Roman Polanski


18 Aug 1933


Paris, France


Rajmund Roman Liebling


Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years before World War II began. On Germany's invasion in 1939, as a family of mostly Jewish heritage, they were all sent to the Krakow ghetto. His parents were then captured and sent to two different concentration camps: his father to Mauthausen-Gusen in Austria, where he survived the war, and his mother to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Roman witnessed his father's capture and then, at only 7, managed to escape the ghetto and survive the war, at first wandering through the Polish countryside and pretending to be a Roman-Catholic kid visiting his relatives. Although this saved his life, he was severely mistreated suffering nearly fatal beating which left him with a fractured skull. Local people usually ignored the cinemas where German films were shown, but Polanski seemed little concerned by the propaganda and often went to the movies. As the war progressed, Poland became increasingly war-torn and he lived his life as a tramp, hiding in barns and forests, eating whatever he could steal or find. Still under 12 years old, he encountered some Nazi soldiers who forced him to hold targets while they shot at them. At the war's end in 1945, he reunited with his father who sent him to a technical school, but young Polanski seemed to have already chosen another career. In the 1950s, he took up acting, appearing in Andrzej Wajda's A Generation (1955) before studying at the Lodz Film School. His early shorts such as Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958), The Fat and the Lean (1961) and Mammals (1962), showed his taste for black humor and interest in bizarre human relationships. His feature debut, Knife in the Water (1962), was one of the first Polish post-war films not associated with the war theme. It was also the first movie from Poland to get an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. Though already a major Polish filmmaker, Polanski chose to leave the country and headed to France. While down-and-out in Paris, he befriended young scriptwriter, Gérard Brach, who eventually became his long-time collaborator. The next two films, Repulsion (1965) and Cul-De-Sac (1966), made in England and co-written by Brach, won respectively Silver and then Golden Bear awards at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1968, Polanski went to Hollywood, where he made the psychological thriller, Rosemary's Baby (1968). However, after the brutal murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson Family in 1969, the director decided to return to Europe. In 1974, he again made a US release - it was Chinatown (1974). It seemed the beginning of a promising Hollywood career, but after his conviction for the statutory rape of a 13-year old girl, Polanski fled from the USA to avoid prison. After Tess (1979), which was awarded several Oscars and Cesars, his works in 1980s and 1990s became intermittent and rarely approached the caliber of his earlier films. It wasn't until The Pianist (2002) that Polanski came back to full form. For that movie, he won nearly all the most important film awards, including the Oscar for Best Director, Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or, the BAFTA and Cesar Award. He still likes to act in the films of other directors, sometimes with interesting results, as in A Pure Formality (1994). By: Yuri German (blsidt1 AT and edited by Steve Somers.

Actor ( 114 credits )

The Confessions (2016)
Hollywood Banker (2014) Himself (archive footage)
Seduced and Abandoned (2013) Himself
Conversation secrète (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out (2012) Himself (archive footage)
Une journée particulière (2012) Himself
Too Young to Die (2012)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 2012)
Cinéphiles de notre temps (2012)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (2011) Himself
JacK Waltzer: On the Craft of Acting (2011) Himself
The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
À voir absolument: 1963-1973 Dix années aux Cahiers du Cinéma (2011) Himself (archive footage)
Komeda: A Soundtrack for a Life (2010) Himself
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Alfred, Abronsius' Assistant (uncredited) (1 episode,
A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (2010)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 2010)
Le petit journal (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2016)
Quiet Chaos (2008) Steiner
Il falso bugiardo (2008) Himself (archive footage)
Erika Rabau: Puck of Berlin (2008) Himself (archive footage)
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) Himself (archive footage)
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007) Himself (archive footage)
Rush Hour 3 (2007) Detective Revi (uncredited)
Cease to Exist (2007) Himself - Motion Picture Director (archive footage)
Absolute Beginner (2007) Himself
La tele de tu vida (2007)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2007)
Un jour, un destin (2007)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2010)
Vinte na Galega (2007)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2007)
La imagen de tu vida (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Rosemary's Music: I Remember Komeda (2006) Himself
Cinema mil (2005)  Himself (2 episodes, 2005)
Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate (2004) Himself (archive footage)
Dean Tavoularis, le magicien d'Hollywood (2003) Himself
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003) (archive footage)
Shootout (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Il était une fois... (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
The Revenge (2002) Józef Papkin
The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002) Himself (archive footage)
Campus, le magazine de l'écrit (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000) Himself - Interviewee
Tribute to Alfred Lepetit (2000)
Corazón de... (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Access Hollywood (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Scene by Scene (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
Continuarà... (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
Sen kväll med Luuk (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
E! True Hollywood Story (1996)  Himself (2 episodes, 1998-1999)
Dead Tired (1994) Roman Polanski
A Pure Formality (1994) Inspector
Chico Hamilton: Dancing to a Different Drummer (1994)
Intimate Portrait (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 1999)
Hollywood U.K. (1993)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1993)
Behind the Scenes: A Portrait of Pierre Guffroy (1992) Himself
Back in the U.S.S.R. (1992) Kurilov
Dateline NBC (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
HBO First Look (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Hollywood Babylon (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time (1992) Himself (archive footage)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2000)
Frantic (1988) Taxi Driver Who Hands Over the Matches to Dr. Walker (u
Biography (1987)  Himself (3 episodes, 1995-2002)
Bains de minuit (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1988)
Le divan (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
La nuit des Molières (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1996)
Larry King Live (1985)  Himself (2 episodes, 2003-2010)
Cinema 3 (1984)  Himself (4 episodes, 1992-2013)
La tarde (1983)  Himself (1 episode, 1986)
Chassé-croisé (1982)
Wetten, dass..? (1981)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
7 sur 7 (1981)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 1982)
The Evolution of Snuff (1978) Himself (archive footage)
The Tenant (1976) Trelkovsky
A fondo (1976)  Himself (1 episode, 1980)
La nuit des Césars (1976)  Himself / ... (4 episodes, 1980-2014)
Apostrophes (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1984)
Les rendez-vous du dimanche (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1976)
Blood for Dracula (1974) Man in Tavern (uncredited)
Chinatown (1974) Man with Knife
Weekend of a Champion (1972) Himself
What? (1972) Mosquito (uncredited)
Ciao, Federico! (1970) Himself (uncredited)
The Magic Christian (1969) Solitary Drinker
Playboy After Dark (1969)  Himself (1 episode, 1969)
Wedding of the Doll (1968) Himself
Mia and Roman (1968) Himself
Lionpower from MGM (1967) (archive footage) (uncredited)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) Alfred, Abronsius' Assistant
Apropos Film (1967)  Himself (1 episode, 1970)
Late Show London (1966)  Himself (1 episode, 1966)
NET Festival (1966)  Himself (1 episode, 1968)
Repulsion (1965) Spoon Player (uncredited)
Cinema (1964)  Himself (1 episode, 1972)
Grand écran (1964)  Himself (1 episode, 1964)
Hollywood Backstage (1964)  Himself (1 episode, 1967)
Knife in the Water (1962) Young Boy (voice) (uncredited)
Samson (1961)
Ostroznie, Yeti! (1961) Driver
The Fat and the Lean (1961) The lean (uncredited)
Innocent Sorcerers (1960) Dudzio
Do widzenia, do jutra... (1960) Romek (as R. Polanski)
Bad Luck (1960) Jola's Tutor (uncredited)
Speed (1959) Musician
When Angels Fall (1959) Old woman
The Lamp (1959) A passer-by (uncredited)
What Will My Wife Say to This? (1958) Dancer
Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) Bad boy (uncredited)
Koniec nocy (1957) Little One
Wraki (1957)
Nikodem Dyzma (1956) Boy at Hotel (uncredited)
Rower (1955) Boy who wants to buy a bicycle
Godzina bez slonca (1955)
Zaczarowany rower (1955) Adas
A Generation (1955) Mundek
Trzy opowiesci (1953) Genek 'The Little' (segment "Jacek")
The Stalking Moon (0) Mr. Fournier

Producer ( 11 credits )

The Ghost Writer (2010) producer
To Each His Own Cinema (2007) producer (segment "Cinéma Érotique")
Oliver Twist (2005) producer
The Pianist (2002) producer
The Ninth Gate (1999) producer
Castelnuovo (1999) producer
Bitter Moon (1992) producer
Weekend of a Champion (1972) producer
A Day at the Beach (1972) producer
G.G. Passion (1966) co-producer
The Fat and the Lean (1961) producer

Writer ( 27 credits )

Based on a True Story (2017) (screenplay)
Venus in Fur (2013)
A Therapy (2012) (screenplay)
Carnage (2011) (screenplay) &
The Ghost Writer (2010) (screenplay)
The Ninth Gate (1999) (screenplay) and
Bitter Moon (1992)
Frantic (1988) (written by) &
Pirates (1986) (written by) (as Gerard Brach) and
Tess (1979) (screenplay) &
The Tenant (1976) (screenplay) &
Chinatown (1974)
Macbeth (1971) (screenplay) and
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Girl Across the Way (1968) (writer)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) (story and screenplay)
Repulsion (1965) (original screenplay) &
The World's Most Beautiful Swindlers (1964) (segment "La Rivière des Diamants")
A Taste for Women (1964) (screenplay)
Love Story (1963) (1 episode, 1965)
Mammals (1962) (scenario)
The Fat and the Lean (1961) (scénario)
When Angels Fall (1959) (scenario)
The Lamp (1959) (writer)
Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) (scenario)
Murder (1957) (uncredited)
Teeth Smile (1957) (uncredited)

Director ( 35 credits )

Based on a True Story (2017)
Venus in Fur (2013)
A Therapy (2012)
Carnage (2011)
The Ghost Writer (2010)
To Each His Own Cinema (2007) (segment "Cinéma Erotique")
Oliver Twist (2005)
The Pianist (2002)
The Ninth Gate (1999)
Death and the Maiden (1994)
Bitter Moon (1992)
The King of Ads (1991) (segment "Vanity Fair commercial")
Frantic (1988)
Pirates (1986)
Tess (1979)
The Tenant (1976)
Chinatown (1974)
Weekend of a Champion (1972) (uncredited)
What? (1972)
Macbeth (1971)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
Cul-De-Sac (1966)
Repulsion (1965)
The World's Most Beautiful Swindlers (1964) (segment "La Rivière de Diamants")
Knife in the Water (1962)
Mammals (1962)
The Fat and the Lean (1961)
When Angels Fall (1959)
The Lamp (1959)
Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958)
Murder (1957)
Break Up the Dance (1957)
Teeth Smile (1957)
Rower (1955)