At one point, Dennis Hopper was about as ‘out there’ as you could get in Hollywood. His antics on and off the screen were well-documented for a while, but then so was his acting. He was one of those individuals that people couldn’t help but like since he came on screen with a type of energy that seemed almost manic but was infectious in a very big way. Throughout his career he had his share of ups and downs that were caused by various factors that were his doing at times. But throughout everything he was still a beloved actor that touched a great many people in a big way. Those that were born in the 80s or later might have missed out on seeing some of his best work when it was just released, but that didn’t stop anyone from picking up a copy of said movies and discovering just how nuts this guy could be, and how great.
Here are some of the best movies from his career.
5. Apocalypse Now
This movie kind of shows just how nuts he could go at times since he stayed in character so well that you would swear he wasn’t acting, but was just being himself. That manic energy he brought to so many roles that he played was something that seemed to define him at times and made it hard to mistake him for anyone else. For long periods of time it would seem that Dennis would kind of drop off the map, but when he came back he was absolutely great since he didn’t need to change up his characters that much and tended to bring the same level of intensity to many of his characters throughout his career.
This is a film that a few of us can probably admit that we watched in school at one point as part of a lesson plan or just for the fun of it. This scene in particular was kind of interesting since the head coach intentionally got himself thrown out so that he could give his assistant a better chance of showing what he could do. He didn’t play the crazy character in this movie but he did play a guy that was more true to life since he had a serious problem in his life with drugs and alcohol at one point. In fact once he got clean it was very tough for him to do roles such as this since it brought back the desire to relapse.
This is considered a great film simply because Dennis kind of took over even though Keanu was supposed to be the main focal point of the movie. That manic energy took over again as his portrayal of a mad bomber that’s also an ex-cop became too much to ignore and his character was seen as one of the most interesting parts of the movie. His feud throughout the film with Keanu’s character was something that seemed to get downplayed a little too much but was still a very intense and demanding battle that saw both of them trying to outsmart one another the entire way until finally Dennis’ character simply lost control.
2. Blue Velvet
Frank Booth is an interesting if psychotic character that fits the late Hopper to a tee since the characters he plays often seem disturbed in some way and almost always appear to be on the verge of busting out of their own skin if such a thing were possible. Frank however is about as nuts as they get and dangerous as well. This movie is definitely one of those that you watch and need to watch again either out of morbid fascination or just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything that might have been vital to your understanding. All in all, it’s a strange but thrilling movie that many people still remember quite well.
1. Easy Rider
This seemed to be the one role that Dennis couldn’t get past for a while since it marked him as the odd man out, the oddball, the outcast. As such it would seem that this movie was one of those that some people fully agreed with and some didn’t care for in the slightest. It was a movie about the freedom of the open road, going where you would, and was also a movie about one man’s search for an America that he recognized. With all that in mind it was also the type of movie that might have seemed a bit odd in some spots to some people since some of the content seemed a little off as per the standards of the current era. But in all fairness movies were made in a much different manner back then.
Dennis passed in 2010, and to this day his presence is missed.