It's incredible to think that at the beginning of Kevin Costner's career he was cut from his few scenes in The Big Chill. Costner managed to go from bit parts here and there to one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood, beloved for starring in countless Westerns and sports films and everything in between. Basically, he's the ultimate guys guy who appeals to pretty much everyone. We all love watching his captivating charisma onscreen. That charisma has not only landed him a passionate fan following who will watch him in just about anything, but also to Oscar and Golden Globe wins. The man is a legend.
We can pretty much attest to the fact that securing him as the lead of Yellowstone helped turn the show into what it is today. Creator Taylor Sheridan would have made an amazing show anyway, but getting Kevin Costner to sign on? Iconic. Here's a trip down memory lane to revisit some of Costner's most notable performances from his legendary career -- from Westerns in the '80s to his current starring role on Yellowstone.
1985 - Silverado
Lawrence Kasdan's western was one of the biggest break's of Costner's career. He starred opposite Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover in one of the most popular western films released in recent decades.
1987 - The Untouchables
One of the early films that turned Costner into a movie star, The Untouchables follows his character, Eliot Ness, who forms a group together to bring down Al Capone (Robert De Niro) during Prohibition. That same year he starred in No Way Out, in which he played a Navy Lieutenant caught in a political conspiracy.
1988 - Bull Durham
Even if you aren't a baseball fan, odds are you probably loved Bull Durham. It's one of the most popular sports movies of all time -- even decades later. Costner plays a minor league catcher who is tasked with training a young recruit in preparation for the major leagues. Susan Sarandon co-stars as a baseball groupie who romances them both.
1989 - Field of Dreams
Two baseball movies in two years? Why not! Field of Dreams is based on the 1982 novel Shoeless Joe about a farmer who builds a baseball field in his cornfield that ends up attracting various baseball legends (well, their ghosts).
1990 - Dances with Wolves
In this film that Costner directed and starred in, he plays Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, a Union soldier stationed in the western frontier who befriends a local tribe of Lakota Native Americans. It was one of the films credited with reigniting a love of the Western genre and landed numerous Academy Awards nominations, winning Best Picture and Best Director.
1991 - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Who didn't love the star studded live action take of the legendary Robin Hood in the early '90s? Costner played the title character alongside Alan Rickman, Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater. Sure, there are some issues with British accents (or lack there of) but it's still a classic.
1992 - The Bodyguard
Who could forget Costner starring as a former Secret Service agent who gets hired to protect a musical superstar and actress played by Whitney Houston? Sure, this movie gets a lot of criticism, but it's fondly remembered as a '90s classic.
1993 - A Perfect World
Costner starred in Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World as an escaped criminal who takes a young boy hostage to aid in his escape to the Texas border. Eastwood, Laura Dern and Bradley Whitford co-star in this surprisingly touching thriller as Costner's character Butch forms a sweet attachment to the boy during their time on the run.
1994 - Wyatt Earp
Director/writer Lawrence Kasdan and Costner re-connected for a second Western where the star brought to life the legendary cowboy Wyatt Earp. Dennis Quaid co-starred as the iconic Doc Holliday.
1995 - Waterworld
This post-apocalyptic action film was one of the most expensive films ever made when it was released in the '90s. Costner starred as the nameless lead who travels the earth, now mostly covered in water from a melted polar ice cap. Despite its massive budget, it was one of the biggest box office draws of the year and probably one of the most unique movies you'll ever see. It landed an Oscar nomination for Best Sound but I'm still not sure why costumes got overlooked.
1996 - Tin Cup
Another memorable sports movie, but this time Costner played a golf prodigy opposite Rene Russo, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson. His character, nicknamed "Tin Cup," decides to enter the U.S. Open after years away from the sport and as he makes a name for himself in the golf community, falls for a lovely doctor (Russo).
1997 - The Postman
Unfortunately, Costner's second movie as a director was a major box office bomb. He starred in this post-apocalyptic story, based on David Brin's novel, about a nomad living in a shattered future United States who establishes a sense of hope throughout the country by traveling around wearing an old postal worker's uniform. That's only the tip of the iceberg in this intricate plot, but it is an interesting story.
1999 - For Love of the Game
Based on the novel of the same name, this is yet another baseball film in Costner's repertoire. He stars as an aging pitcher, who is torn between clinging to the last of his career and losing the love of his life, played by Kelly Preston.
2002 - Dragonfly
This was definitely not the usual Costner project but hey, it never hurts to try new things. In this fantasy film, he plays a doctor named Joe who believes his late wife is contacting him through his patients' near death experiences.
2003 - Open Range
Always at home in a Western, this fun film co-starring Robert Duvall follows a Montana cattle drive in the days following the Civil War. Annette Bening co-stars as Costner's onscreen love interest.
2005 - The Upside of Anger
It seems like after decades of westerns and sport films, Costner wanted to have some fun in the world of rom coms. In 2005 alone, he starred in The Upside of Anger as well as Rumor Has It.
2007 - Mr. Brooks
This isn't a Costner film many are as familiar with but despite its conflicted reviews, I genuinely thought it was fun. He stars as a wealthy, respected businessman who leads a double life as a serial killer. Demi Moore co-stars as the cop investigating his murders.
2010 - The Company Men
Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones all star in this film that follows a white collar businessman (Affleck) and how he is forced to work for his blue collar brother in law (Costner) after losing his job. He's forced to figure out how he's going to take back the life that he lost.
2012 - Hatfields & McCoys
Costner won an Emmy Award for playing Devil Anse Hatfield in this miniseries based on the real life feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families. He starred opposite the late, great Bill Paxton who played the McCoy family patriarch.
2013 - Man of Steel
In the latest iteration of Superman, Costner played Clark Kent's adopted father, Jonathan Kent.
2014 - Draft Day
More sports! Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns as he tries to navigate what to do with his team when they land a first round draft pick. Jennifer Garner co-stars as the team's finance manager as well as his onscreen love interest.
2016 - Hidden Figures
The true story of the real women behind the U.S. Space Race was a real tearjerker but very inspiring. Costner plays Al Harrison, director of the Space Task Group, who works with three female African American mathematicians as they plan out John Glenn's launch to space.
2017 - Molly's Game
Jessica Chastain brought to life the true story of Molly Bloom, a woman who managed to create an underground poker empire full of celebrities, businessmen and even the Russian mob. Costner co-starred as her father in the film based on Bloom's personal memoir.
2019 - The Highwaymen
Costner and Woody Harrelson co-starred in this fun-filled action film about the two cops who managed to catch the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde.
2020 - Let Him Go
Costner and his Man of Steel co-star Diane Lane reconnected in this modern Western thriller. The two of the go in search of their grandson after their son's widow marries into a dangerous family who lives off the grid.
2021 - Yellowstone
Since 2018, Costner has starred as John Dutton on Paramount Network's popular TV series, Yellowstone. He plays the patriarch of the Dutton family who is trying to maintain their family's massive ranch in Montana. The cast was recently nominated for Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards after its fourth season.
READ MORE: Like John Dutton, Kevin Costner and Wife Christine Baumgartner Prefer a Quiet Life on Their Ranch
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