by Released : 2023-11-01
1. Body Heat (1981)
A rare directorial effort from writer Lawrence Kasdan, best known for Empire Strikes back. This and Cutter’s way (1981) represent the year of the Sun-Noir, Noir films that take place in warm bright atmospheres instead of the usual genre trappings. Both this and Cutter’s way are two of the best modern Noir films of all time. William Hurt and Kathleen Turner have palpable chemistry perfectly capturing the allure of old movie stars like Borgat and Loraiine Bracoff. Launched both of their careers along with Ted Danson, right before Cheers. However, Mickey Rourke in only 5 minutes leaves an impression as an embattled arsonist. This film would help him break out of TV movies and small non-speaking roles.
2. The Wrestler (2008)
The film briefly resurrected Mickey Rourke’s career and resulted in Iron Man 2. The most realistic wrestling movie ever. This and Barfly are the best performances Rourke has put to screen. He won the golden globe and was nominated for best actor after being robbed of the Oscar. Unfortunately Once Mickey got some momentum again he did what he always does and blew it up.
3. Angelheart (1987)
Set in the 1950s De Niro gives one of the creepiest performances of all time. This film was one of the main influences for Christopher Nolan’s Memento and was given a rare X rating. This controversial rating plus Rourke’s refusal to positively promote any film he was in at the time caused the film to flop at the box office. However, it is a great twisty mystery and one of the most underrated films of all time. Rourke gives another powerforce performance full of rage, confidence, and confusion. Lisa Bonet also gives a powerful controversial performance which blackballed her from Holywood until High Fidelity.
4. Year of Dragon (1986)
The other Chinatown crime film, the film was a box office disappointment and would start the downfall of Rouke’s leading man status. The film also efficiently finished Michael Cimino flying film career, which is a shame because this is his best film. A powerful script by Oliver Stone Rourke and John Lone give two of the best performances of the 1980s. Both possess a volatile energy that can be felt through the screen. Rourke is the king of badass cops here he would put Alonzo in Training Day to shame.
5. Eurkea (1983)
One of the most misunderstood and forgotten films out there. Gene Hackman gives the best performance of the 1980s and maybe all time here. The film is full of great supporting parts like Joe Pesci as a Meyer Lanksy type character. Rourke in his small screen time as a seedy Mob Lawyer, a role he would later play again in the Rainmaker, is a calming presence among the chaos that surrounds him. A hectic film Rourke still manages to captivate the audience in the moments he is on screen.
6. The Pope of Greenwitch Village (1984)
A box office flop, which unfortunately outside of 91/2 weeks was not uncommon for films starring Mickey Rourke. One of the best mafia films of all time Rourke remains lifelong friends with Eric Roberts because of this film. A mafia film that shows how it impacts normal people similar in tone to Mean Streets. Rourke and Eric Roberts have some of the best chemistry of all time in this film. They play off each other magnificently which evaluates the film's simple premise. Endlessly rewatchable a great mob film where the main characters don't even brandish a gun, but uses their words and attitude to get what they want.
7. Sin City
The Wrestler is often mentioned as Rourke’s big screen comeback, but it was actually Sin City a few years prior that relaunched Rourke’s career. Rourke as Marv is a loveable brute ripped straight out of a comic book. No one but Rourke could play this role; he's firing on all cylinders here. This film makes me wish Rourke did more good action films. The one’s he did during his prime White Sands and Marlboro man were less to be desired. Here Rourke not only show’s his affinity for gunplay, but the use of his body as a tool for actors that he would later use to great effect in the wrestler. A fun noir film that holds up incredibly well today even the sequel has its charms .
8. Dinner (1982)
Barry Levinson has one of the most diverse careers of any director and his most personal films are part of his Baltimore series: Dinner, Tin Men, Avalon, and Liberty Heights. The Dinner is a location and hubspot that appear in each of these films all set in 1960s Baltimore. Set in 1959 the whole cast in this film feel like best friends. Kevin Bacon’s first acting role and he is delightfully slimy here as a typical 1950s wisecrack. However, it’s Rourke once again among a great cast that completely steals the show. After small parts in epic flops like Steven Spilberg’s 1941 and Heaven Gate. Rouke’s first major speaking role was a brief scene in Body Heat, but it was Dinner that was his breakout role. Here Rourke uses his signature charm to steal the hearts of everyone in the theater. A great hangout film it really feels like you're just at the dinner with your best friends hanging out. A classic Drive-In thetar movie that has a small passionite following.
9. Rumble Fish (1983)
The Outsiders (1983) is S.E. Hinton’s best known film adaptation. But another teen film directed by Coopla and starring Matt Dillion was released that year as well. Rumble Fish flopped at the box office and is mentioned behind Outsiders and Tex (1982). However, it is the best S.E. Hilton adaptation. Set in the late 1960s the film also stars a young Nick Cage, Chris Penn and Laurence Fishbounre. Diane Lane is amazing here, wise beyond her years and Dennis Hopper is heartbreaking as a drunkard absentee father to Matt Dillion and Mickey Rourke. Among a stacked cast it’s Rouke once again who steals the show as the legendary Motorcycle Kid. After his breakout in Dinner (1982) Rourke once again had another solid supporting role, after this he would lead a number of 80s films.
10. Barfly (1987)
A hard film to watch, but Rourke gives the best performance of his career outside the Wrestler (2008). Based on the life of drunk writer Chad Buwoski the film only made 3.2 million against a 5 million dollar budget, but developed a cult following. Even being mentioned by Mathew Perry behind the scenes in an episode for Friends (1994).