You might not be surprised if your father is Kirk Douglas, the star of Spartacus and Ace in the Hole and Paths of Glory.
What occurred to Michael Douglas is exactly what happened to him. His father encouraged him to produce movies, and he started out with One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, which was a huge success.
Robert Zemeckis directed him in 1984’s Romancing the Stone, which he starred in and produced after a few television appearances in the 1980s.
The best Michael Douglas films
Douglas had already established himself as a capable leading man when he appeared in Romancing the Stone. In 1985, he made a sequel before releasing two of his best films, Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, the following year.
Afterwards, he starred in The War of the Roses and Black Rain, both directed by Ridley Scott, with Kathleen Turner, who had previously starred with him in Romancing the Stone and its sequel The Jewel of the Nile.
While Michael Douglas’ work in the 1980s produced some of his most famous films, he kept some of his most memorable performances for later in his career.
Erotic thrillers that are both entertaining and forgettable may serve as a reminder to consumers. Female sparring partners who were strong-minded and sexually enlightened were ideal for Douglas’ training (see The War of the Roses, Disclosure, Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct).
However, in the 1990s and 2000s, an actor who was willing to take on more diverse roles was discovered (the anti-hero of Falling Down and the unsympathetic investment banker of The Game).
Behind the Candelabra, 2013’s Behind the Candelabra, and Wonder Boys, 2014’s Wonder Boys, are just a few examples of his work that have garnered him critical acclaim.
The films that nearly made the list
The director of photography is Ridley Scott. It’s 1989, and I’m in my early twenties. Nick Conklin, the badass cop, is played by Michael Douglas. When Conklin and Vincent are sent to transport a yakuza gang member back to Japan, the film’s tone shifts to one of gloom and doom. However, he manages to flee once they land in Osaka, and the two get even more embroiled in Japan’s criminal underground and its war on gangs as a result.
The China Syndrome, starring Michael Douglas.
If The China Syndrome isn’t on a list of the best Michael Douglas movies, it’s missing out on something special. Douglas has a supporting role as a cameraman who, along with Jane Fonda’s reporter, becomes involved in a cover-up at a nuclear power facility in California in the 1970s corporate conspiracy film. When an employee, Jack Lemmon’s Jack Godell, chooses to blow the whistle, the two assume they’ve found a solution to their problem.
In King of California, Michael Douglas portrays the king.
Since Douglas is best known for commercially successful sensual thrillers like Fatal Attraction, Disclosure and Basic Instinct and sobering hard-nosed dramas like Wall Street, The Game, or Falling Down his subtle humorous talents have been overlooked..
It’s a heartwarming comedy-drama about a determined, headstrong teenage girl and her relationship with her manic depressive single-parent father (Douglas), who obsessively searches for lost Spanish treasure, in the vein of Wonder Boys, Behind the Candelabra, and The War of the Roses, among others.
Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is an Ohio judge who accepts a position as head of the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy to combat the war on drugs, only to learn that his daughter has developed an addiction to cocaine and other recreational narcotics. Director Steven Soderbergh depicts the devastation that drugs have on families and on young people trapped in the grip of cocaine’s seductive pull in this bleak tale.
9. The Game
Even though The Game was a commercial disaster, it received critical praise and became a beloved cult classic thanks to director David Fincher, who had previously released crowd-pleasing thriller Seven.
In this Gecko-like role, Michael Douglas portrays a wealthy investment banker who prefers to be alone, but whose younger brother argues he needs a dose of adrenaline. Our immersion in this “game,” which blurs the barriers between reality and make-believe, leads to the namesake “game.”.
8. The War Of The Roses
An amusing black comedy about a failed marriage reunites Michael Douglas with Kathleen Turner for a third time (after Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, both from 1984). Bickering between the two actors has become second nature to them.
7. Romancing The Stone
This Indiana Jones-inspired action-adventure from Michael Douglas is a roaring success that doesn’t try to hide its source for a second. Fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark will find much to love in this tale of ancient treasures, damsels in distress, hammy villains, and exotic locations.
6. Falling Down
Joel Schumacher’s film Falling Down has a dark humour that Michael Douglas expresses brilliantly. In this case, he’s a man driven to the brink by the irritations of everyday life, and his increasingly destructive reaction to these impediments may reflect the audience’s own cynical wish fulfillment. Any actor would have a difficult time taking on this character. When it comes to Falling Down, Douglas needs to find a way of making unsympathetic characters likeable. He pulls it off with ease.
5. Fatal Attraction
Adrian Lynn’s tense thriller features a husband and father who get more than they bargained for. The release of Wall Street and Fatal Attraction in theaters in 1987 solidified Michael Douglas’ status as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable performers.
Wall Street’s shirt-and-tie bravado is peeled – almost literally – to reveal a more delicate sense of working man machism in both films. Fatal Attraction is fantastic because it’s a well-executed, frightening thriller with a standout performance by Glenn Close that alludes to the breakdown of the family unit and the frailty of virile male posturing.
4. Solitary Man
Ben Kalmen’s midlife crisis is depicted by Brian Koppelman and David Levien in a meditative and unsentimental way in their film, which is based on a true story.
As Kalmen, Michael Douglas gives one of his best performances ever. Douglas and Danny DeVito’s reunion was a highlight for me (the pair having starred in several films together including Romancing the Stone and The War of the Roses).
It’s all the more heartbreaking because of their worn appearances and the more guarded nature of their on-screen chemistry. The warm embrace of reminiscence binds them together, but the unpredictability of the future separates them.
3. Behind The Candelabra
What makes Michael Douglas’s impersonation of Liberace in Behind the Candelabra so funny isn’t so much the actor channeling his inner Liberace as it is the absurdity of the situation.
Because of Liberace’s self-proclaimed quirkiness, there is an aura of parody, but Douglas’s head-first entrance into the character works marvelously well in its scene-chewing brightness.
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh makes sure this iteration of the well-known American entertainer is more than just a joke. There’s drama and tragedy here, as well as hints to the ups and downs of celebrity life hidden beneath the glitter and plastic surgery.
2. Wonder Boys
Here, Douglas channels his inner unwashed curmudgeon to lend palpable empathy to a character whose personal accomplishments are a distant memory in this charming comedy-drama about a down-on-his-luck novelist
His grey-haired academic is the weathered counterpart to his young, good-looking university students, donning a worn dressing robe and that just-out-of-bed look. Since of the intense ambition he once had, and because his pupils’ creative achievements frame the jealousy of his present-day life, he is consumed with self-loathing.
For the elder cast members, Frances McDormand and Robert Downey Jr. complete out their roles as university chancellor and literary editor, respectively. Tobey Maguire and Katie Holmes are able to draw on their professors’ wisdom for inspiration.
1. Wall Street
In Oliver Stone’s superb drama about Wall Street movers and shakers at the height of the yuppie boom in the mid-1980s, Michael Douglas displays his darker side. Initially taking in eager up-and-comer Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) under his wing, the actor quickly transforms into his enemy in a vicious financial power struggle motivated by greed.