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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