My first vague movie recollection of Kevin Costner was in the movie Silverado in 1985 but it was nothing that made me even give it a second thought. It was two years later that he spun my head around in The Untouchables and I realized he had the potential to hit a grand slam every time up from that point forward.
What’s amazing is that in amongst the movies that were his top hits (and ironically my favorites) there were also thirty some movies that were bombs at the box office. I often wonder if Costner’s notoriously difficult on-set demeanor sabotaged many of those films that did so poorly.
Kevin Costner’s love for baseball and being the best actor ever portraying any baseball player fact or fiction offered a great backdrop to My Top 10 +1 Favorite Kevin Costner Movies.
I gave significantly longer attention to films #1- #3 as they are all such popular films for me personally. This turned into a short novel and I thought to really trim it down then I realized that would only negate the weeks and hours I spent writing it. And I wanted to share so much as to the depth of several of these films in what they mean to me and the trivia I am also passing along. Thank you to Google Images, YouTube, Wikipedia and IMDB for assistance.
+1 The Bodyguard (1992)
I will always remember one thing that really stuck in my head was that some of the lake scenes were shot at Fallen Leaf Lake above South Lake Tahoe. It’s an hour’s drive from Reno and it’s absolutely beautiful. The mansion is the same one from The Godfather that had the horse’s head in the bed. I hope they cleaned the sheets first! Kevin Costner got spiffied up with Steve McQueen’s same dashingly handsome, razor-sharp trademark haircut and based his portrayal of Frank Farmer on the famous actor. Kevin Costner wanted Princess Diana to star in a sequel, “I told her I would take care of her just the same way that I took care of Whitney.” As of 2013, celebrity bodyguards make anywhere from $450 to over $9,000 a week. Wow, if only I had gone to the gym more! This movie will forever be in my heart because my all time favorite song, Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”, opens up my floodgates each time in rememberence for those that I have loved.
As Frank Farmer
Whitney Houston – Rachel Marron
Gary Kemp – Sy Spector
Bill Cobbs – Devaney
Ralph Waite – Herb Farmer
Tomas Arana – Portman
Michele Lamar Richards – Nicki
Mike Starr – Tony
Directed by Mick Jackson
10 Thirteen Days (2000)
Many people haven’t seen this movie and that is unfortunate as it is an amazingly powerful story. It tells of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Kenny O’Donnell’s intimate involvement with the decision-making during the days when we were on the brink of nuclear war. Much of the dialogue in the movie is taken from the actual recordings the President frequently made during meetings at the White House. Air Force One is an actual 707 used by President Kennedy though after the crisis was over. The briefing scene with a map showing a missile range within distance of hitting Oxford, Mississippi was factually correct. The President was still fuming over the riots from the previous month and Kennedy said, “Can they hit Oxford?” I wonder how that remark would have done on Twitter?
As Kenny O’Donnell
Bruce Greenwood – John F. Kennedy
Caitlan Wachs – Kathy O’Donnell
Lucinda Jenney – Helen O’Donnell
Bruce Thomas – Floyd
Stephanie Romanov – Jacqueline Kennedy
Dakin Mathews – Arthur Lundahl
Directed by Roger Donaldson
9 Waterworld (1995)
The first thing I will always remember any time this movie is mentioned is that I was getting married in Hawaii when it was being filmed. The Star Advertiser newspaper raved that it was going to be the best Kevin Costner movie ever made and possibly one of the best movies ever period. It’ it mentioned in the movie that this takes place somewhere around the year 2500 and the polar ice caps have melted. Be assured though that scientists have said that the world-wide rise of the sea would be a maxium of approximately 200 feet. That trimaran was so bad ass and I absolutely loved it when he was moving quickly around it when being chased or doing hunting down that one scoundrel who stole his plant. This was the most expensive movie ever produced prior to the making of Titanic. Joss Whedon (the same as the genius director of Avengers) was a writer and described it as “seven weeks of hell.” Kevin Costner had long since built a solid reputation for being a jerk to work with but he was always one of the hardest working actors/director/producers. Tina Majorino and Jeanne Tripplehorn nearly drowned on a timaran they were on as it sank on the very first day of shooting. That’s when you have a tough choice deciding wheter to come back to work the next day or not.
Chaim Girafi – Drifter
R.D. Call – Enforcer
Zakes Mokae – Priam
Jeanne Tripplehorn – Helen
Tina Majorino – Enola
Dennis Hopper – Deacon
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
8 Bull Durham (1988)
The numerous scenes, both on the field and off of it, between Crash and Nuke LaLoosh are never-endingly hysterical. It’s like getting a new job where the young kid, you think you know everything, until you meet a far wiser person who is there to train you. When the bat boy tells Crash to, “get a hit…” Kevin Costner said to the kid in the movie “shut up.” The kid actor didn’t expect or know this ad-libbed line was coming and started crying. Costner, you meanie. Of all of the films that Sarandon and Robbins have made they have stated this remains their personal favorite. The fact that they met for the first time on the set probably helps too! There was a real life minor league baseball player named Crash Davis. Director Ron Shelton had to get permission from him to use the name in the movie. Davis asked, “Do I (meaning Costner) get the girl in the end?” Of course he signed the release immediatly upon hearing Shelton’s answer of “yes”. I had a huge movie crush on the incredibly attractive and very sexually energetic Millie.
Susan Sarandon – Annie Savoy
Tim Robbins – Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh
Trey Wilson – Skip
William O’Leary – Jimmy
Jenny Robertson – Millie
Directed by Ron Shelton
7 For Love Of The Game (1999)
In many regards this could be considered a chick flick which is just fine by me as I enjoy a good chick flick! And this is without a doubt his all-time best Kevin Costner baseball movie in of the game itself. Think about that. I loved Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston) playing Billy Chapel’s mesmerizing, beautiful girlfriend was the perfect actress cast for that role. Many of the Yankee players in the film were real life Yankee minor leaguers and all four of the umpires were Major League umpires. That is so cool! And Jane’s daughter, Heather (Jena Malone), is priceless as she is able to eliminate part of the gap that exists with Billy seeing the relationship with both Aubrey and Jane in an entirely new light. The broadcasting voice of my all-time favorite baseball announcer, Vin Scully, takes us through the journey of the best 9 innings in baseball a pitcher can ever experience. A perfect game. I absolutely love this film but still it only placed here on the list of my top 10 +1 favorite Kevin Costner movies.
As Billy Chapel
Kelly Preston – Jane Aubrey
John C. Reilly – Gus Sinski
Jena Malone – Heather Aubrey
Brian Cox – Gary Wheeler
J.K. Simmons – Frank Perry
Vin Scully – Himself
Steve Lyons – Himself
Larry Joshua – Yankee Fan In Bar
Directed by Sam Raimi
6 The Untouchables (1987)
I’ve always felt that this was his breakout movie and for many peopole at the time it was the greatest Kevin Costner movie. Early in the movie Eliot Ness and his wife are listening to an actual episode of Amos and Andy. If you’ve never listened to classic old, nostalgia radio shows you should absolutely give it a try. This is definitely my all-time favorite movie portrayal of Elliott Ness. Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Costner all engaged in actual police tactic and weapons training for the film. But get this, it was training from the 1950’s. Agent Stone (Garcia) is a total rush as a brand new young marksman on the force. Robert DeNiro didn’t have enough time to gain the extra weight needed for the role. But, he went to every possible length from silk underwear to Al Capone’s actual real life tailors for the suits to replicate the notorious mobster. The baseball bat scene is based on a real life incident on May 7, 1929, where two of Capone’s most deadly hit men had plotted to kill him. That was a fatal mistake for both of them after he got wind of it.
Sean Connery – Jim Malone
Charles Martin Smith – Agent Oscar Wallace
Andy Garcia – Agent George Stone/Giuseppe Petri
Robert De Niro – Al Capone
Richard Bradford – Police Chief Mike Dorsett
Jack Kehoe – Walter Payne
Brad Sullivan – George
Billy Drago – Frank Nitti
Patricia Clarkson – Catherine Ness
Directed by Brian De Palma
5 No Way Out (1987)
If you want to see one of those movies where at the end of it you say, “Whoa, what just happened?!” This falls directly into that category. It’s mind-boggling to realize the phenomenal cardiovascular shape Kevin Costner was in at 32 years old to make this movie. He performed most of his own stunts and remember him doing that rollover the hood of the moving car? An insurance executive told Director Roger Donaldson, “Don’t you ever… ever… EVER… do that again!” Farrell’s chase scene goes on for five minutes and the majority of the movie was so intense and some of the most white-knuckling I’ve ever done watching anything on the big screen. The constant cat and mouse game between not two, but actually six people, had me literally puckering up in my seat. Many people consider Tom Farrell as the performance that launched Kevin Costner’s career as a leading man. I say it was The Untouchables which came out two months earlier. And then at the end to find out Farrell was Yuri the Russian agent they had been looking for all along had my jaw drop.
As Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell
Gene Hackman – Defense Secretary David Brice
Sean Young – Susan Atwell
Will Patton – Scott Pritchard
Howard Duff – Senator William Billy Duvall
George Dzundza – Sam Hesselman
Jason Bernard – Major Donovan
Iman – Nina Beka
Fred Dalton Thompson – CIA Director Marshal
Directed by Roger Donaldson
4 Robin Hood Princes Of Thieves (1991)
One of my all-time favorite artistic scenes in any movie is Robin shooting the flaming arrow which was shot at 300 frames per second (normal speed is 24fps). Sadiq is the name that Azeem calls Robin and it means “friend” in Arabic. That’s so cool when you reflect on the evolution of their relationship. One of my many favorite scenes overall in the movie is an ad-libbed line by Christian Slater when his character Will Scarlett launches Robin and Azeem over the wall and says, “Fuck me, he cleared it!” After turning down the role of Sheriff twice Adam Rickman was told he could have carte blanche interpretation of the character. And wow did he nail that! The three lions statant on the King Richard’s red tabard is the real-life Richard the Lionheart’s Royal Arms. As with many of the leading ladies in Costner’s films that I have a film crush on Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was an intoxicating Marian.
Morgan Freeman – Azeem
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio – Marian Dubois
Christian Slater – Will Scarlett
Alan Rickman – Sheriff George of Nottingham
Geraldine McEwan – Mortianna
Michael McShane – Friar Tuck
Brian Blessed – Lord Locksley
Michael Wincott – Guy of Gisborne
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
3 JFK (1991)
This is Oliver Stone’s all-time favorite film of his own. The real Jim Garrison plays Earl Warren which is one of the coolest barely noticed things of the entire film to me. The Oval Office was reconstructed down to every minute detail as it was during John F Kennedy’s term at a cost of $70,000, for only eight seconds of screen time. Many actors waived their usual film fees to be a part of this once in a lifetime blockbuster cast.
My favorite memory of this movie is that I went to see it with my Aunt and Uncle on New Year’s Eve. Afterwards, we went to the classic Reno coffeehouse, The Coffee Grinder (now closed), and discussed it for hours on end.
As Jim Garrison
Edward Asner – Guy Bannister
Jack Lemmon – Jack Martin
Vincent D’Onofrio – Bill Newman
Michael Rooker – Bill Broussard
Laurie Metcalf – Susie Cox
Joe Pesci – David Ferrie
Walter Matthau – Senator Long
Tommy Lee Jones – Clay Shaw
John Candy – Dean Andrews
Kevin Bacon – Willie O’Keefe
Jim Garrison – Earl Warren
Donald Sutherland – X
Dale Dye – General Y
Wayne Knight – Numa Bertel
Director Oliver Stone
2 Dances With Wolves (1990)
The very first part of the movie where Costner has his arms spread out in a suicide run was completely spontaneous on his part. This was filmed entirely in South Dakota. The feasting scene after the buffalo hunt, where Dunbar and Wind in His Hair become friends and exchange their gifts, was actually shot indoors inside a Quonset hut because it was so cold outside. Water had to be trucked into Fort Sedgwick because there was drought in progress. For authenticity, those actual dead deer killed on highways that Costner is pulling out of the river. When Graham Greene learned most of the film would be in Lakota he said, “I don’t speak that.” When Cisco is jumping around in the stolen horse scene he was actually just letting off steam and was pure luck of the moment shot.
The buffalo herd, at 2,000, is the largest herd in America. When the Sioux come across the dead buffalo many of them are visibly moved. There was only one take a day for the stamped as the animals would end up running 10 miles before stopping. The buffalo charging at the young Indian is actually charging at its favorite treat, Oreo cookies! How cool is that? And that buffalo liver that Wind In His Hair and Dunbar eat is cranberry Jell-O.
Mary McDonnell – Stands With A Fist
Graham Greene – Kicking Bird
Rodney A. Grant – Wind In His Hair
Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman – Ten Bears
Tantoo Cardinal – Black Shawl
Robert Pastorelli – Timmons
Charles Rocket – Lieutenant Elgin
Maury Chaykin – Major Fambrough
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse – Smiles A Lot
Tony Pierce – Spivey
Directed by Kevin Costner
1 Field Of Dreams (1989)
This is definitely one of my all-time Top 10 most watched films. It’s achieved a deep emotional reaction from me for a story I shared part of here between me and my father.
The family that owns the field allows visitors to come to play baseball for free if they wish to. You can take a virtual tour of the actual field here and it is sooooo cool!! I couldn’t stop moving the cursor around the entire 360 field, bleachers, cornfield and house over and over.
Unknown at the time, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were uncredited extras in the Fenway Park scene.
On June 29, 1905 the real Archibald “Moonlight” Wright Graham played one game for the New York Giants baseball team. Too funny, as Burt Lancaster didn’t know that Timothy Busfield was part of the cast and had him running errands for him around the set! It was complete accident that they got the shot of Ray Liotta’s line drive ball knocking over the bag of baseballs next to Kevin Costner. Contrary to what Shoeless Joe said in the movie he and Ty Cobb were very close friends in real life.
Here’s one a jaw dropper for you. Dwier Brown, how played Ray Kinsella’s father filmed that final scene literally right after coming from the funeral for his own father. That is powerful, isn’t it?
That would be a life dream of mine to live there with Phoenix. Gawd, he could play ball with kids allllll day long. I bet he walk off into the corn and have it speak voices to me to!
I had written earlier that For Love Of The Game was Costner’s best baseball movie on of the game itself and it was. This movie was about searching for and achieving a realization within a man’s heart. That is what most of us will always dream for and it easily leads the list of my top 10 +1 favorite Kevin Costner movies.
As Ray Kinsella
Amy Madigan – Annie Kinsella
Gaby Hoffmann – Karin Kinsella
Ray Liotta – Shoeless Joe Jackson
Timothy Busfield – Mark
James Earl Jones – Terence Mann
Burt Lancaster – Dr. Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham
Frank Whaley – Archie Graham
Dwier Brown – John Kinsella
Fern Parsons – Annie’s Mother
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
What is your favorite Kevin Costner movie?