Joe Don Baker - Rotten Tomatoes

Joe Don Baker

Highest Rated:   100% Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Lowest Rated:   2% Strange Wilderness (2008)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Groesbeck, Texas, USA
Veteran character actor Joe Don Baker has been playing rugged good ol' boys since his uncredited role in Cool Hand Luke in 1967. Born in Texas, his Southern drawl and ample proportions made him suitable to play countless numbers of simple-minded sheriffs, cops, and detectives in everything from big-budget blockbusters to low-grade action movies, although he more often appeared in the latter. On TV in the '60s, he guest starred on Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Mission: Impossible before starring in his own show, the short-lived detective series Eischied. On the big screen, he played the drifter in Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner in 1972. He same year he made the "hicksploitation" classic Walking Tall, followed by Charley Varrick, Golden Needles, Framed, and plenty of other poorly made action thrillers that have since gained a small but appreciative audience on home video. The best example is 1975 crime flick Mitchell, which was featured on an important transitional episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Baker plays the titular slob detective who goes after drug dealers while drinking a lot of Schlitz malt liquor and eating pork rinds. After this movie, he became something of a legendary figure to a small but loyal fan base, and his persona as a lovable rascal was fixed for the next few decades. In the '80s he appeared in bad comedies (Fletch, Leonard, Part 6) as well as bad action thrillers (Final Justice, Getting Even). In 1989, he returned to television to play acting chief Tom Dugan on In the Heat of the Night and made small appearances in films, like the police chief who drinks Pepto-Bismol in Cape Fear (1991). He did branch out a little in the '90s to play Senator Joseph McCarthy in the made-for-TV movie Citizen Cohn as well as Winona Ryder's yuppie dad in Reality Bites. His later accomplishments include three James Bond appearances, first in Living Daylights as a bad guy, then in Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies as good guy Jack Wade. He returned to his stereotypical roots playing white-trash slobs as Richie's trailer park dad in Mars Attacks! and in an uncredited role in Joe Dirt. In 2003, he appeared with veterans Martin Landau, Martin Sheen, and Edward Asner in The Commisson.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
98% Mud
  • King
$21.6M 2013
2% Strange Wilderness
  • Bill Calhoun
$6.6M 2008
14% The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Gov. Jim Applewhite
$80.3M 2005
No Score Yet Wacko
  • Dick Harbinger
2003
11% Joe Dirt
  • Actor
$27.1M 2001
No Score Yet Vegas, City of Dreams
  • Dylan Gerrett
2001
No Score Yet Poodle Springs
  • P.J. Parker
1998
57% Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Wade
1997
No Score Yet George Wallace
  • Big Jim Folsom
1997
52% Mars Attacks!
  • Glenn Norris
1996
50% The Grass Harp
  • Sheriff Junius Candle
1996
No Score Yet Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy
  • Gerry Spence
1996
No Score Yet Felony
  • Donovan
1996
78% GoldenEye
  • Jack Wade
1995
23% Congo
  • R.B. Travis
1995
27% Panther
  • Brimmer
1995
59% The Underneath
  • Clay Hinkle
1995
59% Outbreak
  • Actor
1995
65% Reality Bites
  • Tom Pierce
1993
No Score Yet Ring of Steel
  • Man in Black
1993
No Score Yet Complex of Fear
  • Det. Frank Farrel
1993
13% The Distinguished Gentleman
  • Olaf Andersen
1992
No Score Yet Citizen Cohn
  • Joseph McCarthy
1992
76% Cape Fear
  • Claude Kersek
1991
No Score Yet Children, The
  • Cliffe Wheater
1991
33% Criminal Law
  • Det. Mesel
1989
9% Leonard Part 6
  • Nick Snyderburn
1987
No Score Yet The Killing Time
  • Sheriff Carl Cunningham
1987
71% The Living Daylights
  • Brad Whitaker
1987
No Score Yet The Abduction of Kari Swenson
  • Sheriff Onstad
1987
No Score Yet Getting Even (Hostage: Dallas)
  • King Kenderson
1986
No Score Yet Final Justice
  • Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III
1985
76% Fletch
  • Chief Karlin
1985
81% The Natural
  • The Whammer
1984
No Score Yet The Power
  • Actor
1984
No Score Yet Joy Sticks
  • Mr. Ruttler
1983
No Score Yet Speed Trap
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Speedtrap
  • Pete Novick
1978
No Score Yet Checkered Flag or Crash
  • Walkaway Madden
1978
No Score Yet The Pack
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet Curse of Demon Mountain
  • Wishbone Cutter
1977
No Score Yet Mitchell
  • Mitchell
1975
No Score Yet Framed
  • Ron Lewis
1975
No Score Yet Golden Needles
  • Dan
1974
No Score Yet The Outfit
  • Cody
1974
86% Charley Varrick
  • Molly
1973
75% Walking Tall
  • Buford Pusser
1973
89% Junior Bonner
  • Curly Bonner
1972
No Score Yet Welcome Home, Soldier Boys
  • Danny
1972
60% Wild Rovers
  • Paul Buckman
1971
No Score Yet Adam at 6 A.M.
  • Harvey Gavin
1970
No Score Yet Guns of the Magnificent Seven
  • Slater
1969
100% Cool Hand Luke
  • Fixer
1967

Quotes from Joe Don Baker's Characters