Christopher Walken leaps off the screen in Seven Psychopaths, but that is hardly a surprise. The actor has been doing that with roles far and wide for decades. In honor of his latest film that also stars Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and the cutest Shih Tzu, we present the Top 10 Christopher Walken movies of all-time.
10. Wedding Crashers
Walken’s turn as a politico in Wedding Crashers provided the calming yin to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s comedic yang. Normally the one causing the havoc, it was a treat to witness the actor serve as the calm amidst a chaos of comedy.
9. A View to a Kill
There are better James Bond bad guys, but few are as flamboyantly fiery as Walken is in the last film to feature Roger Moore. A View to a Kill baddie Max Zorin, with his flaming blond hair and faithful sidekick in Grace Jones, Walken brought a perfect mix of big 1980’s style and panache to a franchise that utterly needed it.
8. King of New York
A brilliant take on the Robin Hood fable sees Walken as Frank White, a former drug lord who gets out of prison and decides to take over the city streets he once ruled ruthlessly. Yet this time out, the King of New York is seeking to knock out his competition and share the wealth with the city’s poor and disenfranchised. Christopher Walken perfects the crime lord persona he does better than anyone in this flick.
Not too many know that Walken started out as a song and dance man (check out the video for Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice for proof of his hoofer status), so it was perfect that he was cast as the paternal figure for Nikki Blonsky’s central character in Adam Shankman’s musical re-imagining of John Waters’ classic film, Hairspray.
6. True Romance
An unforgettable performance by Walken is simply one highlight of this Quentin Tarantino-penned film, directed by the late Tony Scott. True Romance is not only one of the Top 10 Tony Scott Movies, but it also featured the actor in one of the most memorable scenes of his career as he faces off against Christian Slater’s onscreen father, Dennis Hopper. That scene alone is iconic.
5. Catch Me if You Can
Walken got a chance to be directed by one of the best in the biz with his turn in Catch Me if You Can. Steven Spielberg brought the true story to life of a conman (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his adventures avoiding an FBI agent (Tom Hanks). Walken was impeccably cast to portray DiCaprio’s father.
4. Man on Fire
The second Scott-directed film on this list! This time out in Man on Fire (What is Denzel Washington's best thriller?), Walken is Rayburn. It is one of the director and Denzel Washington’s most underrated movies. Walken’s character is the guy who gets Washington the job of protecting a little girl (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico as a wave of kidnappings engulfs the city.
3. Annie Hall
What we love so much about putting Annie Hall on our Top 10 Christopher Walken Movies list is how the film could easily have been named for his character, Duane Hall. Of course, we’re completely kidding, but who can argue with the film’s staying power and how it was one of the first introductions to Walken for a wider audience.
2. The Deer Hunter
Michael Cimino’s 1978 epic was an Oscar favorite and saw Walken joining forces with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep in a story of the Vietnam War that at that point, few had seen. In The Deer Hunter, three friends (including Walken) wind up fighting in Vietnam and get captured by the enemy. They are routinely forced to play Russian Roulette with each other… but eventually escape. That is when their horrors really begin.
1. Seven Psychopaths
Yes, wider audiences haven’t seen it yet, but Movie Fanatic can proudly state that Seven Psychopaths is Walken’s best work… period. He is astounding as Hans, one half of a dog kidnapping operation with Sam Rockwell that gets insanely violent when they steal the Shih Tzu of a certain L.A. “psychopath” gangster, played by Harrelson. Do not miss this movie!
Honorable mentions: At Close Range, Brainstorm, The Dead Zone, Suicide Kings, Sleepy Hollow, Blast from the Past, Basquiat, Pulp Fiction