplate something like it.”
(Clint Caffeinated (November 25, 2002). “Interview: William Friedkin”. MOVIEHOLE. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2013.)

Friedkin’s Awards for Sorcerer

Melbourne International Film Festival (2014)Best Narrative Feature People’s Choice Award8th Runner-Up (restored version)

1978 —

The Brink’s Job (1978)

Directed by William Friedkin
Universal Pictures
Original Release: December 8, 1978

Comedy | Crime | Drama | History

Walon Green (writer)
Ralph Serpe (producer)
Norman Leigh (cinematography)
Robert K. Lambert, Bud S. Smith (editors)
Richard Rodney Bennett (music)
Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, and Paul Sorvino (starring)

104 minutes
Budget: $16.4 million
Box office: $14.5 million

Based on the Brink’s robbery of 1950 in Boston, and the book about it, “Big Stick-Up at Brinks” by Noel Behn. A fictional retelling of the infamous Boston Brink’s Company robbery on January 17th, 1950, of $2.7M, and cost the American taxpayers $29M to apprehend the culprits with only $58,000 recovered. Friedkin considers The Brink’s Job to be his movie that ended up the “farthest” from what he had envisioned.

“Has some nice moments, despite thinly drawn characters, but it left no footprint. There’s little intensity or suspense and the humour is an acquired taste. The film doesn’t shout, it doesn’t sing – it barely whispers”
(“The Friedkin Connection”)

1980 —

Cruising (1980)

Directed & Written by William Friedkin
United Artists
Original Release: February 8, 1980

Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Jerry Weintraub (producer)
James Contner (cinematography)
Bud Smith (editor)
Jack Nitzsche (music)
Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen (starring)

102 minutes
Budget: $11 million
Box office: $19.8 million

Loosely based on the novel by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker. A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

“This film is not intended as an indictment of the homosexual world. It is set in one small segment of that world, which is not meant to be representative of the whole.”
(Hadleigh, Boze (2001). “The Lavender Screen: The Gay and Lesbian Films: Their Stars, Makers, Characters, and Critics.” Citadel Press)

Friedkin’s Awards for Cruising

Razzie Awards (1981)Worst DirectorNominee
Worst ScreenplayNominee

March 6, 1981

Friedkin had a heart attack, due to a genetic defect in his circumflex left coronary artery, and nearly died. He spent months in rehabilitation


Friedkin marries British actress, Lesley-Anne Down (div. 1985)

1983 —

Deal of the Century (1983)

Directed by William Friedkin
Warner Bros. Pictures
Original Release: November 4, 1983

Comedy | Crime

Paul Brickman (writer)
Bud Yorkin (producer)
Richard H. Kline (cinematography)
Jere Huggins, Ned Humphreys, Bud S. Smith (editors)
Arthur B. Rubinstein (music)
Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines, Sigourney Weaver (starring)

99 minutes
Budget: $10 million
Box office: $10.4 million

A small time arms dealer in South America to sell weapons to the revolutionaries, winds up negotiating the sale of an experimental plane to the nation’s dictator. The film goes undiscussed in his memoir.

1984 —

Laura Branigan: Self Control (1984)

Directed by William Friedkin
April 1984


Fred C. Caruso (producer)
Edmund Cupcupin (cinematography)

5 minutes

Music video for Laura Branigan’s song “Self Control” finds her wandering in the night. Filmed in New Jersey.

1985 —

Wang Chung: To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Directed by William Friedkin
Geffen Productions
Release Date: September 4, 1985


Robert D. Yeoman (cinematography)
4 minutes
Budget: $100,000

“To Live and Die in L.A.” is the single from the soundtrack of the same name.

The Twilight Zone (1985)

Episode 104: “Nightcrawlers”

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on CBS Network
Original Air Date: October 18, 1985


Philip DeGuere (writer)
Jere Huggins (editor)
James Whitmore Jr., Scott Paulin (starring)

48 minutes

Struggling with a major life decision, Carol Shelton meets a boy who seems to be stalking her. Shopper Janice Hammond buys an antique oil lamp that can grant wishes. Drifter Price shares his Vietnam War memories with diner patrons. Cinematographer Bradford May said director William Friedkin was the most challenging director he had ever worked with because he demanded utmost intensity from every shot.

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Directed & Written by William Friedkin
MGM + United Artists
Original Release: November 1, 1985

Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

Gerald Petievich (co-writer)
Robby Müller (cinematography)
M. Scott Smith (editor)
Wang Chung (music)
Irving H. Levin, Bud S. Smith (producer)
William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell (starring)

116 minutes
Budget: $6 million
Box office: $17.3 million

Based on the 1984 novel by former United States Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich. A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Friedkin’s Awards for To Live and Die in L.A.

Cognac Festival du Film Policier (1986)Audience AwardWON

Barbra Streisand: Somewhere (1985)

Directed by William Friedkin
Columbia Records
Release Date: November 7, 1985


Leonard Bernstein (composer)
Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)

Music video for Barbra Streisand’s song, ‘Somewhere’.

1986 —

Putting It Together: The Making of the Broadway Album (1986)

Directed by William Friedkin
January 1986

Short | Music

Joni Rosen, Barbra Streisand (producer)
Andrzej Bartkowiak (cinematography)
Tom McQuade (editor)
David Geffen, Sydney Pollack, Stephen Sondheim (appearance)

40 minutes

Behind-the-scenes look of Barbra Streisand taping an album of Broadway tunes.

C.A.T. SQUAD (1986)

Directed & Executive Produced by William Friedkin
Aired on NBC Network
Original Air Date: July 27, 1986


Gerald Petievich (writer)
Cynthia Chvatal, David Salven (producers)
Robert D. Yeoman (cinematography)
Bud S. Smith, M. Scott Smith (editor)
Ennio Morricone (music)
Joseph Cortese, Jack Youngblood, Steve James, Bradley Whitford, and Barry Corbin (starring)

97 minutes

A special government organization known as the C.A.T. Squad is formed to deal with terrorists.

“If live TV still existed, I probably never would have gone into film.”
(Washington Post, 1986)

June 7, 1987

Friedkin marries American journalist, Kelly Lange (div. 1990)

Rampage (1987)

Directed, Written, & Produced by William Friedkin
Miramax Films
Original Release: September 11, 1987

Drama | Thriller

David Salven (producer)
Robert D. Yeoman (cinematography)
Jere Huggins (editor)
Ennio Morricone (music)
Michael Biehn, Alex McArthur, Nicholas Campbell (starring)

97 minutes
Budget: $7.5 million
Box office: $796,368

Based on the 1985 novel by William P. Wood. Liberal district attorney decides to seek the death penalty for a man who slaughtered a family at Christmastime, then drank their blood. He escapes, though, and starts killing again.

“This was among the lowest points in my career.”
(Vulture, 2013)

Friedkin’s Awards for Rampage

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA (1993)Best Director Saturn AwardNominee
Deauville Film Festival (1987)Critics AwardNominee

1988 —

C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf (1988)

Directed, Written, & Executive Produced by William Friedkin
Aired on NBC Network
Original Air Date: May 23, 1988


Robert Ward, Gerald Petievich (writers)
David Salven (producer)
Guy Dufaux (cinematography)
Jere Huggins (editor)
Ennio Morricone (music)
Joseph Cortese, Jack Youngblood, Steve James (starring)

93 minutes

After a plutonium bust, The C.A.T squad traces the smuggling operation to South-African radicals.

1990 —

The Guardian (1990)

Directed & Written by William Friedkin
Universal Pictures
Original Release: April 27, 1990

Drama | Fantasy | Horror | Mystery | Thriller

Dan Greenburg, Stephen Volk (co-writers)
Joe Wizan (producer)
John A. Alonzo (cinematography)
Seth Flaum (editors)
Jack Hues (music)
Jenny Seagrove, Dwier Brown, Carey Lowell (starring)

92 minutes
Box office: $17 million

Based on the 1987 novel “The Nanny” by Dan Greenburg. A young couple with a newborn baby don’t realize that the nanny they hired is a magical nymph who sacrifices infants to an evil tree. One of only two feature films that William Friedkin wrote nothing about, positive or negative, in his memoir The Friedkin Connection.

July 6, 1991

Friedkin marries American philanthropist, Sherry Lansing

1992 —

Tales from the Crypt (1992)

Episode 403: “On a Deadman’s Chest”

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on HBO Network
Original Air Date: June 27, 1992


Larry Wilson (writer)
Rick Bota (cinematograhy)
Robert DeMaio (editor)
Merl Saunders (music)
Yul Vazquez, Paul Hipp, Tia Carrere, Sherrie Rose, Heavy D, and Gregg Allman (starring)

29 minutes

Based on the 1952 EC Comics “The Haunt of Fear #12.” Danny Darwin learns that his new tattoo might be more than just a tattoo. As an obvious in-joke, the name of the fictional rock band is Exorcist.

1994 —

Blue Chips (1994)

Directed by William Friedkin
Paramount Pictures
Original Release: February 18, 1994

Drama | Sport

Ron Shelton (writer, producer)
Tom Priestly Jr. (cinematography)
Robert K. Lambert (editor)
Jeff Beck, Nile Rodgers (music)
Nick Nolte, Mary McDonnell, Ed O’Neill, J. T. Walsh, Alfre Woodard, Shaquille O’Neal (starring)

108 minutes
Budget: $35 million
Box office: $26 million

A college basketball coach is forced to break the rules in order to get the players he needs to stay competitive. William Friedkin’s decision to cast basketball players, such as Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway as the basketball players, was rooted in the director’s sentiment that actors make for unconvincing athletes in most sports films.

“I felt the script had a lot of truth about it, even though it was more about coaching and recruiting than the game itself. But I felt the first thing that had to register was how the games were played.”
(Grantland, 2013)

Jailbreakers (1994)

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on Showtime Network
Original Air Date: September 9, 1994


Debra Hill, Gigi Vorgan (writers)
Debra Hill, Willie Kutner, Lou Arkoff (producers)
Cary Fisher (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)
Hummie Mann (music)

76 minutes

Originally aired on Showtime as part of their Rebel Highway series that took the titles of 1950s-era B-movies and applied them to original films. A 1950’s high school cheerleader meets a leather clad rebel biker and goes out on the town with him. When he steals an item of jewellery he gets thrown in prison but not for long. He makes a desperate escape and he is determined to catch up with his lost love and re-new their criminal activities.

1995 —

Jade (1995)

Directed by William Friedkin
Paramount Pictures
Original Release: October 13, 1995

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Joe Eszterhas (writer)
Robert Evans, Gary Adelson, Craig Baumgarten (producer)
Andrzej Bartkowiak (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)
James Horner (music)
David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Biehn, Richard Crenna (starring)

95 minutes
Budget: $50 million
Box office: $9.9 million

A bright assistant D.A. investigates a gruesome hatchet murder and hides a clue he found at the crime scene. Under professional threats and an attempt on his life, he goes on heartbroken because evidence point to the woman he still loves. Friedkin also said it was the favorite of all the films he had made

“Some of my best work. I felt I had let down the actors, the studio, and most of all, Sherry (Sherry Lansing, his wife, an executive at Paramount). I went into a deep funk. Was it the Exorcist curse, as many have suggested, a poor choice of material, or simply that whatever talent I had was ephemeral? Maybe all of the above.”
(“The Friedkin Connection”)

August 14, 1997

Friedkin recived his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California

12 Angry Men (1997)

Directed & Produced by William Friedkin
Aired on MGM Television
Original Air Date: August 17, 1997


Reginald Rose (writer)
Terence A. Donnelly (producer)
Fred Schuler (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)
Courtney B. Vance, Ossie Davis, George C. Scott, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Dorian Harewood, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza, Jack Lemmon, Hume Cronyn, Mykelti Williamson, Edward James Olmos, William Petersen (starring)

117 minutes
Budget: $1.75 million

Based on the 1954 Teleplay by Reginald Rose. Twelve men must decide the fate of one when one juror objects to the jury’s decision.

“‘See, I believe the boy in the film is guilty, based on the facts you know. But under the rules of evidence it would be hard to convict him, and that’s what these guys have to deal with. I think O. J. Simpson is guilty as hell, but I couldn’t have convicted him based on the evidence presented and the rules of evidence.”
(New York Times, 1997)

Friedkin’s Awards for 12 Angry Men

50th Directors Guild of America (1998)Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic SpecialsNominee
Online Film & Television Association (1998)Best Direction of a Motion Picture or MiniseriesNominee
Primetime Emmy Awards (1998)Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a MovieNominee

1998 —

Johnny Hallyday: Ce que je sais (1998)

Directed by William Friedkin


4 minutes

French release.

Without Limits (1998)

Performance by William Friedkin (as TV Director)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 11, 1998

2000 —

Rules of Engagement (2000)

Directed by William Friedkin
Paramount Pictures
Original Release: April 7, 2000

Drama | Thriller | War

Stephen Gaghan (writer)
James Webb (story)
Scott Rudin, Richard D. Zanuck (producers)
William A. Fraker, Nicola Pecorini (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)
Mark Isham (music)
Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce, Bruce Greenwood, Blair Underwood, Philip Baker Hall, Anne Archer, Ben Kingsley (starring)

128 minutes
Budget: $60 million
Box office: $71.7 million

An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a Middle Eastern country.

“Let me state right up front, the film is not anti-Arab, is not anti-Muslim and is certainly not anti-Yemen. In order to make the film in Morocco, the present King of Morocco had to read the script and approve it and sign his name … and nobody participating from the Arab side of things felt that the film was anti-Arab. The film is anti-terrorist. It takes a strong stand against terrorism and it says that terrorism wears many faces … but we haven’t made this film to slander the government of Yemen. It’s a democracy and I don’t believe for a moment they support terrorists any more than America does.”
(BBC, 2000)

2003 —

The Hunted (2003)

Directed by William Friedkin
Paramount Pictures
Original Release: March 14, 2003

Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths, Art Monterastelli (writers)
Ricardo Mestres, James Jacks (producers)
Caleb Deschanel (cinematography)
Augie Hess (editor)
Brian Tyler (music)
Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio del Toro, Connie Nielsen (starring)

94 minutes
Budget: $55 million
Box office: $46.1 million

An FBI deep-woods tracker attempts to capture a trained assassin who has made a sport of hunting humans.

“Let me stress there is no “message” in this film. There are questions I hope people will wrestle with when they reflect on it, but I don’t provide answers. I have none — only more questions. I’ve never really made a film where the good and evil were entirely separate, because I truly believe there is good and evil in all of us. It’s a constant struggle, on a daily basis, for one side or the other to prevail. I think that’s true of all people from all nations. They could be religious people, and they’ll still have this struggle of good and evil going on inside them. I’ve never really made a film — from “The French Connection” to “The Boys in the Band” — in which there were clear-cut bad guys and good guys. The characters that fascinate me are those that embody both.”
(Movieweb, 2003)

2007 —

Bug (2007)

Directed by William Friedkin
Original Release: May 25, 2007

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Tracy Letts (writer)
Kimberly C. Anderson, Michael Burns, Gary Huckabay, Malcolm Petal, Andreas Schardt, Holly Wiersma (producers)
Michael Grady (cinematography)
Darrin Navarro (editor)
Brian Tyler (music)
Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr., Lynn Collins (starring)

102 minutes
Budget: $4 million
Box office: $8.2 million

Based on the 1996 Play by Tracy Letts. An unhinged war veteran holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation.

“It’s not a genre film, but marketing works in mysterious ways. They have to find a genre for it. ‘This is a comedy. This is a melodrama. This is a love story. This is a horror film. This is an adventure film.’ Bug doesn’t fit easily into any of those categories.”
(, 2007)

Friedkin’s Awards for Bug

Cannes Film Festival (2006)C.I.C.A.E. AwardNominee

The Painter’s Voice (2007)

Directed by William Friedkin
J. Paul Getty Trust
Original Release: May 29, 2007

Documentary | Short

Darrin Navarro (producer)
Tony Cobb (music)
Mark Leonard, Tiarna Doherty (starring)

29 minutes

Paintings conservators at the Getty Center reveal details of their craft as they restore two large paintings by French master Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2007)

Episode 809: “Cockroaches”

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on CBS Network
Original Air Date: December 6, 2007


Dustin Lee Abraham (writer)
James L. Carter (cinematography)
John Ganem (editor)
John M. Keane (music)
William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan (starring)

44 minutes

Two dead bodies lead CSI to an old-school mobster who runs a strip club. Meanwhile, divorce proceedings and prescription drug addictions cause Warrick’s life to begin spinning out of control.

2009 —

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2009)

Episode 918: “Mascara”

Directed by William Friedkin
Aired on CBS Network
Original Air Date: April 2, 2009


Naren Shankar (story)
Dustin Lee Abraham (teleplay, story)
Nelson Cragg (cinematography)
Augie Robles (editor)
John M. Keane (music)
Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger (starring)

60 minutes

One of Langston’s former grad assistants is murdered. He discovers that she was investigating Mexican wrestlers to solve a series of unsolved murders.

2012 —

Killer Joe (2012)

Directed by William Friedkin
LD Entertainment
Original Release: July 27, 2012

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Tracy Letts (writer)
Nicolas Chartier, Scott Einbinder (producer)
Caleb Deschanel (cinematography)
Darrin Navarro (editor)
Tyler Bates (music)
Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church (starring)

102 minutes
Budget: $9.5 million
Box office: $4.6 million

Based on the 1993 play by Tracy Letts. When a debt puts a young man’s life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

“Cutting would not have made it mass appeal. Cutting it would have been the equivalent of what members of the United States government and military leaders said about the Vietnam War. They said, “We have to destroy Vietnam in order to save it,” and that’s what I would have done to Killer Joe. To get an R rating, I would have had to destroy it in order to save it and I wasn’t interested in doing that.”
(Brevet, Brad (July 25, 2012). “The William Friedkin Interview: Part 1 – Good vs. Evil, ‘Killer Joe’ and the MPAA.” Rope of Silicon. Retrieved November 3, 2012.)

Friedkin’s Awards for Killer Joe

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA (2013)Best Director Saturn AwardNominee
Belgian Film Critics Association (2013)Grand PrixNominee
Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards (2012)Best Director3rd place
Munich Film Festival (2012)Best International Film ARRI AwardNominee
Venice Film Festival (2013)Golden LionNominee
Venice Film Festival (2013)Golden MouseWON

December 6, 2015 —

Cinephilia & Beyond Interview

2017 —

The Simpsons (2017)

Episode 2904: “Treehouse of Horror XXVIII”

Voice Performance by William Friedkin
Aired on Fox Network
Original Air Date: October 22, 2017

2018 —

The Devil and Father Amorth (2018)

Directed, Written, & Narrated by William Friedkin
LD Entertainment + The Orchard
Original Release: April 20, 2018


Mark Kermode (co-writer)
Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Francesco Zippel (producer)
Gary Leva (editor)
Christopher Rouse (music)
Gabriele Amorth (starring)

69 minutes
Box office: $20,449

Father Gabriele Amorth performs his ninth exorcism on an Italian woman.

“I don’t know anything, but neither does anyone else. No one knows anything about the eternal mysteries, how we got here, why we’re here, is there an afterlife. Is there a heaven and a hell? Who knows? Recently the pope was quoted as saying there’s no hell, and he didn’t walk it back, but the church did. I don’t know if there’s a hell. Neither does he!”
(Vulture, 2023)

2023 —

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (2023)

Directed & Written by William Friedkin
Showtime + Paramount Global
Scheduled to Release: September 2023

Drama | War

Herman Wouk (co-writer)
Annabelle Dunne, Matthew Parker (producer)
Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, Jake Lacy, Monica Raymund, Lance Reddick (starring)

108 minutes

Based on 1953 play “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” by Herman Wouk. Follows a naval officer who stands trial for mutiny after taking command from a ship captain he feels is acting in an unstable way, putting in danger both the ship and its crew.

August 7, 2023

Friedkin died from heart failure and pneumonia at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, at the age of 87.

“Today, movies are as visual as they’ve ever been, but they don’t make any sense! They’ve got no heart, very little story. The dialogue is very often a little bit above a grunt . . . now, for the most part, people just stare at the screen for two hours and it’s like opium for the eyes and you’re not moved at all . . . it’s an escape from reality. So there it is.”
(William Friedkin Interviews, 2020)

Leave a Reply