Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American-born Australian-reared movie actor, director, and producer best known for his roles in the Mad Max series, the Lethal Weapon series, and Braveheart.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Gibson and the Movies
3 Gibson's politics and opinions
4 Selected Filmography
5 External Links


Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York as one of eleven children, but raised in Australia from the age of twelve. He maintained his U.S. citizenship.

Following a victory on the Jeopardy game show, Gibson's father Hutton moved his family to Australia in 1968 in protest of the Vietnam War and because he believed that changes in American society were immoral. Some people have attacked Hutton Gibson for his traditional Catholic religious views and political opinions, but Mel Gibson has made a number of public statements recently supporting him. A Roman Catholic, Gibson has donated money to finance the construction of a traditional Catholic chapel in Malibu, California called Holy Family.

Gibson and the Movies

After graduating from NIDA in 1977, Gibson's acting career began in Australia with appearances in the television series The Sullivans.

He made his Australian film debut as the leather-clad post-apocalyptic survivor in George Miller's Mad Max, which later became a cult hit and launched a series of films. His international profile increased through Peter Weir's anti-war First World War film Gallipoli. In 1984 he made his US movie debut, starring as Fletcher Christian in The Bounty. Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins played opposite Gibson as Captain Bligh.

Lethal Weapon and Hamlet

Gibson moved to more mainstream filmmaking with the popular Lethal Weapon series, where he starred as a maverick and violent cop, Martin Riggs, in a buddy relationship with his older and more conservative partner played by Danny Glover. Gibson surprisingly moved to the classical genre, playing the melancholy Danish prince in Franco Zeffirelli's film of Shakespeare's Hamlet (1990). Gibson has been equally successful as a comedy actor, in films such as Maverick (1994) and What Women Want (2000).

Academy Awards

In 1996 Gibson received two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Picture) for the film Braveheart (1995), based on the life of Sir William Wallace, a thirteenth century Scottish warlord who fought the English.

The Passion of the Christ

Mel Gibson recently completed The Passion of the Christ, a film in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin, which recounts what Gibson describes as the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. The movie has received praise from many Christians and some Jews (e.g. Michael Medved, Steven Waldman), but has also been criticised by some liberal Christian and Jewish scholars, some of whom have claimed it may promote anti-semitism and, in their historico-critical view of the Christian Bible, contains errors. A committee of inter-faith scholars assembled by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil-rights group that attempted to amend the script, had those attempts rebutted by Gibson. For a further discussion, see a separate article on The Passion of Christ. The Anti-Defamation League publicly criticised Gibson's film. The Catholic League, also a civil rights group, has said that the Anti-Defamation League tries to poison relations between Catholics and Jews.

Gibson was asked if his movie would be offensive to Jews today; his response was "It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible. But when you look at the reasons Christ came, he was crucified—he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind. So that, really, anyone who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability."

Gibson originally claimed that this movie was based solely on the New Testament. Some have more more recently claimed that it is informed by the writings of a 19th-century nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, whose writings were accused of promoting anti-semitism. Gibson refutes this, claiming he has indeed tried to base his movie on the Gospels.

Gibson's politics and opinions

Gibson's political viewpoints, while lauded by conservatives, have been described by some liberal groups variously as 'conservative' and 'far right'. Gay rights groups have accused him of homophobia for his conservative Catholic views of homosexuality. His conservative political views and support of Traditional Catholic beliefs have led to charges of anti-semitism, charges that increased following his making of the Gospel-based movie The Passion of the Christ. Even liberals have come out in support for Gibson, claiming that traditional Catholicism is not in itself anti-Semitic, and Gibson has no record of intolerence towards Jews or other ethnic groups.

Selected Filmography

External Links

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