best film: McCabe & Mrs. Miller and this one has changed and evolved over the years. It used to be Bonnie and Clyde– which I consider a masterpiece as well- but Altman’s mood piece with its allegorical tragic ending and transcendent music from Leonard Cohen just overwhelm me. They don’t quite compete with the top two films of Beatty’s career but I think The Parallax View is one of the most underrated films of the entire 1970’s and ditto that for Dick Tracy in the 1990’s.

best performance:  I think McCabe is right there along with four others but I’m giving the prize here for best performance to his work in Bonnie and Clyde. It’s an impeccable performance. He’s cocky, not overly intelligent, dealing with inner turmoil (sexual frustrations and repressions)- a complicated character/performance. Both he and Dunaway absolutely shine.

stylistic innovations/traits: Very few actors have attempted to play dumb characters as often ad Beatty. I’m awed that he can pull it off. He’s so good at it and it’s really hard to do. Think about his characters- McCabe, Clyde, Shampoo, Bulworth… he’s getting the wool pulled over his eyes in The Parallax View. I mean there are exceptions (Reds) but by and large this was his forte and he manages to pull it off—you pity him a little, like him for sure usually, and still usually there’s still some sort of envy (because he looks like Warren Beatty). It’s fascinating. Of course when he arrived in the early 60’s he was known as Shirley MacLaine’s younger brother. He bet on himself by producing bonnie and clyde (huge payoff) and then directed (and he was damn good) four of his own archiveable films as an actor.

directors worked with:   Beatty (4), Penn (2) and then once a piece with Kazan, Altman, Pakula, Mike Nichols, and Hal Ashby—think about those last four—landmark filmmakers in the American New Wave- a great era for cinema

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Bonnie and Clyde
  2. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  3. The Parallax View
  4. Reds
  5. Bugsy

Archiveable films

1961- Splendor In the Grass
1964- Lilith
1965- Mickey One
1967- Bonnie and Clyde
1971- McCabe and Mrs. Miller
1974- The Parallax View
1975- Shampoo
1975- The Fortune
1978- Heaven Can Wait
1981- Reds
1990- Dick Tracy
1991- Bugsy
1998- Bulworth