Five Favorite Films

William Sadler's Five Favorite Films

by | June 9, 2015 | Comments

William Sadler

When I picked up the phone and heard William Sadler‘s voice on the other end of the line, I got hit with flashbacks to some of his characters from numerous films on other people’s Five Favorite Films lists, like Die Hard 2, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Green Mile, Kinsey, and Iron Man 3. It seemed appropriate that we begin the conversation by him asking if he was allowed to pick one of his films to be on his list. I told him absolutely, because of the movies he’s been in. He expressed gratitude for being in the particular film that seems to “grow in stature” over time, but ultimately decided to leave The Shawshank Redemption off the list and go with these instead.

The Verdict (Sidney Lumet, 1982) 96%

Paul Newman, Milo O’Shea, and James Mason. I met Paul Newman a couple of times — he saw me in two of the three Broadway shows that I’ve done in New York. He came backstage and said how much he loved the shows, and I’ve just been a fan of his work forever. This [pick] was a toss up between this and Cool Hand Luke, another monster Paul Newman movie. There was something wonderful about his lost soul that he found in The Verdict. The [characters are] on opposite ends of the scale. Luke can’t be broken, apparently. He’s got that grin and that spirit. In The Verdict he’s already broken, he’s hanging on by a thread and hoping he can pull this out. Wonderful actor, underrated.

Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, 1952) 100%

Again, toss up between The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain. This one is perfect. Not a frame is off. There’s not a weak character, there’s not a weak moment, it’s just a delight all the way through. There’s Donald O’Connor doing Make ‘Em Laugh. They turned him loose and he just went. [And there’s] that wonderful scene where they’re talking to the voice coach. They make it look so easy and effortless — and if you’ve ever danced on stage, if you’ve ever tried tap dancing and singing at the same time, there is nothing easy about it. It is just astonishing. “Whaddya think, I’m dumb or something?” Oh, Jean Hagen.

Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) 96%

With my friend Morgan [Freeman]. It’s so funny, these movies, the ones that I’m pulling out, they all have the same element. They feel perfect. I can’t find a false note, I can’t find a scene or a moment that you could lose and the movie would still be as good. There’s not a wasted breath. I think that Unforgiven is some of Clint Eastwood’s best work. I love westerns — I grew up on them — watching them and playing them around the barn in Buffalo. This is a different western, again, this is a broken guy who’s hanging on by his fingernails. He’s been a dirt farmer, he’s lost his wife, this is his last shot. That’s funny, it’s a little like The Verdict in that respect. None of it is pretty. It’s not slick, it’s not the balletic gunfighting that you see in some movies. It’s ugly and awkward and it’s not easy to kill a man. That was one of the themes that just stuck out like a sore thumb. This is not an easy thing to do, kill a man. For all the glamour and all the romance of the old west and the gunfights and so on, this is awful work, guns. They brought that to life. Gene Hackman can do no wrong. He’s sort of an acting god.

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) 98%

I saw it when I was in college and I went back and saw it again, and then I went back and saw it again. It has all my favorite actors in it. Big as life, absolutely in their top form. It doesn’t get any better than that anywhere. I saw them up on the screen and I thought “I want to do that, that’s what I want to do.” That had a big impact on me when I was a kid, coming up. We learn these movies like old friends, they’re like songs that when you hear them enough you know every note and moment, you know when he’s going to look over and you expect the lines, you’re doing them along with the film. Brilliant, brilliant piece of filmmaking. On everybody’s part. Robert Duvall. Spectacular stuff — [Duvall has] forgotten more about acting than most of us will ever learn.

The African Queen (John Huston, 1951) 98%

A romance between a beat up, tired, old, raggedy-ass drunkard hanging on by a thread and one last hurrah. There’s a theme in the film that I love. To see the two of them [Humphrey Bogart and Kathryn Hepburn], the chemistry was so magical. It was so easy and fun. They were having so much fun. Clearly. It was like watching a tennis match between two of the best players of all time. Just effortless. And they tell this phenomenal story. I’m a sucker for those. [Hepburn] had a similar chemistry with lots of people, with Spencer Tracy in the Pat and Mike film, it was just sparkle and fun. Going back and forth between her and Bogie and they let Bogie play this guy, this stumbling bumbling [does impression “Well, Ma’am”] which was great, he just went there. John Huston did a brilliant job with that thing.

Freedom is in theaters, on VOD, and iTunes on June 5th.

Tag Cloud

Musicals zombies crime thriller Awards robots WGN A&E cats sitcom President Epix Rom-Com serial killer E3 Shudder Horror 2015 Acorn TV Columbia Pictures CNN Tumblr crossover dramedy thriller Paramount Year in Review Photos TLC Creative Arts Emmys streaming Comedy Central Dark Horse Comics Song of Ice and Fire cinemax 20th Century Fox diversity USA Set visit Grammys Best and Worst See It Skip It GoT TBS Spring TV Hulu Western Masterpiece 2016 MTV Schedule TNT Syfy Kids & Family romance historical drama SDCC mutant medical drama boxoffice Extras Holidays docudrama Drama Country Interview Certified Fresh BBC Red Carpet science fiction Bravo Logo X-Men Reality based on movie Reality Competition period drama Rock The CW CBS All Access AMC Ghostbusters biography Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Martial Arts adventure Lionsgate FOX Cosplay NYCC Sneak Peek Sundance golden globes Fantasy Food Network Universal Sony Pictures ratings DirecTV Summer 45 Marathons psycho Comic Book Disney zombie discovery Emmys Election BET composers spy thriller Winners Premiere Dates 21st Century Fox MSNBC 24 frames Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Toys HBO USA Network New York Comic Con supernatural Biopics Super Bowl IFC singing competition blaxploitation Polls and Games Musical Lucasfilm FX Thanksgiving Oscars what to watch Marvel TCA anime aliens Comics on TV Showtime Winter TV San Diego Comic-Con comiccon jamie lee curtis Paramount Network harry potter American Society of Cinematographers Sundance Now TCM Amazon Netflix YouTube Premium Freeform Countdown First Look war SundanceTV Star Wars SXSW politics Character Guide cults DC streaming service cops ITV Teen Pop CMT CW Seed IFC Films sports unscripted TruTV crime Box Office YA YouTube Red Nominations ABC Family Spike festivals El Rey Starz Superheroe Infographic Quiz vampires Walt Disney Pictures Adult Swim TIFF political drama Superheroes Nat Geo Animation talk show Mystery Ovation finale Nickelodeon Writers Guild of America Fall TV Warner Bros. Pixar PaleyFest Rocky CBS cooking Fox News Crackle Cartoon Network police drama Calendar Opinion binge justice league Comedy Podcast PBS transformers technology The Arrangement Shondaland travel Sci-Fi VH1 doctor who ABC TV Land E! DC Comics Star Trek BBC America Valentine's Day OWN Trivia social media National Geographic hist Ellie Kemper TV dceu Action Trailer Pirates History television Lifetime APB DC Universe Watching Series LGBTQ Christmas Video Games VICE NBC ESPN dc GLAAD Music 007 Tomatazos Mindy Kaling Disney Channel Mary Tyler Moore Esquire Apple TCA 2017 GIFs FXX RT History Britbox crime drama 2017