In 1981, the New York Times declared him America’s greatest actor. Long before that, before his great success on film, the acting guru Sanford Meisner said, “There are two great actors in America, the first is Brando, whose best work is behind him, and the second is Robert Duvall.” What’s noteworthy is that over the years we are lucky to have witnessed so many good Robert Duvall movies.
His breakthrough, or what should have been his breakthrough came as Boo Radley in the classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (1962) and though perfect in a silent role it would be another decade before he truly broke through with his sublime performance as Tom Hagen in ‘The Godfather’ (1972).
The truth is all that matters to Duvall in his art, and he gets there his way. God help the director who tries to tell him how to get there or how to play the part; he has been known to tell them exactly what he thinks, or what to do with their opinion. Not the method actor that he claims to be, he however does share the obsession with truth the method seeks.
For Duvall it is always about the truth, the honesty, the authenticity of the work; nothing is more important, and he strives for that with research, meticulous preparation, and watching people. He has been known to base the creation of his characters by something he noticed in the manner someone gestured or spoke. With that said, here is the list of top Robert Duvall films, selected from his impressive filmography. You can also watch some of these best Robert Duvall movies on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Both boogeyman and saviour of the children, Boo is a simple-minded adult, sheltered much of his life to protect him from ridicule. When Scout sees him and whispers, “hey Boo” we see him for the first time, a man child with shocking white hair, and his eyes soften at her voice. She leads him away by the hand knowing she is safe with him and always will be.