Renny Harlin Biography

Renny Harlin photo

Born: March 15, 1959


Date of Birth: March 15, 1959

This native to Riihimäki, Finland, Harlin attended the University of Helsinki film school. While still at school, he created his own production company, Midnight Sun. Following school, he kept himself busy making numerous commercials, documentaries and shorts.

Finding himself limited in Finland, he ventured off to the United States in the mid '80s. There he wrote and directed his first American feature project, Born American (1986). It wasn't until 1993 that Harlin would gain more international notice with his horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master. Completed in 1988, the film was considered the best of all "Freddie Krueger" films, and at the time of its release, it was the highest-grossing independent film ever made.

He had also had other considerable hits during the early '90s including Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger. In 1991 he also made his debut as a producer with the critically acclaimed and multi Oscar-nominated film, Rambling Rose.

His successful run hit a snag in 1995 with a film he both directed and produced, Cutthroat Island. Starring his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, the film was cut into a thousand pieces by critics and largely ignored by viewers. The couple separated two years later after completing another disastrous film, The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), perhaps because his personal assistant on those two movies gave birth to his child in 1997.

Harlin bounced back in 1999 with the action film, Deep Blue Sea. Starring Thomas Jane and Saffron Burrows, the film faired well at the box office. He continued to focus on action films with his first film in the new millennium, Driven (2001), starring Sylvester Stallone. Unfortunately, Harlin received a Razzie award nomination as Worst Director for the film. It was his third Worst Director Razzie nomination—he was nominated previously for Cutthroat Island and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. He has since received another Razzie Worst Director nomination for Exorcist: The Beginning (2005).

Harlin resides in Los Angeles and is a primary investor in Planet FunFun—the largest indoor amusement park in Europe—located outside of Finland.


(2010) Brodie's Law
(2009) 12 Rounds
(2009) Cleaner
(2007) The Covenant (2006)
Mindhunters (2005)
Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
Driven (2001)
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Cliffhanger (1993)
The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
Prison (1988)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
Born American (1986)
Huostaanotto (1980)

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