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The Films of Paul Newman

By admin Published: June 11, 2008

From "Nobody's Fool"

You may have seen various reports that the actor is ill, with the latest including confirmation from a Newman friend that he has cancer. (UPDATE: The friend is now saying he was misquoted. I suspect he realized he had said more than Newman wanted.

While I certainly hope that Newman keeps any illness at bay for many years to come, news like this inevitably encourages new thinking about an actor's career and accomplishments. So I've been thinking about Newman movies that I've found meaningful, moving, memorable, worth seeing again.

The list so far:
"The Hustler" (1961)
"Hud" (1963)
"Cool Hand Luke" (1967)
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969)
"The Sting" (1973)
"Buffalo Bill and the Indians" (1976)
"Slap Shot" (1977)
"The Verdict" (1982)
"The Color of Money" (1986)
"Nobody's Fool" (1994)
"The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994)
"Twilight" (1998)
"The Road to Perdition" (2002)

I suppose I should elaborate on why each movie made the list, and about why some others didn't. And I may do so in another post. Still, when I look at those, I am reminded of how very long he was so very good -- from the '50s showcases to "Slap Shot" to "The Verdict" to "Nobody's Fool," which may well be my favorite Newman movie, to "Perdition."

So, what am I overlooking? Sepinwall has already called to argue for "Blaze" and "Empire Falls." I had actually written "Blaze" into the list, but took it off. In any case, we're both in agreemet about the greatness of "Nobody's Fool."

And, when talking about Newman movies, there are different approaches. Great Newman performance, even if the movie isn't so good (I'd put "Twlight" in that category, or "Buffalo Bill," but I drew the line at "Where the Money Is"). Or great movies with Newman in them ("Nobody's Fool," "Slap Shot," say). Important movies even if Newman isn't central. ("The Sting" has always felt more like Redford's movie.) Movies that we just have to deal with because they're important spots in the career ("Butch Cassidy," say).

Lots to talk about.

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