George Roy Hill Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

George Roy Hill 1922–

American film director.

Hill's most successful films characteristically exhibit a playful, robust brand of American adventurism where male camaraderie is central to tone and plot. The main characters in many of Hill's movies are eccentric or socially reprehensible individuals who challenge accepted values and standards, often using considerable style and humor to accomplish their questionable activities.

Hill directed two of the biggest box office attractions of all time, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. The films present the escapades of outlaws, in the former, and con men, in the latter, in such an endearing fashion that they recruit the audience wholeheartedly into the "bad guys" camp. Hill won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Sting. Hill has displayed a penchant for directing films of nostalgic eras, such as the "roaring twenties" in Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Great Waldo Pepper, but he has also demonstrated his ability to manage such contemporary subjects as violence in professional sports in his controversial film Slap Shot.

Hill has directed film adaptations of two contemporary novels which many critics believed were not good candidates for the screen. His version of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five won the special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972. The World According to Garp, based on the popular John Irving novel, has received mixed reviews.