The Info List - John Briley

University of Michigan University of Birmingham

Occupation Screenwriter

John Richard Briley[1][2] (born June 25, 1925)[1][2][3] is an American writer best known for screenplays of biographical films. He won the Academy Award For Best Original Screenplay
Academy Award For Best Original Screenplay
at the 1982 Oscars for Gandhi.[1][4] As well as film scripts, he has written for television and theatre, and published several novels.[1]


1 Biography

1.1 Gandhi 1.2 Later life

2 Works

2.1 Film

2.1.1 Unproduced scripts

2.2 Other

3 References 4 External links

Biography[edit] Briley was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan,[1][2][3] and served in the United States Air Force, 1943–46, reaching the rank of captain.[1] At the University of Michigan, he gained a BA in 1950 and an MA in English 1951.[1] He married Dorothy Louise Reichart in 1950, and they had four children.[2] He worked in public relations for General Motors before rejoining the air force in 1955.[1] He was posted to RAF Northolt airbase at South Ruislip
South Ruislip
near London, where he was director of orientation activities and started writing.[1] In 1960, he earned a PhD in Elizabethan drama
Elizabethan drama
from the University of Birmingham, left the air force and became a staff writer with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
at Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios
in Borehamwood.[1] He left MGM in 1964.[1] He also had an uncredited part in the 1965 comedy Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious.[1][3][5] Gandhi[edit] Main article: Gandhi (film) Briley's 1972 script for Pope Joan
Pope Joan
had attracted the interest of Richard Attenborough, although Attenborough was ultimately not involved in that project,[6] and the film was critically panned.[7] Several scripts for Attenborough's Gandhi project had been rejected, and Robert Bolt was scheduled to rewrite his own earlier draft when he suffered a stroke.[6] Attenborough then turned to Briley.[6] Briley shifted the focus of the narrative away from the point of view of the British colonists to that of the Indian independence movement.[6] He originally opposed Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley
in the title role, favouring John Hurt, but was later glad that Attenborough had gone with Kingsley.[6] Briley envisaged more emphasis on the relationship between Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, but Kingsley's towering performance came to dominate the finished film.[6] Briley claims he and Attenborough were personally satisfied with the movie and unconcerned about any critical and commercial success.[6] In the event, Briley's original screenplay won the Oscar and the Golden Globe.[1][4][6] Attenborough later said of Briley, "He's a difficult bugger, a bit of a prima-donna, but the bastard's brilliant".[8] Later life[edit] In 1985, Briley began developing a musical about Martin Luther King,[9][10] writing the book and lyrics[9] and acting as co-producer, originally for American Playhouse.[10] He left the project in February 1989 after contract negotiations broke down.[10] A different version opened in London in 1990. Briley attempted to obtain an injunction, claiming he had paid the King family $200,000 in personality rights.[10] In 1987, Briley again teamed up with Attenborough for Cry Freedom, about the South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.[8] Briley had disagreements with Donald Woods, the journalist whose books formed the basis of the script.[8] Briley viewed the nonviolence of the Black Consciousness Movement as principled, whereas Woods felt it was a tactical decision.[8] Although Woods feared Briley lacked an awareness of the complexities of political debate among black South Africans, those shown a preview of the film felt it was realistic.[8] In 1993, Briley switched agents from International Creative Management to the William Morris Agency.[11] In 1998, he was a founding partner of "the Film Makers Company", a venture intended to encourage film production in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and was planning to relocate to there.[12] He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival in 2000.[13] Works[edit] Film[edit]

Title Year Notes

The Populist[2] 1999 about Ernst Hanfstaengl; based on his memoirs Hitler: the missing years[14][15]

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien[1][5] 1999 about Father Damien
Father Damien
and the leper colony at Kalaupapa; also associate producer.[5] Nominated for the AFI Award.[3][13]

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery[1][2][3][5] 1992 about Christopher Columbus; written with Cary Bates and Mario Puzo. Nominated for the Golden Raspberry.[13][16]

The Warriors of the Rainbow[5] 1992 about Greenpeace; based on Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace
Movement by Robert Hunter.[17]

Sandino[1][2][3][5] 1990 about Augusto César Sandino, inspiration for the Sandinistas

Cry Freedom[1][2][3][5] 1987 about Steve Biko, from the books Asking for Trouble and Biko by Donald Woods. Briley was also co-producer[1][5]

Tai-Pan[2][3][5] 1986 with Stanley Mann; based on the novel Tai-Pan by James Clavell

Marie[1][2][3][5] 1985 about Marie Ragghianti; based on the book by Peter Maas

Enigma[1][2][3][5] 1982 based on the novel by Michael Barak

Gandhi[1][2][3][5] 1982 about Mohandas K. Gandhi; won the Oscar[4][6] and Golden Globe;[1][13] nominated for the BAFTA.[13]

Eagle's Wing[1][2][3][5] 1979 Western; story by Michael Syson

The Medusa Touch[1][2][3][5] 1978 based on the novel The Medusa Touch
The Medusa Touch
by Peter Van Greenaway

That Lucky Touch[1][2][3][5] 1975 comedy; written with Monja Danischewsky and Moss Hart

Pope Joan[1][2][3][5] 1972 about Pope Joan; also associate producer.[5]

Hammerhead[2] 1968 story by James Mayo; adaptation by Briley; screenplay by William Bast and Herbert Baker

Children of the Damned[1][2][3][5] 1963 horror sequel to Village of the Damned

Postman's Knock[2][3][5] 1962 comedy; written with Jack Trevor Story

Invasion Quartet[2][3][5] 1961 based on the novel by Norman Collins; written with Jack Trevor Story

Unproduced scripts[edit] Unproduced scripts on which Briley worked include: adaptations of Henderson the Rain King,[2][18] Mister God, This Is Anna,[2] White Fang,[2] and his own novel How Sleep the Brave;[2] biopics of Franz Kafka,[18] Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
– to have been directed by Shin Sang-ok,[18] Tina Modotti
Tina Modotti
(A Fragile Life),[2][19] Beryl Markham
Beryl Markham
(West with the Night), and Pope John Paul II;[20] The Cross and the Crescent,[1] about Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
and the Crusades;[21] and a miniseries about the Italian Renaissance.[22] Briley's adaptation of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible
The Crucible
was dropped when Miller's son Robert secured production rights; Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
himself wrote the screenplay for the 1996 film.[23] Other[edit]

Name Year Type Notes

The History of Sex[3] 1999 television History Channel documentary

The First Stone[2] 1997 novel A Jewish American
Jewish American
woman is recruited by Mossad
to marry a rich Saudi Arabian.[24]

Mary Sidney
Mary Sidney
– a 20th Century Reappraisal[25] 1985 book chapter In a festschrift for Willem Schrickx

The Last Dance[2] 1978 novel A rogue scientist tries to force global disarmament by threatening a nuclear holocaust.[26][27]

So Who Needs Men![2] 1976 theatre bedroom farce set in university lodgings; Briley also directed.[28]

The Traitors[2] 1969 novel In the Vietnam War, six US soldiers are captured by the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and indoctrinated by a renegade GI.[29] Richard Rhodes
Richard Rhodes
reviewed the novel in the New York Times
New York Times
as, "Bitter reality... it all might have happened... the terrible thing is that it ever had to."[30] The Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
called it, "A magnificent blockbuster of a book. If you can find the time to read only one book this year, let The Traitors be that book." David Schoenbrun of CBS
said, "It captures the tragedy and comedy, in the classic sense, of that absurd aberration of American history." Shirley K. Sullivan of KTIB
Radio called it, "Unsettling, haunting... a proper shocker," and the Saturday Review of Literature urged, "Read it for his explosive accounts of jungle warfare and his moral passion." Described by Peter S. Prescott as "a sermon masquerading as a novel".[31] UK edition (1971) titled How Sleep the Brave[2][32]

The Airbase[2][5] 1965 television BBC
sitcom ; based on his own experiences[1]

Seven Bob a Buck,[2] subtitled How to Survive as a Tourist in the USA[33] 1964 theatre "a short-lived, intimate revue which satirised American values and attitudes";[34] Briley also acted in it.[35] Televised on BBC2
as See America First on November 28, 1964.

Hits and Misses[2] 1962 television BBC

A biography of William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke, 1580–1630 1961 dissertation PhD dissertation[36]

Edward Alleyn
Edward Alleyn
and Henslowe's Will[37] 1958 journal article in Shakespeare Quarterly

Of Stake and Stage[38] 1955 book chapter in Shakespeare Survey


^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "John Briley". hollywood.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag " John Briley Biography (1925–)". filmreference.com. Retrieved May 23, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s " John Briley > Filmography". allmovie. Retrieved May 23, 2009.  ^ a b c Clarke, Gerald; Kane, Joseph J.; Simpson, Janice C. (April 25, 1983). "History Crunches Popcorn". Time. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u John Briley (I) on IMDb ^ a b c d e f g h i Malanowski, Jamie (March 18, 2001). "Shaping Words into an Oscar: Six Writers Who Did". The New York Times. p. 15, Sec.2. Retrieved May 23, 2009.  ^ Rustici, Craig M. (2006). The afterlife of Pope Joan: deploying the Popess legend in early modern England. University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Press. pp. 153–4. ISBN 0-472-11544-8.  ^ a b c d e Woods, Donald (November 22, 1987). "Filming with Attenborough". The Observer. ProQuest. pp. 19–20.  ^ a b " American Playhouse slates 'King' musical for next year". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 69 (13): 64. December 9, 1985. ISSN 0021-5996.  ^ a b c d Cassidy, Suzanne (April 23, 1990). "After Struggle, Musical on Dr. King Is Opening". The New York Times. pp. C11. Retrieved May 28, 2009.  ^ "Short Takes". Daily Variety. October 21, 1993.  ^ Mariani, Dominic (June 21, 1998). "The View From Bridgeport: A City as a Backdrop In a Fledgling Film Plan". The New York Times. p. 2, section 14CN. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  ^ a b c d e Awards for John Briley (I) on IMDb ^ "Kotcheff draws bead on Hitler in 'Populist'". The Hollywood Reporter. November 22, 1996.  ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (August 9, 1996). "Panoptica's slate aims at Canadian, Euro co-prod'n". The Hollywood Reporter.  ^ "1992 Razzies". razzies.com. Golden Raspberry Award Foundation and John Wilson. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  ^ "Trans Atlantic ends Todd-AO co-venture". Daily Variety. November 8, 1994.  ^ a b c Ptacek, Greg (May 24, 1991). "'Gandhi' writer Briley pens 'Khan'". The Hollywood Reporter.  ^ Archerd, Army (November 14, 1996). "Just for Variety". Daily Variety.  ^ "Pope pic plans Prague scouting". Daily Variety. March 1, 2002.  ^ Vivarelli, Nick (June 6, 2000). "Eagle Pictures takes flight with widened slate". The Hollywood Reporter.  ^ Vivarelli, Nick (April 13, 2000). "Eagle Pics flies in face of indie player status: Italian outfit wields $300 mil war chest". The Hollywood Reporter.  ^ Meyers, Jeffrey (2001). Privileged Moments: Encounters With Writers. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-299-16944-8.  ^ Briley, John (1997). The First Stone: A Novel. W. Morrow and Co. ISBN 0-688-15235-X. OCLC 35822504.  ^ Briley, John (1985). " Mary Sidney
Mary Sidney
– a 20th Century Reappraisal". In J.P. Vander Motten. Elizabethan and Modern Studies, presented to Professor Willem Schrickx on the Occasion of his Retirement. Ghent University: Seminarie Voor Engelse en Amerikaanse Literatuur. pp. 47–56. ISBN 90-900114-8-X. OCLC 18879080.  ^ Briley, John (1978). The last dance. London: Secker & Warburg. ISBN 0-436-06860-5. OCLC 59236063.  ^ Brians, Paul. "Chapter Two The Causes of Nuclear War". Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  ^ Lewsen, Charles (October 8, 1976). "Reviews: So Who Needs Men? New London". The Times. p. 11, col F; Issue 59829.  ^ Briley, John (1969). The traitors; a novel. New York City: G. P. Putnam's Sons. OCLC 33480.  ^ New York Times, September 7, 1969 ^ Prescott, Peter S. (2005). "A Genuinely Dreadful Novel". Encounters with American Culture Volume 1: (1963–1972). introduction by Anne L. Prescott. Transaction Publishers. p. 63. ISBN 1-4128-0496-5.  ^ Briley, John (1971). How sleep the brave. London: Corgi. ISBN 0-552-08670-3. OCLC 16213201.  ^ Stephens, Frances (1965). Theatre world annual 1966 : a full pictorial review of the 1964–65 London season (16 ed.). Rockliff. pp. 21, 29, 30. OCLC 221674302.  ^ Benedick, Adam (May 2, 1996). "Obituary: David Kelsey". The Independent. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  ^ Gascoigne, Bamber (July 12, 1964). "All the riches of the Incas". The Observer. ProQuest. p. 24.  ^ OCLC 34765036 ^ Briley, John (Summer 1958). " Edward Alleyn
Edward Alleyn
and Henslowe's Will". Shakespeare Quarterly. Folger Shakespeare Library
Folger Shakespeare Library
with George Washington University. 9 (3): 321–330. doi:10.2307/2867333. JSTOR 2867333.  ^ Briley, John (1955). "Of Stake and Stage". In Allardyce Nicoll. The Comedies. Shakespeare Survey. Vol.8. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. doi:10.1017/CCOL0521816564.011. 

External links[edit]

John Briley on IMDb

v t e

Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay


Preston Sturges
Preston Sturges
(1940) Herman J. Mankiewicz
Herman J. Mankiewicz
and Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1941) Michael Kanin
Michael Kanin
and Ring Lardner Jr.
Ring Lardner Jr.
(1942) Norman Krasna (1943) Lamar Trotti (1944) Richard Schweizer (1945) Muriel Box and Sydney Box (1946) Sidney Sheldon (1947) No award (1948) Robert Pirosh (1949) Charles Brackett, D. M. Marshman Jr. and Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
(1950) Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner
(1951) T. E. B. Clarke (1952) Charles Brackett, Richard L. Breen and Walter Reisch (1953) Budd Schulberg
Budd Schulberg
(1954) Sonya Levien and William Ludwig (1955) Albert Lamorisse
Albert Lamorisse
(1956) George Wells (1957) Nathan E. Douglas and Harold Jacob Smith (1958) Clarence Greene, Maurice Richlin, Russell Rouse and Stanley Shapiro (1959) I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder


William Inge
William Inge
(1961) Ennio de Concini, Pietro Germi, and Alfredo Giannetti (1962) James Webb (1963) Peter Stone and Frank Tarloff (1964) Frederic Raphael (1965) Claude Lelouch
Claude Lelouch
and Pierre Uytterhoeven (1966) William Rose (1967) Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
(1968) William Goldman
William Goldman
(1969) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Edmund H. North (1970) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1971) Jeremy Larner (1972) David S. Ward
David S. Ward
(1973) Robert Towne
Robert Towne
(1974) Frank Pierson
Frank Pierson
(1975) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1976) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
and Marshall Brickman (1977) Robert C. Jones, Waldo Salt, and Nancy Dowd (1978) Steve Tesich
Steve Tesich
(1979) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman


Colin Welland (1981) John Briley (1982) Horton Foote (1983) Robert Benton (1984) William Kelley, Pamela Wallace and Earl W. Wallace (1985) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1986) John Patrick Shanley
John Patrick Shanley
(1987) Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow (1988) Tom Schulman (1989) Bruce Joel Rubin (1990) Callie Khouri
Callie Khouri
(1991) Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan
(1992) Jane Campion
Jane Campion
(1993) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
and Roger Avary
Roger Avary
(1994) Christopher McQuarrie
Christopher McQuarrie
(1995) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (1996) Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
and Matt Damon
Matt Damon
(1997) Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
(1998) Alan Ball (1999) Cameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe


Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes
(2001) Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar
(2002) Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola
(2003) Pierre Bismuth, Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry
and Charlie Kaufman
Charlie Kaufman
(2004) Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis
and Bobby Moresco (2005) Michael Arndt
Michael Arndt
(2006) Diablo Cody
Diablo Cody
(2007) Dustin Lance Black
Dustin Lance Black
(2008) Mark Boal
Mark Boal
(2009) David Seidler (2010) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(2011) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
(2012) Spike Jonze
Spike Jonze
(2013) Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo (2014) Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (2015) Kenneth Lonergan
Kenneth Lonergan
(2016) Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele

v t e

Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay

Robert Bolt (1965) Robert Bolt (1966) Stirling Silliphant (1967) Stirling Silliphant (1968) Bridget Boland, John Hale and Richard Sokolove (1969) Erich Segal
Erich Segal
(1970) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1971) Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
and Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
(1972) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1973) Robert Towne
Robert Towne
(1974) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman
and Lawrence Hauben (1975) Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy Chayefsky
(1976) Neil Simon
Neil Simon
(1977) Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
(1978) Robert Benton (1979) William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty
(1980) Ernest Thompson
Ernest Thompson
(1981) John Briley (1982) James L. Brooks
James L. Brooks
(1983) Peter Shaffer (1984) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(1985) Robert Bolt (1986) Bernardo Bertolucci, Mark Peploe and Enzon Ungari (1987) Naomi Foner (1988) Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
and Ron Kovic
Ron Kovic
(1989) Michael Blake (1990) Callie Khouri
Callie Khouri
(1991) Bo Goldman
Bo Goldman
(1992) Steven Zaillian (1993) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
(1994) Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson
(1995) Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (1996) Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
and Matt Damon
Matt Damon
(1997) Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
(1998) Alan Ball (1999) Stephen Gaghan
Stephen Gaghan
(2000) Akiva Goldsman
Akiva Goldsman
(2001) Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne
and Jim Taylor (2002) Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola
(2003) Alexander Payne
Alexander Payne
and Jim Taylor (2004) Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry
and Diana Ossana (2005) Peter Morgan (2006) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (2007) Simon Beaufoy (2008) Jason Reitman
Jason Reitman
and Sheldon Turner (2009) Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin
(2010) Woody Allen
Woody Allen
(2011) Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
(2012) Spike Jonze
Spike Jonze
(2013) Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo (2014) Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin
(2015) Damien Chazelle
Damien Chazelle
(2016) Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 85986076 LCCN: no96012667 ISNI: 0000 0001 1681 7216 GND: 137804733 SUDOC: 029178304 BNF: cb12085918v (data) NDL: 00434377 B