Alan Parker, director of Bugsy Malone and Mississippi Burning, dies at 76

British filmmaker Alan Parker, director of films starting from Bugsy Malone, a gangster comedy that includes kids armed with machineguns that fired cream, to the tense jail drama Midnight Express, died on Friday aged 76.

Parker, who additionally directed Fame, Mississippi Burning, Evita, The Commitments and different profitable films, died after a prolonged sickness, a spokeswoman stated.

Known for his eclecticism, Parker was equally at ease within the worlds of musical comedy and of hard-hitting true crime drama.

Bugsy Malone, Parker’s extremely unique function movie debut in 1976, was a musical parody of Prohibition-era gangster films, carried out solely by kids. It featured a younger Jodie Foster because the glamorous singer Tallulah, and different baby actors who went on to have profitable careers.

Parker adopted up with Midnight Express, based mostly on the true story of an American man imprisoned in Turkey for smuggling cannabis. The movie received two Oscars, together with one for Oliver Stone, who wrote the script.

Again transferring in a distinct course, Parker then made the gritty musical Fame, in regards to the highs and lows of the lives of performing arts college students in New York – an enormous industrial success that spawned a spin-off TV collection.

He additionally directed the movie Pink Floyd – The Wall, which was impressed by the rock band’s hit album of the identical identify.

Subsequent successes included Birdy, a drama about Vietnam War veterans, and Angel Heart, a sinister, atmospheric thriller set in New Orleans starring Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro.

The actor Matthew Modine tweeted to say Being forged in his epic movie, Birdy, remodeled my life. Alan was an amazing artist whose movies will reside ceaselessly”.


Mississippi Burning starred Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as FBI brokers investigating the disappearance of three civil rights activists within the 1960s. The movie was based mostly on true occasions, though it deviated from the details in some vital methods.

Although extensively acclaimed at the time, garnering seven Oscar nominations and profitable one, the film was additionally criticised by some within the Black neighborhood. Critics objected to a scarcity of Black function fashions, and what they noticed as a slim deal with the white FBI brokers.

Parker later returned to music, with industrial success, directing The Commitments, a comedy a few short-lived soul band in Dublin, and Evita, based mostly on an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and starring Madonna within the title function.

Lloyd Webber stated Parker was “one of the few directors to truly understand musicals on screen”.

Parker additionally made a movie model of Angela’s Ashes, based mostly on the bestselling memoir of the identical identify by Frank McCourt.

British filmmaker Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver, was amongst many figures from the world of cinema who named Parker as an affect.

“His incredible run of hits as a British filmmaker gave immense inspiration to me,” stated Wright, including that he had twice parodied Parker’s “beguiling” debut Bugsy Malone and wished one of the songs from that movie performed at his funeral.

Parker acquired honours in Britain for his achievements in filmmaking, together with a knighthood in 2002. His movies received a complete of 19 British movie academy awards (Baftas), 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, known as him “an extraordinary talent”:

“His work entertained us, connected us, and gave us such a strong sense of time and place.”

Parker is survived by his spouse Lisa Moran-Parker, 5 kids and seven grandchildren.

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