John Frederick Milius (born April 11, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American screenwriter and director. His writing credits include the first two Dirty Harry films and Apocalypse Now, and he both wrote and directed The Wind and the Lion, Conan the Barbarian, and Red Dawn.
Growing up, Milius dreamed of joining the military. In the late 1960s he attempted to enlist in the United States Marine Corps and volunteer for Vietnam duty, but was rejected due to his chronic asthma. (Milius admits that being rejected by the military probably fueled his fascination with war.) He then considered becoming a historian or an artist, but after stumbling upon a theater showing a week of Akira Kurosawa films, he decided he wanted to make movies, so he enrolled in the University of Southern California film school (one of his classmates was a young George Lucas), thereby embarking on his filmmaking career.
Milius is known for being a staunch political conservative, which makes him a minority in Hollywood. For five years he was a member of the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors along with Charlton Heston. His movies tend to be Rated M for Manly, with lots of violence, feats of strength, and bravery bordering on recklessness. Revenge is also a common theme in his writing, with protagonists often seeking vengeance over an injustice they have suffered. Milius was also a passionate surfer for most of his life, but gave it up when he turned fifty.
Films written by John Milius:
- Dirty Harry (1971)
- Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
- The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
- Magnum Force (1973)
- Dillinger (1973, also directed)
- The Wind and the Lion (1975, also directed)
- Big Wednesday (1978, also directed)
- 1941 (1979)
- Apocalypse Now (1979)
- Conan the Barbarian (1982, also directed)
- Red Dawn (1984, also directed)
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)note
- Extreme Prejudice (1987)
- Farewell to the King (1989, also directed)
- The Hunt for Red October (1990)note
- Flight of the Intruder (1991, also directed)
- Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
- Clear and Present Danger (1994)
- Eraser (1996)note
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)note
- Behind Enemy Lines (2001)note
- Texas Rangers (2001)note
Tropes associated with John Milius's work:
- Rated M for Manly: He's the writer/director of Dirty Harry and Conan the Barbarian (1982). Sam Elliott has said about Milius:He doesn't write for pussies and he doesn't write for women, he writes for men because he is a man.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Nearly all of his films include one of these.