Kevin Costner’s 45-year-long-acting career has brought the world more classics than we can count. From Dances With Wolves to Robin Hood and now, of course, Yellowstone, he found his niche in drama, adventure, and the wild west. After scoring two major film role successes in 1987 with The Untouchables and No Way Out, he’s been on the radars of cinephiles everywhere. But that was nearly a decade into his Hollywood career. Here are four movies you didn’t know Kevin Costner was in.
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Malibu Hot Summer (Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.)
This one is worth mentioning because it’s always fun to see how actors change over time. It’s common for people in the City of Angels to have to start out with low-budget comedy or anything centered around sex appeal. Malibu Hot Summer was originally released in 1981 and then re-released in 1986 as Sizzle Beach, U.S.A.
Filmed between 1978 and 1979, it was Costner’s very first film role and included him in a sex scene. He plays John Logan, a horse stable owner and love interest to one of three young women who want to rent a beach house in Malibu.
Because Sizzle Beach took so long to release and then re-release, many have overlooked it as Kevin Costner’s first film. By the time it came out with its new name, he was well on his way to getting a Hollywood Star on the Walk of Fame.
This 1985 comedy stars Kevin Costner as Gardner Barnes, one of four fraternity brothers called “Groovers” from the University of Texas. As graduation nears, one of them is drafted into the Vietnam War. They decide to go on a big adventure together to dig up the mysterious “Dom,” which is not revealed as a person or thing until the end. Crossing the US-Mexican border, they get into some misadventures and a bit of trouble as they face an uncertain future.
All Yellowstone fans should watch Silverado if they want to spot Costner in his first-ever western. The 1985 film features Costner as Jake and co-stars Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, and Scott Glenn. It made money at the box office and was met with positive reviews. It also received Oscar nominations for Best Original Score and Best Sound.
In Silverado, Costner’s Jake is the brother of a cowboy named Emmett. Emmett travels to see Jake and realizes he’s set to be hanged after murdering someone. Small town and wild western drama ensue, with lots of plot twists and suspense. The film was considered by some to be a breakthrough role for Costner, although others would argue that would come later.
Swing Vote came out in 2008, well after Kevin Costner had become a Hollywood legend. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite break even at the box office. Maybe everyone was too busy with the election? Costner takes a break from his familiar macho-serious characters to play Bud, an unemployed and apathetic man from Texico, New Mexico.
Bud’s 12-year-old daughter, Molly, becomes frustrated with his detachment from the upcoming election. She tries to sneak into the polling place and vote on his behalf. Although she doesn’t do it successfully, Bud eventually becomes more involved with the election. The polls are so close that his single vote ends up swinging the election. But not until Bud’s personal confusion rubs off on the Republican and Democratic candidates, who keep flip-flopping on their stances to sway him.
The feel-good comedy is not just about staying active in politics, but in your children’s lives as well.