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. Alex Vo


Never Cry Wolf (1983)

Adjusted Score: 101485%
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


Driveways (2019)

Adjusted Score: 103223%
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


Fail Safe (2000)

Adjusted Score: 22610%
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


Ratatouille (2007)

Adjusted Score: 106441%
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


Semi-Tough (1977)

Adjusted Score: 43393%
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


F/X (1986)

Adjusted Score: 88071%
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


First Blood (1982)

Adjusted Score: 87090%
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


Presumed Innocent (1990)

Adjusted Score: 88457%
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


Twice in a Lifetime (1985)

Adjusted Score: 39991%
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

Adjusted Score: 45192%
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


Cocoon (1985)

Adjusted Score: 77650%
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


Silverado (1985)

Adjusted Score: 78811%
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


Gorky Park (1983)

Adjusted Score: 78044%
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


F.I.S.T. (1978)

Adjusted Score: 35080%
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


Foul Play (1978)

Adjusted Score: 75560%
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


Best Seller (1987)

Adjusted Score: 39337%
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

Adjusted Score: 76049%
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


The Seagull (2018)

Adjusted Score: 72393%
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


10 (1979)

Adjusted Score: 68996%
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


3 Days With Dad (2019)

Adjusted Score: 50188%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of a Roman Catholic family prepare for the death of their father.... [More]
Directed By: Larry Clarke


Miles From Home (1988)

Adjusted Score: 21295%
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

Adjusted Score: 65208%
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


The Next Three Days (2010)

Adjusted Score: 55958%
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

Adjusted Score: 21695%
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


Meet Monica Velour (2010)

Adjusted Score: 48172%
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


Knight of Cups (2015)

Adjusted Score: 57249%
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


Legal Eagles (1986)

Adjusted Score: 44394%
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


Tommy Boy (1995)

Adjusted Score: 42772%
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


Everyone's Hero (2006)

Adjusted Score: 44006%
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]


The Song of Sway Lake (2017)

Adjusted Score: 42674%
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


The Big Year (2011)

Adjusted Score: 45163%
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

Adjusted Score: 15807%
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


FX2 (1991)

Adjusted Score: 25432%
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


Stolen Summer (2002)

Adjusted Score: 37084%
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


Every Day (2010)

Adjusted Score: 34293%
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


Cocoon: The Return (1988)

Adjusted Score: 17606%
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


The Ultimate Gift (2006)

Adjusted Score: 34714%
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


Gladiator (1992)

Adjusted Score: 15589%
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


She Hate Me (2004)

Adjusted Score: 22392%
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


10th and Wolf (2006)

Adjusted Score: 19176%
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


Righteous Kill (2008)

Adjusted Score: 23278%
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


Summer Catch (2001)

Adjusted Score: 10783%
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