Kurt Russell is a renowned American actor who is well known and well loved. His acting career started early (at the age of twelve) and fans/movie lovers have watched him grow and hone his skills into becoming the exceptional actor that he now is. Kurt Russell movies and TV shows have seen him get the nod for different awards in his very long and productive acting career which had spanned more than five decades (56 years and counting).
Kurt Vogel Russell was born 17th of March, 1951 to Bing Russell and Louise Julia Russell. His father was an actor and his mother a dancer. Kurt grew up with 3 sisters; Jill, Jamie, and Jody and went to Thousand Oaks High School graduating in the year 1969. Upon graduation, he proceeded to serve at the Air National Guard, California belonging to the 146th Tactical airlift Wing between 1969 to 1975.
Like his father, Kurt Russell played professional baseball for a while before turning to acting. Let’s take a look at his acting career.
Russell’s first movie role was an unaccredited part in It happened at the World’s Fair, a musical which starred Elvis Presley in 1963. His next important role was in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. The western series was based on a novel by Robert Lewis Taylor that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the year 1959.
The actor steadily built his career and the 10-year contract he signed with The Walt Disney Company in the 1960s made him a top star in the 1970s. Since then, Russell has acted in over 70 movies and television series. He has just one Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance in Silkwood (1983). He has a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, Teen Choice Award nomination amongst others. He got a Star on the Walk of Fame in 2017 and has won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA and Hollywood Film Awards in varying categories.
Russell has a long list of movie credits but in no particular order, here are some Kurt Russell movies and TV shows that you must watch.
Kurt Russell Movies and TV Shows You Need To See
The movie is based on the life and events surrounding some outlaws of the Old Wild West. As the title implies, it is based on some happenings in Arizona (Tombstone), especially the O.K. Corral Gunfight and the Earp Brothers Vendetta Ride.
Kurt Russell plays the role of Wyatt Earp. Other actors include Val Kilmer (Doc Holiday), Sam Elliott (Virgil Earp), Bill Paxton (Morgan Earp), Michael Biehn (Johnny Ringo), Stephen Lang (Ike Clanton).
The movie is considered one of Russell’s best performances till date and was directed by Kevin Jarre and George P. Cosmatos. It opened at third place in the Box Office, showing at 1504 venues with a gross of $6,454,752. The revenue increased by thirty-five percent in the second week. The total earnings in ticket amounted to $56,505,065 and it is ranked at number 20 of all films released in 1993.
If you are a lover of cowboys, history, action, and the old wild west then “Tombstone” is a Kurt Russell movie you must see.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Russell played the role of John Ruth (the hangman) in this western thriller. John Ruth who is a bounty hunter races towards the town (Red Rock) where he intends to bring Daisy (a criminal and killer to justice). Their journey is filled with different twists and one wonders if they will ever make it to Red Rock.
The movie which had a budget of about $44 million made a gross profit of $155.7 million worldwide.
In this sports drama documentary, Kurt Russell plays the role of Herb Brooks, an ice hockey coach. Coach Brooks leads the men’s ice hockey team of the United States against the favored Soviet professionals. The movie script was written by Mike Rich and Eric Guggenheim and directed by Gavin O’ Connor. The star cast includes Patricia Clarkson (Patti Brooks), Noah Emmerich (Craig Patrick), Patrick O’ Brien Demsey (Mike Eruzione), and Sean McCann (Walter Bush).
The movie was well received, grossing $64,445,708 worldwide. Critics believe Russell’s performance in the film was one of his best. The movie, Miracle, won the Best Sports Movie ESPY 2004 award and maintained the number one spot for the sports movie of all time since it’s release just moving to second place in 2017.
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
This movie is the most commercially successful of Kurt Russell’s movies. With an estimated budget of $23 million and a box office gross of $105,932,000.
Kurt Russell, who stars as Nick Frescia, is a detective lieutenant in the L.A. County Sheriff Department and is friends with Dale “Mac” McKussic (Mel Gibson), a former drug dealer and they are also attracted to the same woman Jo Ann Vallenari (Michelle Pfeiffer). The story then spirals into a tale of betrayal, trust, second chances, and love.
The casts include Mel Gibson (Dale “Mac” McKussic), Michelle Pfeiffer (Jo Ann Vallenari), Kurt Russell (Lt. Nick Frescia), Raul Julia (Xavier Escalante/Carlos), J.T. Walsh (DEA Agent Hal Maguire), amongst others.
The movie was inspired by a true life story of a thoroughbred racehorse that got injured. Kurt Russell features as Ben, a horse trainer who devotes all his time and energy to the horses he trains ignoring his daughter. Ben loses his job that he spends so much time doing because he refuses to put down an injured horse. He is then forced to spend time with his family, swallowing his pride and getting help from his father and rebuilding his broken relationship with his daughter.
The movie which grossed $38 million with a budget of $32 million, was nominated for Best Family Film in the Critics Choice Award in 2006. It was written and directed by John Gatins. The cast includes Kurt Russell (Ben Crane), Dakota Fanning (Cale Crane), Kris Kristofferson (Pop Crane), Elisabeth Shue (Lilly Crane), among others.
The Travels of Jaime Mcpheeters (1963-64)
This is one of the greatest Western television series. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name written in 1958 by Robert Lewis Taylor. It aired for one season with 26 episodes.
The target audience of the series were young families and teenage boys. This is one series that brought Russell to the limelight and with his breakthrough performance, he became a huge success with the fans.
The cast includes Kurt Russell, Dan O’ Herlihy, Charles Bronson, Donna Anderson, Meg Wyllie, and Michael Witney.
Escape from New York (1981)
This is an American action sci-fi film directed by John Carpenter. The movie was created in 1981 but set in the future year of 1997.
With the war between the Soviet Union and NATO escalating, the President of the United States (Donald Pleasence) travels to a peace summit between China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Air Force One gets hijacked by terrorists and Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) who was formerly a Special Forces soldier was offered a deal by Commissioner Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) to bring back the President.
Snake is injected with an explosive programmed to go off after 22 hours. He is promised a presidential pardon for his conviction of trying to rob the Federal Reserve in Colorado and the neutralization of the explosives injected into his system. This Kurt Russell movie will keep you at the edge of your seat.
With a budget of $6 million, the movie grossed a total of $25.2 million in the U.S theaters. The movie was also nominated for four Saturn Awards.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
This is one of the Kurt Russell movies where he takes up a very different role from what he is known for (action). It is a Christmas movie directed by Clay Kaytis which sees Kurt Russell star as Santa Claus. While the movie has received mixed reviews by critics, Russell’s performance has been praised.
Teddy and Kate Pierce devise a plan to capture Santa Claus a day before Christmas because of the death of their father who had always made Christmas a cherished tradition in their family. Things do not go according to plan and the kids have no choice but to join Saint Nick and his faithful elves to salvage the holiday and help Santa deliver gifts before it’s too late.
The movie was produced by Wonder Worldwide and 1492 Pictures. It was distributed by Netflix.
Daniel Boone (1964)
This series aired from 1964 to 1970 with 6 seasons and 165 episodes. The title character was played by Fess Parker. It is an action-adventure series that is quiet thrilling. Russell features in the series as a guest star taking different roles. He featured as Jed, Mathew, Nathan, Paul, William appearing in 5 episodes across seasons 1, 3, 5 and 8.
The Quest (1976)
The television series which cast Kurt Russell as Morgan Beaudine had just 1 season with 15 episodes out of which 4 were unaired. It was directed by Bernard McEveety.
Morgan and Patricia Beaudine were kidnapped by Indians when they were kids around the late 1800s. The siblings were separated and Morgan was held captive by the Cheyenne until he was freed by the United States Army after eight years.
He set out to find his missing sister years later with his brother Quinton who is a medical student in San Francisco. They journey across many miles in search of their sister (Patricia).
Despite the cancellation of the show, it won a Spur Award for one of the episodes “Hatcher’s Drive”. It was also nominated for an Emmy Award for costume design.
The New Land (1974)
As new immigrants to the United States from Sweden, Anna and Christian Larsen with their children (Cliff and Annaliese) set out to build a new life for themselves in Minnesota. The series is based on a Swedish film “The Emigrants” and its sequel. The film was nominated for an Academy Award.
Russell features as Christian’s brother Bo Larsen. Other casts include Scott Thomas (Christian Larsen), Bonnie Bedelia (Anna Larsen), Gwen Arner (Molly Lundstrom) and James Olson (Johansen).