John Herzfeld

John Herzfeld is an American film and television director, screenwriter, actor and producer. His feature film directing credits include Two of a Kind (1983), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), 15 Minutes (2001) and The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007). He has also directed numerous made-for-television movies, including The Ryan White Story (1989), The Preppie Murder (1989), Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story (1993) and Don King: Only in America (1997) for which he was nominated for an Emmy and won the DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for directing the 1980 ABC Afterschool Special titled "Stoned".

John Herzfeld
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1972-present
Spouse(s)Rebekah Chaney (2010-present)[1]

Early life

Herzfeld was born on April 15, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. His father, who ran a small maintenance company, had a great love of movies, theater and ballet, and exposed his children to the arts as often as he could.[2]


ABC Afterschool Specials

Herzfeld began his directing career with two ABC Afterschool Specials. He won a Daytime Emmy for best directing in children's programming for his work on the 1980 film Stoned,[3] the story of a shy, bullied high school student (played by Scott Baio) who becomes involved with marijuana.[4] He also won the first annual "Scott Newman Drug Abuse Prevention Award" for his writing on Stoned.[5] In addition to writing and directing, Herzfeld also played the part of a concerned teacher in Stoned.[4] His second Afterschool Special, Run, Don't Walk, also starred Scott Baio about two teenager learning to cope with their life in wheelchairs.

Two of a Kind

In 1983, Herzfeld made his debut as a feature film director in the romantic comedy, Two of a Kind, starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.[6] Travolta plays a failed inventor who robs a bank, and Newton-John is a teller who puts deposit slips in Travolta's bag and keeps the cash for herself. In heaven, a group of angels (including two portrayed by Charles Durning and Scatman Crothers) try to persuade God (voice by Gene Hackman) not to send a new plague to the Earth if these two characters can be reformed.[6] The film was a critical and commercial flop and was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards including both Worst Director and Worst Screenplay for Herzfeld.

Television movies

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Herzfeld directed and wrote several made-for-TV movies, including:

2 Days in the Valley

In 1996, Herzfeld returned to feature films as the director and screenwriter of the crime thriller 2 Days in the Valley with an all-star cast that included Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Teri Hatcher, Charlize Theron, Keith Carradine, Eric Stoltz, Marsha Mason, James Spader, Paul Mazursky and Louise Fletcher. The film was Charlize Theron's feature film debut.

Herzfeld described the movie, which follows 10 characters over 48 hours in the San Fernando Valley, as follows: "The movie is about a lot of people who either never achieved their goals, or screwed up their lives, or dropped the football the first time it was thrown to them. What a lot of characters share in common is this unrealized potential."[10]

When the press kit and advance newspaper stories for 2 Days in the Valley depicted Herzfeld as "a first-time feature filmmaker" moving from the small screen to the big screen, the Los Angeles Times published a story focusing on the omission of Herzfeld's earlier work on Two of a Kind.[6]

Don King: Only in America

In 1997, Herzfeld directed Don King: Only in America, a biographical dramatization of the life of boxing promoter Don King aired by HBO. The film starred Ving Rhames as King and Jeremy Piven in a supporting role as closed-circuit promoter Hank Schwartz.[11] The film received much critical success winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie, as well as the Directors Guild of America's DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials. At the time, Herzfeld described his goal for the film:

"I'm trying to tell the tale of a full-rounded character--comes from a dark past, lives in a dark world where there's always clouds overhead and somehow when the ground separates underneath him, he always seems to jump over it and never fall in. ... And how he does that and who props him up and what and when, that's what the movie's all about."[12]

15 Minutes

Herzfeld also wrote and directed the 2001 feature 15 Minutes pairing Robert De Niro and Edward Burns. Herzfeld wrote at the time that he intended the film as a study of the country's fascination with celebrity—thus the title's reference to Andy Warhol's famous quote about "15 minutes of fame."[13] The film received a mixed review from the Los Angeles Times which noted:

"Like many ambitious, provocative films, '15 Minutes' is a bit of a mess. Both audacious and unwieldy, exciting and excessive, this dark thriller is too long, too violent and not always convincing. But at the same time, there's no denying that it's onto something, that its savage indictment of the nexus involving media, crime and a voracious public is a cinematic statement difficult to ignore."[14]

Later works

From 2004 to 2006, Herzfeld returned to television, writing and directing multiple episodes of the Rob Lowe series, Dr. Vegas.

In 2007, Herzfeld directed the crime thriller The Death and Life of Bobby Z starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. Walker plays a prisoner offered a deal by the DEA in which he can win his freedom by impersonating a legendary drug dealer as part of a prisoner exchange.

In 2008, he wrote and directed the made-for-television feature SIS, about the Special Investigation Squad, an elite secret police force that hunts down criminals on the streets of Los Angeles.

In 2009, Herzfeld directed the 90-minute documentary "Inferno: The Making Of The Expendables" for his friend Sylvester Stallone. The two first worked together on Cobra, where Herzfeld plays a goon that Stallone's character sets on fire during the film's climax. Herzfeld directed Stallone in his 2014 film Reach Me.



Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Actor Director Producer Writer
1974 Death Wish Green tick Train Mugger #2 Uncredited
1976 Cannonball Green tick Sharpe
1978 Youngblood Green tick Social Worker
1983 Two of a Kind Green tick Green tick
1986 Cobra Green tick Cho
1996 2 Days in the Valley Green tick Green tick
2001 15 Minutes Green tick Green tick Green tick
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z Green tick
2014 Reach Me Green tick Green tick Green tick Green tick


Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Actor Director Producer Writer
1980 ABC Afterschool Special: "Stoned" Green tick Green tick Green tick Doug
1981 ABC Afterschool Special: "Run, Don't Walk" Green tick
1987 Daddy Green tick Green tick TV movie
1989 The Preppie Murder Green tick Green tick TV movie
The Ryan White Story Green tick Green tick Green tick Florist TV movie
1993 Remember Green tick Green tick Green tick Tom Eddy TV movie
Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story Green tick Green tick Green tick TV movie
1997 Don King: Only in America Green tick TV movie
2004 Dr. Vegas[15] Green tick creator
2008 SIS Green tick Green tick Green tick TV movie


  1. ^ "Rebekah's Gallery". Archived from the original on 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  3. ^ Lee Margulies (1981-05-22). "'Hospital,' 'Donahue' Among Winners". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ a b "An Earnest 'Stoned'". Los Angeles Times. 1980-11-12.
  5. ^ "4 Win Drug Abuse Prevention Awards". Los Angeles Times. 1981-08-07.
  6. ^ a b c Robert Koehler (1996-10-02). "Herzfeld's Directing Debut: the Second Time Around; Movies: Publicity for '2 Days in the Valley' fails to mention his big-screen bomb, 'Two of a Kind.'". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ John Voorhees (1987-04-05). "'DADDY': IT'S MORE THAN JUST A REPLAY". Seattle Times.
  8. ^ Ray Richmond (1989-01-16). "The Ryan White Story' pushes the right buttons". Orange County Register.
  9. ^ Howard Rosenberg (1989-09-23). "'Preppie Murder' Drama Pleads Case for Victims". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Robin Rauzi (1995-07-14). "Valley Takes a Hit John Herzfeld's new movie about misfits and murder, set in the `big, vast grid,' brings the area dubious distinction". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Bill Higgins (1997-11-11). "A Party Like This? Only in America". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Tim Kawakami (1997-07-14). "LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: CHOMP!; HBO's 'Don King,' Based on a Biting Biography of the Promoter, Adds a New Chapter to Saga". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ John Herzfeld (2001-03-09). "First Person; The 15-Minute Age; Filmmaker John Herzfeld makes a statement: Is there a price to be paid for kneeling at the foot of celebrity?". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ "For the Record". Los Angeles Times. 2001-04-02.
  15. ^ Lowry, Brian (September 22, 2004). "Dr. Vegas". Variety. Retrieved January 7, 2018.

External links

15 Minutes

15 Minutes is a 2001 German-American crime action thriller film directed by John Herzfeld and starring Robert De Niro and Edward Burns. Its story revolves around a homicide detective (De Niro) and a fire marshal (Burns) who join forces to apprehend a pair of Eastern European murderers (Karel Roden and Oleg Taktarov) videotaping their crimes in order to become rich and famous. The title is a reference to the Andy Warhol quotation, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

1996 Toronto International Film Festival

The 21st Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between September 5 and September 14, 1996.Deepa Mehta's Fire was selected as the opening film.

2 Days in the Valley

2 Days in the Valley is a 1996 American crime film written and directed by John Herzfeld. It depicts 48 hours in the lives of a group of people who are drawn together by a murder.

4th Golden Raspberry Awards

The 4th Golden Raspberry Awards were held on April 8, 1984, at Third Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California, to recognize the worst the movie industry had to offer in 1983.

Charlize Theron filmography

Charlize Theron is a South African-born American actress who made her film debut in an uncredited role as a follower of a cult in the 1995 horror film Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. Theron followed this with appearances as a hitwoman in 2 Days in the Valley, a waitress in the romantic comedy Trial and Error (1997), and a woman suffering with schizophrenia in the mystery thriller The Devil's Advocate (1997) with Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino. She appeared in the science fiction thriller The Astronaut's Wife with Johnny Depp, and Lasse Hallström's The Cider House Rules (both in 1999). For her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the crime drama Monster (2003), Theron received the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The following year, she played Swedish entertainer Britt Ekland in the biographical film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

Theron played the eponymous rebel assassin in the science fiction action film Æon Flux and a miner fighting sexual harassment in the drama North Country (both in 2005). The latter role earned her a nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs. Three years later, Theron starred in the superhero film Hancock with Will Smith. The film grossed over $624 million at the worldwide box office. She received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her role as an alcoholic writer in the comedy-drama Young Adult (2011). The following year, Theron appeared in the action adventure film Snow White and the Huntsman and Ridley Scott's science fiction film Prometheus. In 2015, she played rebel soldier Imperator Furiosa in George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road. Two years later Theron appeared as a cyberterrorist in the action film The Fate of the Furious, which grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office—her highest grossing as of May 2017.

Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director

The Razzie Award for Worst Director is an award presented at the annual Golden Raspberry Awards to the worst director of the previous year. The following is a list of nominees and recipients of that award, along with the film(s) for which they were nominated.

Herzfeld (surname)

Herzfeld is a German surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Avraham Herzfeld (1891–1973), Zionist activist and Israeli politician

Charles M. Herzfeld (b. 1925), American scientist

Ernst Herzfeld (1879–1948), German archaeologist and Iranologist

Estella Herzfeld (1837–1881), Dutch poet

Guido Herzfeld (1851–1923), German actor

Helmut Herzfeld or John Heartfield (1891–1968), German photomontage artist

Ida of Herzfeld (c. 788 – c. 813), widow of a Saxon duke who devoted her life to the poor following the death of her husband in 811

Jacob Herzfeld (1762–1826), German actor and theatre director

Jim Herzfeld, American film and television screenwriter

John Herzfeld, American motion picture and television director, screenwriter, actor and producer

Judith Herzfeld (b. 1948), American biophysical chemist

Karl Herzfeld (1892–1978), Austrian-American physicist

Levi Herzfeld (1810–1884), German rabbi and historian.

Ron Herzfeld (1946), American Oil and Gas Executive

Shmuel Herzfeld (b. 1974), American Modern Orthodox rabbi who heads the National Synagogue of Washington DC

Thomas J. Herzfeld (b. 1945), American businessman

Victor von Herzfeld (1856-1919), Hungarian violinist and composer.

List of crime films of 1996

This is a list of crime films released in 1996.

Reach Me

Reach Me is a 2014 American drama film directed and written by John Herzfeld. The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Kyra Sedgwick, Terry Crews, Thomas Jane, Kevin Connolly, Lauren Cohan, Kelsey Grammer, and Tom Berenger.

The film was produced by Rebekah Chaney, Cassian Elwes, Buddy Patrick, John Herzfeld.The plot revolves around how a self-help book inspires a diverse group of people: a journalist and his editor, a former inmate, a hip-hop mogul, an actor and an undercover cop. The creation of Reach Me was influenced as least partly by Herzfeld's memories of seeing televangelist Reverend Ike and reading Napoleon Hill's self-help book, Think and Grow Rich, although Herzfeld says the film is "not about getting rich, but believing in yourself."

Satellite Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film

The Satellite Award for Best Miniseries or TV Film is one of the annual Satellite Awards given by the International Press Academy. The IFA separated these two categories from 1999 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2015 as Satellite Award for Best Miniseries and Satellite Award for Best Television Film.

Stoned (TV special)

"Stoned" is a 1980 ABC Afterschool Special starring Scott Baio which is built around peer pressure and its resultant drug abuse. It was featured as the fourth episode in the program's ninth season.

The Death and Life of Bobby Z

The Death and Life of Bobby Z, also known as Bobby Z and Let's Kill Bobby Z, is a 2007 American-German action film, directed by John Herzfeld, and starring Paul Walker, Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Wilde and Joaquim de Almeida. The film received an R rating by the MPAA for violence, some drug use, language and brief nudity. Don Winslow, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, acknowledged that the screen adaption was not successful.

The Fifth Corner

The Fifth Corner is an American television series which aired on NBC and produced by TriStar Television in 1992. The two-hour pilot aired on April 17, 1992, and one final episode aired the week after.

The Preppie Murder

The Preppie Murder is a television film directed by John Herzfeld, written by Herzfeld and Irv Roud, and starring William Baldwin as Robert Chambers and Lara Flynn Boyle as Jennifer Levin. The film aired on ABC in 1989. It was based on the events of a murder committed by Robert Chambers, nicknamed the Preppie Killer. The film co-stars Danny Aiello, Joanna Kerns and William Devane.

The Ryan White Story

The Ryan White Story is a 1989 television film starring Lukas Haas, and Judith Light, directed by John Herzfeld. The film first aired on the ABC network on January 16, 1989. It is based on the true story of the American teenager Ryan White, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school because of his infection. Nielsen ratings estimated that the movie was seen by 15 million viewers on the original airing.Upon airing, some residents of Kokomo felt that the film unfairly portrayed the town in a negative light. The office of Kokomo mayor Robert F. Sargent was flooded with complaints from across the country. The real life Ryan White made a cameo appearance in the film as another hemophiliac AIDS sufferer named Chad. The film's final scene was filmed at South Iredell High School in Statesville, North Carolina. After its airing, the film was released on VHS in the UK.

Two of a Kind (1983 film)

Two of a Kind is a 1983 American romantic fantasy comedy film directed by John Herzfeld and starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The original musical score was composed by Patrick Williams. Travolta plays a cash-strapped inventor while Newton-John plays the bank teller whom he attempts to rob. They must come to show compassion for one another in order to delay God's judgment upon the Earth. Despite being a critical and commercial failure, Two of a Kind yielded three popular singles for Newton-John and a Platinum certification for the soundtrack.

Films directed by John Herzfeld

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