Russell Crowe has a lot to crow about after being nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category three times in a row.
Though fallen on hard times recently, Crowe’s work late last century and the beginning of this millennium have been exemplary. His sturdy frame and athleticism made him an ideal choice in the action genre.
His work in the Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind were memorable. He always maintained a high standard and successfully combined action with his considerable acting skills.
Here are five films to show why Crowe is among the best actors there is:
Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris
Director: Ridley Scott
An honest Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe) is chosen to be the next leader by Emperor Marcus Aurelius but the latter’s crazy son Commodus (Phoenix) kills the king. He arrests Maximus after he refuses to support him.
Commodus also murders Maximus’ family and the latter seeks revenge for the deaths. While in prison, he improves his gladiator skills and masters it finally. He challenges Commodus to a duel but the latter uses tricks to try and beat Maximus.
L A Confidential (1997)
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, Kim Bassinger, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito, David Strathaim
Director: Chris Hanson
Police corruption and its consequences are the focus of this neo noir crime thriller which is based in the early 50s in Los Angeles. Sergeant Ed Exley (Pierce), the son of a famous police officer, sets out single-mindedly to track down corruption in the city and later the murder of his father.
Also in the plot are plainclothes officer Wendell White (Crowe) who is violent by nature and narcotics cop Sergeant Jack Vincennes who gets involved in the murder of an actor. A prostitution ring with lookalikes involved including Lynn Bracken (Bassinger) also adds to the complexities. The climax is violent before the real culprit emerges.
The Quick And The Dead (1995)
Cast: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinese
Director: Sam Raimi
A gunfighter named just the Lady (Stone) enters a town appropriately named Redemption to avenge her father’s death. The town is controlled by John Herod (Hackman), a ruthless killer.
To help her in a mission is a boy, the Kid (DiCaprio), and a former Herod henchman Cort (Crowe) whom she saves from hanging. The three get together to kill Herod but their task is not made easier as Herod insists on one-to-one gunfights.
The Insider (1999)
Cast: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Debi Mazar
Director: Michael Mann
A TV programme on a tobacco company whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) by CBS producer Lowell Bergman (Pacino) is central to the plot which involves ganging up of big companies with media bosses to avoid incriminating publicity.
Crowe really excels here as Wigand who faces many pressures including personal ones. He always suspects Bergman to be an opportunist but both are caught in the same trap. Finally, Wigand takes matters in his own hands.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Paul Bettany, Christopher Plummer, Judd Hirsch
Director: Ron Howard
This biographical drama spotlights Nobel Prize in Economics winner John Nash during his early days at college and subsequent years. Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and endures delusionary episodes which affect his relations with his wife Alicia (Connelly).
Nash claims that the Pentagon had invited him to break some secret codes which were related to Soviet agents. He is good at it but fear sets in as he witnesses a shootout between US and Russian agents. He feels his life is under threat. But was all this a dream or reality?