Michael Radford

Michael James Radford (born 24 February 1946) is an English film director and screenwriter.[1] He began his career as a documentary director and television comedy writer before transitioning into features in the early 1980s. His best-known credits include the 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four starring John Hurt and Richard Burton (in his final role), the Shakespeare adaptation The Merchant of Venice, the true crime drama White Mischief, and the 1994 Italian-language comedy drama Il Postino: The Postman, for which he won the BAFTA Awards for Best Direction and Best Film Not in the English Language, and earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Michael Radford
Born (1946-02-24) 24 February 1946 (age 77)
New Delhi, British India
Alma materWorcester College
National Film and Television School
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, television writer
Spouse(s)Iseult Teran (1990–1997)
Emma Tweed (2006 –present)
Awards1996 BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Il Postino: The Postman
1996 BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, Il Postino: The Postman

Early life and careerEdit

Radford was born on 24 February 1946, in New Delhi, India, to a British father and an Austrian Jewish mother. He was educated at Bedford School before attending Worcester College, Oxford. After teaching for a few years, he went to the National Film and Television School, becoming a student there in its inaugural year.

Between 1976 and 1982, Radford worked as a documentary film maker, mostly on projects for the BBC, covering subjects such as Scottish islanders on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides who believe in the literal truth of the Bible: The Last Stronghold of the Pure Gospel; the soprano Isobel Buchanan: La Belle Isobel; the singer songwriter Van Morrison: Van Morrison in Ireland; and the self-explanatory The Making of The Pirates of Penzance. On the last two of these Radford worked with the cinematographer Roger Deakins, who would later shoot two of Radford's feature films; Nineteen Eighty-Four and White Mischief. Another notable early work was Another Time, Another Place (1983), a feature film set in Scotland during World War II and centred on a love story between a local woman and an Italian POW.


Radford came to international attention with Nineteen Eighty-Four, his adaptation of George Orwell's novel 1984, starring John Hurt as Winston Smith, and in which Richard Burton gave his final film performance.[2] The film was made in the time and place (London, April–June 1984) at which the book was set.

Radford's next film, released in 1987, was White Mischief, a period drama set in Kenya during the 1940s.[2] Radford again wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of the novel by James Fox also called White Mischief.

Michael Radford is most widely known as the writer and director of the 1994 film Il Postino: The Postman, which Radford adapted from the novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta.[1] The massive international success of the film (for many years it was the largest grossing non-English language film ever made) led to international acclaim for Radford and the star of the film Massimo Troisi. Tragically Troisi died, aged 41, the day after the filming of Il Postino was completed. The film won many international film awards including the 'Best Film Not in the English Language' BAFTA for Radford, who was also nominated for the Best Director and Adapted Screenplay Academy Awards.

In 2000, Radford's film Dancing at the Blue Iguana was released.[2] In a departure from his more usual development technique, namely adapting novels, this film was largely improvised, although Radford shared the screenwriting credit with David Linter.

In 2004, Radford directed The Merchant of Venice (2004).[2] He adapted the William Shakespeare play (see: Shakespearean comedies), and the film stars Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as Antonio.[2] In 2007, he reunited Demi Moore and Michael Caine (who had already been together in 1984 for Blame it on Rio) in Flawless, a diamond heist story set in 1960.[2] His most recent film is Elsa & Fred (2014), a romantic comedy starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer.

Radford directed his first play in 2000, a West End production of The Seven Year Itch. This was an adaptation of Billy Wilder's 1955 film starring Marilyn Monroe.

Personal lifeEdit

Radford has a son, Felix (born 1991), from his first marriage to Iseult Teran. He also has a daughter, Amaryllis (born 2005), and a son, Linus (born 2010), with his current wife Emma Tweed.

In addition to English (his first language), he speaks fluent Spanish, French, Italian, and some Mandarin.

In September 2013, he took part in the Clipper Round the World Sailing Race, in which he raced one of 12 identical 70-foot racing yachts from London to Rio.[3]


Year Title Functioned as Notes
Director Writer
1973 Concerning the Surface Yes Yes NFTS student film
1974 Cold Night Yes Yes
1981 Van Morrison in Ireland Yes No Documentary film
1983 Another Time, Another Place Yes Yes Taormina Golden Charybdis
Nominated – David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Yes Yes Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film
Istanbul Golden Tulip
Nominated – Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Award
1987 White Mischief Yes Yes
1994 Il Postino: The Postman Yes Yes BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
1998 B. Monkey Yes Yes Replaced Michael Caton-Jones
2000 Dancing at the Blue Iguana Yes Yes
2002 Ten Minutes Older: The Cello Yes Yes Segment: "Addicted to the Stars"
2004 The Merchant of Venice Yes Yes Nominated – David di Donatello for Best European Film
2007 Flawless Yes No
2011 Michel Petrucciani Yes Yes Documentary film
Nominated – César Award for Best Documentary Film
2013 The Mule Yes Yes Radford walked away and cut ties with the film in the wake of a litigation over its finances, renouncing to any credit in the cut released in 2013[4]
2014 Elsa & Fred Yes Yes
2017 The Music of Silence Yes Yes
Year Title Functioned as Notes
Director Writer
1979 Everyman Yes Yes Episodes: "The Last Stronghold of the Pure Gospel" & "La Belle Isobel"
Scotch and Wry No Yes 3 episodes
1976–77 Omnibus Yes No Episodes: "Unita" & "The Madonna and the Volcano"
1980 The Two Ronnies No Yes 3 episodes
The White Bird Passes Yes Yes Television film
1981 A Kick Up the Eighties No Yes 5 episodes[5]
Three of a Kind No Yes 3 episodes[5]
1981–82 Crackerjack! No Yes 10 episodes[5]
1982 The Late, Late Breakfast Show No Yes 11 episodes[5]
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Yes No Episode: "Justice: Part 1"

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result
1983 Taormina Film Fest Golden Charybdis Another Time, Another Place Won
1985 Fantasporto International Fantasy Film Award Nineteen Eighty-Four Nominated
International Istanbul Film Festival Golden Tulip Won
London Evening Standard Best Film Won
1986 Accademia del Cinema Italiano Best Foreign Film Another Time, Another Place Nominated
1995 Ciak Best Film Il Postino: The Postman Won
Rome Foreign Press Association Best Film Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
São Paulo International Film Festival Best Feature Won
1996 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director Nominated
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Norwegian International Film Festival Best Foreign Feature Film Won
London Film Critics' Circle British Director of the Year Won
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Direction Won
Best Film Not in the English Language Won
Argentine Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film Won
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievements in Motion Pictures Nominated
Radio Nacional de España Best Foreign Film Won
Radio Nacional de España Rosa de Sant Jordi Audience Award Won
1997 Académie des Lumières Best Foreign Film Won
Danish Film Academy Best Foreign Film Won
Kinema Junpo Best Foreign Language Film Won
2004 London Film Critics' Circle British Director of the Year The Merchant of Venice Nominated
2005 Accademia del Cinema Italiano Best European Film Nominated
2012 Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma Best Documentary Film Michel Petrucciani Nominated
2014 Bari International Film Festival Platinum Award for Cinematic Excellence Won
Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival International Audience Choice Award Elsa & Fred Won
2017 El Gouna Film Festival Golden Star – Feature Narrative Competition The Music of Silence Nominated
Montecarlo Film Festival Career Award Won


  1. ^ a b Sandra Brennan (2016). "Michael Radford". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Michael Radford Filmography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
  3. ^ Clipperroundtheworld.com Archived 25 August 2013 at archive.today
  4. ^ Tremlett, Giles (9 June 2013). "British director cuts his ties with Spanish civil war film". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b c d "Michael Radford". BFI. Retrieved 19 November 2019.

External linksEdit