James Foley Biography

James Foley photo

Born: December 28, 1953


Date of Birth: December 28, 1953

James Foley grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from the University of Buffalo, where he studied pre-med and psychoanalysis. He'd planned for a career in psychology, but instead, ended up studying filmmaking at the University of Southern California. While there, he made two short films called Silent Night and November that came to the attention of the Hollywood community. Shortly after, he made his feature film directorial debut when director Hal Ashby recommended him to direct the feature film Reckless (1984), starring Daryl Hannah and Aidan Quinn. From there, Foley went on to direct the critically acclaimed At Close Range (1986), starring Christopher Walken and Sean Penn, which was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Foley tried his hand at comedy next, directing Madonna in Who's That Girl? (1987), but the film bombed both at the box office and with critics, and Foley was nominated for a Razzie award as Worst Director. He not only directed, but co-wrote his next film, After Dark, My Sweet (1990), starring Jason Patric and Rachel Ward. Foley tried his hand at television when he directed an episode of the hit series Twin Peaks. For his next film, Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Foley worked with an all-star cast including Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino and Ed Harris. The film went on to win several awards and nominations. Foley worked with Al Pacino again on his next project, Two Bits (1995), but the film was largely ignored by the movie-going public. The Chamber (1996), based on John Grisham's best-selling novel, starred Gene Hackman and Chris O'Donnell, but it didn't do well at the box office and even earned a Razzie nomination for Faye Dunaway as Worst Supporting Actress.

In Fear (1996) and The Corruptor (1999), Foley directed Mark Wahlberg, but neither of these films did well at the box office either. Critics favorably compared Foley's next film, Confidence (2003), starring Dustin Hoffman and Edward Burns, to the classic film The Sting.

James Foley makes his home in California. His brother is Jerry Foley, director/producer of Late Show with David Letterman.


Man and Wife (2008)
Perfect Stranger (2007)
Confidence (2003)
The Corruptor (1999)
Fear (1996)
The Chamber (1996)
Two Bits (1995)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
Who's That Girl? (1987)
At Close Range (1986)
Reckless (1984)

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