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The Richard Dreyfuss Bio

The Richard Dreyfuss Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:


You think? The only argument is for second place. "Close Encounters" and "American Graffiti" are classics, with substantial contributions by Dreyfuss in both. "Mr. Holland's Opus" is a near-classic with a brilliant turn by the actor. Then, take your pick of any of the plays turned films.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Always (the ghost of a fire-fighting pilot)
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Duddy, an ambitious boy in '40s Montreal)
Tin Men (aluminum siding salesman at war with Danny DeVito)
Once Around (a pushy salesman, opposite Holly Hunter)
Moon Over Parador (with Raul Julia, a self-obsessed actor impersonating a South American dictator)
Fail Safe (the President, trying to keep a nuclear war from starting)
The Competition (a piano virtuoso opposite Amy Irving)
The Theatrical Dreyfuss:
The Goodbye Girl (Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance as a self-obsessed actor forced to share an apartment with Marsha Mason)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (The Player King)
Whose Life is it, Anyway? (Left a quadriplegic after an auto accident, an artist who wants to die)
Lost in Yonkers (Uncle Louie, in the film version of Neil Simon's Pulitzer-winning play)
Jaws (shark expert Matt Hooper, with Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (an electrical lineman who witnesses a UFO up close)
American Graffiti (Curt, obsessed with a mysterious blonde cruising in another car)
Mr. Holland's Opus (Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated performance as a music teacher with a deaf son, with Glenne Headly)
W (Vice-President Dick Cheney)
The American President (Senate Republican adversary of the President, Michael Douglas)
Stand by Me (the narrator and the grown-up Gordie)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (wealthy businessman who rescues homeless sage Nick Nolte, with Bette Midler)
Stakeout (a detective, with Emilio Estevez, who falls for the object of the stakeout, Madeline Stowe)
What About Bob? (a self-obsessed psychiatrist, opposite Bill Murray)
Red (the wealthy bad guy and conspirator)
The Real Richard Dreyfuss:
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Really, the guy belongs on the stage, as does his Player King, a man whose stage reality is far more compelling than the alternative. The near-death by drugs shows a guy, too, attracted to alternate realities.
Acting Style:
Obsessive. He's usually obsessed with himself, so much so that it's hard to imagine the "real" Dreyfuss not being so. "Jaws" perhaps represents one of the few likeable characters in Dreyfuss's complete repertoire, and that even takes awhile. In "American Graffiti," he's also cocky and obsessed, but, hey, he's a teenager and it's a girl. Most of the time, though, he's just his own biggest fan.
Great Scenes:
American Graffiti

> Seeing the girl in the other car
> Hooking the chain on the police car
> In the radio station with the Wolfman


> The finale, paddling back to shore with Scheider
> Getting drunk in the boat, showing scars, and trading stories
> Investigating the overturned boat, and seeing the disembodied head
> Cutting open the shark
> Being attacked in the shark cage
> Drinking with Scheider

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

> Meeting R&G on the road
> Putting on the play in the castle
> All "in the same boat"
> Discussing tragedy during rehearsal, "You call that an ending? With practically everyone still on his feet? My goodness, no."

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

> Building the mountain in his living room
> The mashed potatoes
> Seeing the UFO in the first place
> The encounter at the end
> The interview with Bob Balaban and Francois Truffaut

What About Bob?

> The TV interview, taken over by Bill Murray

The Goodbye Girl

> Taking Marsha Mason's underwear off the shower rod


> The closed-door meeting with Bruce Willis
> The bad-guy speech at the end