‘Milius’ Review: Macho Filmmaker’s Descent Tied to Pro-U.S. ‘Red Dawn’

Hollywood tolerated John Milius until he did the unacceptable. He made a pro-U.S., pro-gun action movie attacking the USSR during the height of the Cold War.

That crossed a line for the writer/director responsible for some of the most memorable films from his era, including Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry and, of course, Red Dawn.

The new EPIX documentary Milius, which debuts at 8 pm. EST Jan. 11, chronicles the rise, fall and final chapter of an auteur who paid a price for rebelling against the industry’s liberal mindset.

The film corrals an impressive array of sources, including Milius pals like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, to weave its compelling yarn. Using both new and archived interviews, the movie details how Milius once stood proudly alongside those screen giants. It wasn’t enough to stop him from becoming a pariah for his views.

The tall, husky Milius was larger than life in an industry where the term rings often hollow, a raw storyteller whose talents forced Hollywood to take him seriously. His cartoonish persona, one he gleefully fed with tall tales aplenty, couldn’t hide the avuncular artist adored by his contemporaries.

His pen gave Clint Eastwood arguably his most famous fine, “Go ahead, make my day,” in Sudden Impact, and he helped create the iconic war epic Apocalypse Now. His legendary script doctoring put grand speeches in the mouths of Robert Shaw (Jaws) and Sean Connery (The Hunt for Red October).


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