Biography of Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes is a British film and theater director and writer. After getting his start with stage projects on the West End in London, he began directing films. His first film, 1999's American Beauty, won him the Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe for Best Director. He is a prolific writer and director and has explored a number of different genres with his work.

Born in Reading to an author and university professor, Mendes grew up in an intellectual household. After studying at Cambridge, he began directing plays, making his West End debut with a production of The Cherry Orchard starring Judi Dench. In 1990, he became the artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse. In 1993, he directed a smash hit revival of the musical Cabaret, starring Alan Cumming, which won a number of Olivier Awards and transferred to Broadway shortly after. His other theater credits include Oliver! (1994), The Blue Room (1998), Uncle Vanya, Twelfth Night, Gypsy (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013), and The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth, which premiered in London in 2017, and transferred to Broadway in 2018. For his direction of The Ferryman, Mendes won a Tony Award for Best Director.

Mendes' film career has been equally successful. After making his debut with American Beauty, he directed Road to Perdition in 2002, Jarhead in 2005, Revolutionary Road in 2008, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and his then-wife, Kate Winslet. His other films include Away We Go, the James Bond film Skyfall, and 1917, for which he won a Golden Globe.

Study Guides on Works by Sam Mendes

1917 tells the story of two British soldiers during World War I who are tasked by their general to deliver a message to prevent an isolated unit from attacking the German line. It was directed by Sam Mendes and stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles...

American Beauty is a DreamWorks production that was shot in 1999 and released in the United States in 2000. It was the big-screen debut for director Sam Mendes, as well as for writer Alan Ball. The film was produced by Alan Ball, Bruce Cohen, Dan...