best film:  The answer here is Thelma & Louise with Dead Man Walking and Light Sleeper as the nearest candidates which makes this an undeniable weakness of a category for Susan Sarandon. She has been in many sort of contemporary iconic roles and performances (certainly Bull Durham is an enjoyable film that has lived on in pop culture – as has Thelma & Louise) but it is pretty easy to foresee a list of the top 1000 films of all-time without a single Susan Sarandon film.


It is one of Ridley Scott’s better non-Alien/Blade Runner efforts – superbly acted, great Hans Zimmer Score, landscape photography in Utah.  It owes a lot to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is a buddy movie of outlaws on the run, great star-power acting, they even joke about lying to each other as part of the denial of the fatal ending. Sarandon as the waitress – simply marvelous. She gets a great acting showcase moment during the climactic scene outside the bar – she is wide-eyed and recalls her past – the unseen (a great choice) incident in Texas.


best performance:   It was very straightforward choosing the three films that had to be represented as images on this page. For Sarandon, one can swap the order a little based on taste and preference, but it has to be Bull Durham, Thelma & Louise and Dead Man Walking at the top. It is the 1991 Ridley Scott film that lands atop the list. Sarandon plays Thelma and this is a tour de force performance. Sarandon is brilliant as she and Geena Davis get the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid treatment – a freeze frame, sealed fate finish.


stylistic innovations/traits:   Susan Sarandon is a highly decorated (five-time Oscar nominee) 1990s Hollywood power player with eighteen (18) archiveable films. There are few fringe films in her filmography so one could see that total archiveable number pushing north of twenty (20) with a few favorable bounces her way. She had some small roles in the 1970s getting her start, a few Louis Malle films in the late 1970s and early 1980s but took off in the late 1980s and especially the first half of the 1990s. She hit her stride in her forties with her big trio of films and performances mentioned above (Bull Durham, Thelma & Louise, and Dead Man Walking). In fact, four of her five nominations come between 1991 and 1995 with her win in Dead Man Walking capping that notable stretch of work. There is plenty of depth here and that is undoubtedly the card Sarandon has to play as far as justifying a spot on this list with her lack in that top category above. Paul Schrader’s Light Sleeper is crying out to be rediscovered, she plays opposite icons of cool David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger and she is perfect casting for the warm, emotional center of the family in the 1994 Gillian Anderson Little Women adaptation.


Sarandon’s big breakthrough (and coming past the age of 40) – 1988’s Bull Durham. Sarandon had been a reliable actor for years and in good films before, but this is when she becomes a star – showing off not only her good looks – but her chops as a comedian and romantic lead as well.


Sarandon dueling with Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995) – the two heavyweight performances are the strength of the film.


directors worked with:  Louis Malle (2), The Wachowskis (2), Ridley Scott (1), Paul Schrader (1), George Miller (1)


top five performances:

  1. Thelma and Louise
  2. Bull Durham
  3. Dead Man Walking
  4. Lorenzo’s Oil
  5. Atlantic City


archiveable films

1970- Joe
1974- The Front Page
1978- Pretty Baby
1980- Atlantic City
1983- The Hunger
1988- Bull Durham
1989- Dry White Season
1991- Thelma and Louise
1992- Light Sleeper
1992- Lorenzo’s Oil
1994- Little Women
1995- Dead Man Walking
2002- Igby Goes Down
2002- Moonlight Mile
2007- Enchanted
2008- Speed Racer
2012- Arbitrage
2012- Cloud Atlas