Robert Duvall turns 92 today. Let’s take a look back at the legendary actor’s career as ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ begins streaming on his Netflix this week and we’ll see all-new performances.
Nominated for seven acting Academy Awards, Duvall is one of the greatest figures to ever grace the silver screen, appearing in some absolute classics.
Check out his 10 best movie picks, ranked in order below.
10) Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Duvall’s breakout performance as the reclusive Boo Radley put him on the Hollywood map, but the role is so small (at least on screen) that it can’t be ranked higher than here. It won three Oscars for acting, adaptation, and art direction, plus five nominations for photography, direction, supporting actress, cinematography, and music score. Widely considered a classic of American cinema, the film remains true to the book about confronting the South’s troubled past in a troubled present about race relations.
9) Kicking & Screaming (2005)
Am I calling this underage (but hilarious) Will Ferrell vehicle a better movie than To Kill a Mockingbird? At least, after seeing Duvall have the ball as Ferrell’s villainous competitive football coach father in an unexpected but admirable rivalry with former NFL coach Mike Ditka. You’re the judge. Family man Phil Weston takes on coaching his kid’s soccer team in order to gain the approval of his furious father. It’s always fun to see screen legends who aren’t afraid to make fun of themselves.
8) Civil Action (1998)
A tenacious lawyer (played by John Travolta) confronts a case involving two companies that caused several children to be diagnosed with leukemia after polluting the town’s water supply. Duvall won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as a veteran attorney working on behalf of one of the companies named in a class action lawsuit in Steve Stephen Zaillian’s powerful late ’90s courtroom drama. Nominated.
7) Network (1976)
One of the most talented and reliable actors of all time, Duvall dominated the 1970s. His name appears in the credits of some of the greatest films ever made, including Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-sponsored Sydney of the Media Industry and Lumet’s brilliant satire.・Screenplay Award. When newscaster Howard Beale (Peter Finch) has a nervous breakdown on air, Duvall thrashes him out of the park as a brooding TV executive trying to squeeze ratings out of the chaos.
6) Great Santini (1979)
In Louis John Carlino’s adaptation of Pat Conroy’s novel, a young man seeks the approval of Marine Corps pilot Lieutenant Colonel Wilbur “Bull” Meacham, the father of a demanding alpha male. I am struggling with (Catch Michael O’Keeffe right before he plays Danny Noonan in “Caddyshack”). The ultimate intimidating dad movie, highlighted by one of Duvall’s most flashy performances in his nearly two decades of understated character work.
5) The Godfather Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant sequel sees the role of Corleone’s adviser Tom Hagen change, and Duvall’s, among a perfectly assembled cast of different actors, to tell the long-running crime story. Realized. After an assassination attempt, Hagen, arm-in-arms with his new boss Michael, goes to great lengths to protect his family. Duvall’s steady hand helped propel this into the Pantheon.
4) Apocalypse Now (1979)
Duvall received his second Oscar nomination, this time playing Lieutenant Colonel William “Bill” Kilgore, one of the most competitive strongmen on the battlefield. But when the stakes weren’t high during a helicopter raid in Vietnam, an avid surfer said, ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning,’ before hitting the waves on a freshly conquered beach. Francis Ford Coppola’s grueling adventure into war-torn Hell is strangely quick, with Duvall adding an unexpected levity through bizarre characters.
3) The Godfather (1972)
Is Francis Ford Coppola’s Mob Masterpiece the best movie to feature a Duvall performance? The movie is clearly Marlon Brando and Al Pacino (and James Caan, for that matter), but Duvall’s Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor was his performance against Tom Hagen, the consigliere of the Corleone crime family. Because the craftsmanship approach paid off. “Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news right away,” Hagen told Hollywood mogul Jack Waltz, the night before Waltz woke up with a horse’s head in his bed.
2) Gentle Mercy (1983)
A devastated middle-aged country singer seeks to get a new wife, reach out to his long-lost daughter, and put his troubled life back together. Robert Duvall won his only Oscar for Bruce Beresford’s redemption story written by Horton Foote. This quiet and powerful family drama teaches us that it’s never too late to act together, especially for loved ones who need our presence. Tess Harper and Alan Hubbard provide steady support as Duvall’s new family and foundation for the country singer. Filmed in his two towns of Ellis County in north central Texas, Waxahachie and Palmer, the film can only be recommended as one of his best songwriting lessons ever filmed. , proving that Duvall could have been successful as a musician.
1) Apostle (1997)
After his happy life spirals out of control, the charismatic preacher from Texas changes his name and goes to Louisiana to start a new local church. The California native and longtime Hollywood veteran apparently has no business understanding the South throughout his career, but few of the Oscar winners do. His masterpiece reflected his knowledge of the importance of Christianity in the region.
Honorable Mention: M*A*S*H (1970), THX 1138 (1971), Days of Thunder (1990), Falling Down (1993), Sling Blade (1996), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Open Range (2003), Get Low (2009)