5 Phenomenal Kevin Costner Films

This coming weekend will bring the release of Kevin Costner’s third (yes I said third) film of 2014. I’m a huge fan of Costner and I can say it’s great to see him back after a lengthy hiatus. So in light of his return I thought it would be cool to spotlight this great actor in this week’s Phenomenal 5. Now the wonderful movies that didn’t make this list are a testament to the fantastic career he has had. Considering that I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. Still I have no trouble calling these five Kevin Costner films absolutely phenomenal.

#5 – “Open Range”

In 2003 Costner headed back to the old west alongside Robert Duvall in “Open Range”. Costner also hopped back into the director’s chair and reminded us of what an incredible cinematic eye he has. The story revolves around free grazing cattlemen who run into an Irish land hoarder who doesn’t want them anywhere around. A violent wild west clash explodes between the two groups ending in one of the best western shootouts ever put on screen. Costner is fabulous both in front and behind the camera which is the main reason the movie works so well.

#4 – “Field of Dreams”

FIELD

Kevin Costner has always had a heart for baseball movies. He made several throughout his career but for me his best is also the quintessential baseball film. “Field of Dreams” works for a variety of reasons. It captures everything that makes baseball so special to me. It also pricks my heart by telling a moving family story with a father as its centerpiece. And what a great cast. But Costner leads the way and he doesn’t miss a best. There is so much heart in this film and it’s one of those that I never get tired of watching.

#3 – “No Way Out”

No Way Out

If you look at Costner’s great filmography “No Way Out” is one that may get lost among the bigger titles and bigger hits. But I absolutely love the film and it is one of the best thrillers to come out of the 80’s. Costner plays a U.S Navy Lieutenant who gets caught up in a web of scandal, corruption, and espionage. There is a great supporting cast featuring Gene Hackman, Sean Young, and Will Patton but it’s Costner who ratchets up the nervousness and intrigue. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the story and it will keep you on edge right up to its big surprise finale.

#2 – “The Untouchables”

Untouchables

In many ways this is a nostalgic and sentimental choice but I can’t help myself. I love Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables”. The film gives a very cinematic version of Agent Eliot Ness (Costner) and his Prohibition Era mission to bring gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) to justice. The movie takes a ton of liberties with the characters and the actual accounts but in terms of pure cinema it is hard to beat what De Palma gives us. Costner is perfectly cast and alongside the great Sean Connery he gives this story such vivid life.

#1 – “Dances with Wolves”

DANCES

Many critics have viewed “Dances with Wolves” as a good movie but undeserving of the Oscar accolades it received. I have to disagree. I think the film is beautiful, captivating, and epic. Costner directed and starred in the film which won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. There is no doubt that “Dances with Wolves” tinkers with historical fact for dramatic effect but it also tells a moving story and challenges many perceptions. But most importantly it is a great overall movie and despite the naysayers Costner pulled off a grand achievement.

So there are my five phenomenal movies from Kevin Costner. I automatically know a few that will be brought up (and should be) in the comments section below. I can’t wait to hear them and other Costner movies that may have made your list.

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31 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Kevin Costner Films

  1. I’ve always liked Kevin. He’s just too cute. Your list is fine by me. No Bull Durham? I loved him a lot in Field of Dreams. I liked him a lot in 13 Days. Even his Rom-Coms are charming. However, his best always for me will be Dances With Wolves. What a perfect film. It’s his masterpiece.

    • Bull Durham is one I knew would be mentioned. His Crash Davis was my favorite thing about that film. He was sooo good. And we definitely agree on Dances with Wolves!

  2. This is a great list although I would change the order a bit. I like The Untouchables for number one and Open Range at two. Field of Dreams next and Bull Durham, and Dances with Wolves in the five position. I don’t dislike No Way Out, I just like Bull Durham more. Open Range has one of the great gunfights in all westerners. The sound design on it was amazing. I think you had a post on this a couple of years ago and we discussed it there.

    • I think we did talk about that gunfight and of course I mentioned it again here. It’s so good. Costner puts that scene together so well. I feel the same way about Bull Durham as you do No Way Out. I do like it just not as much.

  3. I would probably have Bull Durham in here over Open Range, and I would likely shuffle the order a bit, so that Field of Dreams is first and Dances with Wolves closer to fifth. But all in all . . . we basically agree. Great work!

    • Thanks man! Bull Durham is a hoot. Costner’s Crash Davis is probably one of his best characters but the movie as a whole didn’t quite make my list. Another similar movie (but different sport) was Tin Cup. Did you see that one by chance?

      • I thought it was quite funny and again features another solid performance from Mr. Costner. Oh, and then there is the infamous Waterworld. May I confess that it is a guilty pleasure of mine? It absolutely has some problems but I never thought it was as bad as some have said.

      • Actually, I don’t think Waterworld is terrible either. It’s far from great, but it’s still entertaining-ish. I might give it a C-minus. Maybe a D-plus.

        I also thought Tin Cup was funny in places; it’s just not as good as his other sports movies, and feels pretty redundant of at least a couple of them.

      • Well. Remember that my grading scale is done with a Bell Curve in mind. So a C is average. A D+, from me, is below average but still entertaining. It isn’t a good movie, per se, but neither is it a failure.

  4. Wahoo!! I knew you’d have No Way Out on here and I agree. I’m ashamed to say I have not seen Dances With Wolves [sheepish smile] I should get on that don’t I, after all I do love Costner.

    • Yes! You must see Dances with Wolves! It has received some criticism but I think it is a true cinematic gem. It’s a gorgeous movie and I get caught up every time I watch it. I think the blu-ray for it is pretty cheap now.

  5. Awesome list and I’m so glad you have Open Range on here. One of his most under-appreciated movies I think. I reviewed Untouchables on LTBM. It’s a nice one to revisit every now and then. I have not, however, seen No Way Out.

    • Thanks for reading! I remember when The Untouchables came out. I was consumed by that movie as a teen. Open Range is really, really good isn’t it. Costner is great both in front and behind the camera and he injects so much life into that story.

  6. I’m kind of an odd ball when it comes to Costner. I’ve never sat through more than 10 minutes of Dances with Wolves. I also think Field of Dreams is his second best baseball movie and its not really that close. My 5 would be…

    1. The Untouchables
    2. Bull Durham
    3. Field of Dreams
    4. Wyatt Earp
    5. Mr. Brooks

    • Bull Durham is a good movie for sure but it doesn’t surpass Field of Dreams for me. I did like Wyatt Earp too. It wouldn’t quit qualify as a favorite of mine but I really appreciated Costner’s performance.

  7. No Way Out! Great choice Keith… it’s an enjoyable thriller and perhaps one of Costner’s movies that gets forgotten about behind some of his more famous works.

    My favorites:

    Bull Durham
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
    Field of Dreams
    No Way Out
    JFK

    • I was waiting for someone to mention JFK. Robin Hood is a funny one. I really liked it at the time and Costner has a lot of fun. But for one reason of another it hasn’t aged well for me. Still I have fond and nostalgic memories of it.

      Thanks for the comments!

  8. Pingback: » Movie Review – 3 Days To Kill Fernby Films

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