Robert Redford’s must see movies
PUBLISHED: 14:09 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:09 16 August 2018
Robert Redford has announced his retirement from acting. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at the standout movies of his career. It’s a diverse selection.
Robert Redford – the ever youthful Sundance Kid – has announced his retirement from acting after 60 years on the big screen. The multi-talented actor-director, who has the laudible reputation of putting his money where his mouth is – setting up The Sundance Film Festival to promote independent film or buying up tracts of land in Utah to stop developers destroying the landscape – says that after 60 years in front of the camera, the time has come to quietly head towards retirement.
Redford, now 81, made his first screen appearence at the age of 21 having gained a small role in the basketball drama Tall Story. The following six years were spent making guest appearances ina host of TV shows such as The Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Maverick, Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone. His big break came when Paramount broke with tradition and in 1967 cast him in the film version of Barefoot in the Park. Redford had starred in the Neil Simon play on Broadway and conventional wisdom was that for the film version you cast a Hollywood star rather than a theatre actor. Redford was cast opposite Jane Fonda, he was the only member of the theatre cast to make the transfer, and new career was born.
Here are the top moments from Redford’s extraordinary career:
Barefoot In The Park (1967)
The breakthrough movie that made him a star. It tells the story of a young married couple who get to know one another as they climb five flights of stairs to the lofty apartment. Redford’s Paul Bratter is a reserved lawyer while Jane Fonda’s Corie is a vivacious party girl. The sparks fly in an entertaining fashion in this richly inventive comedy romance.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Redford replaced first choice Steve McQueen in the world’s first buddy western. Only his second film after Barefoot In The Park, he and co-star Paul Newman worked brilliantly together and their friendship is clearly visible on screen. It’s a feelgood film with one of the best endings ever seen on screen. Hugely inventive, and consistently entertaining on multiple viewings, this has to be one of the all-time classics.
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
Redford nailed his environmental colours to the mast in this his second collaboration with long-time friend, director Sydney Pollack. Based on a true story of a mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit but becomes embroiled in a long-running war with a band of renegade Blackfoot Indians. Redford got so immersed in the role that he persuaded Sydney Pollack to allow him to do much of his own stunt-work.
The Candidate (1972)
Having been at one with nature in Jeremiah Johnson, Redford now turned his somewhat jaundiced eye towards the political world for The Candidate. It’s a modern version of Mr Smith Goes to Washington in which a seemingly innocent outsider enters the dirty world of politics and learns that to succeed you have to compromise your values.
The Sting (1973)
Stunning reunion with Paul Newman in this dazzling comedy heist movie in which Redford and Newman play a pair of confidence tricksters who plan the ultimate scam and plan to take local gangland boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) to the cleaners. It’s a wonderfully complex plot but it does all make sense and features a brilliant twist ending. Again the chemistry between Newman and Redford is just a joy to watch. The film won seven Oscars includeing Best Picture.
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Back with Sydney Pollack, Redford plays a bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust. A terrific cold-war thriller.
All the President’s Men (1976)
Redford’s thematic follow-up to The Candidate. This dark, involved movie follows The Washington Post’s investigation into Watergate and the demise of Richard Nixon’s Presidency. Redford gets first-class support from Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards. It’s a movie that rewards repeated viewing.
The Natural (1984)
Baseball movies rarely do well on this side of the Atlantic but The Natural is a glorious exception. It’s a warm-hearted movie about an unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league. But, this magical sportsman has a mysterious past.
Out of Africa (1985)
Another multi-Oscar winning movie, once again directed by Sydney Pollack, their sixth outing together, Redford plays English ex-pat Denys Finch Hatton who forms a scandalous relationship with married Baroness Karen Blixen, played by Meryl Streep. The film was epic and looked gorgeous while the story was both heartrending and life-affirming.
A River Runs Through It (1992)
A film, which Redford directed but doesn’t appear, and yet he is heard and his presence is felt in every frame of this beautiful, touching family drama. Adapted from the autobiographical novel by Norman Maclean it tells the two story of two independent-minded brothers and how their love of fly fishing kept them into contact with their minister father. Redford provided the narration and Brad Pitt became an uncanny onscreen look-alike.
Delightful comedy techno-thriller with Sidney Poitier, Dan Ackroyd, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley and David Strathairn. It’s light and fun but has the same feelgood vibe that The Sting possessed. Good films don’t always have to be meaningful particularly when you have Redford and Kingsley sparing off one another.
The Last Castle (2001)
Redford proves he can still turn in a brilliant, heavyweight performance even in the fifth decade of his career. He plays three star General Irwin who is transferred to a maximum security military prison. Irwin has been stripped of his rank for disobedience in a mission, but not of fame. Colonel Winter, who runs the prison with an iron fist, deeply admires the General, but Irwin can feel Winter’s unjust treatment of the inmates. He decides to teach Winter a lesson by taking over command of the facility but taking a stand comes at a price.
Spy Game (2001)
Under the direction of Tony Scott, Redford returns to the world of Three Days of the Condor. He plays CIA operative Nathan Muir, a man on the brink of retirement, who finds out that his protege Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship.
Lions for Lambs (2007)
Redford plays a concerned university professor in this thought-provoking story about how a pair of his former students are injured on active duty in Afghanistan. Meryl Streep co-stars as a sceptical reporter and Tom Cruise, an overly optimistic senator, in this real-time movie which weaves three worringly believable storylines into a taut 90 minutes.