The Greats of our Time

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GeneHackmanJun2108

Gene Hackman By Trish Overton

Eugene Allen Hackman] (born January 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and novelist. In a career that spanned nearly five decades, Hackman was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Best Actor in The French Connection and Best Supporting Actor in Unforgiven. He won four Golden Globes, one SAG Award and two BAFTAs.

He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde, when he received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His major subsequent films include: I Never Sang for My Father (1970), when he received his second Best Supporting Actor nomination; The French Connection (1971) and French Connection II (1975), when he played Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Superman: The Movie (1978), when he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); and Mississippi Burning (1988), when he received his second Best Actor nomination.

His film roles during the 1990s featured: Unforgiven (1992); The Firm (1993); The Quick and the Dead; Crimson Tide (1995); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); and Enemy of the State (1998) Later roles included: Behind Enemy Lines (2001); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Hackman’s final film appearance to date was the romantic comedy film Welcome to Mooseport in 2004, co-starring comedian Ray Romano.

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Gene Hackman as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle

I think the first film l saw Gene Hackman in was the Bonnie and Clyde 1967. Obviously it was a rerun and not the original. But l liked his style and l have seen him in a lot of excellent roles, here are my Top Fifteen favourites, what are yours? Are you fan? If so what was your first Hackman film?

1 – Bonnie and Clyde – 1967

Small-time crook Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) tries to steal a car and winds up with its owner’s daughter, dissatisfied small-town girl Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway). Their crimes quickly spiral from petty theft to bank robbery, but tensions between the couple and the other members of their gang–hapless driver C.W. (Michael J. Pollard), Clyde’s suave older brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and Buck’s flibbertigibbet wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons) –could destroy them all.

2 – The French Connection – 1971

New York Detective “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner (Roy Scheider) chase a French heroin smuggler.

3 – The Poseidon Adventure – 1972

En route from New York City to Greece on New Year’s Eve, majestic passenger ship the S.S. Poseidon is overtaken by a tidal wave. With the captain (Leslie Nielsen) dead, surviving passengers, including the passionate Rev. Scott (Gene Hackman), band together in the ship’s ballroom. The group struggles to avert fires, flooding, structural instability and mechanical malfunctions as they make their way through a maze of ladders and tunnels in their desperate attempt to escape a watery grave.

4 – Scarecrow – 1973

A gruff ex-con and an ex-seaman share a series of adventures while travelling across America. They learn a lot about life on their travels as hitchhikers.

5 – The Conversation – 1974

Surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is hired by a mysterious client’s brusque aide (Harrison Ford) to tail a young couple, Mark (Frederic Forrest) and Ann (Cindy Williams). Tracking the pair through San Francisco’s Union Square, Caul and his associate Stan (John Cazale) manage to record a cryptic conversation between them. Tormented by memories of a previous case that ended badly, Caul becomes obsessed with the resulting tape, trying to determine if the couple are in danger.

6 – French Connection II – 1975

This sequel to William Friedkin’s 1971 crime drama finds Detective “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) still hot on the trail of slippery drug trafficker Charnier (Fernando Rey), but this time in Marseilles, France. Uprooted from his familiar New York City beat, Doyle struggles to assert himself in a strange city and break the drug ring wide open. When Charnier’s goons force him into a heroin addiction, the tough cop must summon every ounce of his courage to kick the habit cold turkey.

7 – Under Fire – 1983

A pair of news correspondents chronicling the final days of the corrupt Samoza Regime in Nicaragua find themselves under fire from both sides. After an American news reporter is killed in Nicaragua, two of his fellow journalists choose to participate actively in the revolution. As the Samoza power base falls, they face dilemmas concerning their relationship with each other and their loss of professional objectivity.

8 – No Way Out – 1987

Navy Lt. Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) meets a young woman, Susan Atwell (Sean Young), and they share a passionate fling. Farrell then finds out that his superior, Defense Secretary David Brice (Gene Hackman), is also romantically involved with Atwell. When the young woman turns up dead, Farrell is put in charge of the murder investigation. He begins to uncover shocking clues about the case, but when details of his encounter with Susan surface, he becomes a suspect as well.

9 – BAT*21 – 1988

Navy Lt. Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) meets a young woman, Susan Atwell (Sean Young), and they share a passionate fling. Farrell then finds out that his superior, Defense Secretary David Brice (Gene Hackman), is also romantically involved with Atwell. When the young woman turns up dead, Farrell is put in charge of the murder investigation. He begins to uncover shocking clues about the case, but when details of his encounter with Susan surface, he becomes a suspect as well.

10 – Mississippi Burning – 1988

When a group of civil rights workers goes missing in a small Mississippi town, FBI agents Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) are sent in to investigate. Local authorities refuse to cooperate with them, and the African American community is afraid to, precipitating a clash between the two agents over strategy. As the situation becomes more volatile, the direct approach is abandoned in favor of more aggressive, hard-line tactics.

11 – Unforgiven – 1992

When prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson) is disfigured by a pair of cowboys in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, her fellow brothel workers post a reward for their murder, much to the displeasure of sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman), who doesn’t allow vigilantism in his town. Two groups of gunfighters, one led by aging former bandit William Munny (Clint Eastwood), the other by the florid English Bob (Richard Harris), come to collect the reward, clashing with each other and the sheriff.

12 –Crimson Tide – 1995

After the Cold War, a breakaway Russian republic with nuclear warheads becomes a possible worldwide threat. U.S. submarine Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) signs on a relatively green but highly recommended Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington) to the USS Alabama, which may be the only ship able to stop a possible Armageddon. When Ramsay insists that the Alabama must act aggressively, Hunter, fearing they will start rather than stop a disaster, leads a potential mutiny to stop him.

13 – The Birdcage – 1996

In this remake of the classic French farce “La Cage aux Folles,” engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart) shakily introduce their future in-laws. Val’s father, Armand (Robin Williams), a gay Miami drag club owner, pretends to be straight and attempts to hide his relationship with Albert (Nathan Lane), his life partner and the club’s flamboyant star attraction, so as to please Barbara’s father, controversial Republican Sen. Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman).

14 – Enemy of the State – 2001

Corrupt National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) has a congressman assassinated to assure the passage of expansive new surveillance legislation. When a videotape of the murder ends up in the hands of Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith), a labor lawyer and dedicated family man, he is framed for murder. With the help of ex-intelligence agent Edward “Brill” Lyle (Gene Hackman), Dean attempts to throw Reynolds off his trail and prove his innocence.

15 – Runaway Jury – 2003

After a workplace shooting in New Orleans, a trial against the gun manufacturer pits lawyer Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) against shady jury consultant Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman), who uses illegal means to stack the jury with people sympathetic to the defense. But when juror Nicholas Easter (John Cusack) and his girlfriend, Marlee (Rachel Weisz), reveal their ability to sway the jury into delivering any verdict they want, a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game begins.

Bonus

There we go folks, my top 15 Gene Hackman movies, what are your favourites?

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