En español | This year's winner of our Movies for Grownups Lifetime Achievement Award started visiting our living rooms on TV in the early 1960s, and before we knew it Robert Redford was firmly established as one of America’s true superstars. He has appeared in 36 movies. Some are classics, some are real stinkers. But almost always we can watch them and enumerate all the ways Redford makes each one better.
Here are my 10 favorite Redford roles. I know you’re going to say, "What, no The Way We Were? No All the President’s Men? And where’s Three Days of the Condor?" Yeah, they’re all pretty good. But to my mind, those are all Movie Star films — the no-brainers that we still might dig out of the DVD bin now and then, but halfway through, if we're honest, we’ll admit we’ve had just about enough of them. These 10, I think, get to the essence of Robert Redford the actor — a considerably better actor than many give him credit for.
Episode: “Nothing In the Dark” (1962)
Role: Harold Beldon
Freshly arrived from his New York theater roots, Robert Redford was the hardest working young man in Hollywood: He had already appeared in some 18 TV shows before he played a role on Rod Serling’s landmark series. Here he’s a wounded cop who may or may not be the Angel of Death, assigned to escort a reluctant woman (three-time Oscar nominee Gladys Cooper) to the Hereafter. You can see the episode on DVD — and marvel at the tousled-haired young man who reaches out his hand, flashes that smile and gives a little wink. Across America, smitten women screamed at their TVs: "What are you waiting for? GO WITH HIM!!"