Best Newman & Redford movies

robert-redford-and-paul-newman.jpgSo I took my wife out to Redford’s Tree Room for her birthday tonight. We got put in the corner beside Redford’s Butch Cassidy photos. We got to talking and were doing lists. Obviously two of the lists had to be Robert Redford movies and Paul Newman movies. So here’s mine. Let’s hear yours.

Robert Redford

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2. The Sting
3. A River Runs Through It
4. The Natural
5. Three Days of the Condor

Paul Newman

1. The Hustler
2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
3. The Sting
4. Hombre
5. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof / The Long Hot Summer (tie)

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37 thoughts on “Best Newman & Redford movies

  1. Sneakers is incredibly underrated. It’s one of those movies that if I come across it while flipping thru channels and I find Marty playing scrabble, I make myself comfortable.

    Condor started off so well, but boy was the last act disappointing.

    While I wouldn’t put it in Redford’s top-5, I rather enjoyed Spy Game.

    I can’t really complain with the Newman picks but I’d present the following for debate:
    Cool Hand Luke (I’m thinking it should be #5)
    Slapshot
    Road to Perdition
    Color of Money

  2. Redford: The Candidate is great, and Electric Horseman and Brubaker are better films than A River Runs Through It, which always reminds me of the Varsity Theatre for some reason. I’m also a sucker for The Way We Were, but I’ll admit it’s a museum piece.

    Newman: Hombre is one of the coolest movies ever, but I would put Cool Hand Luke at number 1. Great movie. I also love Slapshot.

    I loved The Sting when I was a kid, but when I saw it on TV recently it looked kind of lame — The Cliches Are Having a Party.

  3. Redford:
    Butch Cassidy
    The Natural
    The Sting
    All the President’s Men
    The Candidate

    Newman:
    Cool Hand Luke
    Butch Cassidy
    The Hustler
    The Sting
    Slap Shot

  4. Nobody’s Fool is one of my favorite Newman movies. Kind of a “sleeper”-type movie, but a great story and one of his best performances.

    As for Redford, I’ve gotta give some love for Three Days of the Condor, which I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

  5. I’d put Cool Hand Luke at number one for Newman, and The Sting would be number two for both of them. No matter the order, both of them have done some great movies.

  6. Paul Newman’s corpus is incredible. When looking at Redfords I was surprised at how many mediocre ones there are.

    Color of Money I’m mixed on. Great director and sequel to a pretty incredible movie. (If you haven’t seen The Hustler run to Netflix and rent it) But overall I found the movie a tad too cheesy for my tastes. It’s hard to put my finger on.

    Brian, Three Days of the Condor was my #5 although I agree the last act is weak.

    Cool Hand Luke almost made the cut for Newman. The problem is that he has so many amazing fantastic movies. And I just love his adaptations of Tennessee Williams (even if Williams himself didn’t)

  7. Redford:

    1. Butch Cassidy
    2. The Natural
    3. All the President’s Men
    4. The Great Gatsby
    5. Condor
    6. Barefoot in the Park
    7. Jeremiah Johnson
    8. The Candidate
    9. A Bridge too far
    10. Downhill Racer

    I hated The Sting and I don’t count his VO in River Runs.

  8. Newman:

    1. Cool Hand Luke
    2. Butch Cassidy
    3. Color of Money
    4. Slap Shot
    5. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    6. The Towering Inferno
    7. The Hustler
    8. Absence of Malice
    9. Fort Apache The Bronx
    10. The Verdict

    Can also add “Hud,” “Rachel, Rachel,” and “Nobody’s Fool.”

  9. Yeah, but he directed A River Runs Through It. I just love that movie.

    I’m glad for all the love for Road to Perdition. I don’t remember folks liking it that much when it came out.

    Cool Hand Luke is a great film but I just had to go with my top 5. If it’s any consolation my 3 year old would demand that Cars be #1.

  10. I know you’re talking about acting, and all the great ones have been mentioned, but Redford’s directing debut, Ordinary People, is one of my favorite movies. I think it is the best thing he’s done in behind or in front of the camera.

  11. Really? I found Ordinary People simply didn’t age well.

    He is a good director though although I heard Lions for Lambs was a real stinker.

  12. Jeremiah Johnson and Waldo Pepper are pretty good, actually. As director, I love Milagro Beanfield War.

    Newman was cool in Hudsucker Proxy, and as someone mentioned Nobody’s Fool is very good.

  13. how funny. i just watched butch cassidy last night for the first time in years. i love it. and i loved newman in cool hand luke. and both in the sting. and redford in sneakers. newman was a hot young thing. yummy.

  14. Paul Newman’s best movie is The Verdict.

    Robert Redford’s best movie is probably Barefoot in the Park. Redford was all set to be the next Cary Grant (smooth, charming, shallow), but he went a different way and made stupid soapy dramas.

    Redford can’t touch Newman’s shoes, as an actor or director, but they did work well together in those 2 movies.

  15. You know I think Redford is a good solid director although not a great director. I’d put him slightly above Ron Howard.

    Having said that though I’ve only seen on thing directed by Newman and it was his take on the Glass Menagerie. I love the play but something about the movie just didn’t click for me. In any case Newman hasn’t really directed much and nothing really mainstream.

    Overall I’d have to give the nod to Redford over Newman as a director. I love Newman as an actor. He’s been an amazing performer and nearly as important has been pretty careful about what he’s let himself be in.

  16. Paul is also great in Cool Hand Luke.

    Redford doesn’t have a single performance that is on the level of Paul in Cool Hand Luke or The Verdict.

  17. Paul Newman’s best movies:

    1. The Verdict
    2. Hud
    3. Cool Hand Luke
    4. The Hustler
    5. Sweet Bird of Youth

    (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is really very poor. It isn’t the play, but it isn’t a good movie, either.)

    Robert Redford’s best movies not including Barefoot in the Park which he did on stage first:

    1. The Candidate
    2. Butch Cassidy…
    3. The Sting (I guess, it isn’t great, but it’s at least fun)
    4. The Way We Were (soapy, but Redford isn’t so stiff as usual)
    5. The Natural (I guess, though I really don’t like it)

  18. D.,

    In spite of the overall poor cinematic quality of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” I think the individual performances make it worth the watch.

  19. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof suffers from the same affliction that besets any play or musical that makes the transition to the movie screen. However the script and the performances are so excellent that I can’t believe anyone would call it a bad movie. Of all the play-cum-movies he did it is the best.

    Admittedly it’s not the best Williams play made into a movie. And Williams didn’t like it. But it won the awards it did.

  20. Actually some plays/musicals transition very well to the screen. The problem with the movie version of “Cat” is that it still wants to be on the stage–thus making it’s cinematic quality rather gratuitous. It requires more than a token effort to “cinematize” a play.

  21. Newman’s direction of Menagerie is rubbish, which is too bad. The opening and ending are especially poorly executed. I love the play and the film always disappoints.

  22. But the central “conflict” of Cat has been REMOVED from the movie — did Brick sleep with his best college buddy?

    And Elizabeth Taylor is all wrong for Maggie. Maggie is Barbara bel Geddes, someone very unsure of her sexual power.

    One simply doesn’t believe that Paul and Liz wouldn’t be all over each other, every second.

    I think it’s a terrible movie.

    But I still think Paul is heads and tails above Redford, as actor and director. Paul directed Rachel Rachel, which is very fine, and also Sometimes A Great Notion.

  23. The very best play-to-movie adaptations were all directed by William Wyler.

    The Children’s Hour (These Three)
    Dead End
    The Little Foxes
    The Heiress

    The only movie version of a Tennessee Williams play which holds up is A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by its original director Elia Kazan.

  24. Suddenly Last Summer has some good things (Katharine Hepburn), some fair things (Mercedes McCambridge), and some dreadful awful things (Elizabeth Taylor). The play is a one-act play by Williams — stretching it into a full-length piece makes it pretty tedious.

    Liz was always bad when she was Acting with a capital A. When she was just being a movie star, she’s pretty good (Giant, or even Cleopatra).

    Her big AA for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is just a tragedy for all concerned; she was completely wrong for the part, and couldn’t make it work at all.

  25. “One simply doesn’t believe that Paul and Liz wouldn’t be all over each other, every second.”

    I don’t get that at all. Maybe it isn’t true to Williams’ original intent, but one gets the idea that they ought to be all over each other but can’t because of a huge wedge in their relationship. It’s a different kind of tension, but it still works.

    And I thought L. Taylor was really pretty good in “Suddenly Last Summer.” I rather like her rawness in those kinds of roles.

    By the way, it’s nice to see you around hear again, D..

  26. I’ll grant you that Streetcar is the best film transition. (At least that I’ve seen – I never saw Night of the Iguana film version but I’d be surprised if it were that good)

    I’d have to second Jack. Cat might not be the same as the play but on its own terms it’s pretty good. Interestingly it’s about the only film with Elizabeth Taylor in it that I can stand. (I really don’t like her as an actress normally)

    As for plays -> movie transitions. Someone ought do a thread on that. My favorite is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I actually think the movie version is superior to the play version.

  27. Pingback: Kulturblog » Best Plays into Movies

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