10 Good Warren Beatty Movies

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Watch a few Warren Beatty movies and you’ll quickly see why this versatile performer is well-respected in the entertainment community. Whether starring in a film that pushed the limits of what could be portrayed in a Hollywood production or dating a series of beauties ranging from Madonna to Ann-Margret, Beatty was constantly on the lips of cinema fans from the early ‘60s to the late ‘90s.

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The following 10 good Warren Beatty films are my personal favorites, and I invite you to give them a try.

Splendor in the Grass (1961) – Elia Kazan directed this film about teenage love set in Kansas during the late ‘20s. Bud Stamper (Beatty) is a member of the town’s wealthiest family, and he’s dating Deanie Loomis (Natalie Wood). As both teens receive sex advice (whether to give or withhold) from their manipulative parents, they’re nudged into making decision that lead to madness and heartache. This was the first time that a French kiss was portrayed in Hollywood, and the resulting popularity marked Beatty as a handsome young star on the rise.

All Fall Down (1962) – Berry-Berry (Beatty) is the eldest son of the wealthy Willart clan. Idolized by his younger brother (Brandon de Wilde) despite his sexual escapades, Berry-Berry soon finds a new object for his affections when his family takes in the young Echo O’Brien (Eva Marie Saint). But some men just can’t control their passions, and Berry-Berry’s conduct threatens to tear his family apart. Co-starring Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury as the heads of the Willart family.

Mickey One (1965) – Prior to Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beatty and director Arthur Penn teamed up for this bizarre film about a stand-up comic (Beatty) who gets on the bad side of the mob. While preparing to perform his act for an audience of one, he’s hounded by mysterious figures, a mute Japanese mime, and a nightmarish machine known only as “Yes.” If you like Kafka or the French New Wave, be sure to give Mickey One a try.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – Sex and violence came to Hollywood in a more graphic manner courtesy of this taboo-breaking tale of outlaws Clyde Barrow (Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway). Nominated for 10 Oscars, this crime movie won for Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons). Weaving starkly between comedy and intense violence, Bonnie and Clyde co-starred Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, and Gene Wilder (making his movie debut).

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) – Directed by unconventional filmmaker Robert Altman, this unconventional Western stars Beatty as John McCabe, a gambler and all-around swindler who opens a brothel in a small mining town. He eventually takes on a partner in the opium-addicted Constance Miller (Julie Christie), and it’s not long before he’s falling for her. But when a large mining company looks to buy out the town–and McCabe refuses to sell at their price–the result is a frantic shootout involving McCabe, a hulking man with an elephant gun (Hugh Millais), and his bloodthirsty cohorts. Selected as the eighth best Western of all time by the American Film Institute.

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Shampoo (1975) – Taking a look at the sexual attitudes of the late 1960s, Shampoo stars Beatty as a womanizing hairdresser on the eve of Richard Nixon’s 1968 ascension to the presidency. Nominated for four Academy Awards, it would win one (Lee Grant for Best Supporting Actress). Co-starring Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Jack Warden, and Carrie Fisher.

Heaven Can Wait (1978) – A remake of the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, this well-received motion picture was co-directed by Buck Henry and Beatty. The latter stars as Joe Pendleton, an NFL quarterback whose dreams of playing in the Super Bowl are dashed when an overanxious guardian angel (Henry) plucks him from his body following a car crash. Eager to make good on the mistake, Heaven decides to send him back in the body of Leo Farnsworth, an industrialist who was recently murdered by his wife (Dyan Cannon) and her lover (Charles Grodin). Still devoted to football, Joe buys his old team and prepares to play in the big game. Meanwhile, he falls in love with an environmentalist and must continue to dodge future attempts on his life by the murderous duo. Featuring a number of real-life members of the Los Angeles Rams, Heaven Can Wait is one of the more well-made football movies you’ll ever see.

Reds (1981) – Clocking in at over three hours in length, Reds is the epic story of John Reed, a communist reporter who witnessed the Russian Revolution and penned the classic book Ten Days that Shook the World. His romance with socialite Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) is also depicted amidst the sweeping world events, but his blind devotion to changing the world threatens to tear them apart. Jack Nicholson co-stars as playwright Eugene O’Neill, and Reds would later receive 12 Oscar nominations (including a Best Director win for Beatty).

Bugsy (1991) – The story of how visionary gangster Bugsy Siegel (Beatty) build a casino in the middle of the Nevada desert and transformed a $6 million investment into over $100 billion. It’s also a love story, as Siegel falls for a Hollywood actress named Virginia Hill (Annette Bening). Winner of two Academy Awards, this gangster movie was also nominated for eight others (it was up against The Silence of the Lambs). Co-starring Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, and Bebe Neuwirth.

Bulworth (1998) – Warren Beatty sets his satirical sights on the world of politics, this time portraying a corrupt politician who pays for his own assassination. But before he meets up with a bullet, Senator Jay Bullington Bulworth raps, gets high, speaks his mind to assemblies of shocked voters, and romances a young campaign aide (Halle Berry). Also starring Oliver Platt, Don Cheadle, and Paul Sorvino, Bulworth was co-written, co-produced, and directed by Beatty.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my look at 10 good Warren Beatty movies, and don’t forget that all these films are available from Netflix.

See also:

  1. Woody Allen Movies
  2. Darren Aronofsky Movies
  3. Marlon Brando Movies
  4. PT Anderson Movies
  5. Wes Anderson Movies
  6. Judd Apatow Movies
  7. Robert Aldrich Movies

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 5:28 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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