Sir Alan William Parker (born February 14, 1944) is a British film director, producer, writer, and actor. He has been active in both the British film industry as well as in Hollywood. He is a founding member of the Director's Guild of Great Britain.
Born into a working class family in North London, Parker started out as a copywriter for advertising agencies in the 1960s and 1970s and later began to write his own television commercial scripts. His most celebrated and enduring advertising work has been a series for Cinzano vermouth, starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, shown in the UK.
His start in film came through his association with producer David Puttnam, now Lord Puttnam, when he wrote the screenplay for the 1971 feature Melody. Puttnam would later produce a number of Parker's films including Midnight Express (1978), his breakthrough film. Midnight Express was a gritty film set in a Turkish prison, which was lauded by critics and which ended up earning Parker a number of Oscar nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture. He was later nominated for Best Director for Mississippi Burning (1988).
Parker has directed a number of music-related movies including Bugsy Malone, (1976), Fame (1980), Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and the 1996 film Evita.
He was knighted in the New Year's Honours for 2002. He received a Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Sunderland in 2005 of which his long time associate Lord Puttnam is chancellor.
He has also directed several commercials as well as the Madonna videos "You Must Love Me" and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" for Evita.