Tommy Boy

(Photo by Paramount Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Brian Dennehy Movies Ranked

Brian Dennehy’s film debut was in the Burt Reynolds sports comedy Semi-Tough, a fitting start for a former university football player. His imposing size fit him well in bruising, enforcer-type roles, like in Sylvester Stallone’s F.I.S.T., with character names like Big Tom (Tommy Boy) and Big Dave (The Stars Fell on Henrietta). It was Dennehy’s second collaboration with Stallone that put him on the national stage: First Blood, playing relentless Sheriff Will Teasle, who torments John Rambo to the breaking point.

And he would memorably play another sheriff in the western Silverado. Dennehy would frequently be on the side of the law, with police roles in Gorky Park, F/X, and the Assault on Precinct 13 remake. But Dennehy’s enormous range and distinct everyman quality kept him from being typecast, along with strong theater work to rely on and hone his craft. (He won two Tony awards, including one for his Broadway performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in the late ’90s.) You can see his lighter side in Ron Howard’s sci-fi dramedy Cocoon, and when playing Chris Farley’s dad in Tommy Boy.

More career highlights include playing the shifty DA opposite Harrison Ford in Presumed Innocent, performing live in the network broadcast of Fail Safe with George Clooney and a whole slew of other caliber actors, and voicing Remy’s father in Pixar’s Ratatouille. In his final decade of work, Dennehy collaborated with Terence Malick on Knight of Cups, appeared in the pleasing Chekhov adaptation The Seagull, and bridged the generation gap in Andrew Ahn’s second feature, the tender Driveways.

#1

Never Cry Wolf (1983)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101781%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Research scientist Tyler (Charles Martin Smith) is sent to the desolate Canadian tundra to find out whether the local wolf... [More]
Directed By: Carroll Ballard

#2

Driveways (2019)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102998%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet powerful, Driveways is a character study anchored in fundamental decency -- and a poignant farewell to Brian Dennehy.
Synopsis: A lonely boy goes with his mother to help clean out his late aunt's house.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Ahn

#3

Fail Safe (2000)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 24878%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the 1960s, a computer error in Nebraska unwittingly sets off a perilous chain of events leading to a Cold... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#4

Ratatouille (2007)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 106589%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced and stunningly animated, Ratatouille adds another delightfully entertaining entry -- and a rather unlikely hero -- to the Pixar canon.
Synopsis: Remy (Patton Oswalt), a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#5

Semi-Tough (1977)
83%

#5
Adjusted Score: 48637%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Billy Clyde Puckett (Burt Reynolds) and Marvin "Shake" Tiller (Kris Kristofferson) are professional football players who share a lush Miami... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#6

F/X (1986)
88%

#6
Adjusted Score: 88166%
Critics Consensus: Smart, twisty, and perfectly cast, the effects-assisted neo-noir F/X reminds viewers that a well-told story is the most special effect of all.
Synopsis: Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) is a special-effects expert for low-budget Hollywood movies. As gangster Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach) prepares to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel

#7

First Blood (1982)
86%

#7
Adjusted Score: 86246%
Critics Consensus: Much darker and more sensitive than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure that takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.
Synopsis: Vietnam veteran and drifter John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old... [More]
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 87946%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to an outstanding script, focused direction by Alan Pakula, and a riveting performance from Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent is the kind of effective courtroom thriller most others aspire to be.
Synopsis: Prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns his chief deputy, the taciturn Rusty Sabitch (Harrison Ford), to investigate the rape... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 45039%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unhappily married steelworker (Gene Hackman) turns 50 and sees a chance for a whole new life with a barmaid... [More]
Directed By: Bud Yorkin

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 52373%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stourley Kracklite (Brian Dennehy), a driven, detail-obsessed architect, travels from America to Rome with his much younger wife, Louisa (Chloe... [More]
Directed By: Peter Greenaway

#11

Cocoon (1985)
76%

#11
Adjusted Score: 76982%
Critics Consensus: Though it may be too sentimental for some, Ron Howard's supernatural tale of eternal youth is gentle and heartwarming, touching on poignant issues of age in the process.
Synopsis: Oscar-winning fantasy in which the residents of a Florida rest home get a new lease of life when they stumble... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#12

Silverado (1985)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 79171%
Critics Consensus: Boasting rich detail and well-told story, Silverado is a rare example of an '80s Hollywood Western done right.
Synopsis: Rambling man Emmett (Scott Glenn) assembles a group of misfit cowboys (Kevin Costner), (Kevin Kline, Danny Glover). After helping a... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#13

Gorky Park (1983)
78%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77157%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Soviet detective Arkady Renko (William Hurt) uncovers a vast network of deceit and intrigue when he investigates a triple murder... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#14

F.I.S.T. (1978)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 38319%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) works in a warehouse and grows tired of the unfair policies in place, leading him to... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#15

Foul Play (1978)
74%

#15
Adjusted Score: 76163%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Librarian Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) leads a relatively uneventful life. When she looks to shake things up, she somehow winds... [More]
Directed By: Colin Higgins

#16

Best Seller (1987)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 43329%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Police detective and successful author Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) has not been able to write since his wife's death and... [More]
Directed By: John Flynn

#17
Adjusted Score: 76721%
Critics Consensus: Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.
Synopsis: Baz Luhrmann helped adapt this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a post-modern city named... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#18

The Seagull (2018)
67%

#18
Adjusted Score: 74192%
Critics Consensus: The latest iteration of The Seagull does little to distinguish itself from other Chekhov adaptations but provides a pleasing showcase for its sterling cast.
Synopsis: At a picturesque lakeside estate, a love triangle unfolds between the diva Irina, her lover Boris, and the ingenue Nina.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mayer

#19

10 (1979)
68%

#19
Adjusted Score: 69378%
Critics Consensus: Blake Edwards' bawdy comedy may not score a perfect 10, but Dudley Moore's self-deprecating performance makes this midlife crisis persistently funny.
Synopsis: A successful, middle-aged Hollywood songwriter falls hopelessly in love with the woman of his dreams, and even follows the girl... [More]
Directed By: Blake Edwards

#20

3 Days With Dad (2019)
64%

#20
Adjusted Score: 59337%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of a Roman Catholic family prepare for the death of their father.... [More]
Directed By: Larry Clarke

#21

Miles From Home (1988)
60%

#21
Adjusted Score: 23749%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After creditors make it clear they intend to foreclose on the family farm of Frank (Richard Gere) and Terry Roberts... [More]
Directed By: Gary Sinise

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 65984%
Critics Consensus: This remake has been praised by some as an expertly made B-movie, and dismissed by others as formulaic.
Synopsis: While en route to prison, a bus carrying criminals Marion (Laurence Fishburne), Beck (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Anna (Aisha Hinds)... [More]
Directed By: Jean Richet

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 56568%
Critics Consensus: Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks give it their all, but their solid performances aren't quite enough to compensate for The Next Three Days' uneven pace and implausible plot.
Synopsis: Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#24
Adjusted Score: 23712%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Mr. Cox (Robert Duvall) is a talented oil prospector who's yet to strike it rich. During... [More]
Directed By: James Keach

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 48319%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An awkward teen (Dustin Ingram) makes a road trip to see his favorite porn star (Kim Cattrall) in person and... [More]
Directed By: Keith Bearden

#26

Knight of Cups (2015)
47%

#26
Adjusted Score: 58637%
Critics Consensus: Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#27

Legal Eagles (1986)
44%

#27
Adjusted Score: 43738%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah) is arrested for stealing artwork painted by her deceased father, and sympathetic attorney Laura Kelly (Debra... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#28

Tommy Boy (1995)
41%

#28
Adjusted Score: 42384%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#29

Everyone's Hero (2006)
42%

#29
Adjusted Score: 44370%
Critics Consensus: Everyone's Hero is such a predictable and bland tale that it'll appeal mostly to little kids; others seeking something in Pixar's league are looking in the wrong ballpark.
Synopsis: A boy (Jake T. Austin) comes to a turning point in his life when he faces a critical decision: Should... [More]

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 43146%
Critics Consensus: The Song of Sway Lake benefits from alluring, evocative atmosphere, although it isn't always enough to compensate for a shaggy narrative and overall lack of focus.
Synopsis: After his father's suicide, a young record collector and his friend go to his family's lake house to claim a... [More]
Directed By: Ari Gold

#31

The Big Year (2011)
42%

#31
Adjusted Score: 44684%
Critics Consensus: Though made with care and affection for its characters, The Big Year plods along, rarely reaching any comedic heights.
Synopsis: Three men find that they have come to a turning point. Stu (Steve Martin) faces a late-life crisis, Kenny (Owen... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#32
Adjusted Score: 19235%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Prequel to the 1969 western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in which a gang of bank robbers arrive in... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#33

FX2 (1991)
40%

#33
Adjusted Score: 28238%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former movie special effects expert Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) has now become a maker of elaborate toys. When a police... [More]
Directed By: Richard Franklin

#34

Stolen Summer (2002)
36%

#34
Adjusted Score: 37299%
Critics Consensus: Stolen Summer feels like a sugary after-school special stretched out to feature length.
Synopsis: "Stolen Summer" chronicles the friendship of Pete O'Malley (Adi Stein) and Danny Jacobsen (Michael Weinberg). Most third graders spend their... [More]
Directed By: Pete Jones

#35

Every Day (2010)
34%

#35
Adjusted Score: 34455%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A TV writer (Liev Schreiber) grapples with a wave of personal and professional crises, including his wife's meltdown and a... [More]
Directed By: Richard Levine

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 18865%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Five years after the first "Cocoon," the friendly aliens from the planet Anterea return to Earth to rescue some incubation... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Petrie

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 34984%
Critics Consensus: Though The Ultimate Gift avoids religious speechifying like other Fox Faith films, it's dramatically inert with flat direction.
Synopsis: Jason Stevens (Drew Fuller) lives a life of wealth and privilege. When his grandfather (James Garner) dies, Jason expects to... [More]
Directed By: Michael O. Sajbel

#38

Gladiator (1992)
31%

#38
Adjusted Score: 16713%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After whipping a rival in a brawl, Chicago teen Tommy Riley (James Marshall) is asked to box in the illegal... [More]
Directed By: Rowdy Herrington

#39

She Hate Me (2004)
19%

#39
Adjusted Score: 22730%
Critics Consensus: She Hate Me can't decide if it wants to be a commentary on corporate greed or a sex farce.
Synopsis: Fired from his corporate job, a man (Anthony Mackie) agrees to impregnate his ex-fiancee (Kerry Washington) and a slew of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#40

10th and Wolf (2006)
19%

#40
Adjusted Score: 18318%
Critics Consensus: A scattered mob movie that employs every mafia cliche and fails to establish an identity of its own.
Synopsis: While serving in the military, a Marine sergeant (James Marsden) believes his family's ties to organized crime are a thing... [More]
Directed By: Bobby Moresco

#41

Righteous Kill (2008)
18%

#41
Adjusted Score: 23965%
Critics Consensus: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro do their best to elevate this dowdy genre exercise, but even these two greats can't resuscitate the film's hackneyed script.
Synopsis: Detectives Thomas Cowan (Robert De Niro) and David Fisk (Al Pacino), 30-year veterans of the NYPD, investigate the murder of... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet

#42

Summer Catch (2001)
8%

#42
Adjusted Score: 10179%
Critics Consensus: A cliched and predictable sports comedy that's mostly devoid of excitement or laughs, Summer Catch is strictly bush-league.
Synopsis: A coming-of-age romantic comedy set against the backdrop of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Local boy Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze... [More]
Directed By: Michael Tollin

This weekend, multiplexes hope to cram in lots of moviegoers thanks to a wide selection of new films. Six movies open or expand nationally on Friday making for what will be one of the most competitive weekends of the holiday season.

Adult audiences looking for a laugh can see Will Ferrell in a more mature role in "Stranger Than Fiction." The female vote will be split with daughters going for a scare with Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Return" while their mothers can spend the evening with Russell Crowe in the romantic comedy "A Good Year." The action flick "Harsh Times" rounds out the menu of new releases targeting young men.

In addition, the cross-continent drama "Babel" expands across the country after two weeks of stellar results in limited release. Despite all the new opponents entering the field, reigning box office incumbent "Borat" will go fully national in an attempt to be re-elected for a second term as commander-in-chief. Rarely does a November weekend have so many new offerings. The fight for screens and moviegoer attention will be fierce. Not every film will survive so some casualties will be left behind on the battlefield by the end of the frame.

After battling Sacha Baron Cohen with race cars last summer in "Talladega Nights," Will Ferrell once again takes on the British comedian at the box office with "Stranger Than Fiction" which will try to stop the seemingly unstoppable "Borat" machine. In the PG-13 film, the funnyman plays an agent with the IRS who begins to hear a voice narrating his life and his every move. Emma Thompson provides the voice while Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah co-star. Directed by Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland," "Monster’s Ball"), "Stranger" takes an A-list comedian and puts him in a more mature and serious film that still has some comedic elements. That means that the 14-year-old boys who powered "Talladega Nights" to a $47M opening will take a pass this time around.

When Jim Carrey went arthouse, he saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" open to $8.2M with a $6,042 average and "Man on the Moon" bow to $7.5M with a $3,615 average. Adam Sandler‘s "Spanglish" debuted to $8.8M and a $3,617 average. It can often be a tough sell to take a comedian known mostly for mainstream comedies and put him into a more mature film, even if it still has laughs. "Stranger Than Fiction" might find it difficult to pull in teens and young adults, but mature adults will have interest. Reviews have been generally good and the concept makes the film stand out in the current marketplace. Competition for adults will come from both "Babel" and "A Good Year" while "Borat" will continue to steal away millions of moviegoers looking for a good laugh. Launching in 2,264 theaters, "Stranger Than Fiction" might open with roughly $16M.


Will Ferrell screaming at a bus in "Stranger Than Fiction."

Halloween may have passed but those in search of a scare, and were disappointed that "The Grudge 2" did not have Sarah Michelle Gellar in a full role, will have a chance to see their favorite vampire slayer in the new supernatural thriller "The Return." With a commercially friendly PG-13 rating, the spookfest finds Gellar playing a young businesswoman guided by mysterious forces to avenge her own death from a previous life. In the horror genre, Gellar is a bonafide star and can pull in teens and young adults. But with so many fright sequels cramming into theaters recently during the pre-pumpkin period, many genre fans might be all scared out by now. Luckily for "The Return," competition will not be too fierce as nothing else is exciting teenage girls at the moment. The marketing push has been decent, but in many ways it does not stand out as something special or unique that is worth seeing right away. Opening in 1,986 theaters, "The Return" might gross around $8M over the weekend.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, padding her horror credentials in "The Return."

Russell Crowe reteams with his "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott for a trip to a new genre (romantic comedy) in "A Good Year." The PG-13 film finds the former Maximus playing a financial guru who finds women and wine at a french vineyard he inherits. Talk about a tough sell. On paper, the Scott-Crowe combo is box office gold, only they chose to try out a type of film that will repel fans who spent $187.7M on the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner. Plus the Fox release has no notable female star to boost its potential. Add to that the bad buzz that "Year" received at the Toronto Film Festival plus the mostly negative reviews from critics, and it surely will have its work cut out for it. Could this be "All the King’s Men" all over again?

"A Good Year" stands as that rare film which reunites an Oscar-caliber director with an Oscar-winning actor that earns bad reviews and lukewarm studio support. Crowe’s last film "Cinderella Man" bowed to $18.3M from 2,812 theaters for a $6,515 average in June of last year and was considered an underperformer. The actor’s latest picture lacks the Ron Howard film’s strong critical support, added starpower from Renee Zellweger, and sizable push from Universal. "A Good Year" should play mostly to adult female audiences as the male appeal is low. That makes "Babel" and "Stranger Than Fiction," which have better cross-gender appeal, direct competitors this weekend for mature couples. Opening in 2,066 theaters, "A Good Year" could find itself with about $8M this weekend and a rough road ahead.


Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott enter chick flick territory with "A Good Year."

Still in the top ten with "The Prestige," Christian Bale comes back for double duty in the new action thriller "Harsh Times" from MGM. The R-rated film from the writer of "Training Day" finds the Caped Crusader playing an ex-Army Ranger enlisting with the LAPD who still has ties into the crime world in South Central. "Harsh" will play to urban audiences and should skew male but will find the marketplace difficult to navigate with bigger titles like "Borat" and "Saw III" already doing strong business with that demo. Bale lacks the drawing power of Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role in "Training Day" so the grosses should not be in the same ballpark. A moderate national release in over 900 theaters will also limit the potential. "Harsh Times" will have to fight hard in order to crack the top ten and could finish the frame with around $3M.


Christian Bale as a psychopath in "Harsh Times."

Among holdovers, all eyes will be on "Borat" this weekend. Can the Kazakh superstar spend another weekend at number one? Following its robust $26.5M bow from 837 theaters, the Sacha Baron Cohen starrer has delivered solid midweek results grossing over $3M on both Monday and Tuesday. Now, Fox will expand the raunchy comedy on Friday by more than tripling the run to 2,565 theaters allowing everyone to have easy access to the most-talked-about film of the season. Word-of-mouth has been encouraging and "Borat" might even reach the Holy Grail of the box office – repeat business.

Last weekend’s potent average of $31,607 will certainly come crashing down since the film will be in more theaters and most of the hardcore fans have now already seen it. But the buzz is still hot and the Uzbekistan-hating TV journalist is now trying to crossover into new audience segments not initially sold on the concept last week. With the frame’s new films all a mixed bag without a surefire smash among them, "Borat" looks ready to retain its hold on the number one spot. A weekend gross of around $24M could result giving Fox a stellar $62M in only ten days.


"Kazakhstan is the greatest…"

Another cross-cultural film with a five-letter title starting with a B expanding over the weekend is "Babel" starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Paramount Vantage has attracted scorching results in limited release for two weeks and is now hoping that moviegoers nationwide are ready for the acclaimed drama. Last weekend, "Babel" popped into the Top 20 with a stellar $26,264 average from 35 locations. On Friday, the R-rated film expands to over 1,200 sites and should continue to play to an upscale adult audience.

"Babel" is likely to play to the same crowd that powered last December’s "Syriana" to a $11.7M bow from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. That film had more theaters and a star, George Clooney, who is despised by many American moviegoers for his political beliefs. On the other hand, Pitt can cheat on his wife and father a baby with another woman, and the public still can’t get enough of him. That’s pure starpower. But "Babel" is not the type of commercial role that Pitt attracts large crowds to. Still, the average should be solid so given its level of distribution, "Babel" could gross about $10M this weekend.


Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, looking rather disheveled in "Babel."

Disney and Paramount went head to head last weekend with competing kidpics and split the family vote in half pretty evenly. "Flushed Away" is getting better word-of-mouth and is offering audiences something new so its decline might be smaller than that of "The Santa Clause 3." Kid movies opening in early November typically have good legs and enjoy strong second weekend holds. Sophomore drops for recent films of the genre include 21% for last year’s "Chicken Little," 29% for 2004’s "The Incredibles," 15% for 2003’s "Elf," and 15% for 2002’s "The Santa Clause 2." This weekend, "Clause 3" might drop by 25% and "Flushed" could wash away 20% leaving each with a three-day tally in the neighborhood of $15M. That would push ten-day cumes to roughly $39M a piece for the Mouse House pic and the rat toon.

LAST YEAR: Disney’s poultry toon "Chicken Little" stayed at number one for a second weekend with an impressive $31.7M. Three new releases followed within a tight range. Sony’s big-budget kidpic "Zathura" bowed in second with $13.4M on its way to a disappointing $28.2M. Jennifer Aniston was close behind with her thriller "Derailed" which opened to $12.2M. The Weinstein Co. release went on to gross a moderate $36M. Paramount’s urban action pic "Get Rich or Die Tryin’" debuted in fourth place with a $12M weekend and $17.7M over five days. The 50 Cent starrer finished its run with $31M. Rounding out the top five was the military drama "Jarhead" which tumbled 58% to $11.7M. Premiering to sensational results was the period film "Pride & Prejudice" which grossed $2.9M from only 215 theaters for a sizzling $13,326 average. The Focus release went on to become an awards contender and took in $38.4M making it the top-grossing pic among the weekend’s new films.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com