Complete this form with your details for accessing the contents reserved for registered users
Click here
Forgotten your password? Click here


You have still not activated your email. We have sent you an email. You must click on the attached link to activate your account.

You are in: Home > 2005. 53rd Edition  > Donostia Awards > WILLEM DAFOE

With a face of sharply cut angles and restless eyes, this peculiar actor could well have found himself typecast in villainous roles like the one he played in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. But he has in fact achieved enormous popularity for characters having nothing in common with this stereotype, such as Sergeant Elias in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, Paul Schrader’s sleepy New York night-time dealer in Light Sleeper or Jesus Christ in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.

Willem Dafoe was born 50 years ago in Appleton (Wisconsin) into a family of seven brothers and sisters. Having studied at university, he moved to New York with the firm determination to become an actor in theatre, his great passion. He landed a place in The Wooster Group, one of the most groundbreaking and prestigious in the city, catching the attention of cinema and landing a small part in Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, leading the way to his appearance in other movies (Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire, or William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A.) until getting his big break in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, for which he was first nominated for an Academy Award. He was later exalted for his personal embodiment of Christ in Scorsese’s controversial movie.

Willem Dafoe doesn’t balk at combining starring parts with smaller comedies. Or at alternating movie genres. Thanks to his extraordinary ductility as an actor, he became the green-shaded baddie in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, or the screen vampire in Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire, landing a second Oscar nomination for his performance as Caravaggio the accuser in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, or the hateful guard in John Waters’ Cry-Baby.

Without forgetting his beloved theatre, Willem Dafoe has made a movie name for himself in works like Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning; Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July; Paul Auster’s Lulu on the Bridge; Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat; David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ; Mary Harron’s American Psycho; Mark Peploe’s Victory and Lars Von Trier’s Manderlay…among others. All of these parts show a versatile, worthy actor, bringing dignity to any venture with his performance. A great talent and a career receiving this year’s Donostia Award.


Willem Dafoe

As an actor

  • Before It Had a Name (Giada Colagrande, 2005)
  • Manderlay (Lars Von Trier, 2005)
  • xXx: State of the Union (Lee Tamahori, 2005)
  • Ripley Under Ground (Roger Spottiswoode, 2005)
  • The Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004)
  • Control (Tim Hunter, 2004)
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, 2004)
  • Spider-Man 2 (Sam Raimi, 2004)
  • James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (Scot Bayless, 2004)
  • The Clearing (Pieter Jan Brugge, 2004)
  • Camel Cricket City (Alex Kamer, 2003) (ahotsa / voice / voz)
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Robert Rodríguez, 2003)
  • The Reckoning (Paul McGuigan, 2003)
  • Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, 2003)
  • Auto Focus (Paul Schrader, 2002)
  • Spider-Man (Sam Raimi, 2002)
  • Edges of the Lord (Yurek Bogayevicz, 2001)
  • Pavilion of Women (Ho Yim, 2001)
  • Bullfighter (Rune Bendixen, 2000)
  • Shadow of the Vampire (E. Elias Merhige, 2000)
  • Animal Factory (Steve Buscemi, 2000)
  • American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
  • The Boondock (Troy Duffy, 1999)
  • eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999)
  • New Rose Hotel (Abel Ferrara, 1998)
  • Lulu on the Bridge (Paul Auster, 1998)
  • Affliction (Paul Schrader, 1997)
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (Jan de Bont, 1997)
  • The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996)
  • Basquiat (Julian Schnabel, 1996)
  • The Night and the Moment (Anna Maria Tatò, 1995)
  • Victory (Mark Peploe, 1995)
  • Tom & Viv (Brian Gilbert, 1994)
  • Clear and Present Danger (Phillip Noyce, 1994)
  • In weiter Ferne, so nah! (Wim Wenders, 1993)
  • Body of Evidence (Uli Edel, 1993)
  • Light Sleeper (Paul Schrader, 1992)
  • White Sands (Roger Donaldson, 1992)
  • Flight of the Intruder (John Milius, 1991)
  • Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990)
  • Cry Baby (John Waters, 1990)
  • Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989)
  • Triumph of the Spirit (Robert M. Young, 1989)
  • Mississippi Burning (Alan Parker, 1988)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988)
  • Off Limits (Christopher Crowe, 1988)
  • Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986)
  • To Live and Die in L.A. (William Friedkin, 1985)
  • Streets of Fire (Walter Hill, 1984)
  • New York Nights (Simon Nuchtern, 1984)
  • Roadhouse 66 (John Mark Robinson, 1984)
  • The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)
  • The Loveless (Kathryn Bigelow, Monty Montgomery, 1982)
  • Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)

As a screenwriter

  • Before It Had a Name (Giada Colagrande, 2005)

As a producer

  • New Rose Hotel (Abel Ferrara, 1998) (ekoizlekidea / co-producer coproductor)


Official Sponsor
Media Partner
Official Collaborators:
Associated Institutions:
© San Sebastian International Film Festival | Developed by: Yo Miento Producciones