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Julien Temple

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Julien Temple
Temple at a film festival in Mexico in March 2010
Julien Temple

(1953-11-26) 26 November 1953 (age 70)[1]
Kensington, London, England
SpouseAmanda Temple
Children3, including Juno Temple
RelativesNina Temple (sister)

Julien Temple (born 26 November 1953) is a British film, documentary and music video director.[1] He began his career with short films featuring the Sex Pistols, and has continued with various off-beat projects, including The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle,[1] Absolute Beginners and a documentary film about Glastonbury.

Early life[edit]

Temple was born in Kensington, London, the son of Landon Temple, who organised the travel company Progressive Tours.[2] He was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School (from which he was expelled), William Ellis School, and King's College, Cambridge.[3] He grew up with little interest in film until, when a student at Cambridge, he discovered the works of French anarchist director Jean Vigo. This, along with his interest in the early punk scene in London in 1976, led to his friendship with The Sex Pistols, leading him to document many of their early gigs.



Temple's first film was a short documentary called Sex Pistols Number 1, which set out to show the rise of the band from 1976 to 1977, in a series of short clips from television interviews and gigs. This led to Temple making The Great Rock And Roll Swindle, another documentary. As band members Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious had left the band by this time, the story of the group is told from the viewpoint of their manager, Malcolm McLaren.

The Great Rock And Roll Swindle tells of the rise of The Sex Pistols, apparently as manipulated by McLaren, and how he had shaped the band throughout their short career. Many of the 'facts' given by McLaren were disputed by John Lydon (who had dropped the Johnny Rotten name after leaving the band), who accused McLaren of using the film to attack him personally. This helped split opinion on the film as, although it was praised for attempting to capture some of the punk scene of the time, it was seen as too skewed towards McLaren's vision. Controversy aside, Temple was praised[by whom?] for his mix of animated scenes, documentary footage, and specially shot footage which he used to tell McLaren's story. This helped launch Temple into a career making music videos, something for which he would be best known for much of his career.

1980s and 1990s[edit]

In 1983, Temple directed a film for the BBC Arena series called It's All True, named after the 1942 unfinished Orson Welles film. Compered by Welles himself, the film comprised many short segments about the state of the video industry, both real and imagined, many featuring cameos by celebrities including Mel Brooks, Grace Jones,[4] Ray Davies, and Koo Stark.[5] This was followed by Temple's next theatrical release, the short film Jazzin' for Blue Jean featuring David Bowie which was released as a support feature to The Company of Wolves. By 1985, Temple was now well known for being a director of successful music videos by the Kinks, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and other British artists, several of which were early, groundbreaking, videos for the new MTV channel, but he was yet to direct a major film.

In 1986, Temple directed the film version of Colin MacInnes' book Absolute Beginners. One of the most expensive films in British history, the fate of the studios involved (as well as several careers) were dependent on the success of the film. The film was critically panned in the UK. As it was a musical, rather than a straight adaptation of the book, it was attacked for a lack of narrative; it was also called "a series of badly-linked music videos". Absolute Beginners was financially unsuccessful and was partly responsible for the Goldcrest company going bankrupt. Temple found himself being blamed personally for the failure. He moved to the United States, where he was offered the film Earth Girls Are Easy, as well as a series of music videos for such artists as Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Neil Young and Tom Petty.

Temple returned to the UK in the late 1990s, where he continued to make films and music videos. Vigo: Passion for Life (1998) recounts the passionate relationship between French film maker Jean Vigo (1905–34) and his wife Lydou, who both suffered from tuberculosis. The film was not well received. A reviewer in Sight & Sound commented that the film "although absolutely faithful to the facts, is absolutely dreadful".[6]


Films which followed included Pandæmonium (2001), a critically acclaimed film about the friendship between Romantic poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and The Filth and the Fury (2000), another documentary about The Sex Pistols. This time the film was made with the full cooperation of the surviving members of the band and told the story of the band from their viewpoint. This film mixed newly shot footage and interviews with footage culled from The Great Rock and Roll Swindle and previously unseen interviews. The film was a critical success and was seen as setting the record straight in regard to the history of The Sex Pistols.

Between 2002 and 2005, Temple completed a feature-length documentary about the Glastonbury Festival. This involved him shooting footage at the festival as well as drawing on the vast amount of archival footage, as well as footage sent in by fans of the festival. It was released in the UK in April 2006.

In 2006, Temple made a film of the life of his friend, in Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten. It premiered in January 2007.

In November 2007, Temple filmed several of the Sex Pistols' comeback shows at the Brixton Academy in London. This was followed by several filming sessions with each member of the band as they re-visited their old London haunts. The footage was assembled into a new documentary film released on DVD in 2008 as The Sex Pistols: There'll Always Be An England, bringing Temple's association with the Sex Pistols up to date.

In June 2008, Temple filmed three concerts by Madness at the Hackney Empire. These concerts were previews of the band's forthcoming album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate.[7]

In 2009, Temple directed the third film in his punk trilogy, Oil City Confidential, which celebrated the Canvey Island legends Dr. Feelgood, and a hymn to the Motor City entitled Requiem For Detroit? (2010).


In 2010, Temple directed the biography Ray Davies: Imaginary Man. Previously, he had directed several Kinks videos. Also, he was referred to by name in The Kinks song Too Hot from their Word of Mouth album: "Julien's on the street today/ Scouting out locations..."

In 2011, Temple returned to Glastonbury to further document the legendary festival. The resulting 75-minute film, titled "Glastonbury After Hours: Glastopia", was shot on location in the Shangri-La, Arcadia, the Unfair Ground, Strummerville, Block 9 and the Common areas. It was premiered on BBC4 on 15 June 2012.

On 4 March 2013, it was announced that Jesse L. Martin would replace Lenny Kravitz as Marvin Gaye in Sexual Healing, directed by Temple, and produced by Vassal Benton and Fred Bestall.[8][9] With approximately 70% of the film completed[10] and only three weeks to go on a planned nine-and-a-half-week shoot, production was stopped on the biopic, primarily due to financial problems[11] (crew members were said to have not been paid fully for their work on the film[10]).

Personal life[edit]

With his wife, Amanda (Pirie) Temple,[12] Temple has a daughter, the actress Juno, (born in 1989) and two sons, Leo (born 1993) and Felix (born 2000).

His sister, Nina Temple, was the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain.[13]


Music videos[edit]

Year Song Artist Notes Ref.
1977 "God Save the Queen" Sex Pistols
1978 "My Way" Sid Vicious
1979 "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" Neil Young
1980 "Breaking the Law" Judas Priest
"Living After Midnight"
"Argent trop cher" Téléphone
"My Perfect Cousin" The Undertones
1981 "She's Got Claws" Gary Numan
"Magnetic Fields Part 2" Jean Michel Jarre
"Don't Go" Judas Priest
"Heading Out to the Highway"
"Hot Rockin'"
"Rock This Town" Stray Cats
"Stray Cat Strut"
"Predictable" The Kinks
"It's Going to Happen!" The Undertones
1982 "Save It for Later" The Beat
"Poison Arrow" ABC
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" Culture Club
"See You" Depeche Mode
"The Meaning of Love"
"Leave in Silence"
"Come on Eileen" Dexys Midnight Runners
"You've Got Another Thing Comin'" Judas Priest
"Come Dancing" The Kinks
1983 "Freewheel Burning" Judas Priest
"Don't Forget to Dance" The Kinks
"State of Confusion"
"Too Much Blood" The Rolling Stones
"Undercover of the Night"
1984 Jazzin' for Blue Jean David Bowie Short promo film for "Blue Jean"
"Do It Again" The Kinks
"She Was Hot" The Rolling Stones
"Smooth Operator" Sade
1986 "Absolute Beginners" David Bowie
"Don't Need a Gun" Billy Idol
"Cry for Love" Iggy Pop
"When I Think of You" Janet Jackson
1987 "Day-In Day-Out" David Bowie
1988 "This Note's for You" Neil Young
1989 "Planet Texas" Kenny Rogers
"No More" Neil Young
"Rockin' in the Free World"
"Tin Machine" Tin Machine Short promo video shown in cinemas before the 1989 film Lenny Live and Unleashed
"Free Fallin'" Tom Petty
"Yer So Bad"
"Forever Blue" Swing Out Sister
1990 "World on Fire" Jane Wiedlin 24 May 1990 [18]
"Alright" Janet Jackson
"F*!#in' Up" Neil Young
"Over and Over"
"I'm Your Baby Tonight" Whitney Houston
"Hold On" Wilson Phillips
1991 "Don't Rock the Jukebox" Alan Jackson
"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" Bryan Adams
"Highwire" The Rolling Stones
"King of the Hill" (feat. Tom Petty) Roger McGuinn
"Into the Great Wide Open" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Learning to Fly"
1992 "Black Sunshine" Me Phi Me
"Pu' Sho Hands 2Getha"
"Sad New Day"
"Harvest Moon" Neil Young
"Elvis on Velvet" Stray Cats
1993 "Adam in Chains" Billy Idol
"For Tomorrow" Blur
"Come Undone" Duran Duran
"Too Much Information"
"I'm Gonna Soothe You" Maria McKee
1994 "The Eyes of Truth" Enigma
"Return to Innocence"
"Pincushion" ZZ Top
1996 "Beyond the Invisible" Enigma
1997 "Beautiful Night" Paul McCartney
2001 "Have You Ever" S Club 7
2002 "You" S Club 7
"One Step Closer" S Club Juniors
2004 "Mary" Scissor Sisters [19]
2006 "Love You But You're Green" Babyshambles
"The Blinding"
2009 "Postcard From London" Ray Davies


  1. ^ a b c Brennan, Sandra (2016). "Julien Temple". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  2. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (19 January 2013). "Sundance star Juno Temple to play Princess Margaret in royal film". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  3. ^ Chainsaw, Billy (August 2004). "Julien Temple | Interviews". Bizarre. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Grace Jones". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  5. ^ "ARENA: IT'S ALL TRUE, PT. 1 (TV)". Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  6. ^ Temple, Michael (June 1999). "Vigo Passion for Life (1997)". Sight & Sound. Archived from the original on 8 March 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Madness to showcase new album". ITV.com.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 March 2013) "Jesse L. Martin to play Marvin Gaye in 'Sexual Healing', Replaces Lenny Kravitz". Deadline. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (4 March 2013) "Jesse L. Martin to Star in Marvin Gaye Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Film". IndieWire.
  11. ^ "Marvin Gaye Biopic Sexual Healing Shuts Down Production". CINEMABLEND. 14 June 2013.
  12. ^ Doggart, Sebastian (24 February 2011). "Juno Temple: portrait of an expat starlet". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Juno Temple, interview: 'I'm not the high-school catch'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  14. ^ James, Caryn (12 May 1989). "Earth Girls Are Easy (1989) Review/Film; On Shaving, Furry Aliens Turn Into Valley Guys". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Dowd, Vincent (1 January 2015). "Julien Temple on The Clash: 'The energy of punk is really needed now'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  16. ^ "The Clash: New Year's Day '77". BBC Four. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  17. ^ Child, Ben (14 February 2011). "Julien Temple to direct Marvin Gaye biopic". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "Opening Slate for "World on Fire"". YouTube.[dead YouTube link]
  19. ^ We Are Scissor Sisters... And So Are You (liner notes). Scissor Sisters. Polydor Records (DVD – 986881–3). 29 November 2004.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

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