Paul Newman: His Greatest Films

From more than 50 years of screen favorites, our critic Leah Rozen picks 15 of the Oscar winner's most notable roles

01 of 15

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
Courtesy Everett Collection

Playing Brick, a deeply unhappy man who'd rather drink than have sex with

his wife (Elizabeth Taylor), Newman picked up his first Oscar nomination for

the 1958 adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play.

02 of 15

THE LONG HOT SUMMER

THE LONG HOT SUMMER
Courtesy Everett Collection

Although they weren't wed to each other at the time they shot The

Long Hot Summer (1958), this southern-soaked drama would be the first of

more than a half-dozen films the actor and soon-to-be wife Joanne Woodward

would costar in together over five decades.

03 of 15

THE HUSTLER

THE HUSTLER
20th Century Fox Film/Courtesy Everett Collection

Newman scored both a box office and critical hit in 1961 playing a pool

hustler who challenges champ Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) to a big

money game. The black-and-white drama earned him a second Oscar nomination

for Best Actor.

04 of 15

HUD

HUD
Bradley Smith/Corbis

Newman was downright bad – as in amoral – when he portrayed the

sexy louse of a title character in the 1963 contemporary western. But that

doesn't mean he wasn't good – the brash role nabbed him his third Best

Actor nomination.

05 of 15

HARPER

HARPER
Courtesy Everett Collection

Joining the gumshoe game in 1966, the actor was the coolest of private

detectives as Lew Harper, a role he'd reprise nine years later in The Drowning Pool.

06 of 15

COOL HAND LUKE

COOL HAND LUKE
Courtesy Everett Collection

Tapping into the rebellious '60s zeitgeist, Newman scored a huge hit playing

a prison inmate who refused to buckle to authority in Cool Hand

Luke. Possibly helped by the fact that his baby blue eyes were perfectly

complemented by his character's blue prison togs, the role earned Newman yet

another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1967.

07 of 15

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

"I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals," Newman (with

Katharine Ross) famously said in his partners-in-crime classic costarring

fellow hunk Robert Redford. The 1969 comedic western, about a pair of

real-life outlaws, was a box-office blockbuster that made a legend out of

the actor and turned the younger Redford into a bankable star.

08 of 15

WINNING

WINNING
Courtesy Everett Collection

Newman put his need for speed – off-screen, he was a skilled

race-car-driving enthusiast and had the trophies to prove it – into

Winning (1969), getting behind the wheel to play an ambitious pro

driver aiming to make it to the Indianapolis 500.

09 of 15

THE STING

THE STING
Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Cavorting about as a couple of con men during the Great Depression, Newman

reteamed with Redford in The Sting (1973) and, again, the pairing

proved box-office magic. And who can forget that ragtime score?

10 of 15

THE TOWERING INFERNO

THE TOWERING INFERNO
Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

In one of the sillier movies he ever made, Newman played an architect who

helps rescue people when a fancy new skyscraper he has designed goes up in

flames. At the time (1974), big-budget disaster movies were inexplicably in

vogue. (Trivia note: O.J. Simpson plays a security guard in the movie.)

11 of 15

SLAP SHOT

SLAP SHOT
Courtesy Everett Collection

The actor gave one of his sharpest performances as the carousing

player-coach of a minor league hockey team stuck in a backwater town in

Slap Shot (1977), a classic sports movie that is now sparking

talk of a remake in Hollywood.

12 of 15

THE COLOR OF MONEY

THE COLOR OF MONEY
Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

After six acting nominations and an honorary Oscar, Newman finally took home

the golden statue when he reprised his role as Hustler pool

sharpie Eddie Felson in The Color of Money (1986), this time

showing a talented newcomer (Tom Cruise) his way around the felt.

13 of 15

EMPIRE FALLS

EMPIRE FALLS
HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

As an elderly ne'er-do-well stuck in a small Maine town, Newman again played

a character created by one his favorite novelists, Richard Russo, in the

2005 HBO movie Empire Falls. It was his second pairing with the

Pulitzer Prize winner's work: He had earlier starred in the adaptation of

Nobody's Fool (1994), which earned him yet another Oscar nod.

14 of 15

OUR TOWN

OUR TOWN
Westport Country Playhouse/Everett Collection

First he returned to Broadway and his theater roots to play the folksy

Narrator, the Stage Manager, in a revival of Thornton Wilder's Our

Town; then Newman gave an encore performance in a filmed version, which

first aired on PBS in 2003.

15 of 15

ROAD TO PERDITION

ROAD TO PERDITION
DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection

For his chilling turn as an aging Mob boss in Road to Perdition (2002), costarring Tom Hanks, Newman snagged his last Oscar nomination

– his tenth (nine for acting, and one for directing 1968's Rachel, Rachel) – this time for Best Supporting Actor. The role also

would prove to be one of his last on the big screen.

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