sam elliott movies
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

The 15 Best Sam Elliott Movies

Actor Sam Elliott is pushing 80, but he's still got that cool factor that you just can't teach. Who would have thought that after starting his career as just a featured card player in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he would become an Academy Award nominee? The legendary Sam Elliott has appeared in films ranging from Thank You For Smoking to the film adaptation of the comic book Hulk, and has developed a passionate fan following over the years thanks to his signature mustache and unique no-nonsense swagger he brings to his characters.

Elliott grew up in Sacramento, California and went to school at the University of Oregon before packing his bags for Los Angeles to try and make it in Hollywood. Though he's well-known for his appearances in western films, he has also had a successful TV career, most recently making appearances on the Netflix TV shows The Ranch, Grace and Frankie (opposite his Grandma co-star Lily Tomlin), and the Yellowstone prequel series 1883. He's even put that recognizable deep voice to use in various cartoons and voice-over roles like Lady and the Tramp, The Good Dinosaur, and Chupadogra in Marmaduke. 

It's hard to narrow down with such a lengthy career, but we've chosen our top 15 Sam Elliott films.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

IMDB/Columbia Pictures

This movie is honestly hilarious, and the role couldn't be more perfect for Elliott. A separated couple in New York City goes into witness protection after witnessing a murder and gets sent to a small town in Wyoming to stay with the local sheriff (Elliott) and his wife. Of course, our favorite star looks right at home on a ranch and delivers some seriously funny one-liners to his new house guests. He may or may not help them with their marital problems in the process.

Where to Watch: Hulu

Conagher (1991)


IMDB/Imagine Entertainment

This TV movie is one of the reasons Elliott has gained a reputation for being a top-notch western actor. He fits perfectly into the genre, and his cool factor just skyrockets once you put him on a horse. Elliott's wife, Katharine Ross, plays a single mother trying to raise her children on the tough frontier, with Elliott showing up as the tough cowboy that helps her stay safe, defeat outlaws that pose threats, and even beat loneliness out on the range. It may be made for TV, but it shouldn't be missed.

Where to Watch: YouTube

The Legacy (1978)

The Legacy

IMDB/Universal Pictures

We had to include the horror film that helped jumpstart Elliott's relationship with longtime love Katharine Ross. Elliott played the role of Pete Danner, an American who goes overseas to England with his wife (Ross) and ends up discovering a family curse in an old mansion.  

Where to Watch: Amazon (Unavailable for Streaming)

Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air

IMDB/Paramount Pictures

This Oscar-nominated film starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga centers on Ryan Bingham (Clooney), who flies around the country helping companies terminate their employees. Elliott co-stars as Maynard Finch, a pilot Ryan meets while traveling around the country for work.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Prancer (1989)


IMDB/Nelson Entertainment

Who could forget the emotional Christmas drama Prancer about a little girl who believes she has found one of Santa's reindeer? The beloved film centers on a young girl named Jessica, who is being raised by her brother and widower father (Elliott). She believes she has found the real Prancer and attempts to nurse him back to health before Christmas Eve in the family's barnyard.

Where to Watch: HBO Max

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (2018)

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

IMDB/Epic Pictures Group

In this drama film, Elliott stars as Calvin Barr, an elderly man reflecting back on his days as a soldier in World War II who was on a top-secret mission to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Now his country needs him again...this time, to take down Bigfoot.

Where to Watch: Tubi

Gettysburg (1993)


IMDB/TriStar Television

In this epic war film following the legendary Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, Elliott plays Brigadier General John Buford who was instrumental in the battle fighting for the Union. Jeff Daniels and Martin Sheen co-star in this dramatic historical film.

Where to Watch: Apple TV

The Golden Compass (2007)

The Golden Compass

IMDB/New Line Cinema

In this 2007 film based on the Philip Pullman novel, Elliott played the role of Lee Scoresby, a Texan "aeronaut" who helps the main character.

Where to Watch: The Roku Channel

Buffalo Girls (1995)

Buffalo Girls

IMDB/CBS Entertainment Production

Elliott received an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the legendary Wild Bill Hickok in this miniseries starring Anjelica Huston and Melanie Griffith.

Where to Watch: Prime Video

Tombstone (1993)


IMDB/Hollywood Pictures

In this western film, Elliott plays Virgil Earp, the brother of Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell). It's a stacked cast, featuring Bill Paxton, Stephen Lang and Val Kilmer in potentially the most iconic portrayal of the legendary events of the O.K. Corral. 

Where to Watch: Disney+

A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star is Born


The reboot of the classic Kris Kristofferson film starred Bradley Cooper opposite Lady Gaga. Elliott earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Bobby Maine, Jack's (Cooper) brother and manager. 

Where to Watch: Prime Video

Mask (1985)


IMDB/Universal Pictures

In his big breakout role, Elliott plays Cher's boyfriend Gar, a member of their family's motorcycle gang. He acts like a father figure to her son Rocky (Eric Stoltz) who suffers from craniodiaphyseal dysplasia.

Where to Watch: Prime Video

Road House (1989)


IMDB/Silver Pictures

Who could forget this cult classic Patrick Swayze film? Swayze plays James Dalton, a bouncer who moves down to Missouri from New York City to manage a bar. Elliott plays Wade Garrett, a mentor who comes to Dalton's aid.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Hero (2017)

The Hero

IMDB/Northern Lights Pictures

Elliott has made a career in supporting roles, but in this 2017 film, he plays the lead. In a role that seems made for the actor, he plays an aging western star (sound familiar?) who engages in an exciting relationship with a younger woman and tries to get another role to solidify his film legacy.

Where to Watch: Tubi

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Big Lebowski

IMDB/Working Title Films

One of the most memorable Coen Brothers films is definitely The Big Lebowski, starring Jeff Bridges as "The Dude." Elliott plays the role of The Stranger who narrates the classic comedy film.

Where to Watch: Peacock

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