Robert Redford is a Hollywood icon, starring in critically acclaimed films such as The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Way We Were, to name a few. Not only is he a phenomenal actor, but he is also an accomplished director and producer, and is the founder of the Sundance Institute and creator of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States. Redford was born in Santa Monica, California in 1936 to parents Martha and Charles Redford. Redford moved to Van Nuys, Los Angeles in his youth and attended Van Nuys High School, where he was a self-described “bad” student, showing more interest in art and sports than his studies. After graduating from high school, he worked and traveled through Europe before eventually enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1959.
The talented actor found success on stage with the Broadway productions Tall Story, The Highest Tree, Sunday in New York, and, his most successful, Barefoot in the Park. In the early-60s, Redford had a guest role on several popular television shows of the era, including The Untouchables, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone, amongst others. Throughout the 60s, Redford made a name for himself as an actor starring in the films Inside Daisy Clover and This Property is Condemned, both opposite Natalie Wood. In 1969, Redford would land the role that made him a star opposite the legendary Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. The role would cement Redford’s onscreen persona as a sarcastic but affable “bad” guy with a heart of gold. Here are Robert Redford’s best movies, ranked.
11 Indecent Proposal
Indecent Proposal is based on the Jack Engelhardt novel of the same name. The film follows down-on-their-luck married couple David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) who try to win big in Vegas to improve their financial situation. Things don’t exactly go to plan and the young couple ends up losing everything until handsome high roller John Gage (Redford) offers David $1 million for one night with his wife. According to Forbes, Erin Cressida Wilson has been hired to script a remake of the popular 90s film.
10 A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It is based on a semi-autobiographical novella by author Norman Maclean. Directed by Redford, the film chronicles the lives of two Presbyterian brothers with opposing personalities as they come of age in the era of World War I, The Great Depression, and Prohibition. The touching tale was well received by critics and earned Redford a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Director.
9 The Old Man and The Gun
The Old Man and The Gun is based on the real-life exploits of career criminal and escape artist Forrest Trucker (Redford), who by his own account escaped prison successfully 18 times. The movie recounts his most famous prison escape from San Quentin State Prison, after which he would remain at large for four years, committing a string of bank robberies that captivated the public. The film would also mark Redford’s final film before his 2018 retirement from acting.
8 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Redford stars in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as villain Alexander Pierce. Playing against type in previously untreaded territory, Redford told Entertainment Weekly, “The Avengers series is a product of high technology playing a major role in the new order of filmmaking so I wanted to experience that — I just wanted to know what that was like and I had that opportunity, so for me it was like stepping into new terrain just to experience what it was like.”
Sneakers is a 1992 crime thriller about a group of computer hackers who use their skills to perform simulated cyber-attacks for companies as a form of penetration testing. The team — made up of former CIA agent Donald Crease, electronics technician Darren Roskow, hacking prodigy Carl Arbogast, blind telecommunications genius Whistler, and fugitive Martin Bishop — is enlisted by the NSA to steal a mysterious “black box” said to be able to decode the encryption of any computer system known to man. Things go awry when Bishop’s past comes back to haunt him.
6 The Way We Were
The Way We Were is a romance drama that spans decades and follows the relationship dynamics through opposing couple Katie Morosky and Hubbell Gardiner. Throughout the film, the pair run the gamut from strangers to friends to lovers and everything in between. The film was a box office success and was nominated for a slew of awards. To this day it is still considered one of the greatest romance movies in film history.
5 The Natural
The Natural is based on Bernard Malamud’s novel of the same name, which examines fictional baseball player Roy Hobbs (Redford) who was gifted with a natural talent for the sport. The character of Roy Hobbs is said to be loosely based on actual major-leaguer Eddie Waitkus. The Natural is considered to be one of the greatest baseball movies of all time.
4 The Sting
The Sting is a Hollywood classic written by David S. Ward and inspired by real-life grifters Fred and Charley Gondorff as written in the David Maurer book The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man. The film follows a revenge plot between two friends Johnny Hooker (Redford), an aspiring con-man, and Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), a professional con-man in hiding from the FBI, following the murder of mutual friend Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones). The pair devise a complicated scheme to avenge their friend against the mob boss who had killed him.
3 Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
Redford’s breakthrough role came as The Sundance Kid opposite Paul Newman in the classic western Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, which follows a bank-robbing duo throughout their crimes and exploits, right through to their final stand-off. Redford and Newman’s chemistry throughout the film cemented its status as a feel-good buddy film and one of the best western movies of all time.
2 Three Days of the Condor
Three Days of the Condor is based on the 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. It is a stylish and suspenseful political thriller that follows bookish CIA agent Joseph Turner (Redford) who returns from lunch one day to find all of his co-workers assassinated. Turner must then avoid his own assassination while attempting to outwit those responsible for the grisly crime. Despite being filmed in the 70s, Three Days of the Condor holds up in present-day and is a must-see for fans of espionage.
1 All the President’s Men
All the President’s Men is a political drama centered around the notorious Watergate scandal and subsequent fall of Richard Nixon’s presidency. It is based on a book written by Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodard (Redford) who investigated the scandal for The Washington Post. The film is undeniably one of the best movies about politics in film history.