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MERCURY RISING

HAROLD BECKER has created a diverse body of work ranging from such critically acclaimed films as The Onion Field to Sea of Love and City Hall. Praised not only for his mastery of both suspense and gritty realism, Becker has earned a reputation for capturing powerful performances from his actors while developing complex relationships between the characters they portray. With a keen eye for discovering talent, Becker is responsible for introducing movie audiences to the work of now famous film stars Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Ted Danson and Linda Fiorentino.

Born and raised in New York City, Becker studied art at the Pratt Institute before beginning a career as a designer, illustrator and photographer. After building a reputation as one of New York's most sought after still photographers, Becker began directing television commercials, short films and documentaries, a number of which won awards in Europe as well as the United States.

By the mid-1960s, the lure of film-making drew Becker further away from his highly successful New York photography studio as he relocated to England to begin the development of what would become his directorial debut, The Ragman's Daughter. Based on the novel by Alan Sillitoe who also wrote the script, the film opened in London to critical applause.

Becker's next project was the film adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling novel, The Onion Field. Released in 1979, the film was praised for its documentary-like recreation of a harrowing true story of a slain police officer in Los Angeles, and the crime's disturbing aftermath. The Onion Field was the first major starring role for James Woods and marked the film debut of Ted Danson.

Becker and Wambaugh collaborated a second time on The Black Marble, a romantic black comedy starring Robert Foxworth, Paula Prentiss and James Woods. His next film, Taps, an unsettling drama about a military school that becomes a childhood battleground starring George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton, not only solidified Becker's prominence in the film industry but introduced audiences around the world to newcomers Tom Cruise and Sean Penn.

Included amongst Becker's additional films are Vision Quest, starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino in her first feature, The Boost, re-teaming Becker and James Woods for the third time, Sea of Love, the erotic thriller which reaffirmed Al Pacino as a major box-office draw and Malice which the filmmaker both produced and directed, starring Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman and Bill Pullman. Most recently, Becker directed City Hall an inside look at big city politics. Scripted by Bo Goldman, City Hall starred Al Pacino and John Cusack as his deputy.

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