I cannot think of a more iconic actor in our time than Dennis Hopper for a number of reasons. His unique gravelly accent seemed like he had just been on a drinking and smoking binge for 48 hours. For a portion of his life that actually was likely true. In honor of his recent passing from prostate cancer I have decided to put together a list of my favorite Dennis Hopper roles.
10. As “Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright” in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Yeah not the best Hopper role, hence the fact it is on the bottom of this list. I always remember seeing the front cover of the VHS tape of this film with Hopper wielding a chainsaw and wearing a cowboy hat. Pretty cool!
9. As “Photojournalist” in Apocalypse Now
As in some of Dennis’s greatest roles I often wonder if this character is just an extension of himself. Whatever it is, I think it is a classic example of awesomeness.
8. As “Moon” from True Grit
Dennis Hopper was awesome as a supporting actor to John Wayne and Robert Duvall. This is an iconic role for Hopper in a classic western.
7. As “Deacon” in Waterworld
While Waterworld was not the blockbuster everyone had hoped for, Dennis Hopper seems to fit in quite well in the role of Deacon.
6. As “Feck” in River’s Edge
River’s Edge is one interesting film and thats for two reasons in my opinion, Crispin Glover’s odd character Layne and Dennis Hopper’s minor role as Feck. Imagine a John Hughes 80′s classic now tip it upside down and shake and you will have River’s Edge
5. As “Frank Booth” in Blue Velvet
David Lynch has a way of taking the audience one a ride into a world of depravity and weird characters. One of his most interested characters was Frank Booth and Dennis Hopper played the part wonderfully. I do not think that this role could have been done better by anyone.
4. As “Howard Payne” in Speed
Dennis Hopper is not the typical person you would expect to be in an explosively charged action film but it works in Speed. What I liked about his character is that he was one-step ahead of everyone and his line delivery was straightforward and very chilling as a result.
3. As “Billy” in Easy Rider
Easy Rider maybe should be at the top of my list but it is not my personal favorite of Hopper’s roles. Yes it is a truly classic film and does a fabulous job of capturing the period. I love the simplicity of this film but yet it holds some very powerful messages. I think this is one of the best, if not the best road movie and it may make it to another list of great road movies but I do not believe this is Hopper’s best performance. His role as Captain America’s sidekick is great but not my favorite, enough said.
2. As “Shooter” in Hoosiers
This is my favorite sports related film and remember seeing this as a kid with my father. I love Dennis Hopper in this role as Shooter. The character is on a journey of redemption from a life of alcoholism. This character is much like Hopper’s real life because this role was his redemption in the eyes of Hollywood after years of drug addled binges and bad behavior.
1. A “Clifford Worley” in True Romance
I know that this role is only a minor supporting character. As Clifford Worley, Hoppper shares the screen with another icon, Christopher Walken. This scene is so powerful to me and has some of the best dialogue thanks to Quentin Tarantino. The fact that Hopper’s character spit in the fact of death is enough to make get the blood boiling. I love the feeling I have of this scene and think his role is worthy of number one on my list.