There's just something about the "old guard" UK film directors that makes them so memorable. A filmmaker like Peter Yates might not be mentioned all that much these days, but to a certain generation of film fanatics his was always known as a reliable name. That's not to say that all his films were classics, but even on the lighter or even sillier projects, there was a competence and confidence that most British filmmakers exhibit. Call it work ethic or class, but Peter Yates was one of those guys. The 81-year-old passed away over the weekend in his native London.
Oscar-nominated twice as a director (for the excellent 'Breaking Away' and the unfairly forgotten 'The Dresser') and then once again as a producer on both films, Mr. Yates had a colorful career of hits and misses, but one never got the sense that he was phoning it in. His career highlights include the 1968 Steve McQueen crime flick 'Bullitt' (which means YES, Peter Yates orchestrated that phenomenal car chase!), the 1971 Peter O'Toole war movie 'Murphy's War,' the very cool 1972 Donald Westlake adaptation 'The Hot Rock,' and cable channel staples like 'The Deep' (1977), 'Eyewitness' (1981), 'Krull' (1983), 'Suspect' (1987), 'The House on Carroll Street' (1988), 'An Innocent Man' (1989), and 'Year of the Comet' (1992).
A couple of great movies, several fun ones, and a few colorful cult favorites. A filmography to be proud of if you ask us. Our condolences to Mr. Yates' family, and our thanks to Mr. Yates for some rather fine films.
(Thanks to Deadline for sharing this unhappy news with us over the weekend. They were the first and only source on it, which is sad to say.)