Robert Redford is one of the few actors in Hollywood that has had constant involvement in Hollywood for the duration of his career. Embarking on his 77th birthday Redford has spent 53 of those years in the spotlight for his participation in front or behind the camera. Starting as a Hollywood heartthrob in the 60s, becoming a top-box office actor in the mid 70s, director in the 80s, producer in the 1990's and philanthropist at the turn of the century, it’s safe to say Redford has made the most of his career.
Robert has been recognized for his talent by receiving two Oscars; one in 1981 for Best Director and another for the Lifetime Achievement in 2002. In addition, he was awarded French Knighthood in the Legion d’Honneur in 2010. Although he has always been involved in Hollywood, Redford experienced, as any actor does, ups and down. However, riding the wave of success, this winter 2013 Robert Redford is being thrust into the award season storm courtesy of his new film, All Is Lost. In anticipation of the upcoming film, we are taking a look back at Robert Redford’s successful career. However, while participating in over 68 productions as an actor, 10 as a director and 35 as a producer, it’s impossible to cover all the bases, so we are specifically taking a look at his career highlights.
Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
Roberts Redford stars in his third Hollywood film, Inside Daisy Clover as he portrays the role of the homosexual Wade Lewis. Redford’s handlers cautioned him against taking the role in the film, but despite their warnings, Redford accepted and the film served his first important role of his career. Redford’s performance earned him excellent reviews and won him a Golden Globe award as a “Star of the Future.” After this role, Redford’s career was secure; he was seen as a talented actor offered a multitude of different roles after the movie was finished.
Downhill Racer (1969)
Robert Redford starred in the motion picture Downhill Racer playing a small-town Colorado arrogant athlete given the chance of glory on the U.S Olympic Ski team - he gives a convincing, self-destructive performance. In a review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert stated Downhill Racer is “the best movie ever made about sports—without really being about sports at all.” The received critical acclaim meant Redford proved himself and the extent of his talent.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Reaching success, Redford was worried he had been typecast in Hollywood as a blond male stereotype. In retaliation, he turned down numerous offers as he waited for the right role to present himself. In 1969, he found the role he was looking for in George Roy Hill’s Western classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film follows Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the “Sundance Kid” (Redford), as they migrate to Bolivia on the run from the law in search of more criminal opportunities. The film marked the first collaboration between Newman and Redford, and moulded their famous friendship. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, received monumental critical acclaim. The film earned 7 Oscar nominations, winning 4, as well as three Golden Globe nominations, winning Best Original Score. Redford received a BAFTA Award for Best Actor. In 2003, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The film reinforced Redford’s acting talents and made him a major bankable star, cementing his screen image as an intelligent, reliable, sometimes sardonic good guy.
The Candidate (1972)
The Candidate is an American political satire film starring Robert Redford, written by Jeremy Larner, a speech writer for Senator Eugene J. McCarthy during the 1968 Democratic Presidential nomination. Redford portrays a young liberal lawyer who tries to hold onto his ideals as he campaigns to defeat a conservative senator. As the campaign continues, the candidate loses his way, and Redford’s skilful performance suggests just how aware he is of his failure. The film received critical acclaim as it was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced.
The Way We Were (1973)
Regarded as his most successful romantic drama, Robert Redford stars in The Way We Were with co-star Barbra Streisand. The film depicts two desperate people who embark on a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart. As a box office success, the film was nominated for a multitude of awards and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. With the release of the film, Redford became a worldwide heartthrob.
The Sting (1973)
George Roy Hill, director of “Butch Cassidy”, brought Newman and Redford together again for this tricky story about a few con men who team up and target a mob boss in 1930 Chicago. The film received 10 Oscar nominations, winning seven, including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Film Editing. The Sting became one of the top 20 highest grossing movies of all time and provided Robert Radford with his first and only Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
All the President’s Men (1976)
This Academy Award-winning political thriller, All the President's Men, tells the non-fiction story about the two journalists (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) investigating the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post. The dedication these journalists put into the story lead to a national shocking discovery. The film received numerous mentions including 4 Academy Awards – and further secured legendary status for the two lead actors: Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
Ordinary People (1980)
The 1970s marked Redford as Hollywood’s top box-office name, he continued to act in many mainstream films. However, in the 1980s Redford obtained a newfound focus re directing. The first film he directed, Ordinary People, depicted the dramatic story of the disintegration of an upper-middle class family in Illinois, following the death of one of their sons in a boating accident. Ordinary People showed audience and critics that Redford was as good a director as actor. The film achieved critical and commercial success, winning four Oscars including the Academy Award for Best Picture and a monumental win for Redford as he won Best Director.
Out of Africa (1985)
In one of the most recognized roles of his career, Robert Redford co-stars with Meryl Streep in the Award winning film, Out of Africa. The story follows a Danish baroness/plantation owner in 20th century colonial Kenya, and her passionate love affair with a free-spirited game hunter. The film reached momumental success, winning seven Oscars out of 11 nominations.
Quiz Show (1994)
Regarded as Redford’s finest movie as director, Quiz Show is an American historical drama film based on the Richard N. Goodwin memoir Remembering America. The film follows the Twenty One quiz show scandal of the 1950s, the rise and fall of popular contestant Charles Van Doren, played by Ralph Fiennes, and the Congressional investigator Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow) and his subsequent search for the truth. The film was nominated for four Oscars including Best Director and Best picture. The film, to this day, holds a 96% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
All Is Lost (2013)
In the 2000’s Redford participated in acting, directing, and producing, but was more interested in his role as a philanthropist. Robert accepted the role in the upcoming film, All Is Lost, bringing him back into the spotlight. Redford depicts an unnamed man in a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, waking up to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest. Introducing himself to an audience of a different generation, Redford has had high reviews and has had critics awaiting the release of the new film.