Milos Forman was born in 1932, in Czechoslovakia. Educated at Academy of Musical and Dramatic Art and Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague between 1951-56. In the context of Czechoslovak cinema in the early 60s, Milos Forman's first films (Black Peter and Competition) amounted to a revolution, which were influenced by Czech novelists and where the mark of late neorealism, in particular Ermanno Olmi, is visible. In these early films, Forman introduced the portrayals of working class life untainted by the formulae of socialist realism. Forman's movies are appropriated as expressions of the new concept of socialist art. The circumstances made Forman in to the undisputed star of the Czech New Wave. His style was characterized by a sensitive use of non-actors; by refreshing, natural sounding, semi-improvised dialogue; and by an unerring ear for the nuances of Czech folk-rock and music in general. All these characteristic features are more prominent in Loves of a Blonde and in Firemen's Ball was banned and Forman decided to remain in the West, where he was working on the script of his only American film developed from his original idea; the rest are adaptations. Traces of pre-American Forman are easily recognisable in his most successful film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which radically changed Ken Kosey's story and brought it close to the director's own objective and comical vision. It received an Oscar in 1975. In that year Forman became an American citizen. Forman has been accused of cynicism. But, his vision is deeply rooted in the anti-ideological, realistic and humanist tradition of such "cynics" of Czech literature as Hrabal, Hasek or Skvorecki. Through the influence of his method may be felt even in some North American films, his lasting importance will rest with his three Czech movies to which Taking Off should be added, a valiant attempt to show America to Americans through the eyes of a sensitive, if caustic foreign observer.