Roger Christian (filmmaker)

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Roger Christian
Roger Christian (April 2011)
Born (1944-02-25) 25 February 1944 (age 74)[1]
London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Film director, production designer, set decorator
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Lina Dhingra
Website at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2011)

Roger Christian (born 25 February 1944)[1] is an English set decorator, production designer and feature film director. He won an Academy Award for his work on the original Star Wars and was Oscar-nominated for his work on Alien. Christian directed the second unit on both Return of the Jedi[2] and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as well as feature films including The Sender and Nostradamus. He also directed the 2000 film Battlefield Earth which is regarded as one of the worst films ever made.[3][4][5]


He began his career as an assistant art director on several UK productions including the Hammer Studios film And Soon the Darkness (1970).[citation needed] He won an Academy Award for set decoration on the science fiction classic Star Wars (1977). (Christian claims to be the third crew member hired for the project.)[6] Two years later, Christian received his second Oscar nomination for his work as the production designer on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). Christian's use of aircraft scrap and other machinery to dress the set interiors of these films and creation of weapons using old working guns adapted by adding junk revolutionised the look of science fiction films.[6][7] Christian maintained his working relationship with George Lucas over the years, having worked on Return of the Jedi (1983) and being the second unit director on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999).

Christian began his directing career with the shorts Black Angel (1980) and The Dollar Bottom (1981). Black Angel, filmed at locations in Scotland, was mentored by George Lucas who tied the film as a programme with The Empire Strikes Back in UK, Australia, and Scandinavia.[8] The 25-minute film is a retelling of the hero's journey in classical mythology, and it influenced several major directors.[8] The Dollar Bottom won an Academy Award for best live action short film and a BAFTA nomination.[9] He made his feature film debut with the horror film The Sender (1982). Chosen as the opening film at the Avoriaz Film Festival, the film has become a cult classic. Quentin Tarantino has described The Sender as his favourite horror film of 1982.[10] Christian directed the music video "Election Day" by the band Arcadia in Paris, France in 1985.[11] His 1994 feature film Nostradamus, about the life of the famous French prophet, has received worldwide recognition.[8]

His biggest project to date was the big budget L. Ron Hubbard science fiction adaptation Battlefield Earth (2000) starring John Travolta and Barry Pepper, which The Guardian considered a commercial and critical disaster, and as one of the "worst films ever made".[3][4][5] In 2009, NPR declared the film "the worst science fiction film of the decade".[12] Christian doesn't consider Battlefield Earth to be a "Scientology movie" as he intended it as a throwback to regular science fiction.[13]

In 2006, he directed an action/adventure/mystery movie, Prisoners of the Sun, starring John Rhys-Davies, David Charvet, Carmen Chaplin, and Gulshan Grover. It was unreleased until 2014 when it had geographically limited release in Nordic countries.

Personal life[edit]

Christian is a Buddhist. He is an admirer of filmmaker Peter Jackson.[13]


Year Film Director Producer Screenwriter Art
Other Notes
1977 Star Wars Yes Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Shared with John Barry, Norman Reynolds & Leslie Dilley
Nominated – Saturn Award for Outstanding Set Decoration
1979 Alien Yes Nominated – Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Shared with Michael Seymour, Leslie Dilley & Ian Whittaker
1980 Black Angel Yes Yes Yes Short Film
1981 The Dollar Bottom Yes Short Film
Nominated – BAFTA Film Award for Best Short Film
1982 The Sender Yes
1984 Lorca and the Outlaws Yes Yes Nominated – International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film
1994 Nostradamus Yes Yes
1995 The Final Cut Yes
1996 Underworld Yes
1997 Masterminds Yes
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Yes Second-unit director alongside George Lucas
2000 Battlefield Earth Yes Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture of the Decade
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst 'Drama' of Our First 25 Years
2004 American Daylight Yes
2004 Bandido Yes Yes
2013 Dangerous Intuition Yes
2013 Stranded Yes Yes (co-writer)
2013 Prisoners of the Sun Yes
2016 Joseph and Mary Yes


  1. ^ a b "Roger Christian". British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Revenge of the Jedi call sheet
  3. ^ a b Campbell, Duncan (31 May 2000). "Cult classic". Guardian Unlimited. Guardian Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 29 July 2006. [...] Battlefield Earth has opened to spectacularly bad notices, many of which have suggested that the film is the worst of the year, the decade, the millennium or whatever exotic time-frame the alien Psychlos recognise. 
  4. ^ a b Farache, Emily (18 October 2000). "Travolta Sets Sights on "Battlefield Earth 2"". E! Online. Retrieved 26 March 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Christian, Roger (4 June 2000). "How dare they call my film a turkey; The director of the new John Travolta epic defends himself against his many critics". The Observer. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Singer, Jeremy (4 May 2014). "The Man Who Literally Built 'Star Wars'". Esquire. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Martin Anderson. "In praise of the sci-fi corridor". Den of Geek. 
  8. ^ a b c Anderson, Martin (9 March 2010). "Exclusive interview: The worlds of Roger Christian". Shadowlocked. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Movies: The Dollar Bottom". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Cole, Andrew (14 January 2008). "Every film mentioned by Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino in their Hot Fuzz commentary track". Tysto. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  11. ^ Arcadia – Making of....Election Day Video on YouTube
  12. ^ Raz, Guy (27 December 2009). "Movies That Should Die with the Decade". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Anderson, Martin (21 March 2012). "Roger Christian Talks Zombies, Prometheus & Battlefield Earth". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 

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