Richard Marquand

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Richard Marquand
Born(1937-09-22)22 September 1937
Died4 September 1987(1987-09-04) (aged 49)
OccupationFilm director
ChildrenJames Marquand
Parent(s)Hilary Marquand (father)
RelativesDavid Marquand (brother)

Richard Marquand (22 September 1937 – 4 September 1987) was a Welsh film director,[1] best known for directing 1983's Return of the Jedi. He also directed the critically acclaimed 1981 drama film Eye of the Needle and the 1985 thriller Jagged Edge.

Early life[edit]

Marquand was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales. He is the son of Rachel E. (née Rees) and Hilary Marquand, who was a Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) and Minister in the Post Second World War Labour Government.[2] He is the younger brother of David Marquand, who also served as a Labour Party MP.

Richard Marquand was educated at Emanuel School, London, the University of Aix (now Aix-Marseille University) in Aix-en-Provence, France and King's College, Cambridge. During National Service he studied Mandarin and was posted to Hong Kong where he also read the news on the English language Hong Kong Television.


By the late 1960s, Marquand had begun a career directing television documentaries for the BBC, where he worked on projects such as the 1972 series Search for the Nile and an edition of One Pair of Eyes (1968),[3] about the novelist Margaret Drabble who had been a friend of his at Cambridge.[4] He collaborated with the celebrated foreign correspondent James Cameron on a long-running series called Cameron Country for BBC television and also with John Pilger on a series of films for ITV. In 1979, Marquand incorporated many of his documentary techniques in his biographical television movie Birth of the Beatles. He directed several films specifically for children including the 1977 Emmy winning Big Henry and the Polka Dot Kid.

On the strength of his direction of the 1981 feature, Eye of the Needle, Marquand was hired by writer-producer George Lucas to direct Return of the Jedi.[5] In his commentary track on the DVD, Lucas explains that Marquand "had done some great suspense films and was really good with actors. Eye of the Needle was the film I'd seen that he had done that impressed me the most, it was really nicely done and had a lot of energy and suspense."

Marquand subsequently directed the 1985 courtroom thriller Jagged Edge, starring Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close.


In 1987, Marquand died of a stroke eighteen days short of his 50th birthday. His last film, Hearts of Fire, starring Bob Dylan, was released posthumously.[5]

Marquand had four children; Hannah, Sam, Molly, and James, the last of whom is also a film director.


Theatrical feature films[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Himself
1978 The Legacy Yes No No No
1979 Birth of the Beatles Yes No No No
1981 Eye of the Needle Yes No No No
1983 Return of the Jedi Yes No No Yes Cameos as "Maj. Marquand" and "Voice of EV-9D9"
1984 Until September Yes No No No
1985 Jagged Edge Yes No No No
1987 Hearts of Fire Yes Yes No No Posthumous release
1993 Nowhere to Run No No Story No Posthumous release

Short films[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1973 The Iron Village Yes No No Documentary
Between the Anvil and the Hammer Yes No No Documentary
1975 The Puritan Experience: Making of a New World Yes Yes Yes
The Puritan Experience: Forsaking England Yes Yes No
Do Yourself Some Good Yes No No Documentary

Television films[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Production
1964 The Long Journey No No Yes No
The Colony No No Yes No
Home for Heroes? Yes Yes No No
Birmingham '64 No Yes No No
1970 Edward II Yes No No No Co-directed with Toby Robertson
E.M. Forster 1879-1970 No No No Yes Documentary
1983 Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi No No No Yes Documentary
From 'Star Wars' to 'Jedi': The Making of a Saga No No No Yes Documentary

Television series[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer Himself
1963 This Nation Tomorrow Yes No No No Mini-series, 3 episodes
The Sky at Night Yes No No No Documentary, 2 episodes
1963-64 Adventure Yes Yes No No Documentary, 2 episodes
1964-65 Landmarks Yes No No No Documentary mini-series, 2 episodes
1965 Inside America Yes No No No Mini-series, 4 episodes
1966 Inside Ireland Yes No No No Mini-series, 2 episodes
Women, Women, Women Yes No No No Mini-series, 2 episodes
1967 Inside Australia Yes No No Yes Mini-series: Director (4 episodes) / Narrator (12 episodes)
1967-70 One Pair of Eyes Yes No No No Mini-series, 4 episodes
1968-70 Cameron Country Yes Yes No No Director (8 episodes) / Producer (episode ''Nobody Ever Asks Why'')
1971 The Search for the Nile Yes No No No Mini-series, 2 episodes
1971-73 Omnibus Yes Yes No No Documentary: Director (2 episodes) / Producer (episode ''That's My Little Masterpiece'')
1975-76 Pilger Yes Yes No No Documentary: Director (4 episodes) / Producer (episode ''Zap!! The Weapon Is Food'')
1976 NBC Special Treat Yes No Yes No Director (2 epsiodes) / Writer (episode ''Luke Was There'');
1987 Omnibus No No No Yes Documentary (episode ''Getting to Dylan'')


  1. ^ "Welsh film facts". BBC. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ Richard Marquand Biography (1937–)
  3. ^ One Pair of Eyes: Margaret Drabble, BBC2, 9 March 1968, BBC Archive site
  4. ^ Margaret Drabble "Once upon a life: Margaret Drabble", The Guardian, 5 December 2010
  5. ^ a b Richard Marquand > Biography – AllMovie. Retrieved 25 September 2010.

External links[edit]