The Secret War of Lisa Simpson

"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" is the twenty-fifth and final episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 18, 1997.[2] Bart gets sent to a military academy as punishment for bad behavior. While visiting the academy, Lisa sees that the school is far more challenging than hers and she decides that she wants to attend as well. It was directed by Mike B. Anderson, written by Richard Appel and featured Willem Dafoe in a guest spot as the school's commandant.[1]

"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 25
Directed byMike B. Anderson[1]
Written byRichard Appel[1]
Production code4F21
Original air dateMay 18, 1997[2]
Guest appearance(s)

Willem Dafoe as the Commandant[2]

Episode features
Couch gagThe living room is shown upside down. The Simpsons sit down, but fall to the floor (the true ceiling).[1]
CommentaryMatt Groening
Josh Weinstein
Yeardley Smith
Mike B. Anderson

Plot

After a day watching mind-numbing videos in class, Lisa becomes concerned that her education is not challenging enough. Meanwhile, Bart's class goes on a field trip to the Springfield Police Department, where Bart finds a room with several megaphones. After placing them end to end and increasing their amplification, he inadvertently creates a sonic shockwave that shatters all the glass in Springfield. Chief Wiggum suggests sending Bart to military school to correct his behavior. Homer and Marge drive the kids to Rommelwood Military school to force Bart to attend (under the false pretense that they are going to Disneyland); while there, Lisa decides she wants to go there as well. Homer and Marge reluctantly agree and ignore Bart's protests that he wants to go home.

Lisa stirs discontent among the students, as she is the first female student and gets her own barracks. She and Bart are subjected to hazing; Bart is eventually accepted and distances himself from his sister. Lonely, Lisa considers going home, but decides to see it through. As the school year comes to a close, the Commandant reveals the final test for the students: the "Eliminator", a hand-over-hand crawl across a rope suspended high above thorn bushes. Lisa fears she will not be able to complete the task, but Bart helps her train in secret.

On the day of the test, Lisa is the last to cross the Eliminator. She is about to fall and the students jeer, but Bart cheers her on and she makes it across safely. The other students vow to make the rest of the semester a living hell for him, but realize that they graduate in three hours. The Commandant awards Lisa a special medal "For Satisfactory Completion of the Second Grade". After the ceremony, Homer and Marge declare that they will visit Disneyland "for real", but instead drive them – to their amusement and the kids' horror – to a dentist's office.

Production

Richard Appel by Gage Skidmore 2
Richard Appel wrote the episode.

The episode was written by Richard Appel, but the idea of Bart and Lisa attending a military academy had previously been pitched, and had been floating around since 1991.[3] The idea had not yet been used as an episode plot, because the writers had not felt comfortable with taking Bart and Lisa to a strange place early in the series.

During the scene where the Commandant is talking, there is a brief shot of Lisa blinking. As there had been an error in the final print of the episode, the shot was animated, painted and shot on May 16, 1997, the Friday before the episode's airdate.[4] The spiky blond-haired boy, who runs towards the Eliminator while screaming, is a caricature of director Mike B. Anderson.[4]

Reception

The episode originally aired on May 18, 1997, as the season finale, along with a rerun of "The Springfield Files."[5] The episode was mistakenly anticipated by some as being about Lisa launching "a legal battle" to enroll at the military school.[5] In its original broadcast, "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" finished 47th in ratings for the week of May 12–18, 1997, with a Nielsen rating of 8.3, equivalent to approximately 8.1 million viewing households. It was the second highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following The X-Files.[6]

Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, disliked the episode, writing that it was "very dull" and that Dafoe was not used well.[1] However, Dafoe is one of show runner Josh Weinstein's favorite guest stars.[3] Ian Johnson argued Dafoe's casting was "rare" and "somewhat offbeat".[7]

Journalist Raju Mudhar also wrote that in this episode, "The Simpsons have succinctly laid out our eventual future." This referred to the rise of robots (such as combat drones) in the real world and the quote from this episode:

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots."[8]

Merchandise

The episode was one of four in 1999 released on a VHS (Re-released on DVD in 2005) called Bart Wars focused on crosses between The Simpsons and Star Wars. However, one critic wrote that with this episode and "Marge Be Not Proud" and "Dog of Death," both of which are also on the DVD, the "Star Wars connection" is "tangential at best."[9]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
  2. ^ a b c "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  3. ^ a b Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ a b Anderson, Mike B. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ a b Richard Helm, "TV gets spring refresher; From myth to mobsters, sweeps give TV four- week tweek," Edmonton Journal, April 27, 1997, pg. C.2.
  6. ^ Associated Press (May 22, 1997). "Super Mario gives CBS ratings edge". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E.
  7. ^ Ian Johnston, "TV's great cameo cavalcade! The sitcoms are pulling out the big (and old) guns to get you watching this sweeps week," Daily News, Halifax, Nova Scotia: April 27, 1997, pg. 40.
  8. ^ Raju Mudhar, "Even robots need to let off steam; Homemade bots get in the ring Sumo challenge an annual event," Toronto Star, March 11, 2006, pg. H.03.
  9. ^ "Mark Hamill advises Homer to 'use the forks' in new Simpsons release," National Post, May 14, 2005, pg. TO.32.

External links

Adlai Stevenson II

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (; February 5, 1900 – July 14, 1965) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat.

A member of the Democratic Party, Stevenson served in numerous positions in the federal government during the 1930s and 1940s, including the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), Federal Alcohol Administration, Department of the Navy, and the State Department. In 1945, he served on the committee that created the United Nations, and he was a member of the initial U.S. delegations to the UN. He was the 31st Governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953, and received the Democratic Party's nomination for president in the 1952 and 1956 elections.

In both the 1952 and 1956 elections, Stevenson was defeated in landslides by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. He sought the Democratic presidential nomination for a third time at the 1960 Democratic National Convention, but was defeated by Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. After his election, President Kennedy appointed Stevenson as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He served from 1961 until his death. He died on July 14, 1965, from heart failure (after a heart attack) in London, following a United Nations conference in Switzerland. Following public memorial services in New York City, Washington, DC, and his childhood hometown of Bloomington, Illinois, he was buried in Bloomington.

Noted historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as one of his speechwriters, described Stevenson as a "great creative figure in American politics. He turned the Democratic Party around in the fifties and made JFK possible...to the United States and the world he was the voice of a reasonable, civilized, and elevated America. He brought a new generation into politics, and moved millions of people in the United States and around the world." Journalist David Halberstam wrote that "Stevenson's gift to the nation was his language, elegant and well-crafted, thoughtful and calming." His biographer Jean H. Baker stated that Stevenson's memory "still survives...as an expression of a different kind of politics - nobler, more issue-oriented, less compliant to the greedy ambitions of modern politicians, and less driven by public opinion polls and the media." W. Willard Wirtz, his friend and law partner, once said "If the Electoral College ever gives an honorary degree, it should go to Adlai Stevenson."

List of The Simpsons couch gags

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The opening sequence of The Simpsons features a couch gag: a "twist of events that befalls the Simpson family at the end of every credit sequence as they converge on their living-room couch to watch TV." The couch gag is a running visual joke near the end of the opening sequence.

The couch gag changes from episode to episode and usually features the Simpson family's living room couch. A typical gag features the Simpsons running into the living room, only to find some abnormality with the couch, be it a bizarre and unexpected occupant, an odd placement of the couch, such as on the ceiling, or any number of other situations, such as to make a pop culture reference. Longer couch gags have sometimes been used to fill time in shorter episodes, such as in "Lisa's First Word", "The Front" and "Cape Feare". The show's 500th episode "At Long Last Leave" showcases each couch gag that was used in the series.

List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast 662 episodes. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States. On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the twenty-third season. With its twenty-first season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke in seasons to claim the spot as the longest-running American prime-time scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke in episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018.Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmy Awards (with ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007 and grossed US$526.2 million worldwide. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. On April 8, 2015, show runner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution, although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017. Another two years later, on July 20, 2019, it was announced that Season 19 will be released on December 3, 2019 on DVD.On November 4, 2016, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 29 and 30. It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its twenty-eighth season. The thirtieth season ended on May 12, 2019. On February 6, 2019, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 31 and 32, in which the latter will contain the 700th episode.Season 31 will premiere on September 29, 2019.

== Series overview ==

=== Ratings ===

With its first season, The Simpsons became the Fox network's first series to rank among the top thirty highest rated shows of a television season. Due to this success, Fox decided to switch The Simpsons' timeslot in hopes that it would result in higher ratings for the shows that would air after it. The series moved from 8:00 p.m. on Sunday nights to the same time on Thursdays, where it competed with The Cosby Show, the number one show at the time.Many of the producers were against the move, as The Simpsons had been in the top ten while airing on Sunday, and they felt the move would destroy its ratings. Ratings wise, new episodes of The Cosby Show beat The Simpsons every time during the second season and The Simpsons eventually fell out of the top ten. At the end of the season Cosby averaged as the fifth highest rated show on television, while The Simpsons was thirty-eighth.The show continued in its Thursday timeslot until the sixth season, when, in 1994, it reverted to its original slot on Sunday. It has remained there ever since.

==== Key ====

The ratings for The Simpsons are split into two tables:

Season 1–11 are ranked by households (in millions) watching the series.

Season 12–30 are ranked by total viewers (in millions) watching the series.

==== Notes ====

Until the 1996/97 television season, ratings were calculated over 30 weeks from September to mid April. Episodes that aired after mid April were not part of the overall average and ranking.

Season one had approximately 13.4 million viewing households. Season two dropped 9%, resulting in an average of approximately 12.2 million viewing households.

Season three had an average rating of 13.0 points. For the 1991/92 season, each point represented 921,000 viewing households, resulting in a total average of approximately 12.0 million viewing households.

Season four had approximately 12.1 million viewing households. Season five dropped 13%, resulting in an average of approximately 10.5 million viewing households.

List of The Simpsons guest stars (seasons 1–20)

In addition to the show's regular cast of voice actors, celebrity guest stars have been a staple of The Simpsons, an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company, since its first season. The Simpsons focuses on the eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The family was initially conceived by Groening for a series of animated shorts, which originally aired as a part of The Tracey Ullman Show between 1987 and 1989. The shorts were developed into a half-hour prime time series which began in December 1989. The series' 29th season began in October 2017 and 662 episodes of The Simpsons have aired. A feature film adaptation of the series called The Simpsons Movie, was released in 2007.

Guest voices have come from a wide range of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, musicians, artists, politicians and scientists. In the show's early years most guest stars voiced original characters, but as the show has continued the number of those appearing as themselves has increased.

The first credited guest star was Marcia Wallace who appeared in "Bart the Genius" in her first stint as Bart's teacher Edna Krabappel. Singer Tony Bennett was the first guest star to appear as himself, appearing briefly in the season two episode "Dancin' Homer". Several guest stars have featured as recurring characters on the show, including Phil Hartman, Joe Mantegna and Kelsey Grammer. Hartman made the most appearances, guest starring 52 times. Grammer, Mantegna, Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker have appeared twenty times or more; Jon Lovitz and Jackie Mason have appeared over ten times, while Albert Brooks, Glenn Close, Michael Dees, Dana Gould, Terry W. Greene, Valerie Harper, Jan Hooks, Jane Kaczmarek, Stacy Keach, Kipp Lennon, J. K. Simmons, Sally Stevens, George Takei and Michael York have made over five appearances.

Two guest stars, Ricky Gervais and Seth Rogen, earned writing credits for the episodes in which they appeared. Grammer, Mason and three-time guest star Anne Hathaway all won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for guest voice roles on the show. The show was awarded the Guinness World Record for "Most Guest Stars Featured in a TV Series" in 2010. As of May 12, 2019, there have been 826 guest stars on the show[A], with this figure rising to 831 if The Simpsons Movie is included.

List of The Simpsons home video releases

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Throughout the years, many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in Regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and it was later available on DVD and Blu-ray worldwide on December 3, 2007 and on December 18, 2007 in the U.S. On April 8, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution. Two years later, following fan protest, it was announced on July 22, 2017 that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD with the possibility of further seasons if sales are strong enough. The release was the first since early-December 2014.

List of one-time The Simpsons characters

The following is a list of one-time characters from the American animated television comedy series The Simpsons.

Some of the characters have returned to the show, sometimes in brief speaking appearances, or just 'in the crowd' scenes. Other characters originally intended to be one-time characters have ended up becoming regular cast members, such as Cletus Spuckler, Luigi Risotto, Disco Stu, Groundskeeper Willie, Crazy Cat Lady, Cookie Kwan and Lindsey Naegle.

For purposes of this list, "one-time" means they were central to an episode one time. Some of the characters listed here have appeared in later episodes, but only briefly. The characters are sorted by episode.

Marge Be Not Proud

"Marge Be Not Proud" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 17, 1995. In the episode, Marge refuses to buy Bart the new video game Bonestorm, so he steals it from a local discount store. Bart ends up being estranged from his mother when he gets caught, and fearing that he has lost her love, he decides he must regain it.

The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Steven Dean Moore. Scully got the inspiration for it from an experience in his childhood when he shoplifted. Lawrence Tierney guest-starred in the episode as Don Brodka. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5, and was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.

Mike B. Anderson

Mike B. Anderson (born 1973), sometimes credited as Mikel B. Anderson, is an American television director who works on The Simpsons and has directed numerous episodes of the show, and was animated in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson" as cadet Anderson. While a college student, he directed the live action feature films Alone in the T-Shirt Zone (1986) and Kamillions (1989). Since 1990, he has worked primarily in animation including being a consulting producer on the series, "The Oblongs", and story consultant on "Tripping the Rift".

He has won two Emmy Awards for directing Simpsons episodes, "Homer's Phobia" in 1997 and "HOMR" in 2001. For "Homer's Phobia" he won the Annie Award for Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a TV Production, and the WAC Winner Best Director for Primetime Series at the 1998 World Animation Celebration. Mike was also a sequence director on "The Simpsons Movie" (2007), was the supervising director on "The Simpsons Ride" at Universal Studios and is currently the supervising director for "The Simpsons" television series.

Richard Appel

Richard James Appel (born May 21, 1963) is an American writer, producer and former attorney. Since 2012, he has served as an Executive Producer and co-showrunner of Family Guy on Fox. He attended Harvard University and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon.

Following in his mother's footsteps, Appel instead became a lawyer. After attending law school, he started out as a law clerk for Judge John M. Walker Jr. before becoming a federal attorney, serving as assistant U.S. attorney for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for three years. In 1994, he moved into comedy writing when he was hired for The Simpsons, writing seven episodes of the show including "Mother Simpson". He moved on to become showrunner and executive producer of King of the Hill before creating the sitcom A.U.S.A.. He then worked on The Bernie Mac Show, Family Guy and American Dad! before co-creating The Cleveland Show. He was married to the writer Mona Simpson.

Shannon Faulkner

Shannon Faulkner is an American educator known for being the first woman admitted into The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. She currently teaches English in Greenville, South Carolina.

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson

"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is the first episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on September 21, 1997, as the 179th episode of the series. The episode features the Simpson family traveling to Manhattan to recover the family car, which was taken by Barney Gumble and abandoned outside the World Trade Center, where it has been repeatedly posted with parking tickets, and disabled with a parking boot.

Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham was interested in making an episode where the Simpson family travels to New York to retrieve their misplaced car. Executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein suggested that the car be found in Austin J. Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, as they wanted a location that would be widely known. Great lengths were taken to make a detailed replica of the borough of Manhattan. The episode received generally positive reviews, and has since been on accolade lists of The Simpsons episodes. The "You're Checkin' In" musical sequence won two awards. Because of the World Trade Center's main role, the episode was taken off syndication in many areas following the September 11 attacks, but had come back into syndication by 2006.

The Simpsons (season 8)

The Simpsons' eighth season originally aired on the Fox network between October 27, 1996, and May 18, 1997, beginning with "Treehouse of Horror VII". The showrunners for the eighth production season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. The aired season contained two episodes that were hold-over episodes from season seven, which Oakley and Weinstein also ran. It also contained two episodes for which Al Jean and Mike Reiss were the show runners.

Season eight received critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including two Emmy Awards: "Homer's Phobia" won for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or Less) in 1997, and Alf Clausen and Ken Keeler won for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics" with the song "We Put the Spring in Springfield" from the episode "Bart After Dark". Clausen also received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Music Direction" for "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious". "Brother from Another Series" was nominated for the Emmy for "Sound Mixing For a Comedy Series or a Special". For "Homer's Phobia", Mike Anderson won the Annie Award for Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a TV Production, and the WAC Winner Best Director for Primetime Series at the 1998 World Animation Celebration. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation awarded the episode the GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV – Individual Episode".The DVD box set was released in Region 1 on August 15, 2006, Region 2 on October 2, 2006, and Region 4 on September 27, 2006. The set was released in two different forms: a Maggie-shaped head to match the Homer and Marge shaped heads of the previous two sets and also a standard rectangular shaped box. Like the seventh season box set, both versions are available for sale separately.

The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase

"The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" is the twenty-fourth episode of the eighth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 11, 1997. The episode centers on fictional pilot episodes of non-existent television series derived from The Simpsons, and is a parody of the tendency of networks to spin off characters from a hit series. As such it includes references to many different TV series. The first fictional spin-off is Chief Wiggum P.I., a cop-dramedy featuring Chief Wiggum and Seymour Skinner. The second is The Love-matic Grampa, a sitcom featuring Moe Szyslak who receives dating advice from Abraham Simpson, whose ghost is possessing a love testing machine. The final segment is The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour, a variety show featuring the Simpson family except for Lisa, who has been replaced.

The episode was written by David S. Cohen, Dan Greaney and Steve Tompkins, with Ken Keeler coming up with the story and the general idea of intentionally bad writing. It was directed by Neil Affleck, and Tim Conway, Gailard Sartain and Phil Hartman guest-starred. The producers were initially uneasy about the episode, as they feared that the purposely bad writing would be mistaken for actual bad writing. The episode, however, now appears on several lists of the most popular Simpsons episodes.

The Simpsons episode guides

Five official episode guides for American animated sitcom The Simpsons have been published by HarperCollins since 1997. The first guide covers seasons 1 to 8, while the following three cover seasons 9 to 14 (two seasons each). The fifth was released in 2010 and covers seasons 1 to 20.

Urban legends about drugs

Many urban legends and misconceptions about drugs have been created and circulated among young people and the general public, with varying degrees of veracity. These are commonly repeated by organizations which oppose all classified drug use, often causing the true effects and dangers of drugs to be misunderstood and less scrutinized. The most common subjects of such false beliefs are LSD, cannabis, and MDMA. These misconceptions include misinformation about adulterants or other black market issues, as well as alleged effects of the pure substances.

Willem Dafoe

William James "Willem" Dafoe (born July 22, 1955) is an American actor. Dafoe has received multiple awards and nominations, including four Academy Award nominations. Dafoe has frequently collaborated with filmmakers Paul Schrader, Abel Ferrara, Lars von Trier, and Wes Anderson.

Dafoe is a founding member of experimental theater company The Wooster Group, where he acted in several productions. Dafoe made his film debut in Heaven's Gate in 1980, but was fired during production. Dafoe had his first leading role in the outlaw biker film The Loveless (1982) and then played the main antagonist in Streets of Fire (1984) and To Live and Die in L.A. (1985). Dafoe received his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Sergeant Elias in Oliver Stone's war film Platoon (1986). In 1988, Dafoe played Jesus in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and starred with Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning, both of which were controversial. Following small roles in Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Wild at Heart (1990), Dafoe began a six-film collaboration with director Paul Schrader with the drama Light Sleeper (1992). Dafoe starred with Madonna in the critically reviled erotic thriller Body of Evidence in 1993 and then co-starred in Clear and Present Danger (1994), The English Patient (1996), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), and The Boondock Saints (1999).

After receiving his second Best Supporting Actor nomination for portraying Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Dafoe played Norman Osborn in the superhero film Spider-Man (2002) and played the villains in both Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) and XXX: State of the Union (2005). In 2009, he starred in the experimental film Antichrist, one of his three films with Lars von Trier. Dafoe then appeared in The Fault in Our Stars, John Wick, The Grand Budapest Hotel (all 2014), The Great Wall (2016), Murder on the Orient Express, and The Florida Project (both 2017), receiving his third Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance in the latter. Dafoe has also had voice-over roles in Finding Nemo (2003) and its sequel Finding Dory (2016), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), John Carter (2012), and Death Note (2017), as well as the video games Spider-Man (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2003), and Beyond: Two Souls (2013).

Dafoe has portrayed several real life figures including T.S. Eliot in Tom & Viv (1994), Pier Paolo Pasolini in Pasolini (2014) and Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity's Gate (2018), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination, his first in that category.

Season 8
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