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 Milos 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 was a writer and director for 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, The Firemen's Ball (1967), one of the films that cemented Forman's status on the international stage, contained criticisms aimed at the Soviet Union, which controlled Czechoslovakia at the time.

Forman's political views eventually brought him into conflict with the regime. In 1968, the Soviet Union, which had governed Czechoslovakia from afar, invaded Czechoslovakia because liberal dissenters were gaining influence, and the Soviet-controlled communist government was losing its control of the country. At the time of the invasion, Forman was working in France. The crackdown terrified him so much that he decided not to return to Czechoslovakia. He abandoned his wife from his second marriage and the twin boys he had with her, fleeing to the United States.

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. His next two films, Ragtime and Hair, 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 others, contributed to a few screenplays, and has also taught film at Columbia University. The following are a few of the films that Forman has directed in this later period: The People vs. Larry Flint (1996), Man on the Moon (1999), and Goya's Ghosts (2006).

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....