John G. Avildsen (born December 21, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois) is an American film director.
His movies include Guess What We Learned in School (1968), Cry Uncle (1970), Joe (1970), Rocky (1976) and Rocky V (1990) with Sylvester Stallone, and The Karate Kid (1984), with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. He also directed the acclaimed Save the Tiger, starring Jack Lemmon, and Lean on Me (1989), starring Morgan Freeman as the no-nonsense high school principal Joe Clark. A recurring theme in many of Avildsen's movies is the triumph of an underdog character over adversity.
Avildsen won an Academy Award for directing Rocky.
Preceded by: Milo┼í Forman for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Academy Award for Best Director 1976 for Rocky Succeeded by: Woody Allen for Annie Hall