I have always been aware of the main subject of the MUST SEE documentary MILIUS, but never truly understood his impact on the Film industry. John Milius was a maverick in every sense of the word. I don’t necessarily agree with his politics, but I have great respect for his passion and undeterred belief in his stories even though it reached heights of extreme hubris and ultimately lead to his banishment from the industry that he helped revolutionize.
With the participation of so many of the Hollywood elite, MILIUS dives in, warts and all, to paint a genuine portrait of a man who was also considered a myth and a legend. Without going too much into detail (as you should see the movie), John Milius wanted to join the military, even resigning himself to dying in battle if necessary. But things didn’t work out as he planned and that lead him to the burgeoning film program at USC where he would meet and befriend the likes of George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Randal Kleiser to name a few.
Out of the group, Milius was the most outspoken and the most likely to succeed. And Milius did succeed as both a Writer and Director with credits including work on APOCALYPSE NOW, JAWS, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, DIRTY HARRY AND RED DAWN.
But his success was tempered by an overbearing personality and a “man’s man” approach to life. Guns and cigars were his trademark and as word began to get around about some of his more wild behavior; Producers became weary of working with him.
There is no denying that Milius’ impact on the industry is anything but massive, but like his stories sometimes the hero of the story isn’t necessarily the one left standing at the end. If you are a cinephile or fascinated about “rise and fall” stories, I can’t recommend MILIUS enough.