Noyce, Phillip 1950-

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NOYCE, Phillip 1950-


Born April 29, 1950, in Griffith, New South Wales, Australia; married Jan Chapman (a movie producer), 1971 (divorced, 1977); married Jan Sharp (a movie producer), 1979; children: two. Education: Attended the Australian National Film School.


Movie director, movie producer, actor, and screenwriter. Director of numerous films, including Castor and Pollux, 1973; That's Showbiz, 1973; Echoes of Paradise, 1987; Dead Calm, 1989; Blind Fury, 1989; Patriot Games, 1992; Sliver, 1993; Clear and Present Danger, 1994; The Saint, 1997; The Bone Collector, 1999; (and producer) Rabbit-Proof Fence, 2002; The Quiet American, 2002; Catch a Fire, 2006.

Also director of numerous episodes of television series and miniseries, including The Hitchhiker, 1985, 1986, 1999; Nightmare Café, 1992; The Repair Shop, 1998; (and producer) Tru Calling, 2003; and Brotherhood, 2006. Miniseries include The Dismissal, 1983, and Cowra Breakout, 1984. Also director and cinematographer of segment of the film Bem-Vindo a São Paulo, 2004. Has appeared as an actor in several films, including Homesdale, 1971; Tausend Augen, 1987; Sliver, 1993; The Bone Collector, 1999. Also director of documentaries and some commercials and music videos.


Best director, best film, and best original screenplay, Australian Film Institute, 1978, all for Newsfront; best picture, Australian Film Institute, for Rabbit-Proof Fence; best director, National Board of Review and London Film Critics Circle, both for Rabbit-Proof Fence; best film, Australian Film Institute, 2002, for Rabbit-Proof Fence; Audience Award, Valladolid International Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival, Aspen Filmfest, and Leeds International Film Festival, all 2002, São Paulo International Film Festival, 2003, all for Rabbit-Proof Fence; special citation, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, 2002, for Rabbit-Proof Fence; best director, National Board of Review Award, 2002, for the The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence; People's Choice Award, Denver International Film Festival, 2002, for Rabbit-Proof Fence; ASPI Award and Golden Castle award, Castellinaria International Festival of Young Cinema, 2002, both for Rabbit-Proof Fence; Golden Kinnaree Award, Bangkok International Film Festival, 2003, for The Quiet American; ALFS Award, London Film Critics Circle Film Awards, 2003, for the The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence; Outstanding Achievement Award, Australian Screen Directors' Association, 2006.



(And director and producer) Backroads, 1977.

(With Bob Ellis, and director) Newsfront, Palm Beach Pictures, 1978.

(With Marc Rosenberg, and director) Heatwave, New Line Cinema, 1982.

Also writer for television miniseries, including The Dismissal, 1983; Cowra Breakout, 1984; and Vietnam, 1987.


Phillip Noyce is a movie director and producer who early in his career also wrote several screenplays. Noyce wrote the screenplay for Backroads, a story about a white drifter who drives across Australia with an aborigine in a car they stole in the outback. "The car becomes a tiny universe of its own, where the protagonists engage in discussions and interact with the people they pick up on the road," wrote Ingo Petzke on the Sense of Cinema Web site. Petzke went on to note: "Released just ten years after Australian aborigines had been granted the right to vote (and thus finally acknowledged as human beings), the film was an obvious political statement about their plight, and was clearly perceived as such." Working from an original screenplay by Bob Ellis, Noyce wrote and directed the Australian film Newsfront. Integrating old newsreel footage, Noyce focuses on the lives of people in the newsreel industry as he tells the story of Len Maguire, whose marriage is crumbling and whose job in the industry is fading away as television captures the world's imagination. Noting the lighthearted newsreel footage inserted into the film, such as comedian Groucho Marx visiting Australia and singing "Waltzing Matilda," New York Times contributor Janet Maslin wrote: "This works as a fine, stark contrast with the characters behind the camera, who manage to be serious, imaginative, and intelligently interested in what they do." Maslin went on to write that the movie "embraces the end of an era just as knowingly as it revels in more promising times. There's something attractively rueful about its evenhandedness and its scope." Ingo Petzke, writing on the Sense of Cinema Web site, noted that Newsfront "was to become one of the seminal works of Australian cinema."

Noyce collaborated with Marc Rosenberg to write Heatwave, which he also directed. The film revolves around the relationship between Kate Dean, who is an activist trying to stop the destruction of older buildings in Sydney and displacement of its tenants, and Steven West, an architect with the Eden Project who has signed on to design the new buildings. As the duo's relationship builds, Steven begins to doubt the project and his role in it. "The story of this housing crisis is marked by much violence and confrontation, and it eventually explores the values of everyone involved," wrote Maslin in the New York Times. Maslin added that "the story … has its symbolic dimension, as evidenced by Eden's ironic title and its implications for Australian culture as a whole."

Noyce has also directed numerous other films, including such Hollywood films as Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Bone Collector. Two of his more recent directorial efforts, The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence, have received wide praise and won many awards. The Quiet American is based on the Graham Greene novel of the same name and is about a romantic triangle in Vietnam prior to the U.S. military efforts there. "The movie is ultimately more interested in the characters' relationships than in their politics, and it does a superb job of evoking the psychological world of Graham Greene in which the truth of any situation tends to be hidden and riddled with ambiguities," wrote Stephen Holden in the New York Times. Rabbit-Proof Fence tells of three young aboriginal girls who are taken away from their family as part of the Australian government's policy of taking mixed-race children from their aboriginal communities and sending them to far awaycamps to be reared. "This sturdy, touching movie, directed by Phillip Noyce,… personalizes this historical outrage," wrote Holden in the New York Times. Commenting on both The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence, Time contributor Richard Corliss wrote: "Noyce could have pushed the Justice Outraged button; instead he gave both films narrative vigor and quirky humanity. The political messages are noble, but it's the people who will haunt you."



Petzke, Ingo, Backroads to Hollywood—Phillip Noyce, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 2004.


New York Times, May 30, 1979, Janet Maslin, review of Newsfront; June 10, 1983, Janet Maslin, review of Heatwave; March 10, 1989, Janet Maslin, review of Dead Calm; June 5, 1992, Janet Maslin, review of Patriot Games; May 22, 1993, Janet Maslin, review of Sliver; August 3, 1994, Janet Maslin, review of Clear and Present Danger; November 5, 1999, Stephen Holden, review of The Bone Collector; November 22, 2002, Stephen Holden, review of The Quiet American; November 29, 2002, Stephen Holden review of Rabbit-Proof Fence.

People, May 16, 1983, review of Heatwave, p. 10.

Quadrant, March, 2003, Neil McDonald, review of The Quiet American, p. 66.

Time, November 25, 2002, Richard Corliss, review of The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence, p. 86.

Variety, February 25, 2002, David Stratton, review of Rabbit-Proof Fence, p. 70.


All Movie Guide, (October 3, 2006), information on author's film career.

BBC Web site, (October 3, 2006), Stephen Applebaum, interview with author.

Film Freak Central, (October 3, 2006), Walter Chaw, interview with author.

Internet Movie Database, (October 3, 2006), information on author's film careers and awards.

IO Film, (October 3, 2006), review of Rabbit-Proof Fence.

NNDb, (October 3, 2006), brief profile of author.

Sense of Cinema, (October 3, 2006), Ingo Petzke, "Phillip Noyce," profile of author; also information on author's film career.

Working Title Films, (October 3, 2006), biography of author.*