John Dahl

John Dahl (born 1956) is an American film and television director and writer, best known for his work in the neo-noir genre.[1]

John Dahl
Dahl at a screening for You Kill Me in San Francisco, California, June 14, 2007
Born1956 (age 63–64)
Billings, Montana, United States
Alma materMontana State University-Bozeman
AFI Conservatory
OccupationFilm director, television director, screenwriter
Years active1989–present

Life and careerEdit

John Dahl was born in Billings, Montana, the second of four children (his brother is filmmaker Rick Dahl).[2] Dahl spent his young life in and around Montana all the way up through his college years. His interest in film began at the age of seventeen, when he first saw A Clockwork Orange, as told to Robert K. Elder in an interview for The Film That Changed My Life.

This film captured my imagination so much. It was the first film that I saw that made me realize that somebody has to make this stuff. Somebody has to build those sets. Somebody has to paint those paintings. All of a sudden it became accessible. The movie was so compelling and interesting to me on so many levels. The one thing that struck me was that somebody made a movie, and that it was something that maybe, possibly, I could do.[3]

— John Dahl

He first attended the Montana State University, and then transferred to Montana State University's School of Film and Photography, where he received a degree in film. While at MSU, Dahl was a student of Bill Pullman. His first feature film at MSU was titled The Death Mutants made for $12,000. While at Montana State he played guitar in the punk rock band "The Pugs". He also met his wife, Beth Friedberg at MSU, and after graduation they both left Montana to attend the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. He entered the directors program and she entered the cinematography program.

Dahl started his career as a storyboard artist and assistant director. He continued through the eighties making short films and directing music videos for Kool & the Gang and Joe Satriani. Dahl's first two films were Kill Me Again and Red Rock West.[4] His third feature film was the crime thriller, The Last Seduction starring Linda Fiorentino.[4] Fiorentino's performance in the film, although critically acclaimed, was not eligible to receive an Oscar nomination because it aired on cable television before its theatrical release. The Last Seduction also starred Dahl's former college professor, Bill Pullman.[4]


As DirectorEdit


Year Title Notes
1989 Kill Me Again Also writer
1993 Red Rock West Also writer
1994 The Last Seduction
1996 Unforgettable
1998 Rounders
2001 Joy Ride
2005 The Great Raid
2007 You Kill Me


Year Title Notes
1995 Fallen Angels Episode "Tomorrow I Die"
2005 Tilt Episode "Shuffle Up and Deal"
2007 Life Episode "Powerless"
2007-2014 Californication 10 episodes
2008-2010 True Blood 4 episodes
2008-2013 Dexter 16 episodes
2009 Fear Itself Episode "Chance"
Battlestar Galactica Episode "The Oath"
United States of Tara 2 episodes
Breaking Bad Episode "Down"
2009-2013 The Vampire Diaries 4 episodes
2010 Terriers Episode "Agua Caliente"
Caprica 2 episodes
2010-2011 Hellcats 2 episodes
2010-2015 Justified 6 episodes
2011-2012 Shameless 2 episodes
2012 Falling Skies Episode "Love and Other Acts of Courage"
Homeland Episode "The Clearing"
Arrow Episode "Year's End"
2013 Person of Interest Episode "Dead Reckoning"
2013-2014 The Americans 2 episodes
The Bridge 3 episodes
2013-2015 Hannibal 2 episodes
2013-2020 Ray Donovan 11 episodes
2014 Outlander 2 episodes
The Strain Episode "Loved Ones"
2015 House of Cards 2 episodes
House of Lies 2 episodes
Aquarius Episode "It's Alright Ma. (I'm Only Bleeding.)"
Jessica Jones Episode "AKA Sin Bin"
2015-2017 The Affair 5 episodes
2016 Kingdom 2 episodes
2016-2020 Billions 4 episodes
2017 Iron Fist 2 episodes; also executive producer, 1 episode
The Good Doctor Episode "Oliver"
2017-2018 SEAL Team 2 episodes
2018 The Looming Tower 2 episodes
2019-2020 Yellowstone 4 episodes
2019 The Walking Dead Episode "The World Before"
Evil Episode "7 Swans a Singin"
For All Mankind 2 episodes
2020 Servant Episode "Balloon"

As WriterEdit

Year Title Notes
1987 P.I. Private Investigations
1989 Kill Me Again Also director
1993 Red Rock West Also director


  1. ^ "John Dahl". New York Times (online). Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  2. ^ "John Dahl Biography (1956-)". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Dahl, John. Interview by Robert K. Elder. The Film That Changed My Life. By Robert K. Elder. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011. N. p68. Print.
  4. ^ a b c Maslin, Janet (October 26, 1994). "THE LAST SEDUCTION; A Femme Fatale Who Lives Up To the Description". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2012.

External linksEdit