The Arty Semite

The Legend of John Milius

By Forward Staff

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John Milius is a Hollywood Legend. He’s the screenwriter responsible for “Dirty Harry,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Conan the Barbarian,” and has produced films by Robert Zemeckis, Paul Schrader and Steven Spielberg. He’s also a self-described “Zen anarchist” who claims to have been blacklisted for his right-wing politics.

Most infamously, Milius is the real-life inspiration for Walter Sobchak, the gun-toting Vietnam vet in the Coen Brothers’ cult hit “The Big Lebowski,” which just celebrated its 15th anniversary. Like Sobchak, Milius is Jewish (though some have refused to believe it), and recently narrated the documentary “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Grey,” about Jewish combatants in the Civil War.

Now Milius is the subject of a documentary (titled “Milius”) by Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson, premiering March 9 at the South by Southwest Film Festival and featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. For those of us who can’t make it down to Texas, here’s a sneak peek:


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