Czech-born film director and screenwriter, who moved to the USA in 1968.
Born in Caslav, Forman was brought up by relatives, his parents having died in German concentration camps; after school he trained as a scriptwriter at the film college in Prague. Among other things, he worked with Alfred Radok on Old Man Motor Car (1956) and ‘Laterna Magica’, a mixture of live action and film presentations. Audition (1963) and If There Was No Music (1963) were his first films as a director. International success came with his first feature-length film, Peter and Pavla (1964), which won several awards, including first prize at the Locarno Film Festival and the Czechoslovak Film Critics Prize. His next two films, A Blonde in Love (1965) and The Fireman's Ball (1967), confirmed his status as a leading international director. They were also his last Czech films – he moved to the USA following the Soviet invasion in 1968. There he made the multi-Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and also achieved success with Taking Off (1971), Hair (1979), and Ragtime (1981). He also contributed the episode on the decathlon event to the film of the 1972 Munich Olympics, Visions of Eight (1974). His film Amadeus (1984), from the stage play of Peter Shaffer, was largely shot in Prague and won eight Oscars, including that for best director. After the failure of Valmont (1989), he directed no films until The People vs Larry Flynt (1996), a controversial look at the career of the flamboyant US pornographer.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).