Bill Duke

Biography: Although many would likely recognize Bill Duke from his roles in such high-profile releases as Predator, Menace II Society, and Red Dragon, perhaps only a few connect the face in front of the camera with the name of the man who also directed such features as A Rage in Harlem and Hoodlum. A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, and the first in his family to graduate from college, the actor/director studied speech and drama at Boston University before earning his M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Subsequently penning off-Broadway plays and launching a film career with roles in Car Wash (1976) and American Gigolo (1979), Duke's early breakthrough came with a featured role in the critically acclaimed Alex Haley miniseries Palmerstown U.S.A. in 1980. Deciding to refine his skills behind the camera, the burgeoning actor later studied at the American Film Institute, where his student project The Hero earned him a solid reputation as a director to watch. In the yearsAlthough many would likely recognize Bill Duke from his roles in such high-profile releases as Predator, Menace II Society, and Red Dragon, perhaps only a few connect the face in front of the camera with the name of the man who also directed such features as A Rage in Harlem and Hoodlum. A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, and the first in his family to graduate from college, the actor/director studied speech and drama at Boston University before earning his M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Subsequently penning off-Broadway plays and launching a film career with roles in Car Wash (1976) and American Gigolo (1979), Duke's early breakthrough came with a featured role in the critically acclaimed Alex Haley miniseries Palmerstown U.S.A. in 1980. Deciding to refine his skills behind the camera, the burgeoning actor later studied at the American Film Institute, where his student project The Hero earned him a solid reputation as a director to watch. In the years that followed, Duke earned a reputation as an efficient and effective television director as he took the helm for episodes of Hill Street Blues, Fame, Miami Vice, Spenser: For Hire, and Matlock. He soon moved into feature territory with the PBS drama The Killing Floor (which screened at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival and earned the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival). In 1989, Duke's adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun showed that, although his directing had thus far been limited to the small screen, he also had the potential to launch a lucrative career in theatrical features. After acting in such features as Commando (1985), Predator (1987), and Bird on a Wire (1990), Duke's first theatrical feature, A Rage in Harlem, was released in 1991. An effective crime drama featuring a gangster's moll, a trunk load of gold, and a slew of unsavory heavies, the film was unfairly interpreted by audiences to be a rip-off of the popular 1989 comedy Harlem Nights. For the dark crime thriller Deep Cover, Duke teamed with future collaborator Laurence Fishburne for the first time, and after lightening things up a bit with The Cemetery Club (1993), Duke earned a direct hit at the box office with the popular sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit the same year. The remainder of the '90s found the actor/director evenly dividing his duties on both sides of the camera, and, in 1997, he re-teamed with Fishburne for the throwback gangster drama Hoodlum. With all of his directorial duties, Duke found little time to accept onscreen roles, though performances in Payback and Fever in 1999 reminded audiences that he was still a compelling screen presence. Duke returned to the small screen the following year to direct an episode of City of Angels and the Nero Wolfe mystery The Golden Spiders, and remained in television to shoot episodes of Fastlane and Robbery Homicide Division. In 2003, Duke directed the moving, made-for-TV drama Deacons for Defense. As roles in Red Dragon (2002) and National Security (2003) continued to fuel his feature career, Duke was also seen on the small screen in episodes of Fastlane and the Out of Sight (1998) spin-off Karen Sisco. Expand

Bill Duke's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 49
Highest Metascore: 81 Mandy
Lowest Metascore: 25 The Big Bang
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 24
  2. Negative: 8 out of 24
24 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
78 High Flying Bird Feb 8, 2019 Spence / Spence / Spencer / Spencer tbd
81 Mandy Sep 14, 2018 Principal Cast / Principal Cast / Caruthers / Caruthers 7.7
tbd American Satan Oct 13, 2017 Gabriel / Gabriel 6.1
57 A Fuller Life Aug 6, 2014 Himself - Reader (Segment "Freelance") tbd
tbd Bad Country Apr 11, 2014 Nokes 5.8
56 Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp Jul 19, 2013 Himself 5.8
25 The Big Bang May 13, 2011 Drummer 4.6
49 Henry's Crime Apr 8, 2011 Frank 5.4
43 Not Easily Broken Jan 9, 2009 Director 6.5
69 The Go-Getter Jun 6, 2008 Liquor Supply 7.6
30 Cover Feb 22, 2008 Director / Producer 5.3
45 Get Rich or Die Tryin' Nov 9, 2005 Levar 5.1
31 National Security Jan 17, 2003 Lieutenant Washington 4.8
30 Never Again Jul 12, 2002 Earl 3.0
39 Exit Wounds Mar 16, 2001 Chief Hinges / Chief Hinges tbd
62 Fever Feb 2, 2001 Detective Glass tbd
46 Payback Feb 5, 1999 Det. Hicks 8.7
50 Hoodlum Aug 27, 1997 Director / Director / Executive Producer / Executive Producer 6.5
38 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Dec 10, 1993 Director / Director tbd
36 Bird on a Wire May 18, 1990 Albert Diggs / Albert Diggs 8.0
36 Action Jackson Feb 12, 1988 Capt. Armbruster / Capt. Armbruster tbd
52 No Man's Land Oct 23, 1987 Malcolm 7.3
45 Predator Jun 12, 1987 Mac 8.7
51 Commando Oct 4, 1985 Cooke 7.6
57 American Gigolo Feb 1, 1980 Leon 2.9
70 Car Wash Oct 22, 1976 Duane - Abdullah tbd