Is there anyone who doesn't like Kurt Russell? I would honestly be shocked if there was. The man is a legend for so many reasons it's hard to even know where to begin. He's easily one of the most likable guys in Hollywood...his charm is infectious and he brings it to every role he takes on. He and longtime partner Goldie Hawn are not only one of the most beloved couples in the entertainment industry, but are proof that you really can have it all — true love, an amazing career, and still be Superdad to his multiple children.
The former child star first made a name for himself after making a 10-year contract deal with Walt Disney. He appeared in The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Barefoot Executive, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and its two sequels — Now You See Him, Now You Don't, and The Strongest Man in the World. Russell has even continued working with Disney long into adulthood in films like Sky High and The Fox and the Hound. The man has literally done everything from playing Elvis Presley (in an Emmy nominated performance) to appearing in two Fast and the Furious films — Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious. Kurt Russell really can do it all.
After a legendary career that spans decades, we've narrowed down his many performances to his top 15 movies of all time.
Kurt Russell first met Goldie Hawn on the set of the Disney film The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Not only would they go on to fall in love later in life, but they would appear together in numerous films including this classic comedy. Don't watch the remake, it just doesn't even compare to the comedic genius of Russell and Hawn in this movie. She's a rich woman who gets amnesia and he takes advantage of her memory loss after she fires him from a carpenter job and pretends she's his wife so she will clean his house and take care of his children. The movie is so good, I watch it every time it's on TV.
Most recently, Russell and Hawn teamed up in The Christmas Chronicles and its sequel on Netflix where he plays Santa Claus and she is Mrs. Claus. They are a little cheesy but worth it if you like seeing this couple appear together on the screen.
No Kurt Russell list would be complete without Tombstone. We're talking one of the most iconic westerns of the 90s with an all-star cast — Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, and Sam Elliott all playing real men from the Wild West and reliving the historic Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Need we say more? Russell leads the group as Wyatt Earp in this memorable western classic shot on location in Arizona.
3. The Thing
This sci-fi horror film stars Russell as the lead protagonist, helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady. When scientific researchers in Antarctica discover a parasitic alien that can transform into anything, the team realizes no one can trust each other as they attempt to find and destroy "the thing." The film really didn't become a success until after it was released on video where it developed a cult following over the years. Now it's considered one of the best horror films ever made.
Russell plays U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in this true story of the men's hockey team that went on to win the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The team was considered the underdog at the time with the Soviets favored to win so their victory earned the nickname of "Miracle on Ice". The film has been considered one of the best sports films ever made.
Fun fact, Russell's son with Hawn, Wyatt Russell was actually a hockey player before he decided to pursue an acting career like mom and dad.
5. Escape from New York & Escape from L.A.
This sci-fi action film directed by John Carpenter was released in 1981 but set in the "near future" of 1997. Manhattan Island in New York City has become the country's maximum-security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked, Snake Plissken (Russell), a current federal prisoner, is offered a pardon if he can rescue the president within 24 hours.
Carpenter and Russell made a sequel set in Los Angeles in the 90s, Escape from L.A., but it wasn't as popular as its predecessor.
6. Big Trouble in Little China
Truck driver Jack Burton finds himself in a major battle between good and evil when he makes a delivery to Chinatown in San Francisco. He works to help his best friend Wang Chi rescue his fiance from an evil sorcerer living in an underworld under Chinatown. Kim Cattrall and Dennis Dun co-star. Initially, the movie was a box office bomb, but like so many gems it found its audience after being released to video and has since become a cult classic. Sure, it may be ridiculous, but watching Russell's wise cracks as he battles an ancient Chinese curse to save the girl never gets old.
7. Tango & Cash
Sylvester Stallone and Russell team up in this buddy cop comedy about two rival detectives that are forced to work together after getting framed for murder by a criminal mastermind. The movie got mixed reviews but it's totally worth it to watch these two legendary actors share the screen.
8. Death Proof
Russell stars as Stuntman Mike McKay, a man who murders women in his "death proof" stunt car in staged accidents. Directed by Quentin Tarantino and produced by Robert Rodriguez, this movie pays homage to 70s slasher films while fully embracing Russell as a charismatic murderer. Set in Austin, Texas, it's definitely a must-watch.
In this Ron Howard-directed film, Russell stars Stephen McCaffrey, a Chicago firefighter. The movie has an amazing cast with William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Jason Leigh co-starring. The cast actually trained with the Chicago fire department in preparation for this movie and went out on real calls in order to really embrace what it takes to be a firefighter.
Fun fact, Kurt Russell met Princess Diana at this film's London premiere and offered her his Colorado Ranch for vacation...an offer she ended up accepting a few years later.
10. The Hateful Eight
This Quentin Tarantino film gets Russell in one of the places he's most comfortable...the old west. He stars opposite Samuel L. Jackson as John Ruth, a bounty hunter escorting a fugitive played by Jennifer Jason Leigh to Red Rock to be hanged. They end up seeking refuge at a lodge after running into a blizzard where they meet an array of interesting characters.
11. Bone Tomahawk
Full disclosure, this movie is not for the faint of heart. If you're a fan of westerns and aren't afraid of some gore, by all means, you'll probably love it. Russell stars as small-town sheriff, Franklin Hunt, who sets out on a rescue mission to rescue two people kidnapped by cannibals. Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins co-star in this dramatic thriller.
12. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Russell frequently plays the good guy, but he's equally convincing as the bad guy! In this Marvel film, he stars as Ego the Living Planet, the father of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). When Peter discovers who his real father is and tries to get to know him, Ego really isn't all that he seems.
I hope I'm not the only one who genuinely enjoys this movie. Yes, it inspired a TV show continuation which was a bit ridiculous, but I personally believe the original film holds up. Russell stars as Colonel Jack O'Neil who ends up crossing through a wormhole into a new universe that is strangely Egyptian-like. James Spader co-stars as the archaeologist joining the expedition.
14. Captain Ron
This comedy film stars Russell as Ron Rico, a quirky and somewhat ridiculous boat captain who Martin Short hires to sail his middle-class family around the Caribbean. Obviously, the group runs into an array of bizarre experiences on their trip, including pirates, but it's full of laughs and incredibly entertaining.
This dramatic film tells the true story of the life of Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep. Silkwood was a nuclear whistleblower and a labor union activist who was killed in a fatal car crash while investigating wrongdoing at the plant she worked at. Russell co-stars as her boyfriend, Drew Stephens, and Cher is their friend Dolly. Russell received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
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