Schlesinger was born in London into a middle class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta (née Regensburg) and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician. After Uppingham School and graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked as an actor.
One of his earliest films, the British Transport Films’ documentary Terminus (1960), gained a Venice Film Festival Gold Lion and a British Academy Award. His first two fiction movies, A Kind of Loving (1962) and Billy Liar (1963) were set in the North of England. A Kind of Loving won the Golden Bear award at the 12th Berlin International Film Festival in 1962.
His third Darling (1965) described tartly the modern urban way of life in London and was one of the first films about ‘swinging London’. Schlesinger’s next movie was Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s popular novel. Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy (1969) was internationally acclaimed… read more
Director John Schlesinger's atypical fact-based Cold War espionage thriller is a solid effort, if a bit light on actual suspense. Steven Zailian's tight script is performed by an excellent cast - particularly a young Sean Penn. There are several strong moments, but overall it is underwhelming and goes on too long. The very 80s music score dates it badly.