Christopher Walken’s career spans over sixty years. And today is his 78th birthday! In honor of that milestone, let’s take a moment to remember some of his most iconic roles.
Walken played the perfectly sinister character in countless films with great appeal, but his career breakthrough came in 1977 in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. In the credits, his name was infamously spelled wrong, as “Christopher Wlaken,” even though he had a semi-major role. But Walken would go on to play a troubled steelworker and veteran in The Deer Hunter, which earned him an Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actor. And he, of course, is remembered for his famous roles in Pulp Fiction and A View to A Kill as well.
And for those of you who missed it, there was also a star appearance for the Weapon of Choice video by Fatboy Slim. That music video won a Grammy for Best Music Video and multiple MTV awards. (Watch it here.) Other accolades including winning an Academy Award for Catch Me if You Can. Here’s a look back at ten of the best Christopher Walken movies.
Top 10 movies:
1. The Dead Zone
Adapted from a Steven King novel, The Dead Zone was the fifth of his works to be turned into a movie. Walken’s character wakes up after a brutal car crash that he left him comatose for years and ends up with psychic powers.
2. The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter starred Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, and John Savage. It centered on the life of Pennsylvanians in a small town affected by war. The film took five Oscars that year, including Best Supporting Actor for Walken, Best Picture, and Best Director.
3. Pulp Fiction
In this iconic film, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson give performances of a lifetime. Although he was in a supporting role in Pulp Fiction, his character set in motion Bruce Willis’ character arch when he delivers him a watch that has been passed down for generations. This powerful. cameo is arguably the greatest scene in an already jam-packed, creative movie.
4. Annie Hall
Walken’s on-screen debut came in 1977 playing Duane, the brother of Diane Keaton’s character in Annie Hall. While he only had a couple of scenes, he left a memorable impression on the audience with his speech.
5. Catch Me If You Can
The 2002 film about a young man who claims to have special abilities and catches the attention of the FBI. Catch Me If You Can stars Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio and was directed by Steven Spielberg.
6. The Anderson Tapes
One of Walken’s first truly visible roles was in The Anderson Tapes. With Sean Connery as an ex-con trying to heist a high profile building, a young Christopher Walken is “the kid”.
7. True Romance
In a collaborative effort from writer Quentin Tarantino and director Tony Scott came the 1993 True Romance. Which, may have had some romance but it just as likely could have been called “True Violence”, but at least it was for a good cause
8. Seven Psychopaths
Insanity ensues when Walken’s character steals a dog from some big guns. After a Broadway success with Martin McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane, the two worked together on this film. It also stars Woody Harrelson and Colin Farrell.
9. Batman Returns
From director Tim burton came Batman Returns in 1992. In this original Batman sequel, Walken is an evil businessman. He is opposite Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and, frankly, makes the film.
10. Biloxi Blues
In a surprisingly against-type role, Walken played a tough drill sergeant on new recruits in this Nel Simon blockbuster, Biloxi Blues.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published Jul 13, 2020.