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The Robert Duvall Bio

The Robert Duvall Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Films:

Tender Mercies (his Oscar role)
Secondhand Lions
To Kill A Mockingbird
The Great Santini

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
We Own the Night (the father of Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix, trying to come to terms with each other)
Assassination Tango (an assassin; he also wrote and directed)
The Apostle (Oscar-nominated preacher trying to escape his past; he also wrote and directed)
The Stars Fell on Henrietta (a guy with a talent for finding oil)
Phenomenon (the doctor and the guy who understands John Travolta)
Thank You for Smoking (the Colonel, the big-tobacco boss)
A Civil Action (Oscar-nominated attorney)
The Seven Percent Solution (Dr. Watson)
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (the pursuer)
Sling Blade (Billy Bob's dad)
The Godfather (Oscar-nominated)
The Godfather, Part II
Apocalypse Now (Oscar-nominated)
The Natural
Name and Rank:
M.A.S.H. (Major Frank Burns)
The Eagle Has Landed (Colonel Max Radl)
Apocalypse Now (Colonel Bill Kilgore)
The Great Santini (Colonel Bull Meechum)
Ike (TV) (General Dwight Eisenhower)
Gods and Generals (General Robert E. Lee)
The Real Robert Duvall:
Secondhand Lions

The wild abandon of an eccentric, gun-wielding, stunt piloting, adventuring uncle to Haley Joel Osment and brother of Michael Caine is definitive Duvall.
Acting Style:
Engagingly straightforward and often crusty, but always "the man in full." Even when he's not being macho – and for a little guy he usually plays macho dudes – his characters are self-actualized, complete, and often larger than life.

His three watershed roles, though, are quite different than that. Boo Radley, though poignant, is retarded. Max Sledge, in "Tender Mercies," is recovering from alcoholism and self-rejection. Though one could argue that Tom Hagen, the smooth mob attorney in "The Godfather," is straightforward and macho, he's still the quiet second-banana to the Dons.
Bits and Quirks:
The sarcastic grin and mockery in the eyes, sometimes reduced to a smirk. The threatening widening of the eyes. The whole macho carriage. The hoarse shout.
Great Scenes:
Apocalypse Now

> "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Of course! One of film's most quoted lines.

The Godfather

> Visiting the producer (before the horse head scene).
> The opening, with Brando in his office.

To Kill a Mockingbird

> The famous Boo Radley scene, in which he is hiding behind the door.

Secondhand Lions

> Shooting at the salesmen.

The Great Santini

> Playing basketball with his son.

Tender Mercies

> Many brilliant scenes, from waking up after a drinking binge, to his "Horton Foote" style of straight talk with the mother who runs the motel and her son, to his reunion with his family.


> The small-town doctor scolds Travolta's friends who have turned against him.

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