Matthew Modine

Matthew Avery Modine (born March 22, 1959)[1] is an American actor, activist and filmmaker, who rose to prominence through his role as United States Marine Corps Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. His other film roles include the title character in Alan Parker's Birdy, the high school wrestler Louden Swain in Vision Quest, Drake Goodman in Pacific Heights and Dr. Ralph Wyman in Short Cuts. On television, Modine portrayed Dr. Martin Brenner in Stranger Things, the oversexed Sullivan Groff on Weeds, Dr. Don Francis in And the Band Played On and Ivan Turing in Proof.

Modine has been nominated twice for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for his work in And the Band Played On and What the Deaf Man Heard and won a Special Golden Globe for him and the rest of the ensemble in Short Cuts.[2] He was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for And the Band Played On.

Matthew Modine
Matthew Modine by Gage Skidmore
Modine in 2017
Matthew Avery Modine

March 22, 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
EducationMar Vista High School
  • Actor
  • film producer
  • film director
  • screenwriter
  • activist
Years active1982–present
Caridad Rivera (m. 1980)
Children2, including Ruby Modine

Early life

Modine, the youngest of seven[3] children, was born in Loma Linda, California, the son of Dolores (née Warner), a bookkeeper, and Mark Alexander Modine, who managed drive-in theaters. He is a nephew of a stage actress Nola Modine Fairbanks, and the great-grandson of the prospector and pioneer Ralph Jacobus Fairbanks.[4][5] Modine lived in Utah for several years, moving every year or two. The drive-in theaters his father managed were being torn down because the land beneath them exceeded the value of the theaters. The Modine family returned to Imperial Beach, California where Matthew attended and graduated from Mar Vista High School in 1977.[6]


Modine's first film role was in John Sayles' film Baby It's You. His performance caught the eye of director Harold Becker, who cast him in Vision Quest, based on Terry Davis's novel. Modine appeared in the sex comedy Private School, co-starring Phoebe Cates and Betsy Russell.

The director Robert Altman propelled Modine to international stardom with his film adaptation of David Rabe's play Streamers. Modine played Mel Gibson's brother in Mrs. Soffel and starred with Nicolas Cage in Alan Parker's Birdy; the film was awarded Gran Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. The actor also famously turned down the role of LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun (the role that Tom Cruise made famous), because he felt the film's pro-military stance went against his politics.[7]

Modine in April 2006

Modine may be best known for his role as Private Joker, the central character of Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam War movie Full Metal Jacket (1987). Subsequently, Modine played the dangerous young criminal Treat in Alan Pakula's film adaptation of Lyle Kessler's stageplay Orphans. Modine played the goofy, earnest FBI agent Mike Downey in Jonathan Demme's screwball comedy Married to the Mob opposite Michelle Pfeiffer. In 1990, he led the cast of Memphis Belle, a fictionalized account of the famous B-17 Flying Fortress.

Modine and his fellow castmates won an unprecedented Best Actor prize from the Venice Film Festival for the tragic story of young American soldiers about to be shipped to Vietnam in Streamers. Modine has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award: first, for his performance in And the Band Played On (an HBO Emmy award-winning film about the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic), and then for the dark comedy What the Deaf Man Heard. In 2017, he and his Stranger Things castmates won the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble Award.

In 1995, he appeared opposite Geena Davis in the romantic action-adventure film Cutthroat Island. Modine made his feature directorial debut with If... Dog... Rabbit..., which came after the success of three short films debuting at the Sundance Film Festival: When I Was a Boy (co-directed with Todd Field), Smoking written by David Sedaris, and Ecce Pirate written by Modine.

His dark comedy, I Think I Thought, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film tells the story of a Thinker (Modine) who ends up in Thinkers Anonymous.

Other short films include To Kill an American, Cowboy, and The Love Film. In 2011, he completed Jesus Was a Commie, an avant garde-dialectical conversation about the world and the prominent issues of modern society. Modine co-directed the short film with Terence Ziegler, the editor of I Think I Thought. Modine's short films have played internationally.[8]

In 2003, he guest starred in The West Wing episode "The Long Goodbye". He portrayed the character Marco, who went to high school with C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) and who helped her deal with her father's steady mental decline due to Alzheimer's disease. Modine agreed to take the role because he is a longtime friend of Janney's. (The two appeared together in a theatrical production of the play Breaking Up directed by Stuart Ross). That same year, he played Fritz Gerlich in the CBS miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil.

In 2004, Modine appeared in Funky Monkey as ex-football star turned spy Alec McCall, who teams up with super-chimp Clemens and his friend Michael Dean (Seth Adkins) to take down the villainous Flick (Taylor Negron). The film was critically panned, yet has gained a cult status.[9]

In 2005, Abel Ferrara's Mary won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. In the film, Modine portrays a director recounting the story of Mary Magdalene (Juliette Binoche). The following year, he guest-starred in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Rage" as a serial killer of young girls.

In 2010, Modine appeared in The Trial, which was awarded the Parents Television Council's Seal of Approval™. The PTC said: "'The Trial' combines the best features of courtroom drama, murder mystery and character story. 'The Trial' is a powerful drama which shows the power of healing and hope."

Modine played a corrupt Majestic City developer named "Sullivan Groff" throughout Season 3 on Weeds. Groff has affairs with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) and Celia Hodes (Elizabeth Perkins).

In 2010, Modine appeared in HBO's Too Big to Fail, a film about the Wall Street financial crisis. In it, Modine stars as John Thain, former Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, who famously spent millions decorating his office.

In 2011, Modine completed two independent films, Family Weekend and Girl in Progress, opposite Eva Mendes.[10]

In 2012, he appeared in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises as Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley, a Gotham City police officer and peer to Gary Oldman's Commissioner James Gordon.

In February 2013, Modine was cast in Ralph Bakshi's animated film Last Days of Coney Island after coming across the film's Kickstarter campaign online.[11][12]

In 2014, he co-starred with Olivia Williams, Richard Dillane, and Steve Oram in the horror mystery film Altar.[13]

In 2016, Modine played Dr. Martin Brenner in the Netflix original series Stranger Things.

In 2017, Matthew Modine was featured in the music video for "1-800-273-8255", a song by American hip hop artist Logic.

Modine was part of Speed Kills released in November 2018[14] as well as several upcoming films such as Foster Boy, Miss Virginia, and The Martini Shot.[15]


Modine appeared in Arthur Miller's Finishing the Picture at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, in Miller's Resurrection Blues at London's Old Vic, and in a stage adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (as Atticus Finch) at Connecticut's Hartford Stage. This production of To Kill a Mockingbird became the most successful play in the theatre's 45-year history.[16] In 2010, he starred with Abigail Breslin in the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of The Miracle Worker[17] at the Circle in the Square theatre.

In fall 2013, Modine starred in a self-parodying comedy, Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas,[7] at Los Angeles' Geffen Theatre.


Matthew Modine from Full Metal Jacket checking out a Freewheelin bike (2800852879) (cropped)
Modine participating in a bike sharing event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Cycling has been Modine's main mode of transportation since moving to New York City from Utah in 1980. He heads a pro-bike organization called "Bicycle for a Day" and was honored for his work on June 2, 2009, by the environmental arts and education center on the East River, Solar 1.[7]



  1. ^ "Matthew Modine - Actor -". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "Golden Globes 1994 "Shortcuts" Special Award". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. ^ The Hollywood (October 31, 2009). "The Hollywood Interview (2009)". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  4. ^ "Matthew Modine Biography (1959–)". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  5. ^ "Matthew Modine Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Dark Knight Rises Features Former IB Actor Matthew Modine". (Imperial Beach Patch). May 31, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Murphy, Tim (June 15–22, 2009). "154 Minutes With Matthew Modine". New York magazine.
  8. ^ (June 3, 2013). "Matthew Modine on his short-films collection and how making 'Cutthroat Island' felt like being kidnapped". Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  9. ^ "An Essay on the Brilliance of "Funky Monkey" |". May 18, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Gingold, Michael (February 19, 2015). "Q&A: Matthew Modine Talks His First Horror Experience in "ALTAR"". Fangoria.
  11. ^ Jen Yamato (February 16, 2013). "Matthew Modine Joins Ralph Bakshi's Crowdsourced 'Last Days Of Coney Island'". Deadline Hollywood.
  12. ^ Jeff Labrecque (February 28, 2013). "Still Bakshi after all these years: Iconoclastic 'Fritz the Cat' director has another tale to tell". Entertainment Weekly.
  13. ^ Gingold, Michael (February 19, 2015). ""ALTAR"". Fangoria.
  14. ^ Harvey, Dennis (November 17, 2018). "Film Review: 'Speed Kills'". Variety. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 9, 2018). "Matthew Modine To Co-Star In CBS' NSA Spy Drama Pilot 'Surveillance'". Deadline. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  16. ^ Modine Flies to Mockingbird Variety, January 12, 2009
  17. ^ The Miracle Worker on Broadway Official Web Site
  18. ^ "iTunes Movie Trailers – Mia and the Migoo". April 22, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  19. ^ "Jesus Was A Commie - A Short Film by Matthew Modine Official Site".
  20. ^ Abrams, Rachel (January 15, 2011). "Chenoweth, Modine join 'Family'". Variety. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  21. ^ "W.E.N.N » Matthew Modine To Play President Bush In Smuggling Drama". June 5, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2019.

External links

Bye Bye Love (film)

Bye Bye Love is a 1995 American romantic comedy film that deals with the central issue of divorce. It was directed by Sam Weisman and written by Gary David Goldberg and Brad Hall. It stars Matthew Modine, Randy Quaid, Paul Reiser, Janeane Garofalo, Amy Brenneman, Eliza Dushku, Rob Reiner, Amber Benson, and Lindsay Crouse. Production costs were heavily underwritten by McDonald's product placement.

Goldberg and Hall stated that they included in the script several fictionalized accounts of events that had happened to divorced friends of theirs.

Also acting in the film were Jayne Brook, and Ed Flanders in his last movie role. A not-yet-famous Jack Black has one line ("Reefer?") as a disc jockey at a party.

Co-stars Amber Benson and Eliza Dushku went on to play main roles on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as did Lindsay Crouse.

Central Films

Central Films is a Paris-based French motion picture production company founded in 2004 by Fernando Sulichin.

Its first feature film was Mary by Abel Ferrara, starring Juliette Binoche, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Modine and Heather Graham. The film premiered at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival and received Jury Special Prize. It was followed by Babel directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and co-produced with Fernando Sulichin's longtime partner Jon Kilik. Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Babel is the final entry of a trilogy started by Iñárritu with Amores Perros and 21 Grams.

Consistent with a big authors outline, Central Films is currently releasing I Come with the Rain by Tran Anh Hung, starring Josh Hartnett and Elias Koteas.

Fluke (film)

Fluke is a 1995 drama film directed by Carlo Carlei and starring Matthew Modine as the voice of the title character with supporting roles featuring Eric Stoltz, Nancy Travis, Max Pomeranc, Bill Cobbs, Ron Perlman, Jon Polito and Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Rumbo. The film was based on the novel of the same name by James Herbert.

Funky Monkey (film)

Funky Monkey is a 2004 family comedy film starring Matthew Modine and Roma Downey. It is written by Lance Kinsey and Peter Nelson. It is directed by Harry Basil. The tagline is "He's one high tech super chimp".

Go Go Tales

Go Go Tales is an independent 2007 film by Abel Ferrara. Ferrara based the film on The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, directed by John Cassavetes. It stars Willem Dafoe as a strip club owner and co-stars Bob Hoskins, Asia Argento and Matthew Modine. Ferrara had the cast improvise much of their lines. He described the film as his "first intentional comedy".

Gross Anatomy (film)

Gross Anatomy is a 1989 American drama film directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Matthew Modine, Daphne Zuniga, and Christine Lahti. It was released by Touchstone Pictures.

Married to the Mob

Married to the Mob is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine.Pfeiffer, in something of a departure from her previous roles, gave an acclaimed lead performance as a gangster's widow from Brooklyn, opposite Modine as the undercover FBI agent assigned the task of investigating her mafia connections. As a slippery mob boss romantically pursuing Angela, Dean Stockwell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Mary (2005 film)

Mary is a 2005 drama thriller film, written and directed by American director Abel Ferrara. The film stars Juliette Binoche, Forest Whitaker, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine and Heather Graham.

The film premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize as well as 3 smaller awards. The film also played at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, Deauville Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival.

New York International Children's Film Festival

New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) is an annual Oscar-qualifying film festival founded by Eric Beckman and Emily Shapiro in 1997 "to support the creation and dissemination of thoughtful, provocative, and intelligent film for children and teens ages 3-18." The Festival experience cultivates an appreciation for the arts, encourages active, discerning viewing, and stimulates lively discussion among peers, families, and the film community. In addition to the annual four-weekend event in March, the Festival presents year-round programming and filmmaking camps in New York City, satellite festivals in Miami, FL and Westchester, NY, and a touring program at independent theaters and cultural institutions nationwide.


Opa! is a 2005 film directed by Udayan Prasad and starring Matthew Modine.

It was shot in Greece.

Orphans (1987 film)

Orphans is a 1987 American drama film directed by Alan J. Pakula. Written by Lyle Kessler, based on his 1983 play of the same name, the film follows two orphaned brothers (Matthew Modine and Kevin Anderson) as they navigate life on their own.

Pacific Heights (film)

Pacific Heights is a 1990 American psychological thriller film directed by John Schlesinger, written by Daniel Pyne, and starring Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine, and Michael Keaton.

Sex and Lies in Sin City

Sex and Lies in Sin City: the Ted Binion Scandal is a 2008 Lifetime Television film starring Johnathon Schaech, Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Modine, and Mena Suvari.

Streamers (film)

Streamers is a 1983 film adapted by David Rabe from his play of the same name. The film was directed by Robert Altman and produced by Robert Michael Geisler and John Roberdeau (The Thin Red Line). The cast includes David Alan Grier as Roger, Mitchell Lichtenstein as Richie, Matthew Modine as Billy, Michael Wright as Carlyle, George Dzundza as Cokes, and Guy Boyd as Rooney.

The entire cast was named Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. The film was screened out of competition at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

The Browning Version (1994 film)

The Browning Version is a 1994 film directed by Mike Figgis and starring Albert Finney, Greta Scacchi and Matthew Modine. The film is based on the 1948 play by Terence Rattigan, which was previously adapted for film under the same name in 1951.

Very Mean Men

Very Mean Men is a 2000 American crime-comedy film directed by Tony Vitale and starring Matthew Modine, Ben Gazzara, Martin Landau, Scott Baio, Burt Young, and Paul Ben-Victor.

Vision Quest

Vision Quest (released in the United Kingdom and Australia as Crazy for You) is a 1985 American coming-of-age romantic drama film starring Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino, Michael Schoeffling and Ronny Cox. It is based on Terry Davis' 1979 novel of the same name. Modine plays a Spokane high school wrestler who falls in love with an older woman, an aspiring artist from New Jersey on her way to San Francisco.

The film includes an appearance by Madonna, her first in a major motion picture, playing a singer at a local bar, where she performs the songs "Crazy for You" and "Gambler". In some countries, the title of the film was changed to market on Madonna's emerging fame and the popularity of the song "Crazy for You".

What the Deaf Man Heard

What the Deaf Man Heard is a 1997 Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie that aired on CBS television on November 23, 1997. It concerns Sammy, a man who pretends to be deaf and mute, when in reality he can hear and speak perfectly well. The movie starred Matthew Modine and James Earl Jones.

Wind (film)

Wind is a 1992 film directed by Carroll Ballard and starring Matthew Modine, Jennifer Grey and Cliff Robertson.

Awards for Matthew Modine


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