Famous actor Bill Paxton passed away on the 25th of February, 2017 from a stroke he suffered after an open-heart surgery. He died at the age of 61, which was just a day to the 2017 Oscar ceremony. A look at all that he was able to achieve in his acting career during his lifetime makes it obvious that he will continue to live in our memories for many years to come. The acclaimed actor had a rough time, struggling for nearly a decade before he eventually got noticed for a minor role which turned out to be the beginning of the greatest Bill Paxton movies. The said minor role was in the 1984 sci-fiction film The Terminator.
Bill’s work in The Terminator ignited his acting career and saw him build a cordial working relationship with film director James Cameron. The great partnership between the two saw them partner on numerous other projects over time; with Cameron providing Paxton with some of the most important roles of his career. The immense exposure he got also saw him land a role in the 1997 all-time top blockbuster movie Titanic.
Years after he had established himself as a film actor of repute, the seasoned actor ventured into TV in 2006. He featured in Big Love a TV series that earned him three Golden Globe award nominations. Bill got nominated in 2012 for his role in the TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys in which he was the leader of the McCoy clan. In remembrance of his milestone achievement in the movie industry, here is a list of the greatest Bill Paxton movies rated from best to worst.
Greatest Bill Paxton Movies To Add To Your Bucket List
1. Aliens (1986)
This movie brought together Paxton and Cameron for the second time after their encounter in the 1984 Terminator. The collaboration between the two provided the much-needed effect which is a sequel to the 1979 Alien movie. James Cameron did a perfect job by creating one of the rarest sequels we have seen and it almost achieved the same level of success as the original.
Though Paxton played the role of Private Hudson, which critics described as showy, irritating, loud, hysterical and cowardly, his portrayal of the character who knows how to argue and complain, still got him into the hearts of the fans. Upon its release, the movie grossed $180 million worldwide, got seven academy awards nomination and won eight Saturn Awards, one of which went to Paxton for the best-supporting actor.
2. Apollo 13 (1995)
This Ron Howard directed film brings together Paxton, Tom Hanks, and Kevin Bacon as the three astronauts who find themselves completely trapped in space after heavy damage to their spacecraft. Now the three of them must work closely and unite with people at the ground control unit to find a way to fix their spaceship and return home.
The film was nominated for 9 Oscars, which included one best picture. However, the film’s director was shockingly missing from the list of winners. The reason for not being recognized was because he was a former sitcom star turned director. Apollo 13 made $335 million at the box office on a budget of $52 million.
3. A Simple Plan (1998)
This movie further reinforced the partnership between Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton after working together at the beginning of their careers in One False Move. They were reunited in this film by director Sam Raimi as brothers who discover a stash of money running into millions of dollars. Instead of using the bogus amount to build and enhance their lives, it rather destroys them.
Paxton plays the role of the brother with high social confidence and conviction, whereas Thornton plays the role of the clumsy brother. Reviewers applauded many aspects of the film’s production, including the storytelling technique, performance of the cast and the director’s focus. It got several award nominations, including; 2 academy award nominations for best-supporting actor and best-adapted screenplay.
4. Twister (1997)
In this movie, director Jan de Bont makes use of special effects to bring to the surface the suspense of a story involving two characters who were chasing a storm; Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt.
They tried to have an understanding and find ways to predict tornado activities by putting themselves at the heart of the storms which took place during a severe outbreak in the city of Oklahoma. After its release, the movie made a total of $494.5 million in box office sales. It also got mixed reviews with critics criticizing its screenplay, but it was applauded for its visual effects and sound design. The movie earned two academy award nominations for best visual effect and best sound mixing.
5. Titanic (1997)
This film is one that is forever glued to the hearts of people who saw it. The way and manner in which the director brought the act of the cast together amazingly presents the film in two separate sections. The first part showed the circumstances that brought Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) together, how they fell in love and the destruction of the ship.
The second part is a story of the much older Rose (Gloria Stewart) narrating her experiences to a man (Bill Paxton) who is in search of the wreckage of the Titanic. Paxton once again linked up with James Cameron and played the role of the man searching the wrecked ship for anything of financial value but gradually discovers the degree of the human tragedy involved. Although Bill’s role is little in the film, it is still significant and can be listed as one of Bill Paxton movies everyone should see. The movie earned 11 Oscars plus best picture.
6. The Terminator (1984)
This movie ultimately boosted Bill Paxton’s career in acting, serving as his breakthrough and his first experience working with James Cameron. Paxton plays the role of a “punk leader” in this landmark sci-fiction piece. Although he did not make a great impact and impression on the director, the two would continue to partner in more of Cameron’s big projects with Paxton given key roles.
His characterization here depicts a leader of a bunch of street links who decide to mess with the wrong-kind-of-guy, who turns out to be the time-traveling killing machine called “The Terminator”. He was sent to terminate Sara O’Connor before she gets pregnant and birth a son that would eventually end the reign of the machines.
7. Tombstone (1993)
Tombstone starred Bill Paxton, Val Kilmer, and Sam Elliott in main roles and others like Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, and Dana Delany in supporting roles. The story behind the movie is based on the events that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, the gunfight at the O.K Corral and Earp Vendetta Ride in the 1880s.
It highlights the lives of outlaws and lawmen including Witty Earp and Doc Holliday. The movie gave stiff competition to Kevin Costner’s film “Wyatt Earp” which was regarded as bigger, but Tombstone hit it big too at the box office despite running on a low budget as compared to the latter. It grossed $56.5 million in domestic sales and ranked 16 on the list of highest-grossing films since 1979. All the actors were applauded for their roles in the movie.
8. True Lies (1994)
Director James Cameron is good at finding roles that often place Paxton on a higher pedestal than his previous performances. In this movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the role of a top-secret government agent who disguises himself as a computer salesman to his wife and daughter. It was extremely difficult for him to strike a balance between his spying job and his family duties.
Now, Paxton plays a stereotypical role as a used car dealer who is good at telling lies and claiming to be a spy. The movie grossed $378 million globally at the box office and earned an academy award and BAFTA nominations for best visual effect. It also won seven Saturn awards and received positive reviews.
9. Near Dark (1989)
Near Drak saw Paxton playing a minor role in the vampire-studded piece starring Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright. The plot centers on a young man in a tiny Midwestern town who joins a bunch of vampires after being bitten.
This movie served as the beginning of a wake-up call for the production of vampire movies in the late 80s. Though it underperformed at the box office, it received positive reviews and gained massive followership in the years that followed.
10. Frality (2001)
in 2001 Bill Paxton decided to test his directorial wits with his first-ever feature film sitting on the director’s chair and also acting. The whole feeling of the movie is rather psychological.
Though the plot is a bit complicated; it tells the story of how a young man (Matthew McConaughey) goes to an FBI office and tells a shocking tale. When he was a little boy with his brother, they were awoken by their father, a kind-hearted widower who claimed that he had seen a vision in which God commanded him to kill monsters who walk in the form of men. This was the start of serial killings that only came to an end when the older son summoned up courage and went to the police. This film did not do so great with critics, but Bill’s performance is arguably one of his best.