Kirk Douglas once named the movies he is “the proudest of”

Widely recognised as one of the most iconic actors of the 20th century, Kirk Douglas was a true Hollywood phenom who rose to the very top of the industry. Through collaborations with brilliant filmmakers like Jacques Tourneur, Billy Wilder and Stanley Kubrick, Douglas built an impressive filmography full of timeless gems. That’s exactly why many fans often find it difficult to come to a consensus regarding his finest performances.

Although cinephiles might struggle to name Douglas’ greatest works unhesitatingly, that wasn’t the case for the actor himself. In a fascinating feature for HuffPost, Douglas reflected on his extensive acting career and selected the projects that he is “the proudest of”. Featuring masterpieces like Paths of Glory and Ace in the Hole, most aspiring actors pray to land even one film that is of the same calibre as those listed by Douglas.

“Let’s start with my first film, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, a film noir made at Paramount,” Douglas began. “You know, I never wanted to be anything but a New York stage actor, but that was a precarious career for a man with a young family. I was in a play called The Wind Is Ninety – don’t ask me what the title means – when I got a visit backstage from an important Hollywood producer, Hal Wallis. My friend Lauren Bacall had urged him to see me when he was in New York because I had gotten good reviews. He offered me a job. I could not turn down a movie starring Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin.”

Douglas always held Ace in the Hole in high regard: “To no one’s surprise, I again played the self-serving bad guy in Billy Wilder’s drama about a disgraced journalist trying to reinvent his big career in small-town Albuquerque. When a tunnel collapses outside a small town, he sees a big opportunity in his exclusive coverage of the man trapped below, convincing him to delay rescue for the sake of the headlines… Ace in the Hole, redubbed The Big Carnival in America, was not a hit at the time, but it became a cult favourite. I loved working with Billy, who became a good friend.”

Despite Douglas’ disagreements with Kubrick, the actor included Spartacus: “Spartacus was a demanding movie, and I was crucified not only on screen but off of it, by the likes of powerful columnist Hedda Hopper and the American Legion, for using a book written by Howard Fast, a Communist, and giving Dalton screen credit. But the public embraced it, especially after the popular new President John F. Kennedy came to see it in a Washington theatre and then proceeded to praise it.”

Check out the full list below.

The movies Kirk Douglas is proudest of:

  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946)
  • Champion (Mark Robson, 1949)
  • Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)
  • The Bad and the Beautiful (Vincente Minnelli, 1952)
  • Act of Love (Anatole Litvak, 1953)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Richard Fleischer, 1954)
  • The Indian Fighter (André De Toth, 1955)
  • Lust for Life (Vincente Minnelli, 1956)
  • Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957)
  • Spartacus (Stanley Kubrick, 1960)
  • Lonely Are the Brave (David Miller, 1962)
  • Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964)
  • BonusOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)

In addition to the great acting credits listed above, Douglas also chose One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for a very special reason. It’s because his son, Michael Douglas, produced Forman’s magnum opus, which became an unprecedented success. However, when it comes to his own works, Douglas had a clear favourite.

While talking about the 1962 western Lonely Are the Brave, the actor declared: “As I have said, this is my favourite movie. I love the theme that if you try to be an individual, society will crush you. I play a modern-day cowboy still living by the code of the Old West. Dalton wrote a perfect screenplay — one draft, no revisions. My character gets into a bar fight with a vicious one-armed man. He was actually Burt Lancaster’s stand-in, who had lost his arm in the war.”

Lonely Are The Brave (1962) Official Trailer - Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands Movie HD

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