Distinctive director of genre classics from Brazil to 12 Monkeys.
November 22, 1940
Filmmaker Terry Gilliam’s baroque, surreal, and sometimes grotesque imagery is instantly recognizable, and many of his imaginative fantasies have become genre classics.
Born and raised in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Gilliam had an enthusiasm for cartoons in his youth, which would later become the touchstone for his professional career. In fact, it was through his job as a magazine art director that Gilliam met John Cleese.
In 1969, Gilliam, Cleese and three others started the comedy group Monty Python, with Gilliam contributing as animator. It was through his animations for the BBC television show Monty Python's Flying Circus that Gilliam first became known in the fantasy genre. It wouldn't be until 1975, however, that he would step into the role of film director, co-directing Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Jones.
In 1977, Gilliam directed his first solo film, Jabberwocky. He went on to release a string of science fiction and fantasy classics-to-be, including Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), The Fisher King (1991), and 12 Monkeys (1995). Each displays a celebration of the absurd coupled with warm insight into the human condition.