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John Frederick Milius (born April 11, 1944) is an Americanmarker screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures.

Personal life

Milius was born in St. Louis, Missourimarker, the son of Elizabeth (née Roe) and William Styx Milius, who was a shoe manufacturer. Milius attempted to join the Marine Corps in the late 1960s, but was rejected due to chronic asthma. He ascribes his fascination with guns and the military to this disappointment. He is also involved in a military think tank, the Institute for Creative Technologies, as a consultant.

Milius is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Associationmarker, is an avid firearms collector and authority on firearms, and is a vocal opponent of "overbearing" attempted gun control legislation. Milius, a very popular personality among gun hobbyists, can be routinely seen visiting local gun shops and shooting and socializing with the public at target ranges near his residence in Southern California when not at remote movie locations. His filmmaking idols are John Ford and Akira Kurosawa; he has also mentioned Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, David Lean, and his friend and mentor John Huston as important influences as well. His favorite film is reportedly David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwaimarker, although he has also named Seven Samurai, The Searchers, and The Battle of Algiers as such in other interviews.

Milius has been married three times. His current marriage (since 1992) is to actress Elan Oberon (who appeared in his 1989 film Farewell to the King and who is seen — and heard — singing Garryowen in Rough Riders). He has two children by his first wife, Renee Fabri.


A former student at the University of Southern Californiamarker School of Cinema-Televisionmarker, Milius started his movie career in a student film contest in 1967, taking first prize for his entry Marcello I'm Bored. Milius wrote, co-wrote or directed the films Jeremiah Johnson (with Edward Anhalt), Dirty Harry (uncredited), Apocalypse Now, Dillinger, The Wind and the Lion, Rough Riders, Big Wednesday, 1941, Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn, Farewell to the King, Flight of the Intruder, the TNT feature Motorcycle Gang, Geronimo: An American Legend, the HBO television series Rome, and contributed writing to the film adaptations of Tom Clancey's Jack Ryan novels The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger. Milius coined the famous "Charlie don't surf" and "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" lines from Apocalypse Now. He is also responsible for the famous USS Indianapolis scene in the movie Jaws.

Through work on Rough Riders (1997), he became an instrumental force in causing President Theodore Roosevelt to be awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously), for acts of conspicuous gallantry while in combat on San Juan Hill. Milius has made two films featuring Roosevelt: The Wind and the Lion (where he was played by Brian Keith) and the made-for-TV film Rough Riders (where Tom Berenger took the role). He considered himself too much in awe of Roosevelt to do a full-on biopic of him, but says he hopes to make a third film to complete a Roosevelt trilogy - though with Martin Scorsese's upcoming adaptation of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, that seems unlikely. Milius is writing and directing the movie Journey of Death, a western starring WWE superstar Triple H. He is a frequent guest on The History Channel's show Modern Marvels.

A third Conan film, tentatively titled Crown of Iron, was drafted in 2001 by Milius, and was to be produced by the Wachowski Brothers. There was talk of either having Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise his role, or it being filmed with the wrestling star Triple H.

Milius was also instrumental during the startup of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) organization: it was his idea to use the octagon-shaped cage, and his association with UFC helped provide interest and investors to the startup UFC.


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