Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Best Kevin Costner Movies: From Westerns to Sports Dramas

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Over the past few decades, beloved actor and Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Costner has created some truly memorably films for both his die-hard fans and everyday moviegoers. While he’s better-known for some of his more recent acting work, Costner also has an impressive track record as a director, producing some of the best movies of his generation. From his iconic Westerns in the 80s and 90s, to his successful sports dramas from the past decade, here’s a guide to the best movies that Kevin Costner has starred in and/or directed.

Dances with Wolves (1990) – Directed by Kevin Costner

This iconic Western drama truly earned Costner a lasting reputation as an actor, director, and a great storyteller. In the lead role of Lt. John Dunbar, Costner immerses himself in a complex situation between the U.S. Cavalry and the Lakota Sioux, while revealing a much deeper conflict between humanity and the increasingly hostile frontier. Dances with Wolves won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Costner, making it one of the most celebrated westerns of all time.

JFK (1992)

Costner had been long established as an actor by the time JFK was released in 1992, but it was this role as District Attorney Jim Garrison that truly skyrocketed his star power. Directed by Oliver Stone and co-starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones, JFK is a complex and thought-provoking story that Costner helps to bring to life with the powerful performance he gives as the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorist. It’s a must-watch for any Costner fan.

The Bodyguard (1992)

No Kevin Costner-centered list would be complete without his 1992 romantic drama, The Bodyguard. Starring alongside Whitney Houston, Costner plays a former Secret Service Agent hired to protect the pop star from a stalker, only to fall in love with her in the process. To this day, The Bodyguard remains one of the most beloved love stories of the 90s, thanks largely to the phenomenal chemistry of Costner and Houston alongside a soundtrack of some of the greatest pop songs ever written.

The Postman (1997)

This post-apocalyptic drama hasn’t aged particularly well, but still offers up a glimpse at Costner’s best work as a director. Taking place in a dystopian near-future after a global disaster, The Postman follows a nomadic loner (played by Costner) who finds purpose when he is appointed as a mail carrier and tasked with reuniting the decaying remains of American society. The film has faced a good deal of criticism, but there’s plenty of creativity, vision, and originality in The Postman that makes it worth a watch.

The Untouchables (1987)

Before he was a household name, Costner featured in more than a few major films, but none was more successful and well-loved than 1987’s The Untouchables. In director Brian De Palma’s popular classic, Costner stars as Eliot Ness, an FBI agent tasked with taking down Al Capone’s criminal empire. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Sean Connery and Robert De Niro, The Untouchables is one of the greatest films of the decade and an essential watch for any Costner fan.

Tin Cup (1996)

This 1996 sports drama might not be Costner’s most well-known golfing flick (that would be the legendary Caddyshack, of course), but it remains an underappreciated classic that showcases Costner’s acting talent and range. In the lead role as Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy, a washed-up former golf prodigy and current driving range owner, Costner gives one of his most heartfelt performances as he takes another shot at making it on the professional tour.

Open Range (2003)

In 2003, Costner returned to the Western genre with this underrated classic. Featuring Costner, Robert Duvall, and Annette Bening in the starring roles, Open Range is a story of justice, loyalty, and the power of the land. While the film was relatively under-the-radar for most viewers, it was a critical hit, making Costner’s comeback to directing westerns a memorable success.

DRAFT DAY (2014)

Released in 2014, Draft Day is one of Costner’s latest and greatest sports dramas. Costner stars as the fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who must use all his wit, charm, and maneuvering to save a battered football team. Alongside a strong supporting cast and great direction, Costner shines as the team executive in this passionate, thoughtful drama that concludes with a memorable touchdown pass.

Kevin Costner has established himself as a legendary actor and director, providing fans with some of the best films of his generation. From his award-winning work in Dances with Wolves, to his powerful performances in JFK and The Untouchables, to his thoughtful sports dramas Tin Cup and Draft Day, Costner is a masterful storyteller that makes sure every movie he’s involved in will be remembered for years to come.

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