One of the most popular personalities in the Hollywood industry, Mel Gibson is known for his immaculate acting and direction skills. A multi-talented artist, Gibson has featured in several commercially hit and critically acclaimed movies apart from directing some of the most mind-boggling films. His understanding of the cinematic nuances is second to none and with his outstanding acting and direction abilities, Gibson has won millions of fans from around the world. Gibson who started his career in acting with appearances in the Australian TV series` made his debut on the big screen with Summer City (1977). Gibson subsequently went on to star in several popular films like Mad Max
(1985), Lethal Weapon
(1995), Machete Kills
(2013), and The Expendables 3
(2014). After having established himself as one of the most successful actors, Gibson has also directed and produced films and has won several laurels for his directorial ventures including an Academy Award. Apart from producing films, Mel Gibson has also produced several TV series like The Three Stooges (2000), Invincible (2001), and Another Day in Paradise (2008).
After completing his graduation, Gibson wanted to become a journalist or a chef but he eventually ended taking a different career path as his sister submitted an application to the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney on his behalf. With no absolutely no prior experience in acting, Gibson decided to attend the school`s audition and was accepted at the drama school. After joining the National Institute of Dramatic Art, the actor made his debut on stage with the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet, which was the NIDA production. After completing his graduation from NIDA, Gibson then joined the Southern Australian Theater Company where he appeared in the lead roles in the classic productions including Henry IV and Oedipus.
As an actor
After making his acting debut with the Australian TV series, T Sullivans in 1976, Mel Gibson made his debut on the big screen in 1977 with Summer City, an Australian surfer film directed by Christopher Fraser. The film co-starring John Jarratt
, Phil Avalon, Steve Bisley, and James Elliott had a fairly long run at the theatres in Australia and a sequel to the film, Breaking Loose was made in 1988. In the same year, Gibson appeared in an uncredited role as a baseball player in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, which was based on a novel of the same name by Joanne Greenberg.
Following a successful debut year, Gibson next appeared in the 1979 Australian romantic drama film, Tim, which was written and directed by Michael Pate was moderately successful at the box office but Gibson for his brilliant role won an Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor. Later in 1979, director George Miller cast Gibson alongside Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, and Steve Bisley in his Australian dystopian action film, Mad Max
. The film which depicts the tale of societal collapse, vengeance and murder attracted a cult following and received polarized reception. Following its huge popularity in the global market, it gave rise to three sequels, Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) and Mad Max: Fury Road
Mel Gibson continued his good run with successful movies and he followed up his brilliant performance in Gallipoli with a string of strong performances in The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), Attack Force Z (1982), Mrs. Soffel (1984), The River (1984), The Bounty (1984) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), the second sequel to the 1979 film Mad Max. In his only release in 1987, Gibson starred in the American action comedy film, Lethal Weapon
directed by Richard Donner. The film also featuring Danny Glover and Gary Busey
in pivotal roles received wide positive reviews from the critics with a critic from Variety stating, "Lethal Weapon is a film teetering on the bank of absurdity when it gets serious, but thanks to its unrelenting energy and insistent drive, it never quite falls." Two years later, the actor starred in the sequel to the film, titled Lethal Weapon 2
where he reprised the role of Martin Riggs. Just like the first instalment, the sequel too received positive critical reviews and grossed more than 227 million USD worldwide.
In 1990, the actor had three releases, viz. Bird on a Wire, Air America, and Hamlet. Whilst the first two films received mixed to negative reviews, the latter got the most average reviews with Roger Ebert, a noted critic from the Chicago Sun-Times calling Mel Gibson`s portrayal of the Danish Prince "a strong, intelligent performance." Following an appearance in an uncredited role in Forever Young, Gibson starred in Lethal Weapon 3, which was the third instalment of the Lethal Weapon series. Although the film received mixed reviews, it emerged to be a commercial hit, grossing more than 320 million USD and it went on to win the MTV Movie Awards for Best Action Sequence & Best On-Screen Duo.
The year 1997 marked a major turning point in Gibson`s career as he starred in the American epic biographical drama war film, Braveheart
. The film co-starring Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, and Catherine McCormack was Gibson directorial and production debut and it won several laurels including 5 Awards at the 68th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing and Best Director. Over the next few years, the actor appeared in several movies including Ransom (1996), Father`s Day (1997), Lethal Weapon 4
(1998), and Chicken Run
(2000) but none of these movies got Gibson any award. It was not until The Patriot, an American epic historical fiction war film, which released in June 2000, that the actor had a major commercial and critical hit. The film directed by Roland Emmerich and co-starring Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Tom Wilkinson and Chris Cooper received mostly positive reviews from the critics and grossed 215.2 million USD worldwide.
Mel Gibson continued to garner more recognition and adulations in 2002 as both her films of the year, We Were Soldiers and Signs received wide positive reviews. In 2003, the actor starred in his own production venture, The Singing Detective where he played the role of Dr. Gibbon. The film, which also featured Robert Downey, Jr, Robin Wright Penn, Jeremy Northam and Katie Holmes was loosely based on the BBC series of the same name. Despite having a star cast, the film got mixed to negative reviews, with a film critic from Sacramento Bee quoting the film as an "interesting failure." After 2003, the actor took a break from acting and made his return only in 2010 with the British-American political thriller film, Edge of Darkness directed by Michael Wearing. The film, co-starring Ray Winstone, Danny Huston and Bojana Novakovic grossed more than 100 million USD and got mostly positive reviews from the critics.
In 2011, the actor starred in Jodie Foster`s film The Beaver, which was written by Kyle Killen and produced by Steve Golin and Keith Redmon. The film, which marked the first association between Gibson and Foster since 1994, got mixed to positive reviews but turned to be a box office flop. Over the next couple of years, the actor appeared in Get the Gringo
(2012), Machete Kills
(2013) and The Expendables 3
(2014) all of which received positive reviews and performed well at the box office. In his first release of the year, Mel Gibson starred in the English-language French action thriller film Blood Father
directed by Jean-Francois Richet. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and it starred Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy received mostly positive reviews. In 2020, he acted in the action-drama movie Force Of Natur
e alongside Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth.
As a director
After establishing himself as one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood, Gibson added another feather in his highly illustrated career as he turned director in 1993. His directorial debut film The Man Without a Face received decent reviews from critics. Two years later, the actor-turned-director directed one of the most critically acclaimed movies of his career titled Braveheart. The film in which he also starred in the lead role won him an Academy Award for Best Director. After the huge success of Braveheart, Gibson`s next directorial venture came in 2004; he directed and wrote the story for the epic drama film, The Passion of the Christ. The film which attracted controversy for its subject came under the hammer of the critics for showcasing extreme violence but it eventually turned out to be one of the highest-grossing R-rated films in 2004 as well as won three nominations at the Academy Awards in 2005. Two years later, Gibson outdid himself as a director for directing Apocalypto, which won the BAFTA Awards for Best Film not in the English Language and Saturn Award for Best Direction. After 2004, Gibson turned his focus to acting and made his comeback as a director in 2016 with Hacksaw Ridge
featuring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving and Luke Bracey.
As a Producer
Having established himself as a noted actor and director, Mel Gibson turned producer in 1995 for his own directorial venture Braveheart and found success as a producer. Eight years later, Gibson co-produced The Singing Detective, an American musical crime comedy film that emerged to be a commercial hit; the box office collections totalled 33 million USD. The following year, he produced his own directorial venture, The Passion of Christ. The film, which was stuck amidst controversy did not receive any investor due to its subject and to complete the production, the actor invested $25 million himself. In the same year, Gibson collaborated with Bruce Davey to produce Paparazzi. Some of Gibson other noted production ventures include - Leonard Cohen: I`m Your Man (2005), Apocalypto (2006), and Get the Gringo (2012).