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The 10 Robert Redford Movies Every Fan Should Watch

Robert Redford in All the President's Men answering the telephone.
Warner Bros.

From the very beginning of his career, Robert Redford was a movie star to end all movie stars. He’s not an actor’s actor like Robert De Niro, but he might be the most beautiful man to ever act in front of a camera, and he’s proven time and time again that there’s much more to him than just good looks. Redford’s charm and natural charisma have made him compelling in a wide variety of roles, and they’ve also occasionally been weaponized against his audience.

Not every role in Redford’s decades-long career has been a roaring success. For every All the President’s Men there’s a stinker like Havana. In general, though, Redford has built a remarkable body of work, and if he never acts in front of a camera again, he can be proud of what he’s accomplished.

The Sting

Robert Redford and Paul Newman in black suit.

In an era where many of the most legendary movies are dark or cynical, The Sting was a light, frothy alternative. The movie stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as an aging thief and an aspiring con man, respectively, who decide to team up to avenge the death of a mutual friend. It’s a heist movie at its core, and The Sting executes its heist flawlessly. Thanks to deeply captivating performances from both Newman and Redford, The Sting holds up as a great piece of entertainment, even if it lacks some of the heavier themes that were typical of movies of its era.

Director: George Roy Hill
Main Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
Runtime: 129 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.3

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All the President’s Men

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All the President's Men.
Warner Bros.

Although it’s almost 50 years old now, All the President’s Men still stands as maybe the best film about journalism ever made. The film tells the mostly true story of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who inadvertently discovered the Watergate scandal that took down President Nixon. The film works because it lives in the shadows of a corrupt political universe. Nothing is exactly as it seems in All the President’s Men, and getting to the truth is much harder than it should be for two people investigating the most powerful man in the world.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards
Runtime: 138 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.0

The Old Man & The Gun

Sissy Spacek and Robert Redford in The Old Man a& the Gun.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Old Man and the Gun wasn’t technically Robert Redford’s last onscreen performance, but it was supposed to be. In the movie, Redford plays an aging thief who manages to escape from prison and goes on a tear, robbing places across the country. As he almost always is, Redford is charming in the role, and the film is as much about his commitment to thievery as art as it is about him reckoning with the life he’s chosen to lead. This is one of two collaborations with David Lowery on this list, and it’s clear from their work together that Lowery knows how to lean into Redford’s incredible charisma.

Director: David Lowery
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck
Runtime: 93 minutes
IMDb Rating:6.7

All Is Lost

Robert Redford in All is Lost.
Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions

All is Lost relies almost entirely on Redford’s ability to captivate an audience. The movie, which didn’t even earn him an Oscar nomination as it should have, follows Redford as an experienced mariner who finds himself sailing into a dangerous storm. Playing out largely in silence, All is Lost works only because Redford can sell every second of what his character is going through without verbalizing any of it. All is Lost is a movie about survival, and Redford’s performance sits at the center, proving that even after being a star for 40 years, he was still one of the best in the game.

Director: J.C. Chandor
Main Cast: Robert Redford
Runtime: 106 minutes
IMDb Rating:7.2

Three Days of the Condor

Robert Redford holding a gun in Three Days of the Condor.

Other than All the President’s MenThree Days of the Condor may be Redford’s most iconic work from the 1970s. Redford plays an ordinary CIA codebreaker in the film who goes out for lunch one day, only to return and discover that his entire office staff has been murdered. His discovery leads him to uncover a devious conspiracy that involves the CIA, and he’s forced to run for his life to avoid going the same way as the rest of his team. Redford co-stars with Faye Dunaway and both actors deliver marvelous performances as two scared people fighting for the truth and their lives.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
Runtime: 117 minutes
IMDb Rating:7.4

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Pete’s Dragon

Robert Redford in Pete's Dragon.

Redford is not the main character in Pete’s Dragon, but he’s a huge part of what makes the movie work. Redford plays something like a village elder, and it’s his daughter who ultimately discovers that there’s a dragon living in the woods around their rural home. Redford gets to display plenty of wisdom in the role, and he fits perfectly in this world of gentle magic. Redford has always been a great movie star, but he’s also passionate about film as an art form, and his wonder at the magic of the movies is on full display in Pete’s Dragon.

Director: David Lowery
Main Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley
Runtime: 102 minutes
IMDb Rating:6.7

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
20th Century Fox

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a story about two rebels who never found their place in the world. As an early part of the wave of New Hollywood films, Butch Cassidy took a pair of real-life outlaws and turned them into romantic figures fighting against authority. Redford and Paul Newman are both thoroughly captivating in their roles, and the film takes plenty of time to sketch out the relationship between them. These two were friends, even if they spent much of their time thieving and evading the long arm of the law.

Director: George Roy Hill
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Katharine Ross
Runtime: 110 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.0

Jeremiah Johnson

Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson.
Warner Bros.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton
Runtime: 108 minutes
IMDb Rating:7.6

Set in the 1830s, Jeremiah Johnson tells the story of a Mexican-American War veteran who decides to live a life of quiet isolation in the mountains. As time passes, he finds a mentor who teaches him how to live in the wilderness and he eventually winds up with a family as well. The movie is thrilling, in part because Jeremiah finds himself coming face to face with a hostile Native American tribe. More than that, though, Jeremiah Johnson is about a man who’s trying to escape from his past, and finding that escape more difficult than he imagined it to be.

The Candidate

Robert Redford in The Candidate.
Warner Bros.

Redford’s boyish good looks could sometimes put him at odds with the political thrillers that dominated the Hollywood he entered into at the beginning of his career, but in The Candidate, he found a role that suited him perfectly. Redford plays a leftist lawyer in the film who gets recruited for a Senate bid against an admired Republican. As the election approaches, Redford’s character is gradually pushed toward the center, and his once authentic political message starts to sound like drivel. He compromises to win and loses who he is in the process.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas
Runtime: 110 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.0

The Natural

Robert Redford in The Natural.

The Natural is a pretty hokey, but not in a bad way. The movie follows an aging baseball player of incredible skill who didn’t get a chance to play in the majors because he was violently attacked at a young age. As he approaches the end of his career, he finally gets his shot at the big show and is forced to confront the money and politics that govern the game at that level. The Natural is one of Redford’s most earnest performances. He’s playing a man in love with a game who’s trying to save that game from the business that it has transformed into.

Director: Barry Levinson
Main Cast: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close
Runtime: 138 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.5

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