Sam Shepard - Rotten Tomatoes

Sam Shepard



A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (for 1979's Buried Child), an Oscar-nominated actor, and a director and screenwriter to boot, multi-talented Sam Shepard has made a career of plumbing the darker depths of middle-American rural sensibilities and Western myths. The son of a military man, he was born Samuel Shepard Rogers on November 3, 1943, in Fort Sheridan, IL. Following a peripatetic childhood, part of which was spent on a farm, Shepard left home in late adolescence to move to New York City, where by the age of 20, he already had two plays produced.

As a playwright, Shepard went on to win a number of Obies for such dramas as Curse of the Starving Class (1977), which he made into a film in 1994, and True West (aired on PBS in 1986). As an actor, the lanky and handsome Shepard made his feature film debut with a small role in Bronco Bullfrog (1969) and didn't resurface again until Bob Dylan's disastrous Renaldo and Clara (1978). The film followed Shepard's residence in London during the early '70s, where he worked on-stage as an actor and director when not playing drums for his band, The Holy Modal Rounders, which had performed as part of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. Also in 1978, Shepard made a big impression playing a wealthy landowner in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven, but it was not until he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for playing astronaut Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983) that he became a well-known actor. Following this success, he went on to specialize in playing drifters, cowboys, con artists, and eccentric characters with only the occasional leading role. Some of his more notable work included Paris, Texas (1984), which he also wrote; Fool For Love (1985), which was adapted from his play of the same name; Baby Boom (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), and The Pelican Brief (1993). In addition to acting and writing, Shepard has also directed: in 1988, he made his debut with Far North, a film he wrote especially for his off-screen leading lady, Jessica Lange, with whom he has acted in Frances (1982), Country (1984), and Crimes of the Heart (1986).

In 1999, Shepard could be seen on both the big and small screen. He appeared in Snow Falling on Cedars and Dash and Lilly, a made-for-TV movie for which he won an Emmy nomination in the role of the titular Dashiell Hammett. In addition, he also lent his writing skills to Simpatico, a Nick Nolte vehicle about friendship and loss adapted from Shepard's play of the same name.



As the new decade began, he could be seen as the ghost in a modern-set Hamlet. He appeared in Black Hawk Down, as well as in Sean Penn's The Pledge. His play True West enjoyed a highly successful revival starring John C. Riley and Philip Seymour Hoffman as feuding brothers, which was notable because the actors traded parts every third performance.

In 2004 he appeared in the popular romantic drama The Notebook, and wrote Don't Come Knocking the next year. He was the legendary outlaw Frank James in 2007's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He was cast as Valerie Plame's father in Fair Game, and portrayed a dog-loving sheriff in Lawrnece Kasdan's Darling Companion.

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
13% Ithaca
  • Willie Grogan
2016
83% Midnight Special
  • Calvin Meyer
2016
No Score Yet California Typewriter
  • Actor
2016
86% Cold in July
  • Ben Russell
2014
64% August: Osage County
  • Beverly Weston
2013
53% Out of the Furnace
  • Gerald "Red" Baze
2013
86% Shepard & Dark
  • Actor
2013
92% Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction
  • Actor
2013
8% Savannah
  • Mr. Stubbs
2013
98% Mud
  • Tom Blakenship
2013
74% Killing Them Softly
  • Dillon
2012
22% Darling Companion
  • Sheriff Morris
2012
53% Safe House
  • Harlan Whitford
2012
75% Blackthorn
  • James Blackthorn
2011
79% Fair Game
  • Sam Plame
2010
38% Inhale
  • James Harrison
2010
63% Brothers
  • Hank Cahill
2009
6% The Accidental Husband
  • Wilder
2009
No Score Yet Walker Payne
  • Syrus
2008
65% Patti Smith: Dream of Life
  • Actor
2008
59% Felon
  • Gordon Camrose
2008
76% The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Frank James
2007
No Score Yet Ruffian
  • Frank Whitely
2007
No Score Yet Holy Modal Rounders...Bound to Lose
  • Actor
2007
78% Charlotte's Web
  • Narrator
2006
16% The Return
  • Ed Mills
2006
62% Bandidas
  • Bill Buck
2006
42% Don't Come Knocking
  • Howard
  • Screenwriter
2006
100% Bound to Lose
  • Actor
2006
13% Stealth
  • Capt. George Cummings
2005
52% The Notebook
  • Frank Calhoun
2004
90% This So-Called Disaster
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Blind Horizon
  • Sheriff Kolb
2003
43% Leo
  • Vic
2002
76% Black Hawk Down
  • Garrison
2001
26% Swordfish
  • Sen. Jim Reisman
2001
No Score Yet After the Harvest
  • Caleb Gare
2001
78% The Pledge
  • Eric Pollack
2001
80% Shot in the Heart
  • Frank Gilmore Sr.
2001
32% All the Pretty Horses
  • J.C. Franklin
2000
56% Hamlet
  • Ghost
2000
No Score Yet Curtain Call
  • Will Dodge
2000
No Score Yet One Kill
  • Major Nelson Gray
2000
40% Snow Falling on Cedars
  • Arthur Chambers
1999
No Score Yet Purgatory
  • Sheriff Forrest
1999
No Score Yet Dash and Lilly
  • Dashiell Hammett
1999
No Score Yet The Only Thrill
  • Reece McHenry
1998
No Score Yet Great Performances
  • Actor
1997
No Score Yet Lily Dale
  • Actor
1996
No Score Yet Streets of Laredo
  • Pea Eye Parker
1995
54% Safe Passage
  • Patrick
1995
No Score Yet The Good Old Boys
  • Tarnell
1995
38% Silent Tongue
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1994
52% The Pelican Brief
  • Thomas Callahan
1993
87% Thunderheart
  • Frank Coutelle
1992
No Score Yet Defenseless
  • Beutel
1991
80% Bright Angel
  • Jack
1991
63% Homo Faber (Voyager)
  • Walter Faber
1991
69% Steel Magnolias
  • Spud Jones
1989
17% Far North
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1988
76% Baby Boom
  • Cooper
1987
81% Crimes of the Heart
  • Doc Porter
1986
No Score Yet American Playhouse
  • Screenwriter
1986
75% Fool for Love
  • Eddie
  • Screenwriter
1985
100% Paris, Texas
  • Screenwriter
1984
100% Country
  • Gil Ivy
1984
98% The Right Stuff
  • Chuck Yeager
1983
68% Frances
  • Harry York
1982
83% Raggedy Man
  • Bailey
1981
No Score Yet Resurrection
  • Cal
1980
94% Days of Heaven
  • The Farmer
1978
40% Renaldo and Clara
  • Screenwriter
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Bronco Bullfrog
  • Jo
1972
67% Zabriskie Point
  • Screenwriter
1970
No Score Yet Me and My Brother
  • Screenwriter
1969
No Score Yet Kurosawa
  • Narrator
1951

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Actor
  • Narrator
65% Bloodline
2015
  • Robert Rayburn
80% Klondike
2014
  • Father Judge
No Score Yet POV
1988
  • Appearing

Quotes from Sam Shepard's Characters