In Memoriam: William Friedkin (1935-2023)
William Friedkin, a director known for creating classics like “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist,” died Friday at age 87 of heart failure and pneumonia. His death represents the end of an era in cinema.
Friedkin was a pioneer of the pioneers in his time who joined his TV knowledge with methods that were revolutionary when it came to cutting, and revitalizing the horror and police genres. His method gave new life during the ‘70s – an era dubbed as a golden age in filmmaking. And his name has been now enshrined in history books regarding movie making.
Friedkin’s cinematic journey was dotted with monumental achievements. Not only did “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” bask in critical acclaim, they remain monumental achievements that are standing today towering achievements that walked away with coveted Oscars but brought an era of realism while allowing for unbridled emotion in filmmaking.
Transiting out of the world of television, Friedkin’s directing talent had no limits. The movie “Good Times” in 1967 marked his entrance into the world of film and established the platform for a remarkable career full of herculean creations. Works such as “Sorcerer,” “The Brink’s Job,” and “To Live and Die in L.A.” further cemented his footing as a luminary at the sweet will of captivations by his unparalleled storytelling finesse.
Friedkin’s artistic vision had transcended the silver screen, which included television and creative adaptations. His directorial capacities had extended beyond the cinema straight-laced. Examples include his cable remake of “Twelve Angry Men” to the thought-provoking documentary “Howard Hawks: American Artist,” exhibited off his multifaceted talents.
Friedkin’s impact stretched far beyond the confines of his original works. A reissue of “The Exorcist,” improved with addition scenes, reignited a cinematic fervor that led to an astonishing $40 million in the U.S. More than this remarkable achievement simply shows the gravity of its creations’ enduring relevance but also reasserts Friedkin as genuine cinematic trailblazer.
Friedkin had an extraordinary career from his humble beginnings in Chicago to the unchallenged pursuit of excellence in the cinematic world. While his original aspirations were based on the basketball court, yet his determination to remain driven by documentary pursuits carved out out destiny. His presence within documentaries about the art of filmmaking stands as a testament for commitment nurturing landscape cinema.
As the world bids farewell to this cinematic legend, William Friedkin leaves behind his legacy in art as well as through his fourth wife and two sons. His artistic genius coupled with a visionary sense of storytelling and an unswerving devotion to his craft has left an abiding mark on the world of cinema. Echoes from his work will resound through time inspiring generations to come of filmmakers and storytellers alike.