Menahem Golan (1929-2014) was a director, screenwriter, and film producer; a founding member of the Israeli film industry and one of the most prominent figures in the shaping of commercial, popular Israeli cinema. Golan went to London in the 1950s to study theatre where he attended the prestigious LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) institution and later, studied directing at the worldly-renowned Old Vic Theatre School. On his return to Israel, Golan found work in local theatre and began directing a host of plays, including El Dorado (based on the novel by Yigal Mossinson). He also founded the Sderah (‘avenue’) Theatre and the Tilon Children’s Theatre.
In 1960, Golan set off to the US, intent on cutting his teeth in the local industry. It was there that he met renowned independent producer, Roger Corman. When he returned to Israel in 1963, Golan directed the film adaptation of El Dorado – his feature-length directorial debut which went on to become a huge box office hit. Over the next few years, Golan would go on to direct a string of successful films: Dalia and the Sailors (1964), Eight in the Footstep of One (1964), Fortuna (1966), 999 Aliza: The Policeman (1967), Tevye and his Seven Daughters (1968) which made the Cannes Film Festival official selection, Margo Sheli (‘my Margo’) (1969), Lupo! (1970), The Highway Queen (1971), Katz and Carrasso (1971), Kazablan (1973), and many more.
Alongside his directorial body of work, Golan – along with cousin, Yoram Globus started Noah Films; a production company named after Golan’s father. During the 1960s and seventies, the company was behind one of Israeli cinema’s most important and influential films. Ephraim Kishon’s Sallah (1964), which Golan had produced, was watched by over a million people in cinemas. The film won a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film category and was also nominated for an Oscar in the same category. Moshé Mizrahi’s I Love You Rosa (1972) was nominated for a Palme d’Or at that year’s Cannes Film Festival and also earned an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The House on Chelouche Street (1973), also directed by Moshé Mizrahi clinched yet another Oscar nomination, as did Operation Thunderbolt (1977) which Golan directed himself. Lemon Popsicle (1978), directed by Boaz Davidson, was a Golden Berlin Bear nominee at that year’s Berlin International Film Festival and was also nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Film category.
In 1978, Golan and Globus relocated to the US where they bought small production company, The Cannon Group, Inc. Before long, Golan and Globus transformed the company into a commercial juggernaut, making it Hollywood’s biggest small production house. With Golan and Globus at the Helm, the Cannon Group made a name for itself as a production company that knew how to tap into public taste and preferences. In the 1980s, it produced a series of relatively low budget yet hugely popular action films whose success was in no small part due to its leads, e.g. Jean-Claude van Damme and Chuck Norris whom Golan had discovered and invested in. Highlights of the Cannon Group’s film credits include: The Apple (1980), Enter the Ninja (1981), Death Wish II (1982), American Ninja (1985), Cobra (1986), Superman IV (1987), and two films – directed by Golan himself: The Delta Force (1986) and Over the Top (1987). Alongside the many action films, the Cannon Group also attempted to branch out to quality filmmaking. As part of these sojourns into high-brow cinema, the company produced a host of films by some of the world’s most esteemed directors including John Cassavetes, Jean-Luc Goddard, Andrei Konchalovsky, and others.
In the 1990s, The Cannon Group found itself in debt and was ultimately sold off. Golan headed back to Israel where he continued to direct stage musicals and films, including Open Heart (2002) and Days of Love (2005). His later films however, failed to recapture his erstwhile 1960s-1980s success. In 1994, the Israeli Film Academy named Golan the recipient of that year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Five years later, in 1999, Golan won the Israel Prize in the category of Film.


Wild Dogs

Directed by Arnon Zadok, 2007
רק כלבים רצים חופשי

101 min.


Prom Queen

Directed by Isaac Zepel Yeshurun, 1986
מלכת הכיתה

92 min.


Forced Witness

Directed by Raphael Rebibo, 1984
עדות מאונס

105 min.


Tzanani Family

Directed by Boaz Davidson, 1976
משפחת צנעני

92 min.


House On Chelouche Street

Directed by Moshe Mizrachi, 1973
הבית ברחוב שלוש
English subs.

112 min.


I Love You Roza

Directed by Moshe Mizrachi, 1972
אני אוהב אותך רוזה

83 min.


Dalia and the Sailors

Directed by Menahem Golan, 1964
דליה והמלחים

108 min.


Sallah Shabati

Directed by Ephraim Kishon, 1964
סאלח שבתי
Rental English subs.

111 min.

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