John Flynn (director)

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John Flynn
Born March 14, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died April 4, 2007 (aged 75)
Pacific Palisades, California, United States
Occupation Film director and screenwriter
Years active 1961–2001

John Flynn (March 14, 1932 – April 4, 2007) was an American film director and screenwriter known for making efficient, no-nonsense crime-thrillers The Outfit and Rolling Thunder.


Flynn was raised in Hermosa Beach, California and served in the Coast Guard, It was during this stint that he studied journalism with Roots author Alex Haley. Flynn received a degree in journalism from UCLA.

He began his cinematic career as an apprentice to director Robert Wise on Odds Against Tomorrow and worked as the script supervisor on West Side Story. From there, Flynn worked as a second unit director on Kid Galahad and The Great Escape. He made his debut as a director with The Sergeant starring Rod Steiger.

Flynn's substantial commercial success was with The Outfit starring Robert Duvall. The filmmaker achieved a dedicated cult following with the gritty revenge thriller, Rolling Thunder starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones. In a 1994 interview with Jon Stewart, Film maker Quentin Tarantino cited Rolling Thunder as an influence and Flynn among his favorite directors.

In 1994, he directed the cult classic Brainscan, a thriller about the dangers of virtual reality starring Edward Furlong and Frank Langella.

Flynn continued to work on genre films like Best Seller, the Sylvester Stallone prison drama Lock Up, and the Steven Seagal action film, Out for Justice. In the early 1990s, Flynn directed two made-for-cable-TV films, the Dennis Hopper cop film, Nails, and the crime drama Scam. His last film was the direct-to-video film Protection.


Year Title Notes
1968 The Sergeant
1972 The Jerusalem File
1973 The Outfit
1977 Rolling Thunder
1980 Defiance
Marilyn: The Untold Story TV film
1983 Lone Star TV film
1987 Best Seller
1989 Lock Up
1991 Out for Justice
1992 Nails TV film
1993 Scam TV film
1994 Brainscan
1999 Absence of the Good TV film
2001 Protection

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