Moustapha Akkad

Born in July 1st, 1930

From Aleppo, Syria

Moustapha Akkad Biography

Moustapha Akkad was born in Aleppo. Syria in 1930. His passion for movies grew at an early age and this is why at the age of 19 he wanted to go to the States and follow his dream. When he left Syria his father gave him the money for the ticket and a copy of the Qura'an, telling him it was all he could manage. In the USA he studied theatre arts at UCLA and got his masters from USC.

He started his professional work in TV where he did a biography on the different ethnic groups in the States and how their backgrounds affect their lives in America. NBC offered him a better salary if he chose not to put his name on the project, and this is where he learned a great lesson. That for a film maker recognition is more important than money.

In 1976 he made his first feature film, The Message (1976), where he directed and produced; the film was about the birth of Islam starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas. The film did not score at the American box office because the face of the prophet Mohammed (the main character in the movie) did not show on the screen due to religious reasons, but it did well world-wide.

In 1978 John Carpenter came to him with the screenplay for Halloween (1978) and Akkad produced it while Carpenter directed it. The movie was a big success. In 1981 he went back to directing when he directed Anthony Quinn again in Lion of the Desert (1980), a movie funded by Muammar Gaddafi and due to his political persona the movie did not score at the box office.

It was about Libyan freedom fighter Omar Al-Mokhtar and Libyans' fight for freedom against the colonizing Italians, and was his last directorial project. After that he went back to producing the Halloween sequels. In 1995, he decided to make a film about the life of Saladin the great Muslim leader who fought the crusaders but he was never able to get the appropriate funding.

On 9 November 2005 he was killed in a terrorist attack in Amman, Jordan. As a director he was greatly affected by David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia (1962)) but had his own amazing touches.

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