Sir Alan William Parker started as a copy-writer in an advertising company and then graduated to directing TV-commercials, creating award-winning adverts.
In 1971, Parker wrote his first screenplay for children’s romantic comedy-drama film ‘Melody.’ He wrote-directed his first film, ‘No Hard Feelings,’ in 1973, which was about the WWII bombing of London and was later shown on BBC (1976). In 1974, he wrote and directed two short films: ‘Our Cissy’ and ‘Footsteps.’
Next, Parker directed ‘The Evacuees’ (1975), a play for the BBC anthology series, which was based on the true-life story about the evacuation of school children during WWII. It won BAFTA and Emmy Awards. His first feature- ilm, ‘Bugsy Malone,’ (1974) a satire on gangster films, had only child actors and received several nominations and awards.
Parker’s next was the prison-drama ‘Midnight Express’ (1978), which was based on Billy Hayes’s book about his escape from a Turkish prison. The successful film brought him Oscar nomination and won Oscars in other departments. He then directed a teen musical ‘Fame’ (1980), about the lives and trials of a group of students from New York’s ‘High School of Performing Arts.’ The film was a major hit.
Choosing a diverse subject once again, Parker directed the drama film ‘Shoot the Moon’ (1982), a story about deteriorating marital relationship, which won accolades. His 1982 film, ‘Pink Floyd – The Wall,’ was based on the rock opera ‘The Wall’ by the rock band 'Pink Floyd.'
Parker’s drama-film ‘Birdy’ (1984), adapted from William Wharton’s novel about two school-friends returning from the Vietnam War, won high acclaims and is considered as one of his best creations. Next, he wrote and directed the neo-noir psychological horror-film ‘Angle Heart’ (1987). His historical crime-thriller ‘Mississippi Burning’ (1988), about the 1964 murders of Civil Rights workers, earned him his second Oscar nomination (Best Director).
Thereafter, Parker wrote and directed the drama film ‘Come See the Paradise’ (1990) that depicted the aftermath of the 'Pearl Harbor' attack. He then directed the musical comedy drama ‘The Commitments’ (1991), which was an international hit. After the comedy drama ‘The Road to Wellville’ (1994), he wrote, produced and directed the successful musical ‘Evita’ (1996), inspired from the life of Eva Peron, which fetched multiple Oscar nominations.
Parker’s drama-film ‘Angela’s Ashes’ (1999) was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of teacher-writer Frank McCourt. After the dramatic crime-thriller film ‘The Life of David Gale’ (2003), Parker retired from filmmaking.
He was the executive-producer of the 2016 war comedy ‘Dad’s Army.’