Reel Dialogue Spotlight – Robert Redford

‘As a director, I wouldn’t like me as an actor. As an actor, I wouldn’t like me as a director.’ – Robert Redford

We had an office discussion about the upcoming release of The Old Man & the Gun and the fact that this is Robert Redford’s final film. One of our staff members asked a question that was shocking and informative at the same time, she asked, ‘Who is Robert Redford?’

After picking myself off the floor and wiping away the nostalgic tear of remembering watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with my parents as a kid, the realisation of a cinematic education was in order. Especially for this Netflix generation, showing the impact this actor has had on the film industry in front of and behind the camera. 

Quick career bio: ‘Charles Robert Redford, Jr. was born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California. After attending the American Academy of Dramatic Art he turned to acting, making his stage debut in ‘Tall Story’. In 1962 he was signed for the stage production of ‘Barefoot in the Park’ which was a smash hit but it wasn’t until 5 years later when it was filmed that he became a prominent star.

Television and stage experience coupled with all-American good looks led to movies and television roles. Redford’s breakthrough role was “The Sundance Kid” in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when the actor was 32. The Way We Were and The Sting, both in 1973, made Redford the number one box office star for the next three years. In 1980, he established the Sundance Institute for aspiring filmmakers. Its annual film festival has become one of the world’s most influential. Redford’s directorial debut, Ordinary People (1980), won him the Academy Award as Best Director in 1981. He scored with critics and fans in 1992 with the Brad Pitt film A River Runs Through It, and again, in 1994, with Quiz Show, which earned him yet another Best Director nomination.’ – IMDb Biography by Gustaf Molin

Interesting facts about his career:

  • Has done 11-period pieces, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Natural and Out of Africa.
  • He is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, which he named after his character from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 
  • Dislikes watching his own films. The only film in which he was completely satisfied with his own performance was The Sting.

Reel Dialogue’s top 10 films in the acting role

  1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  2. The Sting
  3. All the President’s Men
  4. 3 Days of the Condor
  5. The Natural
  6. Out of Africa
  7. Jeremiah Johnson
  8. Barefoot in the Park
  9. The Way We Were
  10. The Horse Whisperer

Biggest Box Office success: Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

Reel Dialogue’s top four films as director

  1. Ordinary People
  2. A River Runs Through It
  3. The Legend of Bagger Vance
  4. Quiz Show

Biggest Directorial Box Office success: The Horse Whisperer 

Four films on Netflix with Redford’s involvement: 

  1. Jeremiah Johnson
  2. The Legend Bagger Vance
  3. The Last Castle 
  4. Our Souls at Night

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Russell Matthews

Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.