There was a point in time when I believed that no movie older than me could possibly be any good and black and white movies? Forget about it. That is, until one day after watching Predator on Encore I was too lazy to get off the couch and the next movie was a little flick called Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The classic starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford forever changed my attitude of “old movies”. In honor of the Butch one this is a list of his 10 best films.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Might as well start with the most obvious choice (since I already named it). “Butch Cassidy” is one of the classic western movies. From “who are those guys” to the bicycle ride in the rain to “next time let’s go someplace like Bolivia”. From beginning to end “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is about as perfect as a movie gets.
Somebody Up There Likes Me
No sport produces better movies than the sport of boxing but when the topic is brought up everybody mentions Bull Durham, Rocky or Million Dollar Baby. Paul Newman also starred in a good boxing movie in his second big movie role. Newman played the part of Rocky Graziano who gets in trouble with the law and goes AWOL after being drafted before finally winding up as a professional boxer.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Paul Newman is best known for his duo with Robert Redford but teaming up with Elizabeth Taylor isn’t bad either. Newman and Taylor are two of the all-time greats and both of them are at the top of their game in this classic movie.
The Long Hot Summer
“The Long Hot Summer” pairs Paul Newman with another lovely actress, Joanne Woodward. In this witty drama Newman plays a grifter that ends up in a small town in Mississippi. The man that hires the grifter sees more in him than the man that wishes to marry his daughter so he tries to convince the grifter to marry her instead.
“The Hustler” is part drama, part romance and part sports movie (if you count billiards as a sport.) In this movie Paul Newman is an up and coming pool player that challenges the current reigning champion to a match. Jackie Gleason also stars in this movie.
“Harper” is a film based on the novel by Ross Macdonald. Harper mixes mystery with social commentary as the film touches on everything from religion to drug abuse to war. Joining Paul Newman in Harper is “Lauren Bacall”, who plays the victimized wife, a similar role to the one she played in the Big Sleep.
Newman stars as a white man that was raised by Apaches. “Hombre” is one of Newman’s best reviewed movies and he gives a fantastic performance despite the fact that he talks very little in the movie but instead uses mannerisms and facial expression to convey what he wants to say. “Hombre” was penned by the brilliant Elmore Leonard and was directed by Martin Ritt who had previously worked with Newman on five other films including “The Long Hot Summer”.
“Slap Shot” is not as critically acclaimed as the other movies on this list but we’ll chalk that up to it being a comedy compared to a bunch of dramas. Almost every sports fan ranks “Slap Shot” as one of the three to five best sports movies of all-time and that is despite the fact that almost none of those people are hockey fans.
“The Sting” is one of Paul Newman’s best known films. The Sting is about two grifters that decide to con a mob boss. This film is famously known as a reunion between Paul Newman and Robert Redford from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but what many fail to mention is that the director, George Roy Hill, also returns to direct the duo.
Cool Hand Luke
“Cool Hand Luke” is the one Paul Newman film that can possibly match “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in both quality and familiarity. “Cool Hand Luke” was the fourth time that Paul Newman was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (though he would not win until The Color of Money many years later). Any movie fan that has not seen “Cool Hand Luke” should put it at the top of their Netflix queue immediately.