John Frederick Milius (born April 11, 1944) is an American screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.
Milius was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elizabeth (née Roe) and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected due to chronic asthma. He ascribes his fascination with guns and the military to this disappointment.
A former student at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, Milius started his movie career in a student film contest in 1967, taking first prize for his entry Marcello I’m Bored. Milius wrote, co-wrote or directed the films Jeremiah Johnson (with Edward Anhalt), Dirty Harry (uncredited), Apocalypse Now, Dillinger, Magnum Force, The Wind and the Lion, Rough Riders, Big Wednesday, 1941, Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn, Farewell to the King, Flight of the Intruder, the TNT feature Motorcycle Gang, Geronimo… read more
Oates and Johnson reteam after The Wild Bunch, and are joined by other excellent character actors; Oates as a wild-eyed romantic, Johnson as a blue-eyed Company Man, both with aspirations to fame (as in Badlands). There are flashes of greatness here (the table abandoned by Dillinger and his moll when he is spotted by his nemesis), but it's sad that Oates all but disappears frkm the film long before his actual demise.
Coppola called it masterpiece and I guessed he was being generous but I have to agree. Milius applies his brand of anarchism to the gangster myth and transforms it into all out war with Purvis depicted like a killer in slasher movie claiming victim after a victim and seemingly pulling the narrative away from Dillinger. In the opening Dillinger talks into the camera by the end he is reduced to a cardboard cutout.