Peter Yates

Active - 1963 - 2010  |   Born - Jul 24, 1929 in Ewshot, Surrey, England  |   Died - Jan 9, 2011   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Adventure, Thriller

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Biography by Bruce Eder

British director Peter Yates graduated from his early '60s low-budget feature debut, the musical comedy Summer Holiday (1963), starring Cliff Richard and the Shadows, to the superb thriller Robbery (1967) with Stanley Baker. It was a short jump to the American thriller Bullitt (1968), starring Steve McQueen, the definitive cop thriller of its decade with the first car chase that anyone remembers in movies, through the streets of San Francisco. John and Mary (1969), starring Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow, was a big date movie at the end of the 1960s, and The Hot Rock (1972) was a groundbreaking comedy/thriller of its era, while The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) was a crime drama with one of Robert Mitchum's best performances. After that, Yates moved easily between genres, from the black comedy of Mother, Jugs, and Speed (1976) to the comic book-style action of Krull (1983), pausing along the way for the sensitive period drama The Dresser (1983) and the suspense of Eyewitness (1981). Yates died in 2011 following a long illness at the age of 81.

Movie Highlights

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  • Directed episodes of the classic TV series Secret Agent and The Saint.
  • Feature-film directorial debut was Summer Holiday, a 1963 British musical.
  • Best remembered for directing the iconic car-chase scene in the 1968 Steve McQueen police drama Bullitt.