With the news breaking yesterday that Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme had passed away at the age of 73, we started thinking back through his contributions to film. Throughout his career he’s worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, from Peter Fonda to Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. With such a wide variety of films to choose from, we look back at some of our favourites Jonathan Demme directed.
Silence of the Lambs – Any list about Demme’s career has to start with this Oscar winning film starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Simply put this film about an F.B.I. cadet tracking a serial killer is a masterpiece. It took home the top three Oscars, Best Film, Best Actor and Actress, and got Demme his lone statue for directing.
Philadelphia – How do you follow up an Oscar winning film? Why with another Oscar-worthy film of course. Tom Hanks won the first of his back-to-back Oscars for playing an HIV positive man who sues his workplace for being unlawfully fired because of his condition. Denzel Washington plays his homophobic lawyer hired to defend him.
Married to the Mob – While this film may not have aged as well as Demme would have liked, this film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Alec Baldwin has a decidedly 80’s feel to it and can still bring the nostalgia for cheesy comedies of the day. It’s the story of an undercover FBI agent who falls for a recently widowed wife of a mob boss.
Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids – Jonathan Demme loved music, and he loved making documentaries about music. One of his last projects chronicles the last stop of Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The director had wanted to work with Timberlake for quite some time, and thankfully had gotten his chance.
Melvin and Howard – This is one of those sweet, funny films that the 80’s is well known for. It’s the story of a loser who meets Howard Hughes in the desert one night and becomes one of the eccentric multimillionaire’s heirs.