7 Essential Robert Redford Performances You Need to See Before He Retires
Robert Redford is the type of actor you don't find too often in Hollywood these days. Ruggedly handsome and confidently self-assured, there's never a movie that isn't improved by his presence. Sadly, Redford might be retiring after wrapping up work on his latest film, "The Old Man & The Gun." In tribute to a long, successful career, here are the five performances every Redford fan needs to see.
The Sundance Kid in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' (1969)
This early film role proved to be Redford's breakout hit, as he starred opposite Paul Newman as a train robber on the run from the law. Strangely, critics weren't overly enamored with this Western at the time. But over the years, appreciation has grown, and everyone has come to agree that it's tough to top the tag-team combo of Redford and Newman.
Bill McKay in 'The Candidate' (1972)
Redford has an innate charm and likability that's served him well in countless film roles over the decades. However, "The Candidate" stands out because it subverts those qualities and has Redford play a character who ultimately fails to live up to his own ideals. This satirical political drama features Redford as an ambitious California politician who winds up being devoured by the machine in his pursuit of a Senate seat. It was already a relevant enough film in the Nixon era, and only more so these days.
Jeremiah Johnson in 'Jeremiah Johnson' (1972)
While this film may be best remembered nowadays as Twitter meme fodder, it also happens to be a great Western featuring an actor who knows from great Westerns. Redford stars as the real-life mountain, playing him as a stoic recluse haunted by war drawn to the allure of the wilderness. If we could look this good after spending several years in the woods, we'd probably give that life a try, too.
Hubbell Gardiner in 'The Way We Were' (1973)
It's a real testament to Redford's knack for subtlety that he stands out so much in a movie that's ostensibly all about co-star Barbara Streisand. Redford knows when to stretch his muscles and when to let Streisand take the lead, a quality that only enhances the appeal of this timeless romantic drama.
Bob Woodward in 'All the President's Men' (1976)
This is easily one of his most iconic roles, with Redford starring alongside Dustin Hoffman as the two crusading Washington Post reporters who blew the lid on the Watergate coverup. If anything, this film is as responsible as anything else for why Woodward and Bernstein remain household names even four decades later. Thanks to Redford's steady but impassioned performance, you really get a sense for the unrelenting struggle these two men faced in their pursuit of the truth.
Martin Brice in 'Sneakers' (1992)
The '90s was a decade full of ridiculous movies about computer hackers that felt dated about 15 minutes after hitting theaters. But while the tech on display in "Sneakers" is woefully out of date, the story it tells is every bit as gripping as it was in 1992. Redford anchors a strong cast as he rallies a team of computer whizzes in a high-stakes battle of digital espionage.
The Man in 'All Is Lost' (2013)
Many would agree that it's a crime Redford has been nominated for only one Best Actor Oscar in his long career, especially after the release of "All Is Lost." Redford truly deserved a nod for this film. He's literally the only actor in the film, playing a determined fan fighting for survival on the high seas. The film takes a very minimalist approach, to the point where we never even learn the name of Redford's character. But his subtle physical motions and reactions are all we need to become deeply invested in his struggle.