Lee Tamahori

Lee Tamahori Photo


Date of Birth: 1950

"Sex should not be in the movies and should be in the home, and violence should be in the movies and not in the home." Lee Tamahori

Born to a Maori father and a European mother in New Zealand, Tamahori started his career as a commercial artist and photographer. After ten years as a boom operator he became an assistant director. His artistic eye led to multi-award winning commercials. He directed over a hundred spots, and won awards from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

In 1985 he finally decided to take the plunge into television and film work. After directing the television series The Ray Bradbury Theater, he completed his first film, Thunderbox.

His second attempt would prove more fruitful. In 1994, Tamahori received worldwide acclaim for the powerful drama Once Were Warriors. Based on the controversial novel by Alan Duff, the film became the highest-grossing film in New Zealand's history. It was also honored at a number of film festivals across the globe, and it received eight awards, including Best Film at the New Zealand Film & Television Awards.

His first American feature was Mulholland Falls. It revolves around four elite crime unit named "The Four Hats" that operated Los Angeles in the 1950s, charged with keeping organized crime out of the city. Boasting big names like Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri and Chris Penn, the film did not fare well with critics or viewers.

He next worked with Sir Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin in the adventure film The Edge. Although critics had mixed reactions, the box office dubbed it a hit.

Following work on the hit television drama series, The Sopranos, Tamahori returned to features with the thriller Along Came a Spider (2001) starring Morgan Freeman, followed by the highly successful James Bond flick Die Another Day (2002) starring Pierce Brosnan, and the action thriller XXX: State of the Union (2005) starring Ice Cube.


Next (2007)
XXX: State of the Union (2005)
Die Another Day (2002)
In Search of the Assassin (2001)
Along Came a Spider (2001)
The Edge (1997)
Mulholland Falls (1996)
Once Were Warriors (1994)
Thunderbox (1989)