Alan Parker
Birth Date:
February 14, 1944
Birth Place:
Islington, London, England, UK
Famous for:
Midnight Express' (1978)
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Director of Evita


Academy Award nominated British film director, writer and producer Sir Alan Parker received his first Academy nomination for the international hit “Midnight Express” (1978), from which he also took home a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America and Golden Palm nominations. He picked up his next Academy nomination a decade later for directing the civil rights drama “Mississippi Burning” (1988). He also earned a National Board of Review Award and his second Golden Globe nomination, not to mention nominations at the BAFTA and DGA Awards and the Berlin International Film Festival. Parker is also known for directing the big screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's “Evita” (1996, won a Golden Satellite Award) and other musical films like “Bugsy Malone” (1976, won a BAFTA Film Award), “Fame” (1980, won a Guild of German Art House Cinemas Award), “Pink Floyd The Wall” (1982) and “The Commitments” (1991, won two BAFTA Awards, a London Critics Circle Film Award and a Tokyo International Film Festival Award). Starting out as an office boy, Parker went on to achieve major success as a director of TV commercials before moving to filmmaking in 1976. He has also acted in several of his films, including “Angela's Ashes” (1999) and “The Life of David Gale” (2003).

Parker became a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991. He became a chairman on the Board of Governors of the British Film Institute (BFI) in 1998 and the head of the Film Council in 2000. Parker was appointed a C.B.E. in 1995 and knighted in 2002. In 2005, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Sunderland.

Parker has been married twice and is the father of four. His sons, Alexander and Jake, composed the score for “The Life of David Gale.” He is good friends with director Tony Scott.


Childhood and Family:

Alan William Parker was born on February 14, 1944, in Islington, London, England. His father, William Leslie Parker, was a house painter and his mother, Elsie Ellen Parker, was a seamstress. After graduating from Islington's Dame Alice Owens School, 19-year-old Alan worked as an office boy at an advertising agency.

Alan was married to Annie Inglis from 1966 to 1992. They have four children together. He is now the husband of producer Lisa Moran. He is a fan of the soccer Arsenal Football Club and frequently attends home games.

Midnight Express


Alan Parker first worked as an office boy for Hospital Equipment News. After finishing high school, he joined an advertising agency as an office boy. He later became a copywriter and received a significant career boost with Collett Dickenson Pearce, Britain's most powerful advertising agency. While at the agency, he met Alan Marshall and David Puttman and also worked with Riddle Scott and Adrian Lyne. It was Puttman who encouraged Parker to explore his writing skills and he eventually made his debut as a screenwriter with the preteen romance film “Melody” (1971), which was produced by Puttman.

Parker began working as a director in 1968 and within a year, had helmed almost 500 television commercials in London. He collected a number of awards for his work. In 1970, he joined forces with Marshall to form the production company The Alan Parker Film Company.

In 1973, Parker wrote and directed the 50 minute dramatic film “No Hard Feelings” which was subsequently purchased by BBC. It premiered in the U.K. on June 13, 1976. He then directed the short films “Our Cissy” and “Footsteps” (also a writer, both 1974) before making his TV movie directing debut in the BBC produced “The Evacuees” (1975), written by Jack Rosenthal. The WW II drama won a 1975 International Emmy Award for fiction and a 1976 BAFTA TV Award in the category of Best Single Play.

The next year saw Parker make his feature film directing debut with “Bugsy Malone,” which included a cast consisting of a young Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. Debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1976 before hitting U.S. theaters later that year, the film, which Parker also wrote, enjoyed a modest box office success in America but performed well in the U.K. and Japan. It gathered 15 nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score (for Paul Williams), Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Score, Best Original Song (both for Paul Williams) and Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy, and a Golden Palm nomination at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival (for Parker). Parker also picked up a BAFTA Film Award for Best Screenplay and a BAFTA nomination for Best Director for his work in the film.

Parker's big breakthrough arrived with his second film, “Midnight Express” (1978), an adaptation of Billy Hayes's book of the same name. Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay and David Puttnam and Alan Marshall produced the film. Starring Brad Davis as Hayes, who is a young American caught smuggling drugs and sentenced to a Turkish prison, the compelling biopic earned generally positive reviews from critics. It won Oscars for Best Music, Original Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, six Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture - Drama, and many other awards and nominations. For his efforts, Parker was handed an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director - Motion Picture, a BAFTA Award for Best Directing, a Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, and his second Golden Palm nomination. In between “Bugsy Malone” and “Midnight Express,” Parker also released the novel “Puddles in the Lane” in 1977. He later published a collection of cartoons called “Hares in the Gate” (1982).

Parker returned to the director's chair in 1980 as the director of “Fame,” a musical that follows a group of students at the New York High School of Performing Arts. The film won two Oscars and Parker netted a Guild Film Award - Gold for Foreign Film at the 1982 Guild of German Art House Cinemas. He then directed “Shoot the Moon” (1982), a drama that starred Albert Finney and Diane Keaton, the well-received musical “Pink Floyd The Wall” (1982), adapted from the 1979 Pink Floyd album “The Wall,” and “Birdy” (1984), a drama starring Nicolas Cage and Matthew Modine. Based on William Wharton's novel of the same name, “Birdy” won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

Following the controversial mystery “Angel Heart” (1987), which Parker directed and wrote the screenplay based on the novel “Falling Angel” by William Hjortsberg, Parker directed Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe in the drama “Mississippi Burning” (1988), which was loosely based on a FBI investigation into the real life murders of three civil rights activists in the United States in 1964. The film earned seven Academy Awards nominations, including Best Director for Parker, a National Board of Review Award for Best Director, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director - Motion Picture, a BAFTA nomination for Best Direction, and a Golden Berlin Bear nomination, to name a few.

After a brief stint on the small screen with “Renegade MTV Special” (1990), Parker directed “Come See the Paradise” (1990), which starred Dennis Quaid as Jack McGurn. Parker, who also wrote the screenplay, picked up his fifth Golden Palm nomination for his work in the film. He then returned to the musical format with “The Commitments” (1991), based on the novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle. Starring Robert Arkins, Colm Meaney, Andrew Strong and Maria Doyle, the movie earned Parker BAFTA Awards for Best Direction and Best Film, the LFS Award for British Director of the Year from the 1992 London Critics Circle Film Awards, and Best Director Award at the 1991 Tokyo International Film Festival.

In 1994, Parker wrote and directed “The Road to Wellville,” a 1994 comedy starring Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda, Matthew Broderick, John Cusack and Dana Carvey. He also produced the film. Two years later, he released the popular musical “Evita,” which starred Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. The film was nominated for five Oscars and Parker netted a Golden Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, which he shared with Robert Stigwood and Andrew G. Vajna.

In 1999, Parker directed Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle in the drama film “Angela's Ashes,” based on the best selling autobiography by deceased Irish author Frank McCourt. He won the Audience Award at the 2000 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for the film. Parker did not direct another film until 2003's “The Life of David Gale,” starring Kevin Spacey as the title character. Although reviews were primarily disappointing, Parker nabbed a Golden Berlin Bear nomination at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival for his effort.


  • Munich Film Festival: CineMerit Award, 2004

  • Cinema Writers Circle (CEC): International Award, 2000

  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Angela's Ashes,” 2000

  • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: European Silver Ribbon, 1997

  • Satellite: Golden Satellite Award, Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical, “Evita,” 1997 (Shared with Robert Stigwood and Andrew G. Vajna)

  • BAFTA Film: Best Direction, “The Commitments,” 1992

  • BAFTA Film: Best Film, “The Commitments,” 1992 (Shared with Roger Randall-Cutler and Lynda Myles)

  • London Critics Circle Film: ALFS Award, British Director of the Year, “The Commitments,” 1992

  • Tokyo International Film Festival: Best Director Award, “The Commitments,” 1991

  • National Board of Review (NBR): Best Director, “Mississippi Burning,” 1988

  • Warsaw International Film Festival: Audience Award, “Birdy,” 1987

  • Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prize of the Jury, “Birdy,” 1985

  • Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Guild Film Award - Gold, Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film), “Fame,” 1982

  • BAFTA Film: Best Direction, “Midnight Express,” 1979

  • BAFTA Film: Best Screenplay, “Bugsy Malone,” 1977

  • BAFTA TV: Best Single Play, “The Evacuees,” 1976

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Director Alan Parker on how he turned down Harry Potter
SP_COP - October 28, 2013 -
Alan Parker recalls his conference call with Warner Bros, where it became clear that he wasn't going to direct the first Harry Potter film.It seems a long time ago now that Warner Bros was struggling...
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