The Movies That Made Kevin Costner Famous, from Silverado to Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner has been a Hollywood heavyweight since the late ’80s, starring in some of the biggest action movies, thrillers and sports comedies of the late 20th century

Published Time: 28.06.2024 - 01:31:09 Modified Time: 28.06.2024 - 01:31:09

Kevin Costner has been a Hollywood heavyweight since the late ’80s, starring in some of the biggest action movies, thrillers and sports comedies of the late 20th century.

At the peak of his career in the ’90s, he won Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for Dances with Wolves, and starred in major blockbusters like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Oliver Stone’s JFK and The Bodyguard. And even some of his lesser hits (Waterworld, The Postman) represented big swings from an ambitious actor and filmmaker.

As the first installment in Costner’s three-part cinematic epic Horizon: An American Saga — his first foray into directing since 2003 — hits theaters, take a look back at the early movies that made him a star.

Kevin Costner would likely prefer you weren’t reminded of his film debut in 1981’s Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. In 1993, the actor reportedly tried to buy the rights to the racy comedy, in which he played a handsome stable owner, so that he could destroy the film’s negative. Alas, Costner’s attempt failed, and Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. is currently streaming for free on Plex.

Following a string of small roles in sports drama Chasing Dreams (1982), the Ron Howard-directed comedy Night Shift (1982) and an uncredited appearance in the Frances Farmer biopic Frances (1982), Kevin Costner’s next significant film appearance was in 1983’s Stacy’s Knights. The then-28-year-old played a card counting coach who meets a tragic end at the hands of the corrupt owners of a casino. The film is currently streaming for free on Tubi, the Roku Channel and Sling.

Originally released in 1983, The Gunrunner found Kevin Costner starring as an idealistic young Canadian who first provides guns for Chinese rebels before getting involved with liquor smugglers back home in the 1920s. The film was re-released in 1989 after Costner became a major star, but it is not currently available to stream or buy on any platform.

The year 1983 also saw Kevin Costner appear in small roles in Table for Five and Testament. He played the deceased friend whose death brings together the characters in The Big Chill, but his scenes were ultimately cut from the film, and in 1984 he appeared the tawdry erotic thriller Shadows Run Black.

His first major starring role came in the 19 -

85 comedy Fandango, in which he played a college graduate on a road trip with his buddies before they’re all drafted into the Vietnam War. The film is available to rent or buy on Apple TV, YouTube, Prime Video and other platforms.

Kevin Costner recently called 1985’s Silverado a “career-making movie for me.” The actor starred alongside Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Rosanna Arquette and Jeff Goldblum in this rollicking, action-packed Western. Silverado is available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Amazon’s Prime Video and other platforms.

The same summer that Silverado was released, Kevin Costner starred in sports drama American Flyers, playing a sports medicine doctor working to repair his relationship with his brother over their shared love of competitive cycling. The film is currently streaming for free on Tubi and the Roku Channel.

In this prohibition-era crime drama, Kevin Costner starred as real-life U.S. Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, who worked with a team of agents to bring down notorious gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) in the 1930s. The Untouchables is currently streaming on Paramount+.

The year 1987 brought another starry vehicle for Kevin Costner. In neo-noir thriller No Way Out, he starred opposite Gene Hackman and Sean Young as a Naval Intelligence officer suspected of murdering a woman with whom he was having an affair. The film is streaming for free on Tubi, Pluto and the Roku Channel, and with a subscription to MGM+.

By the late ’80s, Kevin Costner was officially a major Hollywood star, and 1988 romantic comedy Bull Durham only cemented that further. In 2003, the film, in which Costner plays minor league baseball veteran Crash Davis alongside Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, topped Sports Illustrated’s list of the 50 greatest sports movies of all time. Bull Durham is currently streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video.

Kevin Costner followed up Bull Durham the following year with another baseball classic, 1989’s Field of Dreams. The film finds Costner playing an Iowa farmer who is driven by a mysterious voice to transform his cornfield into a baseball diamond that somehow attracts the spirits of dead ballplayers. Field of Dreams is available to stream with an AppleTV+ subscription through June 30.

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