Irvin Kershner (born Isadore Kershner; April 29, 1923 – November 27, 2010) was an American director, actor, and producer of film and television. He gained notice early in his career as a filmmaker for directing quirky, independent drama films, while working as an influential lecturer at the University of Southern California. His early work includes Hoodlum Priest (1962), with Don Murray; The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964), with Robert Shaw; A Fine Madness (1966), with Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward, Jean Seberg, Patrick O’Neal, and Clive Revill; and The Flim-Flam Man (1967), with George C. Scott, Michael Sarrazin, and Sue Lyon.
Films in the 70s include Loving (1970), with George Segal, Eva Marie Saint, Sterling Hayden, David Doyle, Keenan Wynn, Roy Scheider, and Sherry Lansing; Up the Sandbox (1972), with Barbara Streisand; S*P*Y*S (1974), with Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, and Zouzou; The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), with Richard Harris; and Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), with Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, René Auberjonois, and Raúl Juliá.
Later in his career, he transitioned to high-budget blockbusters such as The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the first sequel to George Lucas‘s Star Wars (1977); the James Bond adaptation Never Say Never Again (1983), with Connery, Max von Sydow, and Kim Basinger; and RoboCop 2 (1990), with starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’Herlihy, and Tom Noonan.
Kershner also acted in a few films including Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), with Willem Dafoe and Harvey Keitel; On Deadly Ground (1994), with Steven Seagal (who also directed) and Michael Caine; and Patrick Read Johnson’s Angus (1995), with Scott and Kathy Bates. Through the course of his career, he received numerous accolades, including a Saturn Award for Best Director and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (both for Empire), and was nominated for both a Primetime Emmy Award (for the TV movie Raid on Entebbe) and a Palme d’Or (for Hoodlum Priest).
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Stakeout on Dope Street (1959) – also co-writer
- The Young Captives (1959)
- Hoodlum Priest (1961)
- Face in the Rain (1963)
- The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964)
- A Fine Madness (1966)
- The Flim-Flam Man (1967)
- Loving (1970)
- Up the Sandbox (1972)
- S*P*Y*S (1974)
- The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976)
- Raid on Entebbe (1976) – TV movie
- Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) – co-written by John Carpenter
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980)**
- Never Say Never Again (1983)
- Traveling Man (1989) – TV movie
- RoboCop 2 (1990)