Joel CoenEclectic American Filmmaker, Brother of Ethan
One half of one of the most revered creative teams in American cinema.
The elder Coen Brother, Joel Coen is a highly influential and respected filmmaker equally adept at eccentric comedies and tense dramas. Along with his sibling Ethan, he became renowned during the 1980s for the neo-noir thriller Blood Simple and its gleefully quirky comedic follow-up, Raising Arizona. The former movie featured Joel's wife, Frances McDormand, in her debut film performance, and the latter starred a young Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter, pointing to the Coens' knack for fostering the talents of major actors (see also Steve Buscemi, among others). Solidifying their sterling reputation with eclectic productions in the early '90s, the brothers finally garnered widespread acclaim and attention with the darkly humorous thriller Fargo. The playful Coen capers The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou? capped off a remarkable run of exceptional movies, with subsequent productions lacking their successful combination of wit and stylistic panache. The brothers returned to fine form with 2007's Oscar-winning Cormac McCarthy adaptation No Country for Old Men, signaling a revitalized era that also included the sharply focused character study A Serious Man and the expansive Western remake True Grit. While Joel received sole directorial credit on all of their films until '03, the brothers share directing, writing, producing, and editing duties—the latter as the combined alias of Roderick Jaynes.