James Garner - Rotten Tomatoes

James Garner

Highest Rated:   100% Hour of the Gun (1967)
Lowest Rated:   0% The Art of Love (1965)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Norman, Oklahoma, USA
The son of an Oklahoma carpet layer, James Garner did stints in the Army and merchant marines before working as a model. His professional acting career began with a non-speaking part in the Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial (1954), in which he was also assigned to run lines with stars Lloyd Nolan, Henry Fonda, and John Hodiak. Given that talent roster, and the fact that the director was Charles Laughton, Garner managed to earn his salary and receive a crash course in acting at the same time. After a few television commercials, he was signed as a contract player by Warner Bros. in 1956. He barely had a part in his first film, The Girl He Left Behind (1956), though he was given special attention by director David Butler, who felt Garner had far more potential than the film's nominal star, Tab Hunter. Due in part to Butler's enthusiasm, Garner was cast in the Warner Bros. TV Western Maverick. The scriptwriters latched on to his gift for understated humor, and, before long, the show had as many laughs as shoot-outs. Garner was promoted to starring film roles during his Maverick run, but, by the third season, he chafed at his low salary and insisted on better treatment. The studio refused, so he walked out. Lawsuits and recriminations were exchanged, but the end result was that Garner was a free agent as of 1960. He did quite well as a freelance actor for several years, turning in commendable work in such films as Boys' Night Out (1962) and The Great Escape (1963), but was soon perceived by filmmakers as something of a less-expensive Rock Hudson, never more so than when he played Hudson-type parts opposite Doris Day in Move Over, Darling and The Thrill of It All! (both 1963).Garner fared rather better in variations of his Maverick persona in such Westerns as Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) and The Skin Game (1971), but he eventually tired of eating warmed-over stew; besides, being a cowboy star had made him a walking mass of injuries and broken bones. He tried to play a more peaceable Westerner in the TV series Nichols (1971), but when audiences failed to respond, his character was killed off and replaced by his more athletic twin brother (also Garner). The actor finally shed the Maverick cloak with his long-running TV series The Rockford Files (1974-1978), in which he played a John MacDonald-esque private eye who never seemed to meet anyone capable of telling the truth. Rockford resulted in even more injuries for the increasingly battered actor, and soon he was showing up on TV talk shows telling the world about the many physical activities which he could no longer perform. Rockford ended in a spirit of recrimination, when Garner, expecting a percentage of the profits, learned that "creative bookkeeping" had resulted in the series posting none. To the public, Garner was the rough-hewn but basically affable fellow they'd seen in his fictional roles and as Mariette Hartley's partner (not husband) in a series of Polaroid commercials. However, his later film and TV-movie roles had a dark edge to them, notably his likable but mercurial pharmacist in Murphy's Romance (1985), for which he received an Oscar nomination, and his multifaceted co-starring stints with James Woods in the TV movies Promise (1986) and My Name Is Bill W. (1989). In 1994, Garner came full circle in the profitable feature film Maverick (1994), in which the title role was played by Mel Gibson. With the exception of such lower-key efforts as the noir-ish Twilight (1998) and the made-for-TV thriller Dead Silence (1997), Garner's career in the '90s found the veteran actor once again tapping into his latent ability to provoke laughs in such efforts as Space Cowboys (2000) while maintaining a successful small-screen career by returning to the role of Jim Rockford in several made-for-TV movies. He provided a voice for the popular animatedfeature Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and appeared in the comedy-drama The D

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection
  • Actor
2010
No Score Yet Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam
  • Shazam
2010
No Score Yet For Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots
  • Actor
2010
48% Battle For Terra
  • Doron
2009
32% The Ultimate Gift
  • Red Stevens
2006
No Score Yet Pushing the Limit: The Making of 'Grand Prix'
  • Actor
2006
55% Glory Road
  • Director
2006
60% Dust to Glory
  • Actor
2005
52% The Notebook
  • Duke
2004
No Score Yet Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration
  • Pat
2003
No Score Yet Land Before Time: 2 Tales of Discovery and Friendship
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet One Special Night
  • Robert Woodward
2002
44% Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Shep Walker
2002
No Score Yet Roughing It
  • Sam Clemens/Mark Twain
2002
49% Atlantis - The Lost Empire
  • Cdr. Lyle Rourke
2001
78% Space Cowboys
  • Tank Sullivan
2000
No Score Yet Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet The Last Debate
  • Mike Howley
2000
No Score Yet Legalese
  • Norman Keane
1998
59% Twilight
  • Raymond Hope
1998
No Score Yet The Hidden Dimension
  • Narrator
1997
47% My Fellow Americans
  • Matt Douglas
1996
No Score Yet Streets of Laredo
  • Captain Woodrow Call
1995
No Score Yet Wild Bill Hollywood Maverick
  • Actor
1995
67% Maverick
  • Marshal Zane Cooper
1994
No Score Yet Breathing Lessons
  • Ira Moran
1994
67% Barbarians at the Gate
  • F. Ross Johnson
1993
41% Fire in the Sky
  • Frank Watters
1993
No Score Yet Return to 'The Great Escape'
  • Actor
1993
13% The Distinguished Gentleman
  • Jeff Johnson
1992
No Score Yet Decoration Day
  • Albert Sidney Finch
1990
No Score Yet My Name Is Bill W.
  • Executive Producer
  • Dr. Bob
1989
17% Sunset
  • Wyatt Earp
1988
No Score Yet Smoke That Cigarette
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Promise
  • Executive Producer
  • Bob Buehler
1986
71% Murphy's Romance
  • Murphy Jones
1985
No Score Yet Tank
  • Zack
1984
No Score Yet The Glitter Dome
  • Sgt. Aloysius Mackey
1984
96% Victor Victoria
  • King Marchand
1982
38% The Fan
  • Jake Berman
1981
No Score Yet Health
  • Harry Wolff
1980
No Score Yet The Castaway Cowboy
  • Lincoln Costain
1974
No Score Yet One Little Indian
  • Keyes
1973
No Score Yet They Only Kill Their Masters
  • Chief Abel Marsh
1972
No Score Yet Skin Game
  • Quincy
1971
No Score Yet A Man Called Sledge
  • Luther Sledge
1971
67% Support Your Local Gunfighter
  • Latigo Smith
1971
No Score Yet Once Upon a Wheel
  • Actor
1971
67% Support Your Local Sheriff!
  • Jason McCullough
1969
71% Marlowe
  • Philip Marlowe
1969
No Score Yet How Sweet It Is!
  • Grif Henderson
1968
No Score Yet The Pink Jungle
  • Ben Morris
1968
No Score Yet Bruce Brown Moto Classics - Baja 1000 Classic
  • Actor
1968
100% Hour of the Gun
  • Wyatt Earp
1967
100% Grand Prix
  • Pete Aron
1966
No Score Yet Duel at Diablo
  • Jess Remsberg
1966
No Score Yet Mister Buddwing
  • Mister Buddwing
1966
No Score Yet A Man Could Get Killed (Welcome, Mr. Beddoes)
  • William Beddoes
1966
0% The Art of Love
  • Casey Barnett
1965
No Score Yet 36 Hours
  • Major Jefferson Pike
1965
100% The Americanization of Emily
  • Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison
1964
No Score Yet Move Over Darling
  • Nick Arden
1963
No Score Yet The Wheeler Dealers
  • Henry Tyroon
1963
86% The Thrill of It All
  • Dr. Gerald Boyer
1963
93% The Great Escape
  • Hendley
1963
No Score Yet Boys' Night Out
  • Fred Williams
1962
86% The Children's Hour
  • Dr. Joe Cardin
1961
No Score Yet Cash McCall
  • Cash McCall
1960
No Score Yet Alias Jesse James
  • Bret Maverick
1959
No Score Yet Up Periscope
  • Kenneth M. Braden
1959
No Score Yet Darby's Rangers
  • Col. William Orlando Darby
1958
100% Sayonara
  • Capt. Mike Bailey
1957
No Score Yet The Girl He Left Behind
  • Preston
1956
No Score Yet Toward the Unknown
  • Lt. Col. Joe Craven
1956

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Tavis Smiley
2013
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
1992-2014
  • Guest

Quotes from James Garner's Characters