Yellowstone has reminded everyone how great he can be, but here are some of screen legend Kevin Costner’s other major projects. Costner started as a jobbing actor in the early 1980s, playing bit roles in Night Shift and The Big Chill, though he was famously cut out of the latter project. His career prospects shot up in the late 1980s, starting with ensemble western Silverado, where he managed to steal scenes from the likes of Danny Glover and Kevin Kline.
It was Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables that made Kevin Costner a movie star and established his screen persona. He followed up with a run of well-reviewed projects like No Way Out with Gene Hackman and back to back baseball dramas Bull Durham and Field Of Dreams. In 1990 he starred in Tony Scott’s bleak thriller Revenge, about a man who falls in love with a crimelord’s wife, and while it wasn’t a success at the time it’s since been reappraised as one of Scott’s best movies.
Kevin Costner took a huge risk with 1990’s Dances With Wolves, about a disillusioned army officer during the Civil War who becomes a member of an Indian tribe. Costner also directed but while it was dubbed “Kevin’s Gate” in the press – after infamous western flop Heaven’s Gate – it received critical praise and was a huge commercial success; the film later nabbed Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. The actor would then enjoy a period of very well-reviewed, blockbuster hits, including Oliver Stone’s JFK, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and The Bodyguard with Whitney Houston.
His career took something of a turn around the time of 1994’s Wyatt Earp, a dull biopic of the legendary lawman that was beaten to cinemas by the far superior Tombstone starring Kurt Russell. There was also Waterworld, a Mad Max-style adventure where the planet has become flooded and Costner’s Mariner has to fight off Dennis Hopper’s band of raiders. The production was a notorious mess due to unpleasant filming conditions, and critics sharped their knives waiting for it. Waterworld is now considered an underrated gem but while it made money, its reputation was toxic for many years.
Kevin Costner never quite recaptured the box-office glory of previous years, and his somewhat dreary post-apocalyptic fable The Postman from 1997 didn’t help. While he still made solid movies during this period like Thirteen Days, he made some true duds like the Tarantino-aping 3000 Miles To Graceland – which united him with Kurt Russell – and supernatural drama Dragonfly. He directed another solid western with 2003’s Open Range and gave a great, rare villain turn in serial killer movie Mr. Brooks.
Kevin Costner has reinvented himself as a great supporting actor, playing mentor roles in 2013’s Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. His leading man days aren’t behind him though, as proven by 2014’s 3 Days To Kill or the delightfully demented Criminal, where he plays a sociopathic convict implanted with the brain of Ryan Reynolds dead CIA agent. In 2019 he starred alongside Woody Harrelson in period Netflix thriller The Highwaymen and plays the lead role in acclaimed TV series Yellowstone. He plays John Dutton, the head of a family who have to defend their huge ranch from developers and others seeking to take land for themselves.