Donald Westlake is known for the great ingenuity of his plots and the audacity of his gimmicks. His writing and dialogue are lively. His main characters are fully rounded, believable, and clever. Westlake’s most famous characters include the hard-boiled criminal Parker (appearing in fiction under the Richard Stark pseudonym) and Parker’s comic flip-side John Dortmunder, the hard-luck criminal genius who originally began as Parker getting caught in a comic situation in the novel The Hot Rock. Most of Donald Westlake‘s novels are set in New York City. In each of the Dortmunder novels, there is typically a detailed shortcut somewhere through the city. Several of Westlake’s novels have been made into motion pictures, including Point Blank in 1967 with Lee Marvin by John Boorman, The Hot Rock in 1972 with Robert Redford, Cops and Robbers (1973), Payback in 1999 with Mel Gibson, and What’s the Worst That Could Happen? in 2001 with Martin Lawrence. Westlake himself is a screenwriter; his script for The Grifters, adapted from the novel of the same name by Jim Thompson, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Walker is trying to help his gangster friend Reese, Walker is shot and left for dead by him and his own wife turning out to be Reese’s lover. In order to get the revenge, Walker will penetrate the very center of all-powerful criminal Organization.
Walken initially trained as a dancer in musical theatre before moving on to more serious roles in theatre and then film. He has a considerable body of work in theatre, with over 100 plays to his credit. Walken won the Clarence Derwent Award for his performance in The Lion in Winter in 1966 and an Obie for his 1975 performance in Kid Champion. He has played the main role in a number of Shakespeare plays, notably Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Coriolanus. Walken tried his hand at writing and directing with the short five-minute film Popcorn Shrimp in 2001. He also wrote and acted the main role in a play about Elvis Presley titled Him in 1995. Walken has also appeared in over 100 movies and television shows since 1953, including The Deer Hunter, The Dead Zone, A View to a Kill, At Close Range, King of New York, Batman Returns, True Romance, Pulp Fiction, The Funeral and Catch Me If You Can, and in classic TV series such as Kojak and The Naked City. Walken attained cult status in 90’s, playing the role of the Archangel Gabriel in the first three The Prophecy movies. His films have grossed a cumulative North American profit of over USD 1.8 billion.
In 1966, Pacino studied under legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg (alongside whom he would later feature in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II), finding acting to be an enjoyable talent that he had possessed since childhood, though it left him penniless and without a home, sleeping on the stage that he performed on. Yet by the end of the decade, he had won an Obie award for his stage work in The Indian Wants the Bronx and a Tony award for Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie? His movie debut came in 1969’s Me, Natalie, which went largely unnoticed. It was the 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, in which he played a heroin addict, that would showcase his talents and bring him to the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola.
De Niro was born in New York City, the son of Robert De Niro, Sr., an abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and poet (De Niro’s Italian great-grandparents emigrated from Ferrazzano, in the province of Campobasso, Molise, in the early 20th century), and Virginia Admiral, who was also a painter. They had met at the painting classes of Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His parents divorced when he was 2 years old. De Niro grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City much like many of his film characters. His childhood nickname was Bobby Milk due to his pale complexion.
He was born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana. He never knew his father (who abandoned his wife and child shortly after McQueen was born) – although he did find the house where he lived approximately a year after his father’s death. His mother left him at an early age and he was raised in Slater, Missouri by his uncle. At the age of 12 he was reunited with his mother and went to live in Los Angeles, California. However by the time he was 14 she had sent him to the Boys Republic home for wayward boys in Chino Hills, California. After McQueen left Chino, he drifted before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1947 and served until 1950. In 1952, with financial assistance of the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting and auditioned to study at Lee Strasberg’s Actors’ Studio in New York. Of the 2000 people who auditioned that year, only McQueen and Martin Landau were accepted. McQueen made his Broadway debut in 1955 in A Hatful of Rain.
Bruce Willis, an army brat was born in an American military base in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, to an American father, David Willis, and a German mother, Marlene Willis. After being discharged from the military in 1957, David took his family back to Penns Grove, New Jersey, and he worked as a welder and factory worker. Bruce was the oldest of four children. He was always an outgoing youngster, although he grew up with a stutter. Finding it easy to express himself on stage, Willis began performing on stage and his high school memberships were marked by such things as the drama club and school council president.
Set as an expansive and hypnotic film experience, the story explores the ideas of time, memory, love, violence and betrayal. It is renowned for its beautiful cinematography, the detail of its three historical settings and its intricate, open-ended narration. Like most of Leone’s films, it was first released in the United States in a heavily edited version almost ninety minutes shorter than the version released in Europe. The short version also eliminates the flashback structure of the film, instead placing the scenes in chronological order.