Robert Charles Durman Mitchum born on August 6, 1917, was an American actor, singer, composer, poet, author, and director. He gained popularity by starring in several classic noirs. His acting was generally considered as a forerunner of the antiheroes prevalent in the movies between the 1950s and 1960s. The rugged and devilishly charming Robert Mitchum made his name by playing roles in different genres such as crime thrillers, war dramas, westerns, blacks, etc.
He played various roles in movies before landing on the leading role in The Story of Gi Joe (1945). He played the role of army captain during World War II and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
What Are the Top Movies Robert Mitchum Has Been In?
The Story of G.I. Joe – 1945
The story of G.I. Joe was a turning point in the career of Mitchum. He earned him the first major film role and the only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This movie was based on the writing of Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle (Burgess Meredith). It explored the lives of American soldiers during World Warr II.
The main focus was on the platoon led by tough and gruff Lieutenant Bill Walker played by Mitchum. The director William A. Wellman shoots in a style that mimics the harsh reality of news footage during the war. He created surprisingly a modern portrayal of war.
Out Of The Past – 1947
The best of all noirs of Mitchum’s is Out Of The Past. In this movie, he played the role of a gas station worker who was desperately trying to escape his past life as a private investigator. It made it more difficult for him when the former client Kirk Douglas returns after years. A long time ago, Douglas hired Mitchum to find the lover of his life, Jane Geer.
She ran away with $40,000 after shooting him. Geer was able to manage to bewitch this seasoned professional. Thanks to the directing style of Jacques Tourneur who made this movie stand out from its remake in 1984 Against All Odds. The major credit goes to Mitchum’s outstanding and commanding performance in this movie that remake could not get much appreciation.
The Night Of The Hunter – 1955
A movie based on the novel by Davis Grubb was abandoned at the time by the public and critics. This movie has resurfaced as one of the great masterpieces of cinema. It is about a strange expressionist horror story where evil lurks in the good. Mitchum was given the role of his life as Harry Powell. Powell was a sinister preacher with the words LOVE and HATE tattooed on his fingers.
While behind the bars, he found out that his cellmate Peter Graves has hidden $10,000 in his house. As a result, he marries the man’s widow Shelly Winter. It was his plant to retrieve the loot. But it was not easy because of the moon-eyed kids such as Sally Jane Bruch and Billy Chapin. They did not tell him about the hidden money.
Cape Fear – 1962
There are few characters in this movie as terrifying as Max Cady. He was a violent and sadistic criminal who terrifies the straight lawyer named Gregory Peck. This was lawyer sent Cady to jail for a rape case. As it is clear, Mitchum played the role of Cady. He played this role with a seething threat that gave everyone goosebumps. Especially, when he stalks the Peck’s wife played by Polly Bergen.
The role of Mitchum was not all malevolence, but more of a charismatic and calming allure in which the monster laughs while tormenting the audience. He made an appearance in the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake. In this movie, he was a cop who encourages the lawyer to take the matters into his hands and the lawyer was the same, Peck.
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle – 1973
The Friends of Eddie Coyle is having an elegiac sadness and the hyper-realistic crime drama of Peter Yates. Mitchum delivers one of his best performances as the main character. In his role, he was a little jerk who was living in a small town and barely managed to make the ends meet for his wife and kids. With his eyes riveted on a long prison sentence, he agrees to account for his criminal cohorts.
Shot on the streets of Boston, the movie is having a gritty naturalism that complements the laid-back pace. At the center is Mitchum, who was an aging thug who never got to rose through the ranks. He was seeking one last chance at greatness. It was a surprising twist that proved the old Hollywood legend is still having a few tricks up his sleeve.
The Yakuza – 1975
The Yakuza takes a B-level plot and executes it with A-level dexterity and skills. Mitchum played the role of Ex-G.I. In the role, he served in Japan in WWII. Now he was working as a private detective in the United States. After several years, he returned to his country to help an old friend Brian Keth. He helped him to save the kidnapped daughter from the infamous Japanese mafia.
Ken Takakura plays an old enemy who helps Mitchum to accomplish his mission. The movie incorporated enough kung fu action to keep the martial arts fans happy. Also, there was a lot of character development. All the credit goes to one of the top Hollywood screenwriters such as Leonard Schrader, Robert Towne, and Paul Schrader.
Farewell, My Lovely – 1975
Mitchum returned to the genre with Farewell, My Lovely that made him a star while creating an underrated black gem. Based on Raymond Chandler’s novel, Mitchum appeared as Philip Marlowe. It was a role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Marlowe was a private investigator who was hired by the parolee offender Moose Malloy played by Jack O’Haloran. His task was to find his ex-girlfriend, Velma played by Charlotte Rampling.
The twist in the movie was that Velma was having a striking resemblance to the woman with whom Marlowe fell in love. The character matches Mitchum, but his face now a little tired and wrinkled but still handsome was able to return to the role in the remake of The Big Sleep in 1978.
Dead Man – 1996
Mitchum remained active in the movies until he died in 1997. He gave one of the best late-career performances in Jim Jarmusch’s postmodern western. Set in the late 1800s, Dead Mean revolves around William Blake played by Johnny Depp. He was an accountant who traveled from Cleveland to Machine Town in search of work in a local factory. He clashes with the owner of the factory played by Mitchum, after sleeping with his future daughter-in-law.
He was forced to take refuge with an Indian Gary Farmer whom he believed was related to a famous Neligh poet. The movie was shot in black and white by Robby Muller. It was a curious and haunting deconstruction of the cowboy genre.
Robert Mitchum – Worked for Film Noir
Robert Mitchum died on July 1, 1997, at the age of 79. He is initially known for his work in film noir. It is a genre of Hollywood Crime Dramas. In all his active years, he played the roles of criminals or detectives. His screen persona was as a world-weary and hard-bitten antihero. Also, he got the leading roles in various movies of different genres.
He gained popularity as a bad boy who was linked with gangsters and mafias. Still, he is regarded by some critics as one of the best actors of the Golden Age of Hollywood.