The Top 10 Kevin Costner Films, ranked by critics
When it comes to Kevin Costner, it’s safe to say that he’s lived a life that few people have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Costner, who was 5’2″ at high school graduation, developed a love for poetry, writing, and singing in his Baptist choir as a tiny child who traveled around a lot. In addition to his passion for the arts, he was also a huge sports fan, which is evident in his cinematic career to this day. After building his own canoe at the age of 18, Costner plied the same waters Lewis and Clark explored. Fun facts aside, Costner had a long and varied career prior to his rise to fame as one of the world’s most charismatic and articulate actors.
Costner was well-equipped to write, direct, and star in a film of his own as he achieved a long-held ambition of his. As a man previously referred to as the ‘King of the Sports Movie,’ Costner has been able to star in films on subjects close to his heart. In addition, he has been in a slew of other films, including some of his best parts, that deal with politics, crime, or romance. To celebrate the guy who has accomplished more in one lifetime than many could in many, we’re here to speak about all of those films at once.
10. The Bodyguard (1992)
For those who like the performances and the connection between the two stars, The Bodyguard is a guilty pleasure that some may be surprised to see on the list. In order to protect herself from a dangerous and obsessive admirer, Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) hires ex-secret service member Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) as her bodyguard. The film succeeds in its purpose of becoming a melodramatic romance drama, yet some have reacted negatively to it. Costner and Houston have an undeniable rapport, and Costner’s cool-yet-casual portrayal is a highlight of the film. Lawrence Kasdan, an experienced screenwriter who has worked with Costner on many of his best roles, is also responsible for the well-written script.
9. Tin Cup (1996)
Tin Cup, a golf movie about love, pride, and (of course) a comeback, with a cleverly crafted script and a powerful cast. When Roy McAvoy (Costner) meets his rival’s beautiful girlfriend and sets out to win her heart, the former pro golfer decides to challenge for the PGA tour title. To see Costner at his best, this one is a terrific place to begin. You’ll be playing entire courses with just your 7 iron after watching this golf movie classic, which is a must-see for any casual golfer.
8. Silverado (1985)
In what many consider Costner’s first recognizable role, Silverado is an enjoyable, horsing-and-hollering good time that features an impressive cast. As a group of four wronged cowboys set out to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, they each carry a particular chink in their armor. A promise from director/writer Lawrence Kasdan to Costner after he was cut from the ’80s blockbuster The Big Chill was that he would make it up to him with this film. We’ve never seen Costner take on a role quite like this before (apart from Fandango of the same year), and many viewers were left wondering, “Who was that and where can I see him again?”
7. A Perfect World (1993)
A Perfect World, one of Clint Eastwood’s best films, is a surprisingly real and lovable movie. Yet the father-son banter between Butch Haynes (Costner) and his kidnapped prisoner (also played by Costner) gives the impression that he’s an escaped felon. For some reason, Chief Red Garnett (Clint Eastwood) isn’t all that interested in finding and arresting Haynes. This movie, like many Eastwood films, has a plot that is more complex than it first appears, with people bound together by previously unknown connections. The youngster and Haynes’ relationship tells us a lot about both of their characters, and it also serves as a wonderful showcase for Costner’s charismatic and dramatic acting abilities.
6. JFK (1991)
An epic political drama by Oliver Stone, JFK revisits the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy and the ripple effects it had on society. Jim Garrison (Costner), the New Orleans district attorney, re-examines the Warren Commission’s contentious report, undertaking a detailed investigation of the events that occurred and the person or persons who escaped justice. When it comes to the psychological impact on viewers, Stone’s film does an excellent job of showing how this historical event had an enormous impact on our country. Costner’s portrayal of the guy who risked his career to seek retribution is as brilliant as ever.
5. The Untouchables (1987)
A film that is recognized in film classrooms for its careful set designs, costumes, cinematography, and editing, The Untouchables is a famous gangster movie that is based on the real events of special agent Eliot Ness and his investigations. An investigation and indictment of Al Capone (Robert De Niro) is launched by Secret Agent Eliot Ness (Costner) after the crime lord and notorious bootlegger has reduced the city of Chicago to its knees. In addition to being hailed as some of filmmaker Brian De Palma’s finest work, this picture has some of actor Sean Connery’s finest work. The transformation of Costner’s Agent Ness from a bookish rookie to a vengeful, desperate individual changes you as a person and a fictional character.
4. Field of Dreams (1989)
Described by actor Kevin Costner as “my generation’s A Wonderful Life,” Field of Dreams tells the story of an Iowa farmer who feels impelled to build something extraordinary. Upon hearing the oft-repeated statement, “If you build it, he will come,” (The Mandela Effect: “If you build it, they will come”), Ray Kinsella (William Costner) is inspired to turn his average cornfield into a baseball diamond. Following the story of Shoeless Joe, a novel written in 1982 which was largely inspired by an actual event, we get to see the dreams of a man who is driven by what others call craziness but which ultimately turns out to be a memorable film about baseball. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else making this movie as enjoyable and rewarding as Costner does.
3. No Way Out (1987)
No Way Out, a high-tension action film with many facets and a fantastic cast, has an exceptionally well-written narrative that takes unexpected turns. David Brice (Gene Hackman), a cold, calculating politician, inadvertently murders his quirky and beautiful mistress Susan (Sean Young), and Navy Lt. Tom Farrell (William Costner) is subjected to a witch hunt because Brice transforms the homicide into a political plot to divert blame. This film is extremely thrilling and suspenseful to a startling degree in what could be termed numerous different genres – romance, thriller, drama, action, criminal, espionage, political, etc. Although he starred in nine films between 1985 and 1989, Kevin Costner provides one of his best performances, confirming his status as one of the best actors of the 1980s and securing him parts for years to come.
2. Dances with Wolves (1990)
Dances with Wolves is a western-style civil war movie that has one of Kevin Costner’s best performances and unquestionably his best directorial effort. It might be seen as a love letter to the American frontier and a bygone period. A Civil Battle officer, John Dunbar (Costner), chooses to live out his life among a Native American tribe after seeing the horrors of war and the devastation that his people inflict. The narration and sequence of events are beautiful and thrilling to take part in from the perspective of this lost and found again in exile Lt. Dunbar. This is Kevin Costner’s best film since his critically panned debut, The Postman, despite the excellent performances by the rest of the cast (particularly Costner’s, who is the film’s central emphasis).
1. Bull Durham (1988)
This is one of Tom Hanks’ best and most sincere performances, and the movie as a whole is quite clever. Bull Durham follows minor league baseball players as they demonstrate that baseball is much more than just a game. In order to improve the Durham Bulls’ baseball performance, Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) selects one player from the team each season and teaches him or her the art of romance and literature. However, she encounters trouble when she meets minor league veteran Crash Davis (Brian Costner), who throws off her strategy with his no-BS approach. This romantic comedy, starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins, elevates the genre to new heights. This is Costner’s best and most memorable film to date, thanks in large part to his amusing, endearing, and sincere performance.