Melt all faces: Gibson's 15 greatest films
As John Wick spin-off 'The Continental' hits streaming services, all eyes have had their eyes glued to the most famous actor playing the all-powerful figure running the titular hotel: yes, Mel Gibson is back – once again.
Reaction to the first episode was divided between those so offended by Gibson starring in a high-profile series that they immediately condemned the show, and those who acknowledge that Gibson gives the appearance of a fearless, dramatic performance that gives impetus to everything that happens. It may no longer feature Keanu Reeves, but instead it does feature the actor who played Martin Riggs.
However, Gibson's A-list reputation has been repeatedly tarnished by allegations ranging from accusations of homophobia and bigotry (repeatedly denied) to two separate infamous incidents: one in which he was arrested for drunk driving and immediately reported it . a series of sexist and anti-Semitic insults, and another where he was recorded wishing the worst possible fate on his ex-girlfriend. However, after years spent in the Hollywood wilderness on both occasions, he made one tentative comeback and one with complete triumph. If he no longer enjoys the fame he once had, his presence in The Continental will be a welcome reminder of what a superb actor he can be.
However, in reality, Gibson has always been one of the most versatile figures in Hollywood. He may be best known for his leading man roles, but he can also pull off searing drama, dark (and light) comedy and, in one surprisingly successful case, Shakespeare. And he's one of the most talented directors working today, even if his most profitable film, the largely unwatchable Biblical torture porn epic The Passion of the Christ, has no place on this list. Here are the 15 best movies (plus one TV show) he's been in, ranked from worst to best.
15. Conspiracy Theory (1997)
The combination of Gibson, Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner and Julia Roberts could always lead to great success, as proven by the action-comedy Conspiracy Theory, which revolves around a paranoid New York cab driver who sees Big Government at work everywhere, only to discover that his fantasies are all too real. In this age of YouTube weirdos and mass misinformation, the film is more relevant than ever before, and Gibson isn't afraid to make his manic protagonist both comical and less than likable: after all, relatively few summer blockbusters dare to make their supposed protagonist a hero. Stalker. And how many movies are you likely to see in which Patrick Stewart's villain gets bitten on the nose?
14. Get Gringo (2012)
Even when Gibson was deep in his Hollywood purdah, he still kept working – perhaps helped by the fact that he could finance his own films with his Passion of the Christ fortune – and this witty, hugely enjoyable thriller is one his funniest photos. There's nothing particularly original about the plot, which sees Gibson's master criminal imprisoned in a Mexican prison and plotting a return to freedom and profit, but there's an infectious sense of fun and wit that makes this a short, funny B-movie very enjoyable. way to spend an hour and a half. Gibson not only starred and produced it, but also co-wrote the screenplay; It wouldn't be much of a surprise to discover that he almost directed it too, so closely does it resemble the most successful aspects of his own films.
Gibson in “Get a Gringo” Credits: Cinematic/Alamy Stock Photo 13. “Reward” (1984)
David Lean conceived a sprawling epic, perhaps two films, about the famous Mutiny on the Bounty, but the ill health of screenwriter Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons) and budget constraints ultimately led to the project being directed by the Australian directed by Roger Donaldson and merged into one picture. Gibson is well cast as the idealistic Fletcher Christian, second-in-command to Anthony Hopkins' tyrannical Captain Bligh on the infamous ship, and manages to hold his own against one of the most stellar supporting casts ever produced, including Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day-Lewis, Liam Neeson and, naturally, Neil Morrissey. He's also a talented enough actor to capture the contradictions in Christian, a man who was both principled and at the same time leading a mutiny, knowing full well that he would be hunted down and executed by the then all-powerful Royal Navy if he was ever caught. He makes his character both likable and flawed.
As Fletcher Christian in “The Bounty” Photo: Entertainment Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo 12. Reckoning (1999)< p>John Boorman's existential masterpiece Point Blank may never have needed a remake, but Brian Helgeland's witty misanthropic crime thriller does a great job of updating it. A much-discussed behind-the-scenes conflict between Gibson and Helgeland ultimately led to the latter releasing a director's cut that appears to be an entirely different film, with Gibson's voiceover cut and a darker, more ambiguous ending. However, the cinematic version is a bracingly nasty piece, revolving around Gibson's Porter taking bloody revenge on the gang that shot him and left him for dead, more than living up to the “Get ready to root for the bad guy” tagline. . Perhaps one of Gibson's most enduring traits as an actor is his lack of desire to please; of course, his Porter comes across as just as villainous as those he seeks revenge on.
Cheerfully unpleasant: as Porter in “Payback” Photo: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo 11. Ransom (1996)
Opinions are divided as to which Ron Howard's best film is, but his magnificently disgusting crime thriller Ransom has to be up there. The film is greatly aided by Gibson's nuanced performance as squillionaire tycoon Tom Mullen, whose rise to unimaginable wealth is aided by some dodgy business deals along the way, and the film wisely suggests that there is no such thing as a truly innocent party – except naturally , a poor child who is kidnapped for ransom. Howard taps into a darkness rarely present in the rest of his films, and a central scene in which Gibson baffles the police by announcing a huge public reward for the return of his son—or the death of his captors—only slightly introduces a piquant moral quandary. disappointed by the relatively traditional ending of the film.
In the image of a maverick tycoon in the film “Ransom” Photo: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy Stock Photo 10. Dragging on concrete (2018) )
Director S. Craig Zahler has drawn both criticism and praise for his visceral and uncompromising films, many of which are perceived as containing reactionary or conservative messages. His crime thriller Dragging Across Concrete, starring Gibson and Vince Vaughn as a pair of cops caught up in the aftermath of a robbery, is a perfect example of his signature filmmaking style; baroque, cruel, devoid of sentiment and a happy ending. It's also compelling and viscerally charged from start to finish. Gibson, who has always been drawn to the dark side, relishes the opportunity to play the morally compromised detective with great subtlety, never playing for sympathy, but still evoking sympathy for this particular devil in the most unexpected way.
In the film “Drag on Concrete” Photo: Moviestore Collection Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo 9. Continental (2023)
Gibson has made a slew of unspectacular action films of late, alternating between villainous authority figures and paternalistic mentors. But his starring role in The Continental—admittedly a TV show, not a movie—allows him to go all in for the first time in years. As Continental manager Cormac O'Connor says, his character's name may be reminiscent of an Irish-American playwright or poet, but the foul language that often comes out of his mouth leaves viewers in no doubt that he is an extremely dangerous and unaccountable figure. However, with dialogue like “I come from the heart of the almighty,” it's clear Gibson is having a great time.
Mel Gibson at The Continental. Photo: Starz Entertainment 6. Hamlet (1990)
When it was first announced, it sounded like a joke: Mel Gibson, the ultimate action hero, plays Hamlet, a famous man who is unable to act when needed. However, Franco Zeffirelli's film so cleverly contrasts Gibson's macho image from the Lethal Weapon films with the tortured indecision of Shakespeare's Dane, resulting in an intriguingly unusual take on the protagonist. It has the best supporting cast of almost any Shakespeare adaptation of the last half century – everyone from Ian Holm and Alan Bates to Paul Scofield and Helena Bonham Carter – and Zeffirelli manages to rein in his star just enough to make it mean when he, finally transforms into an indomitable avenger, viewers are asked to consider whether it is too little, too late. Popular Fact: Zeffirelli was inspired to play Gibson after watching Lethal Weapon and the scene in which Riggs contemplates suicide—as Hamlet famously does.
7. Gallipoli (1981)
Before Mel Gibson was a movie star, he was an actor, and Peter Weir's achingly moving World War I drama may remind even the most skeptical of viewers just how good he was when working with a director he respected. Weir has never made a bad movie, and he's a supremely actor's director, which makes Gibson's low-key, decidedly unstarry performance as Frank Dunne, a cynical slacker who ends up reluctantly fighting for the British Empire, stand out. The film is deservedly famous for its pessimistic ending, which sees Dunn only seconds too late to stop his comrades' doomed attack, but everything about Gallipoli is classy and confident. Like many of Weir's films, it deserves more love.
Mark Lee and Mel Gibson at Gallipoli. Photo: Maximum Film/Alamy Stock Photo 6. Braveheart (1995)
Yes, this is a simplistic (not to mention wildly historically inaccurate) policy. Yes, Gibson's accent as Scottish independence founding father William Wallace is questionable, although not nearly as dark as, say, Kevin Costner's as Robin Hood. And yes, it's a little long – three hours. But Gibson's sweeping drama, which he both directed and starred in, remains the last gasp of the pre-CGI historical epic, with battle scenes superbly staged on the grandest scale and his likable, charismatic central performance putting you on the hero's side. for the duration of the film. Admittedly, if you're north of the border, things sound very different, but some corny but moving lines (“You may take our lives, but you'll never take…our freedom!”) remain classics, and most agrees with this. it earned five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
“FREEDOM!”: as William Wallace in the film “Braveheart” Photo: Maximum Film/Alamy Stock Photo 5 Signs (2002)
M. Night Shyamalan's dark, low-key alien invasion drama has always divided audiences. Some find the lack of special effects refreshing, while others desire some old-fashioned thrills. However, most agree that Gibson's performance in the title role of a priest who loses his faith after the death of his wife is one of his best. Eschewing conventional heroism in favor of quiet contemplation of the infinite, the actor has no moments of machismo or witty one-liners, but instead is allowed to perform to his full potential as an ordinary, unremarkable man caught in a far-off situation. beyond his comprehension. This was likely Gibson's last significant performance in a studio film, and it remains one of his finest hours.
4. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Hollywood figures who have been canceled should not come back with fame, let alone Oscar-winning films in which they are nominated for every award under the sun. Ironically, given Gibson's history of making films revolving around extreme violence, the war film that marked his grand comeback tells the story of pacifist Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who nonetheless served with great courage. during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, without firing a single machine gun. shot. Not only is the film shot with exceptional skill – as always with Gibson – but virtually every single scene feels like a deliberate response to detractors who would call him “small but a bigot”, giving the film a rare intensity and anger. Andrew Garfield gives a great performance in the title role and was deservedly nominated for an Oscar, but this is Gibson's film, a superbly made war picture that is also an irreconcilable plea for a return to the top tier: it was granted.
Andrew Garfield in the film “Hacksaw Ridge 3. Mad Max 2” (1981)
Of Gibson's three Mad Max films, the first is the darkest and nihilistic, and the third the most eccentric, but for many, it was the second that the series reached its apogee. Known in America as “The Road Warrior” (the name by which many still refer to it), it is more violent than the first film and contains some amazing action scenes with Gibson's drifter Max Rockatansky investing at least some of his angst into it. the first film after his family's murder, and he continues to fight a gang of wild post-apocalyptic bikers. Gibson has always had a knack for playing both talkative and silent roles, and here—in one of the least dialogue-heavy roles he's ever played—his poised, brooding charisma carries the film.
2. Lethal Weapon (1987)
Of the four Lethal Weapon films—and presumably the fifth if Gibson has his way—the second is the funniest, the third the silliest, and the fourth the most corny. But this is the first film that remains one of the best action films of the eighties, combining superb direction from Richard Donner with a superb script from Shane Black. Yet the film would never have worked as well as it did if it weren't for Gibson's powerful performance as Martin Riggs, which brings freshness to the old clichés of the cop on the edge with nothing to lose. Danny Glover, as his put-upon partner, gives the film his heart, and villain Gary Busey is a clear menace, but its star remains unwatchable, even if the film practically sets the rules for traditional buddy cop dramas to be followed. countless other films.
With Donald Glover in the film “Lethal Weapon” Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo 1. Apocalypto (2006)
Released shortly after the first of his career-threatening scandals – when he was arrested in Los Angeles for drunk driving – Apocalypto was a sequel to The Passion of the Christ and, like that film, made headlines because it was shot entirely in an unknown location. subtitle language (in this case Mayan). However, although his epic of Jesus is very difficult, this fast-paced thriller, largely revolving around a young warrior's desperate quest to return home to his family while being hunted by his enemies, is an action masterpiece.
Gibson on the set of Apocalypto Photo: Cinematic/Alamy Stock Photo
It contains scenes of extreme violence – esp. , the centerpiece of a human sacrifice in a temple that immediately earns its place in the annals of amazingly executed and unforgettable cinematic fireworks, but also has an unforgettable twist at the end that forces viewers to re-evaluate everything they've seen in the previous two hours. This is quite possibly the best film Gibson has ever been in, and that's saying a lot.