Michael Apted, the British director behind The Up Series and such films as Coal Miner’s Daughter and The World is Not Enough has passed away. He reportedly died on Thursday night in Los Angeles although the cause of death was not made public. Apted had a long and varied career that included big budget blockbusters and acclaimed art house films and he was equally comfortable working with both fiction and non-fiction stories. He also acted as the President of the Directors Guild of America from 2003 to 2009. Apted was 79 years old.
Michael Apted was probably best known for his work on the long-running series of documentaries that followed the lives of fourteen British children starting at age 7 and continuing on into their adult lives. Although he did not direct the first installment, he directed every one that followed including the most recent entry, 63 Up, which was released in 2019. It was an amazing accomplishment and allowed him to develop a unique relationship with the subjects over such a long period of time.
In addition, Apted helmed a lot of TV throughout the ’60s and ’70s before directing his first feature film in 1972, The Triple Echo, followed by Stardust in 1974. In the ’80s, he had some decent critical and commercial hits including Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist and Critical Condition starring Richard Pryor. His biggest movies, however, came in the following decades with the James Bond film The World is Not Enough and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In recent years he also directed episodes of shows like Masters of Sex, Bloodline and Ray Donovan. What are your favourite Michael Apted movies?