Younger brother of Leonard Schrader.
Credits movie critic Pauline Kael with helping start his career by writing him a recommendation letter for film school.
Originally directed Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), but his final version was rejected by the producers for not being enough of a marketable mainstream horror film product. Schrader was replaced by Renny Harlin, who re-shot about 80% of the film. Schrader received no credit for that version. However, Morgan Creek Pictures did a limited release of Schrader's Dominion (2005) on May 20, 2005. The DVD was released on October 25, 2005. Now two radically different versions exist, that share some story elements, some footage and some cast members.
Has a daughter, Molly Johanna Schrader (born 1984), and a son, Sam Schrader (born 1988) with his wife Mary Beth Hurt.
Brother-in-law of Chieko Schrader.
Parents Charles Allan and Joan (Fisher) Schrader were strict Dutch Calvinists. His mother's family (originally named Visser) were Dutch, and his father was of German and English descent.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 37th Berlin International Film Festival in 1987.
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival in 2007.
Being raised on Calvinist principles and severe parentage, he saw his first movie, The Absent Minded Professor (1961), at age 17.
Member of the 'Dramatic' jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.
Has written (or co-written) the screenplays for two 'Best Picture' Academy Award nominees (Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980)), but would only receive his first Academy Award nomination for 'Best Screenplay' (original or adapted) more than 40 years working in the business - he got nominated for First Reformed (2017).
Directed two Academy Award nominated performances: James Coburn and Nick Nolte, who both starred in Affliction (1997). Coburn won the Academy Award for 'Best Supporting Actor'.
Based his screenplay for Taxi Driver (1976) on his own experiences of living in Los Angeles, away from his familiar surroundings, feeling completely isolated and struggling with severe depression and contemplating suicide.
Like François Truffaut, Peter Bogdanovich, Jean-Luc Godard, Wim Wenders or Olivier Assayas, Schrader began his film career as a film critic (for the L.A. Free Press and Cinema Magazine).
Currently lives in Westchester County, New York with his family (2005).
Received his Bachelor's degree with a minor in theology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968.
Received his Master's degree in Film Studies from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.
Born on the same day as Danny Glover.
Counts Pickpocket (1959), An Autumn Afternoon (1962) and Performance (1970) among his all-time favorite films.
While writing the film Taxi Driver (1976), he envisioned Jeff Bridges as Travis Bickle, Cybill Shepherd as Betsy, Peter Boyle as Wizard, Harvey Keitel as Sport, and an unknown actress for Iris.