Robert Ryan - Rotten Tomatoes

Robert Ryan

Highest Rated:   100% Hour of the Gun (1967)
Lowest Rated:   25% Custer of the West (1967)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
It was his failure as a playwright that led Robert Ryan to a three-decade career as an actor. He was a unique presence on both the stage and screen, and in the Hollywood community, where he was that rarity: a two-fisted liberal. In many ways, at the end of the 1940s, Ryan was the liberals' answer to John Wayne, and he even managed to work alongside the right-wing icon in Flying Leathernecks (1951). The son of a successful building contractor, Ryan was born in Chicago in 1909 and attended Dartmouth College, where one of his fraternity brothers was Nelson Rockefeller. He was a top athlete at the school and held its heavyweight boxing title for four straight years. Ryan graduated in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression, and intended to write plays. Finding no opportunities available in this field, he became a day laborer; he stoked coal on a ship bound for Africa, worked as a sandhog, and herded horses in Montana, among other jobs. Ryan finally had his chance to write as a member of a theater company in Chicago, but proved unsuccessful and turned to acting. He arrived in Hollywood at the end of the '30s and studied at the Max Reinhardt Workshop, making his professional stage debut in 1940. He appeared in small roles for Paramount Pictures, but Ryan's real film career didn't begin until several years later. He returned east to appear in stock, and landed a part in Clifford Odets' Clash by Night, in which he worked opposite Tallulah Bankhead and got excellent reviews. Ryan came to regard that production and his work with Bankhead as the pivotal point in his career. The reviews of the play brought him to the attention of studio casting offices, and he was signed by RKO. The actor made his debut at the studio in the wartime action thriller Bombardier. It was a good beginning, although his early films were fairly lackluster and his career was interrupted by World War II -- he joined the Marines in 1944 and spent the next three years in uniform. Ryan's screen career took off when he returned to civilian life in 1947. He starred in two of the studio's best releases that year: Jean Renoir's The Woman on the Beach and Edward Dmytryk's Crossfire, the latter an extraordinary film for its time dealing with troubled veterans and virulent anti-Semitism, with Ryan giving an Oscar-nominated performance as an unrepentant murderer of an innocent Jewish man. He continued to do good work in difficult movies, including the Joseph Losey symbolic drama The Boy With Green Hair (1948) and with Robert Wise's The Set-Up (1949). The latter film (which Ryan regarded as his favorite of all of his movies) was practically dumped onto the market by RKO, though the studio soon found itself with an unexpected success when the film received good reviews, it was entered in the Cannes Film Festival, and it won the Best Picture award in the British Academy Award competition. Ryan also distinguished himself that year in Dmytryk's Act of Violence and Max Ophüls' Caught, Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground in 1951, and then repeated his stage success a decade out in Fritz Lang's Clash by Night (1952). Along with Robert Mitchum, Ryan practically kept the studio afloat during those years, providing solid leading performances in dozens of movies. In the late '50s, he moved into work at other studios and proved to be one of the most versatile leading actors in Hollywood, playing heroes and villains with equal conviction and success in such diverse productions as John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Anthony Mann's God's Little Acre (1958), Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), and Peter Ustinov's Billy Budd (1962). Even in films that were less-than-good overall, he was often their saving grace, nowhere more so than in Ray's King of Kings (1961), in which he portrayed John the Baptist. Even during the late '40s, Ryan was never bashful about his belief in liberal causes, and was a highly vocal supporter of the so-called "Hollywood Ten" at a time when most other

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet City Beneath The Sea
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet The Outfit
  • Mailer
1974
88% The Iceman Cometh
  • Larry Slade
1973
50% Executive Action
  • Foster
1973
No Score Yet Lolly-Madonna XXX (The Lolly-Madonna War)
  • Pap Gutshall
1973
No Score Yet The Man Without a Country
  • Actor
1973
No Score Yet And Hope to Die
  • Charley
1972
80% Lawman
  • Cotton
1971
No Score Yet The Love Machine
  • Gregory Austin
1971
No Score Yet Captain Nemo and the Underwater City
  • Capt. Nemo
1969
96% The Wild Bunch
  • Deke Thornton
1969
67% Anzio (Lo sbarco di Anzio)
  • General Carson
1968
No Score Yet A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die
  • Gov. Lem Carter
1968
100% Hour of the Gun
  • Ike Clanton
1967
91% The Dirty Dozen
  • Col. Everett Dasher-Breed
1967
No Score Yet The Busy Body
  • Charley Barker
1967
25% Custer of the West
  • Mulligan
1967
93% The Professionals
  • Hans Ehrengard
1966
67% Battle of the Bulge
  • Gen. Grey
1965
100% Billy Budd
  • John Claggart
1962
91% The Longest Day
  • Brig. Gen. James Gavin
1962
85% King of Kings
  • John the Baptist
1961
No Score Yet Ice Palace
  • Thor Storm
1960
No Score Yet Odds Against Tomorrow
  • Earle Slater
1959
No Score Yet Day of the Outlaw
  • Blaise Starrett
1959
No Score Yet God's Little Acre
  • Ty Ty Walden
1958
No Score Yet Lonelyhearts
  • William Shrike
1958
89% Men in War
  • Lt. Mark Benson
1957
No Score Yet Back From Eternity
  • Bill Lonagan
1957
No Score Yet The Proud Ones
  • Marshal Cass Silver
1956
No Score Yet The Tall Men
  • Nathan Stark
1955
87% House of Bamboo
  • Sandy Dawson
1955
97% Bad Day at Black Rock
  • Reno Smith
1955
No Score Yet Escape to Burma
  • Jim Brecan
1955
No Score Yet Her Twelve Men (Miss Baker's Dozen)
  • Joe Hargrave
1954
No Score Yet About Mrs. Leslie
  • George Leslie
1954
No Score Yet Inferno
  • Donald Whitley Carson III
1953
100% The Naked Spur
  • Ben Vandergroat
1953
No Score Yet Horizons West
  • Dan Hammond
1952
No Score Yet Beware, My Lovely
  • Howard Wilton
1952
73% Clash by Night
  • Earl Pfeiffer
1952
100% On Dangerous Ground
  • Jim Wilson
1952
33% The Racket
  • Nick Scanlon
1951
86% Flying Leathernecks
  • Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
1951
No Score Yet Best of the Badmen
  • Jeff Clanton
1951
No Score Yet Born to Be Bad
  • Nick Bradley
1950
No Score Yet The Woman on Pier 13 (I Married a Communist)
  • Bradley Collins / Frank Johnson
1949
86% The Set-Up
  • Bill "Stoker" Thompson
1949
100% Caught
  • Smith Ohlrig
1949
90% Act of Violence
  • Joe Parkson
1948
No Score Yet Return of the Bad Men
  • Sundance Kid
1948
75% The Boy with Green Hair
  • Dr. Evans
1948
No Score Yet Berlin Express
  • Robert Lindley
1948
No Score Yet The Woman on the Beach
  • Scott
1947
No Score Yet Trail Street
  • Allen Harper
1947
No Score Yet Johnny O'Clock
  • Policeman
1947
67% Dead Reckoning
  • Detective
1947
79% Crossfire
  • Monty Montgomery
1947
No Score Yet Life with Blondie
  • 2nd Policeman
1945
No Score Yet Marine Raiders
  • Capt. Dan Craig
1944
No Score Yet Tender Comrade
  • Chris
1943
No Score Yet Gangway for Tomorrow
  • Joe Dunham
1943
No Score Yet The Iron Major
  • Father Timothy 'Tim' Donovan
1943
No Score Yet Behind the Rising Sun
  • Lefty O'Doyle
1943
No Score Yet The Sky's the Limit
  • Reg Fenton
1943
No Score Yet Bombardier
  • Joe Connors
1943
No Score Yet The Feminine Touch
  • Actor
1941
83% The Ghost Breakers
  • Interne
1940
No Score Yet Texas Rangers Ride Again
  • Eddie
1940

Quotes from Robert Ryan's Characters