American actor Paul Newman (1925 - 2008), circa 1960. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The 15 Best Paul Newman Movies, Ranked
15. The Verdict
In this courtroom drama, Newman gives one of his best performances as an alcoholic ambulance chaser that takes on a Catholic hospital and rediscovers his love for the law. The actor fought to keep the controversial aspects of his character – including when he hits a woman who betrays him – and while it’s uncomfortable to watch, the movie is all the better for it.
14. Paris Blues
The book the movie was based on had an interracial romance, but the studio opted to omit it out of fear of how U.S. audiences would respond. While it could have been more progressive, there are still aspects that push boundaries, like Diahann Carroll and Sydney Poitier arguing about civil rights, and Joanne Woodward’s character sexually forward nature.
13. The Rack
In one of Newman’s earliest starring roles, he plays a soldier returning from the Korean War after being tortured through emotional manipulation and solitary confinement. The movie’s sensitive handling of returning soldiers’ PTSD, its portrayal of mental torture, and the style of acting it introduced were revolutionary for its time.
12. Slap Shot
Newman has often said that the hockey coach character of Reggie Dunlop in this movie is his favorite role, and his enjoyment is felt by the audience. It’s one of the best sports movies of all time, and everything is entertaining from Newman’s ‘70s wardrobe to the scene-stealing trio of real-life hockey-playing pair of brothers and their teammate.
11. Somebody Up There...
Newman’s breakthrough role as boxer Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” set the precedent for his signature characters in the future. The audience can see the influence of James Dean and Marlon Brando on the young actor, who is working hard at his craft despite going a bit overboard with his Italian-American New York accent.