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Robert Redford's Greatest Films

Updated on June 5, 2014

Robert Redford Movie Quiz

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Robert Redford's Film Career

Robert Redford is perhaps the most versatile and talented actor of our time. While he woes and entertains us with his mesmerizing performances his gift and discipline as an actor rivals that of any celebrated broadway actor. Perhaps because Redford started his career on broadway. And yet, he is one of the most quiet, private actors in Hollywood. He is the last person campaigning for anything but environmentalism, or ginning up publicity for himself with some pseudo-philanthropic cause just to keep his name in the news.

Wikipedia reports Redford as a liberal Democrat. Who in Hollywood isn’t? I secretly suspect Redford has more libertarian views who lives a rather conservative life style.

As an actor he has range and has taken on controversially roles that were far before thier time. While this article is specifically about Redford’s film performances it should be noted he is an extraordinary director and producer as well. As a matter of fact the only Oscar Redford won was for Best Director of the film Ordinary People.

The greatest measure of an entertainer is his/her is to provide such high quality work that it transcends their personal existence. Robert Redford has achieved this level of success and is a master of his craft providing us with both thought provoking and entertaining films for the better part of the last half century.

Daisy Clover

One of the most controversial roles for Robert Redford was in Daisy Clover with Natalie Wood back in the 1960(s). Daisy Clover is about a poor girl who makes it into the movie business and marries Robert Redford’s character who also happens to be a homosexual. Today this doesn’t seem controversial at all given the advancement of gay rights. However when this film was made homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Robert Redford portrayed this character with sensitivity, dignity and provided a three dimensional performance. In many ways we can measure civilizations advancement with gay rights by Robert Redford's perfomance being the starting point and today when we are considering Gay marriage in America as an ending point.

If you haven't seen Daisy Clover it is an exceptional film that is timely even a half centruy later.

Daisy Clover

Daisy Clover 2

Barefoot in the Park

Perhaps Robert Redford’s range as an actor is best measured in his performance in Barefoot in the Park with Bridget Fonda. His comedic timing stands out more in this film than in any other performance he has ever given. Robert Redford manages the timing perfect in this film and it is one of the best films I have seen by Redford. Even today I still laugh when I see this movie. This is a very entertaining film which will leave you laughing especially if you are an independent.

Barefoot in the Park

The Way We Were.

I think if I liked Robert Redford before The Way We Were I adored him afterwards. The film is about a communist who falls in love with a fascist. Redford plays the facist Humble Garner who is a writer graduating from George Washington University just before World War 2. He meets up with his old classmate played by Barbara Streisand and they fall in love. And very predictably political ideology overtakes their promise to each other. It is a very telling tale of how American politics divides everyone, even those who desperately love each other. This movie also elludes to the caste system of American Politics. Yet, another subject not often tackled in modern films in such a realistic way.

I think this is perhaps the best romance movie I have ever seen which a subplot of American politics has interwoven within the story line.

The Way We Were

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

This movie was extraordinary in every aspect. Redford paired with Newman was a perfect match and the through line was crystal clear. While it has been a long time since I have seen this film I still highly recommend it to you as it is marvelous.

If I see any of these films again it will be this one or one other.

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

The Sting

It was the highest grossing film of all of Redford’s films. The duo of Redford and Newman again is box office gold. It is about con artists who pull the ultimate con. It is witty bright and again Redford’s performance is outstanding.

If can only see one of these films I recommend seeing The Sting first and foremost.

The Sting

All The President’s Men

This movie is about Washington Post reporters who investigated the Watergate scandal in 1970(s) during the high of the Nixon era. Redford plays the infamous Bob Woodard who was one of the two reports who first broke the story. Redford again gives a stellar performance as Bob Woodard. I believe this is the only film in which Robert Redford portrays a living person and a reporter. In this movie like The Three Days of the Condor Redford works along side Dustin Hoffman.

All The President's Men

Three Days of The Condor

An exceptionally well written scripted about a CIA analyst who discovers a plot of a secret spy agency outside of the CIA. Robert Redford plays the analyst who reads books and analysis plots. He leaves for lunch one day and finds his entire office has been murdered. His code name is Condor. It is an intriguing film and only one of two films in which Redford plays a CIA agent. Sydney Pollack directs this film as he did The Way We Were and Out of Africa.

Redford’s performance is stand alone since he only has Faye Dunaway character, a complete stranger, to explain what has happened and aid him.

It is rather out of character for Robert Redford as a Democrat to play a CIA agent and yet he still pulls off the performance so convincingly. This is perhaps one of my favorite Redford movies because of the brilliance of simplicity of it and of course Redford’s performance.

Three Days of the Condor

Spy Game

Spy Game is directed by Ridley Scott. It is about the last day of work before retirement of a CIA handler in which one of his operatives is captured. The CIA, during trade negoitations talks with China, wants to let the agent be executed but Robert Redford's character pulls every resource available to save his operative. The majority of the film is Redford's character at Langley dealing with a task force to address the "Tom Bishop" issue. Tom Bishop is played by Brad Pitt. It is yet another smart film by Redford and he plays his performance is grand. It is an excellent movie film with contnual plot turns which will keep you guessing.

Spy Game

Out of Africa

Oh was Robert Redford good in this film. He stars as an America big game hunter in the Ivory trade pre-World War II. He is obviously a freemason who is living in Africa and conducting commerce. He meets up with Merly Streep's character and they fall in love despite the fact she is married to a philatropher. This is perhaps the most beautiful film I have ever seen. The cinematograpy is just phenomenal. Redford has this character down to a science and his performance is absolutely stellar. It is ideology which once again divides Redford;s character from Streep's character but is ultimately resolved.

And I must say for a Democrat Redford seemed to know how to handle a gun perfectly in this movie. Sydney Pollack directed this film also and the tales from the set must be legend in Hollywood.

Out of Africa

In Summation

Robert Redford has been enlightening and entertaining us for the better part of the last half century. He has given us thought provoking performances, showed us the beauty which is innate to nature while managing to place his artistic integrity bove his political ideology. Redford is perhaps the most under celebrated and most talented actor of his generation who has managed to reach generations beyond his own to become a living legend.

Favorite Redford Film

What is your Favorite Redford Film?

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    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the great comment Suzettenaples! You are spot on in your assessment of Redford's performance in Daisy Clover. It is amazing to me that this is still such a controversial social issue half a century later. You are most welcome and thank you for the thought provoking and great comment.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      I am a Redford can and enjoyed reading this. I love all the movies you have chosen and they are some if my favorites. You are right about Daisy Clover being one of his most controversial roles - in fact he played the part quite subtly which was not how it was originally written, but his choice of portrayal was spot on for that movie. Yes, it is still controversial today-a timeless movie. Thanks for an interesting and entertaining read!

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you Rahul it is most kind of you to say so but Robert Redford is my inspiration along with my friends on HP. I am only glad I could write something of interest.



    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Great hub! Very informative and well crafted!

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Hi Georgie,

      I do as well that is why I waited a year before even attempting to write an article about Robert Redford.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 5 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      I have immense respect for Redford. He is one of the greatest actors of any generation. Thank you for sharing this hub!