Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Is Robert Redford the "Most Influential" Actor Ever? Hardly.

“Looking at his work, past and present, I don’t think there’s any other actor who has had a bigger influence and impact on American cinema than Bob Redford.” (Jane Fonda)

Like usual, Jane is crazy. Whether one grades actors regarding to who set the trends in how movies would be made and marketed, box office appeal, achieving icon status, or setting the mark for quality cinema, there are a whole gang of actors whose influence has been more profound than Mr. Redford.

Want a list?

I nominate Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney, Lilian Gish, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Greta Garbo, Shirley Temple, Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe.

A few more? How about Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper, Sidney Poitier, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, James Cagney, Vincent Price, Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Barbara Stanwyck, Woody Allen, James Dean, Ingrid Bergman, Robert De Niro, and Edward G. Robinson?

But I'm not done yet. There is Burt Lancaster, Lauren Bacall, Eddie Murphy, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Errol Flynn, Peter Sellers, and Steve McQueen.

And don't forget Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Sylvester Stallone, Marlene Dietrich, Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, George C. Scott, Charles Bronson, Alec Guinness, Doris Day, Jason Robards, Peter O’Toole, and Elizabeth Taylor.

And I didn't even mention Bugs Bunny.

No, Ms. Fonda, Robert Redford is an excellent actor and a moderately successful director. But the most influential ever? Not even close.