Biography of Milos Forman

Ann Forman gave birth to Milos Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia on February 18, 1932. Milos Forman became an orphan nine years later when both of his parents, Rudolf and Ann, perished in concentration camps. Despite losing his parents at a young age, Forman's life has been greatly influenced by his parents. Before their imprisonment and death, Ann and Rudolf Forman fostered a love of movies in their son. After Ann and Rudolf's deaths, Forman's older brother, Pavel, furthered Forman's love of the arts by introducing Forman to the theater world.

Pavel did backstage work for theatrical productions, and Forman became enamored with what he saw when he visited his older brother's workplace. Forman's passion for the arts led him to enroll in the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Prague in 1951. For the next several years, Forman stayed in Czechoslovakia and occupied writing and directorial roles in theater, television, and film. Throughout these years, Forman endured artistic restrictions at the hands of the communist government that controlled Czechoslovakia at the time. Despite fears of government retaliation, Forman inserted strong political messages in his work. For example, Firemen's Ball, one of the films that cemented Forman's status on the international stage, contained criticisms aimed at the Soviet Union, which had not only gained dominance over all of Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War II, but had also been the one to force communism on Czechoslovakia's government.

Eventually, Forman found his ways to the United States. His exodus to the States was not by choice. In the late 1960s, the Soviet Union, which had governed Czechoslovakia from afar, invaded Czechoslovakia because the communist government that it had established in the country was losing its stronghold. At the time of the invasion, Forman was in France working. The presence of the Soviet Union terrified him so much that he decided not to return to Czechoslovakia and in turn abandoned his wife from his second marriage and the twin boys he had with her.

Forman's first few years in America were filled with frustrations. After his first American film, Taking Off, bombed at the box office, he had an even harder time securing both work and funding. His luck changed in 1975 when he directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The film was a success with both critics and the public. The film won five Academy Awards. Ragtime and Hair, the films that immediately followed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, did not appeal to either critics or the public. Forman did not have another successful film until Amadeus, which was released in 1984.

Since Amadeus, Forman has occupied a variety of roles. He has directed many films, acted in some films, contributed to a few screenplays, and also continued his tenure at Columbia University. The following are a few of the films that Forman produced during this period: The People vs. Larry Flint, Man on the Moon, and Goya's Ghosts. Throughout this time, Forman also divorced his second wife, and then entered into a third marriage. Forman is still alive, but there has been no work from him in the last four years.

 


Study Guides on Works by Milos Forman

Milos Forman's film, Amadeus, was critically acclaimed and a commercial success upon its release in 1984. At the 57th Academy Awards, the film won eight of the eleven nominations that it received. The wins included Best Director, Best Actor (F....