Milos Forman

Milos Forman Biography

Jan Tomá? Forman (born February 18, 1932), known as Milo? Forman (, ), is a Czech-American director, screenwriter, and professor, who until 1968 had lived and worked primarily in the former Czechoslovakia.

Forman was one of the most important directors of the Czechoslovak New Wave. His 1967 film The Fireman's Ball, on the face of it a naturalistic representation of an ill-fated social event in a provincial town, has been viewed by both movie scholars and the then-authorities in Czechoslovakia as a biting satire on East European Communism, which resulted in its being banned for many years in Forman's home country.

Since Forman left Czechoslovakia, two of his films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, have acquired particular renown, both gaining him an Academy Award for Best Director. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was the second to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay) following It Happened One Night in 1934, an accomplishment not repeated until 1991 by The Silence of the Lambs. He was also nominated for a Best Director Oscar for The People vs. Larry Flynt. He has also won Golden Globe, Cannes, Berlinale, BAFTA, Cesar, David di Donatello, European Film Academy, and Czech Lion awards.

Personal life

Forman was born in ?áslav, Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic), the son of Anna (née ?vábová), who ran a summer hotel. When young, he believed his biological father to be Rudolf Forman, a professor. Both Anna and Rudolf Forman were Protestants. During the Nazi occupation, a member of the anti-Nazi Underground named Rudolf Forman as a member of the Underground while being interrogated by the Gestapo. Rudolf was arrested for distributing banned books and died in Buchenwald in 1944. Forman's mother died in Auschwitz in 1943. Forman has stated that he did not fully understand what had happened to them until he saw footage of the concentration camps when he was 16.

Forman lived with relatives during World War II and later discovered that his biological father was in fact a Jewish architect, Otto Kohn. He has a brother, Pavel Forman, 12 years older, a Czech painter who also emigrated after the 1968 invasion, to Australia. In his youth he wanted to become a theatrical producer, bypassing theater.

After the war, Forman attended the elite King George boarding school in the spa town Pod"?brady, where his fellow students included Václav Havel, the Ma?ín brothers and future film-makers Ivan Passer and Jerzy Skolimowski. He later studied screenwriting at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He was assistant of Alfred Radok creator of Laterna Magika. During the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in summer 1968, he left Europe for the United States.

Forman's first wife was Czech movie star Jana Brejchová. They met during the making of the movie ?t"??ata (1957). They divorced in 1962. Forman has twin sons with his second wife, Czech actress V"?ra K?esadlová-Formanová. Both sons, Petr Forman and Mat"?j Forman, born 1964, are involved in the theatre. That marriage lasted for thirty-five years, spanning 1964 to 1999. Then Forman married Martina Zbo?ilová on November 28, 1999. They also have twin sons, Jim and Andy (born 1999, named for comics Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman), and reside in Connecticut, USA.

In 2006, he received the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award presented by the Prague Society for International Cooperation.

He is a professor emeritus at Columbia University.

The asteroid 11333 Forman was named after Forman.

In 2009 a documentary film about Forman directed by Milo? ?mídmajer was produced " Milos Forman: Co te nezabije....

Forman has written poems and published an autobiography called My Two Worlds.


Along with future favorite cinematographer Miroslav Ond?í?ek and many years friend with school " Ivan Passer Forman has filmed the silent documentary Semafor about Semafor theater. Forman's first important production was the documentary Audition whose subject was competing singers. He directed several Czech comedies in Czechoslovakia. However, during the Prague Spring and the ensuing 1968 invasion, he was in Paris negotiating the production of his first American film. His employer, a Czech studio, fired him, claiming that he had been out of the country illegally. He moved to New York, where he later became a professor of film at Columbia University and co-chair (with his former teacher Franti?ek Daniel) of Columbia's film department. One of his protégés was future director James Mangold, whom Forman had advised about scriptwriting.

In 1977, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

In 1985 he headed the Cannes film festival and in 2000 did the same for the Venice festival. He presided over a ceremony of Caesar in 1988.

In 1997, he received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Forman co-starred alongside actor Edward Norton in the actor's directorial debut, Keeping the Faith (2000), as the wise friend to Norton's conflicted priest.

In April 2007 the jazz opera Dob?e placená procházka premiered at the Prague National Theatre, directed by Forman's son, Petr Forman.

Forman received an honorary degree in 2009 from Emerson College in Boston, USA.

He regularly collaborates with cinematographer Miroslav Ond?í?ek.


Loves of a Blonde

Loves of a Blonde is one of best"known movies of Czechoslovak New Wave and has been rewarded on the Venice and Locarno film festivals. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1967.

The Fireman's Ball

A 1967 Czechoslovak-Italian co-production, this was Forman's first color film. It is one of the best"known movies of Czechoslovak New Wave. On the face of it a naturalistic representation of an ill-fated social event in a provincial town, the film has been seen by both movie scholars and the then-authorities in Czechoslovakia as a biting satire on East European Communism, which resulted in it being banned for many years in Forman's home country.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Taking Off

The first movie Forman realized in United States, Taking Off was rewarded at Cannes Film Festival. The film starred Lynn Carlin and Buck Henry. Also Linnea Heacock as Jeannie.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

In spite of initial difficulties, he started directing in the United States, and achieved success in 1975 with the adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher. The film won five Oscars in the five most important categories: Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, one of only three films in history to do so, along with It Happened One Night and The Silence of the Lambs, and firmly established Forman's reputation.


The success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest allowed Forman to direct the long-planned film Hair (a rock musical) in 1979, based on the Broadway musical by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot. The film starred Treat Williams, John Savage and Beverly D'Angelo.


Forman's next important achievement was the adaption of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus in 1984"?retelling the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. The internationally acclaimed film starred Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge and F. Murray Abraham. The movie won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Abraham).


His adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, it had its premiere on November 17, 1989. Another film adaptation by Stephen Frears had been released the previous year and received much acclaim. The film starred Colin Firth, Meg Tilly and Annette Bening. It did not earn favorable reviews.

The People vs. Larry Flynt

The 1996 biopic of pornographic publisher Larry Flynt brought Forman another Oscar nomination. The film starred Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love and Edward Norton.

Man on the Moon

The biography of famous actor and avant-garde comic Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey, who won a Golden Globe for his performance) premiered on December 22, 1999. The film also starred Danny DeVito, Courtney Love and Paul Giamatti.

Goya's Ghosts

This free biography of Spanish painter Francisco Goya (American-Spain co-production) premiered on November 8, 2006. The film starred Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgĺrd and Randy Quaid.

The Ghost of Munich

Premiere of Forman's newest historical drama in France based on the novel by Georges-Marc Benamou and written by Forman and Georges-Marc Benamou was expected in 2012. The central topic is the Munich Agreement. There was to be a female protagonist, an investigative journalist who, thirty years after the conference, sets out to locate "?douard Daladier, the former French Council president who signed the treaty. The role of the French Prime Minister "?douard Daladier was supposed to have been played by the French actor Mathieu Amalrico with his older self played by Gérard Depardieu. However, the production company Pathé, could not fund the project.

Influence on the Czech language

Forman's early films are popular among Czechs. Many situations and phrases from his movies have passed into common use. For example, the Czech term zhasnout (to switch lights off) from The Fireman's Ball, associated with petty theft in the film, has been used to describe the large-scale asset stripping that occurred in the country during the 1990s.


Forman has made his own personal style of comedy. His heroes are outsiders leading unconventional lives. His movies are often closely rooted in reality and possess a "para-documentary" quality. His movies typically involve an amateur cast of actors, or actors that are not typically well known.


Year Film Oscar nominations Oscar wins Film director Screenwriter Actor Role
1954 St?íbrný vítr (Silver wind)
1955 Nechte to na mn"? (Leave it to me)
1958 ?t"??ata (Puppies)
1960 Laterna magika II
1963 Kdyby ty muziky nebyly
1963 Audition (Konkurs)
1964 Black Peter (?erný Petr)
1964 Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) 1
1966 Dob?e placená procházka (A well paid walk)
1967 The Fireman's Ball (Ho?í, má panenko) 1
1971 Taking Off
1971 I Miss Sonia Henie (Short Film)
1973 Visions of Eight
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 9 5
1979 Hair
1981 Ragtime 8
1984 Amadeus 11 8
1986 Heartburn Dmitri
1989 Valmont 1
1989 New Years Day Lazlo
1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt 2
1999 Man on the Moon
2000 Keeping the Faith Father Havel
2006 Goya's Ghosts
2008 Chelsea on the Rocks
2009 Peklo s princeznou (Hell with a Princess)
2011 The Ghost of Munich
2011 The Beloved (Les Bien-aimés) Jaromil

Awards, nominations and honours

Academy Awards

Golden Globe


  • 1971: Taking Off (won Grand Prize of the Jury)
  • 1968: The Fireman's Ball (nomination)


César Award

David di Donatello

European Film Academy

Czech Lion

  • 1997: Contribution to Czech cinema (won)
List of Greatest Czechs

  • Nejv"?t?í ?ech: # 30 place
  • 1995: Medal of Merit

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Milo%C5%A1_Forman" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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