Biography and 15 the Best Rod Steiger Movies

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15.Crazy in Alabama

Melanie Griffith, Meat Loaf

Released: 1999

Directed by: Antonio Banderas

Crazy in Alabama is a 1999 comedy-drama film directed by Antonio Banderas, written by Mark Childress, and starring Melanie Griffith as an abused wife who heads to California to become a..

14.Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Rod Steiger, Susannah York

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mark Robson

Happy Birthday, Wanda June is a play by Kurt Vonnegut, and a 1971 film adaptation, directed by..

13.The Mark

Rod Steiger, Stuart Whitman

Released: 1961

Directed by: Guy Green

The Mark is a 1961 film which tells the story of a convicted child molester, now out of prison, who is suspected in the molestation and beating of another child. The picture stars Stuart..

12.The Chosen

Rod Steiger, Robby Benson

Released: 1981

Directed by: Jeremy Kagan

The Chosen is a 1981 drama film directed by Jeremy Kagan, based on the bestselling book of the same name by Chaim Potok published in 1967. It stars Maximilian Schell and Rod Steiger. It..

11.The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell

Elizabeth Montgomery, Gary Cooper

Released: 1955

Directed by: Otto Preminger

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell is a 1955 film directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gary Cooper as Billy Mitchell, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy, Rod Steiger and Elizabeth Montgomery in..

10.Back from Eternity

Anita Ekberg, Rod Steiger

Released: 1956

Directed by: John Farrow

Back from Eternity is a 1956 drama film about a planeload of people stranded in the South American jungle and subsequently menaced by headhunters. It is a remake of an earlier 1939..

9.Lion of the Desert

Oliver Reed, John Gielgud

Released: 1981

Directed by: Moustapha Akkad

Lion of the Desert is a 1981 Libyan historical action film starring Anthony Quinn as Libyan tribal leader Omar Mukhtar, a Bedouin leader fighting the Italian army in the years leading up to World..

8.Jubal

Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1956

Directed by: Delmer Daves

Jubal is a 1956 western film written by Russell S. Hughes and Delmer Daves and directed by Delmer Daves. “Delmer Daves’s intense, good looking Western based on Othello, in which Glenn…

7.Waterloo

Orson Welles, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1970

Directed by: Sergei Bondarchuk

Waterloo is a 1970 Soviet-Italian film directed by Sergei Bondarchuk and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. It depicts the story of the preliminary events and the Battle of Waterloo, and is

6.Doctor Zhivago

Omar Sharif, Julie Christie

Released: 1965

Directed by: David Lean

Doctor Zhivago is a British-American 1965 epic drama–romance film directed by David Lean, starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It is set in Russia between the years prior to WWI, and is..

5.The Hurricane

Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber

Released: 1999

Directed by: Norman Jewison

The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical film directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Denzel Washington. The script was adapted by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon from the books..

4.On the Waterfront

Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint

Released: 1954

Directed by: Elia Kazan

On the Waterfront is a 1954 American drama film about union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen. The film was directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg. It stars Marlon…

3.The Harder They Fall

Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger

Released: 1956

Directed by: Mark Robson

The Harder They Fall is a 1956 film noir directed by Mark Robson, featuring Humphrey Bogart in his last film. It was written by Philip Yordan and based on the 1947 novel of the same name by..

2.Duck, You Sucker!

as A Fistful of Dynamite and Once Upon a Time… The Revolution, is a 1971 epic Zapata Western film directed and co-written by Sergio Leone and starring Rod Steiger, James Coburn and Romolo Valli.

Set during the Mexican Revolution of the 1910s, the film tells the story of Juan Miranda, an amoral Mexican outlaw, and John Mallory, an ex-Irish Republican Army revolutionary. After they accidentally meet under less-than-friendly circumstances, Juan and John involuntarily become heroes of the Revolution despite being forced to make heavy sacrifices.

It is the second film of Leone’s Once Upon a Time Trilogy, which includes the previous Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and the subsequent Once Upon a Time in America (1984). The last western film directed by Leone, it is considered by some to be one of his most overlooked films.

 

1.In the Heat of the Night

Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger

Released: 1967

Directed by: Norman Jewison

In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball’s 1965 novel of the same name which tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a..

And the film, according to many critics, is considered the best of R.S.

.The Pawnbroker

Morgan Freeman, Rod Steiger

Released: 1965

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

The Pawnbroker is a 1964 drama film, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sánchez and Morgan Freeman in his feature film debut. It was..

Biography

 

Rodney Stephen Steiger was born in Westhampton, New York, to Augusta Amelia (Driver) and Frederick Jacob Steiger, both vaudevillians. He was of German and Austrian ancestry. After his parents’ divorce, Steiger was raised by his mother in Newark, New Jersey. He dropped out of Westside High school at age 16 and joined the Navy. He saw action in the Pacific on a destroyer. Steiger returned to New Jersey after the war and worked for the VA. He was part of an amateur acting group, and then joined the Actors’ Studio using his GI Bill benefits.

Steiger received his first film roles in the early 1950s. His first major one was in Teresa (1951), but his first lead role was in the TV version of The Philco Television Playhouse: Marty (1953). The movie version, however, had Ernest Borgnine in the lead and won him an Academy Award. Steiger’s breakthrough role came in 1954, with the classic On the Waterfront (1954). Since then he has been a presence on the screen as everything from a popular leading man to a little-known character actor. Steiger made a name for himself in many different types of roles, from a crooked promoter in The Harder They Fall (1956) to the title character in Al Capone (1959). He was one of dozens of stars in the epic World War II film The Longest Day (1962). In 1964, he received his second Oscar nomination for The Pawnbroker (1964). The next couple of years he was at the height of his powers. In 1965, he starred in the dark comedy The Loved One (1965), and in David Lean’s epic Doctor Zhivago (1965). In 1966, he starred in the BBC Play of the Month (1965) episode “Death of a Salesman” as Willy Loman in the TV version of his stage play “Death of a Salesman,” but in 1967, he landed what many consider his greatest role: Sheriff Bill Gillespie in In the Heat of the Night (1967), opposite Sidney Poitier. Steiger deservedly took home the Best Actor Oscar for his work in that film.

He took another controversial role as a man with many tattoos in The Illustrated Man (1969) and as a serial killer in the classic No Way to Treat a Lady (1968). After that, he seemed to have withdrawn from high-profile movies and became more selective in the roles he chose. He turned down the lead in Patton (1970) and also in The Godfather (1972). Among his more notable roles in the 1970s are Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971), Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973), as Benito Mussolini in The Last 4 Days (1974), Portrait of a Hitman (1979), Jesus of Nazareth (1977), F.I.S.T. (1978) and The Amityville Horror (1979). He starred in the critically acclaimed The Chosen (1981) with Robby Benson and Maximilian Schell, perhaps the highlight of his 1980s movie career. Steiger increasingly moved away from the big Hollywood pictures, instead taking roles in foreign productions and independent movies. As the 1980s ended, Steiger landed a role as the buttoned-up New York City Chief of Police in The January Man (1989).

Steiger was seriously affected by depression for 8 years. As he returned to the screen in the late 1990s he began creating some of his most memorable roles. He was the doctor in the independently-made movie Shiloh (1996), about an abused dog. He was the crazed, kill-’em-all army general in Mars Attacks! (1996) who always called his enemies peace-mongers. He took a small part as a Supreme Court judge in The Hurricane (1999) and as a preacher in the badly produced film End of Days (1999). He was still active in films moving into the new millennium.

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