I’ve always appreciated the hairy Bronx beast’s film presence over the years, despite him being one of the few actors who seem a little too relaxed playing the bad guy. He really does have that edge of bigot but I’ve never witnessed any faults in his acting so it was hard to narrow things down to 5 selected performances out of the 120+ titles he’s worked on. So in no particular order…
A film that will go down in history for many reasons, I especially love how the dark psychotic killer is in the guise of the ever memorable chubby nurse living her (love)life through a set of novels. In comes her dream writer and all hell breaks lose mentally and physically. Caan plays convincing role as Paul Sheldon, a r crash victim trying to pander to the tantrums of Annie Wilks (Kathy Bates). The two compliment each other so well throughout. She really will always be his number one fan. 9/10
I’ve adored this dystopian future thriller for some time. It hits hard about the future of mankind and how the control over education by corporations can lead to unfeeling husks instead of human beings. (I feel another list and article coming on here). Robert E (Caan) is a shit-hot Roller ball player, captain and trainer, his future in the career, friends, partners are all in full control of the head of the corporation who own him and pretty much everything. Caan is superb in his attempt to located information about the past (our future) and brave in his attempts to regain his humanity and bring down the whole ugly game on its head. 9/10
03.Alien Nation (1988)
A Perfect good cop vs. bad cop film. With the obligatory black cop gets killed in the first five minutes intro, Det Sgt Sykes (Caan) is then partnered up with a new partner Samuel ‘George’ Francisco (Mandy Patinkin) who is a member of a new alien race who have arrived on the earth. Caan gets to be as racist and bigoted to this “newcomer” as he likes throughout the movie despite his new partner being highly intelligent and Caan often showing himself up as a fool. There was a spin off TV show also, due to the popularity of this film and I think it’s all down to the two main actors camaraderie. This was one of the first roles I noticed just how calm and relaxed Caan is with the bigotry. I’m not making and judgement but if he’s going to get typecast then this might be his niche. 7/10
Cult classic territory! Saturated with countless first rate characters, obviously the godfather himself (Marlon Brando) a notable role, copied again and again in many various games, parodies and spin offs. Caan plays the hot headed, cheating husband, big mouthed son of an Sicilian godfather. He’s perfect for the role, thunderous, abrasive and violent. Contributing to one of the best beat down scenes of all time. (oh dear is this another list on the way?) 10/10
I discovered this movie only a short while ago, and I feel cheated. Caan himself stated that this was his best performance and admitted to some of the scenes being ad-libed and his best ever. I feel when Michael Mann is at his best he can certainly give his actors a lot of free reign and produce absolute magic, this movie is a perfect example. Frank (Caan) is a diamond thief coupled up with a small team including James Belushi he mouths off times with a few slurs and offers the best chat up talk ever while giving a blinding performance in this hypnotic film. One of my favorite lines from this film is.. ”Nobody likes older kids, You got an eight year old black chink kid, we’ll take him”. Shakespeare couldn’t have worded it better. He also gives one of the best chat up speeches ever. A real lovable tough guy. 10/10
Looking back over the list I do prefer some of his earlier works, and possibly his crowning moments, although I think Rollerball is often forgotten with many of the younger generation as it does look a little dated and possibly has been remade and now therefore forgotten which is sad because it does carry a very important message.
James Caan Fan mail and requests for autographs to this address (not verified).
Fan Mail Address:
Rogers & Cowan
Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069