Home   >   Movie Stars   >   A   >   Michael Apted

Michael Apted

Michael Apted has a career that spans four decades and includes triumphs in motion pictures, television and as one of the industry's most respected documentarians. He was first attracted to movies at the age of 16 when he saw Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. Although he went on to study history and law at Cambridge University, the Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire native began his filmmaking career fresh out of college as a researcher for Granada Television. That auspicious start led to the assignment of choosing 14 seven-year-olds for a 1964 documentary film entitled Seven Up, the first in what has become an ongoing, award-winning series made by Apted, that examines the British class system in seven year increments.

Within three years, he established himself in Manchester as a seasoned television director, supervising everything from church services, soap operas and wrestling matches, to TV concerts featuring The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Additionally, he became an investigative reporter for the documentary news series World in Action, guided a weekly perspective on movies entitled Cinema, and directed episodes of the long-running British drama series Coronation Street.

Apted won British Emmy's as Best Director of a Comedy Series for The Lovers, Best Director of a Children's Series for Folly Foot, and Best Director for the dramas Another Sunday and Sweet F.A, and Kisses at Fifty. He garnered an international Emmy (and his first DGA nomination) for The Collection and another nomination for 21, the third in his Seven Up series.

Among the several dozen English telefilms he directed are Poor Girl, Mosedale Horseshoe, Jack Point, Number 10, Slattery's Mounted Foot, Big Soft Nellie, One Thousand Pounds for Rosebud, Joy, Said the Preacher and Stronger Than the Sun.

Apted segued into feature films with the offbeat wartime romance Triple Echo in 1973. He followed this with his chronicle of an English pop-music group, Stardust, the crime drama The Squeeze and the big-budget mystery, Agatha, starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave.

Apted made a spectacular breakthrough on the American film scene with his Oscar-winning biopic Coal Miner's Daughter, one of 1980's Best Picture Academy Award nominees. The film also earned him a Directors Guild of America nomination and granted the Best Actress Oscar to Sissy Spacek for her riveting performance as country music superstar Loretta Lynn.

Apted's film credits also include the romantic comedy Continental Divide, the police thriller Gorky Park, the adolescent comedy P'Tang, Yang, Kipperbang (BAFTA nominee), the dramatic biopic Gorillas in the Mist (for which Sigourney Weaver earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination as Dian Fossey), the black comedy Critical Condition, the courtroom drama Civil Action, the thriller Thunderheart, the mystery-thriller Blink, the drama Nell (for which Jodie Foster collected a Best Actress Oscar nomination), the medical thriller Extreme Measures, the drama Enigma, the thriller Enough, the historical drama Amazing Grace, the James Bond epic The World Is Not Enough and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

Apted has also kept his hand in the television arena, directing several episodes of HBO's Emmy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated series Rome (for which Apted himself won the DGA Award), and the drama Always Outnumbered, adapted from Walter Moseley's novel.

Apted continues in the vanguard of feature documentaries, which encompass Incident at Oglala about American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier; Bring on the Night, which chronicles the creation of rock star Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles album (for which Apted won a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video); The Long Way Home, a profile of Russian rock musician Boris Grebenshikov; Moving the Mountain, which documents student demonstrations in Peking, China, on July 4, 1989; Me & Isaac Newton, which takes a humorous look at some of the world's top scientific researchers; Inspirations, which features such diverse artists as David Bowie, Roy Lichtenstein, Dale Chihuly and others in a candid discussion of their creative processes; The Power of the Game, which profiles the world's most popular sport, soccer, and how it affects the global community; and Married in America (the first film in 2002, and its follow-up in 2006), a look at nine American couples about to embark on marriage.

Apted continues directing and producing his Seven Up series, with six additional segments since its inception in 1964 -- 7 Plus 7, 21, 28 Up (for which he won the BAFTA, the International Emmy and the International Documentary Award), 35 Up, 42: Forty Two Up (BAFTA and International Documentary nominations) and, the most recent installment, 49 Up (another BAFTA nomination). The next installment, 56 Up, is scheduled for 2012. He has also produced American and Russian versions of Seven Up.

In addition to his accomplishments on the set, Apted served three terms as president of the Directors Guild of America, and also chaired the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2012.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Michael Apted Facts

BirthdayFebruary 10, 1941 (83)
BirthplaceAylesbury, England, United Kingdom

Selected Filmography

The Stolen Eagle
Ray Donovan: Little Bill Primm's Big Green Horseshoe
Same Exactly
Masters of Sex: In To Me You See
Coal Miner's Daughter
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
Amazing Grace
Continue » Find more details on the Michael Apted Movies page