Dennis Hopper


Dennis Lee Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010) was an American actor, filmmaker, and visual artist. He attended the Actors Studio, made his first television appearance in 1954, and soon after made his film debut in small role in Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause (1955), with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and Jim Backus; followed by an uncredited role in Stuart Heisler’s I Died a Thousand Times (1955), with Jack Palance, Shelley Winters, Lee Marvin, Earl Holliman, Perry Lopez, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, and Lon Chaney Jr.; and a major supporting role in George Stevens’s Giant (1956), with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Dean, Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Chill Wills, Mercedes McCambridge, Mineo, Rod Taylor, Elsa Cárdenas, and Earl Holliman.

Other notable films in the 1950s include John Sturges’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet, and John Ireland; Irwin Allen’s The Story of Mankind (1957), with Ronald Colman, Vincent Price, Hedy Lamarr, Grouch, Chico, & Harpo Marx, Virginia Mayo, Agnes Moorehead, Peter Lorre, Charles Coburn, Cedric Hardwicke, Cesar Romero, and John Carradine; Henry Hathaway’s From Hell to Texas (1958), with Don Murray and Diane Varsi; and Ted Tetzlaff’s The Young Land (1959), with Patrick Wayne, Yvonne Craig, and Dan O’Herlihy.

Films in the 1960s include Phil Karlson’s Key Witness (1960), with Jeffrey Hunter and Pat Crowley; Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide (1961), with Linda Lawson, Gavin Muir, and Luana Anders; Hathaway’s The Sons of Katie Elder (1965), with John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer, Michael Anderson Jr., Earl Holliman, George Kennedy, Paul Fix, Jeremy Slate, and James Gregory; Harrington’s Queen of Blood (1966), with John Saxon, Basil Rathbone, and Judi Meredith; Roger Corman’s The Trip (1967), with Peter Fonda, Susan Strasberg, and Bruce Dern; Stuart Rosenberg’s Cool Hand Luke (1967), with Paul Newman, Kennedy, J.D. Cannon, Robert Drivas, Lou Antonio, Strother Martin, and Jo Van Fleet; Panic in the City (1968), with Howard Duff, Linda Cristal, Stephen McNally, Nehemiah Persoff, Anne Jeffreys, and Oscar Beregi Jr.; and Hathaway’s True Grit (1969), with Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, Jeff Corey, and John Fielder.

Hopper’s major breakthrough came when he directed, co-wrote, and co-starred in the independent road drama Easy Rider (1968), with Fonda (who produced and co-wrote with Hopper and Terry Southern) and Jack Nicholson. The film was a critical and commercial hit, earning $60 million against an estimated budget of $360,000. It earned Hopper a Cannes Film Festival Award for “Best First Work” and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Hopper went on to direct and star in The Last Movie (1971), with Stella Garcia, Don Gordon, Fonda, Julie Adams, Sylvia Miles, Samuel Fuller, Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn, Tomas Milian, Toni Basil, Severn Darden, Henry Jaglom, Rod Cameron, Kris Kristofferson, and Michelle Phillips. The film had notorious production issues, and went on to be a critical and commercial flop.

From there he appeared in various independent and foreign projects – in which he was frequently typecast as mentally disturbed outsiders in such films as Philippe Mora’s Mad Dog Morgan (1976), with Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil, Frank Thring, and Michael Pate; and Wim Wender’s The American Friend (1977), with Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer, and Gérard Blain – until he found new fame for his role as an American photojournalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), with Marlon Brando, Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, and Harrison Ford.

Other films in the 1970s include James Frawley’s Kid Blue (1973), with Warren Oates, Peter Boyle, and Ben Johnson; Henry Jagolm’s Tracks (1977), with Taryn Power and Stockwell; Claude d’Anna’s Last In, First Out (1978), with Bruno Cremer, Donald Pleasence, Joseph Cotten, and Gabriele Ferzetti; and Silvio Narizzano’s Bloodbath (1979), with Carroll Baker, Win Wells, Richard Todd, and Faith Brook.

Hopper went on to helm his third directorial work Out of the Blue (1980), with Linda Manz, Sharon Farrell, Don Gordon, Raymond Burr; for which he was again honored at Cannes. Other films in the early 1980s include King of the Mountain (1981), with Harry Hamlin, Joseph Bottoms, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, and Richard Cox, Seymour Cassel; Human Highway (1982), with Neil Young, Stockwell, and Tamblyn; Coppola’s Rumble Fish (1983), with Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Vincent Spano, Diane Lane, Diana Scarwid, and Nicolas Cage; Sam Peckinpah’s The Osterman Weekend (1983), with Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Lancaster, Meg Foster, Helen Shaver, Chris Sarandon, and Craig T. Nelson; and My Science Project (1985), with John Stockwell,
Danielle von Zerneck, Fisher Stevens, Raphael Sbarge, Richard Masur, Barry Corbin, and Ann Wedgeworth.

Hopper saw a resurgence in his career with acclaimed performances in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986), with Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, George Dickerson, Stockwell, Brad Dourif, and Jack Nance; and Hoosiers (1986), with Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey; the latter of which saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Other films around this time include Riders of the Storm (1986), with Michael J. Pollard; Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986), with Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley and Jim Siedow; and Tim Hunter’s River’s Edge (1986), with Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye Leitch, and Daniel Roebuck.

Other films in the late 1980s include Bob Rafelson’s Black Widow (1987), with Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey, and Nicol Williamson; Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell (1987), with Sy Richardson, Joe Strummer, Dick Rude, Courtney Love,, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Edward Tudor-Pole, Kathy Burke, and Jim Jarmusch; James Toback’s The Pick-up Artist (1987), with Robert Downey Jr., Molly Ringwald, Danny Aiello, and Harvey Keitel; Blood Red (1989), with Eric Roberts, Giancarlo Giannini, Burt Young, and Lara Harris; and Mick Jackson’s Chattahoochee (1989), with Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Pamela Reed, Ned Beatty, and M. Emmett Walsh.

Hopper’s next directorial effort was Catchfire (1990), with Jodie Foster, Fred Ward, Vincent Price, John Turturro, with cameo appearances by Charlie Sheen, Joe Pesci, Catherine Keener and Bob Dylan; where with the theatrical cut he went under the infamous pseudonym Alan Smithee. His last two films as director were the neo-noir The Hot Spot (1990), with Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, Charles Martin Smith, William Sadler, and Barry Corbin; and the comedy Chasers (1994), with Tom Berenger, Erika Eleniak, William McNamara, and Gary Busey.

Other films in the early 1990s include Flashback (1990), with Kiefer Sutherland, Carol Kane, Paul Dooley, Cliff De Young, Richard Masur, Michael McKean, and Kathleen York; The Indian Runner (1991), with David Morse, Viggo Mortensen, Valeria Golino, Patricia Arquette, Jordan Rhodes, Sandy Dennis, and Charles Bronson; John Dahl’s Red Rock West (1993), with Cage, Lara Flynn Boyle, J.T. Walsh, Timothy Carhart, and Dwight Yoakam; Super Mario Bros. (1993), with Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Samantha Mathis, Stevens, Fiona Shaw, and Richard Edson; Tony Scott’s True Romance (1993), with Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport, Bronson Pinchot, Samuel L. Jackson, Val Kilmer, Oldman, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Walken; and Speed (1994), with Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels.

Films in the mid to late 1990s include Search and Destroy (1996), with Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Illeana Douglas, Ethan Hawke, Turturro, Walken, and Martin Scorsese; Waterworld (1996), with Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino, and Michael Jeter; Carried Away (1996), with Amy Irving, Busey, Amy Locane, and Hal Holbrook; Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat (1996), with Jeffrey Wright, David Bowie, Oldman, Benicio del Toro, Claire Forlani, and Michael Wincott; Stuart Gordon’s Space Truckers (1996), with Stephen Dorff, Debi Mazar, and Charles Dance; and The Last Days of Frankie the Fly (1996), with Michael Madsen, Sutherland, and Daryl Hannah.

More films in the late 1990s include Abel Ferrara’s The Blackout (1997), with Matthew Modine; Sidney J. Furie’s Top of the World (1997), with Peter Weller, Tia Carrere, David Alan Grier, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Peter Coyote and Joe Pantoliano; Meet the Deedles (1998), with Paul Walker, Steve Van Wormer, A. J. Langer, John Ashton, and Robert Englund; Ron Howard’s EDtv (1999), with Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Sally Kirkland, Elizabeth Hurley, and Clint Howard; and The Venice Project (1999), with Lauren Bacall, Linus Roache, Ben Cross, Stuart Townsend, Héctor Babenco, John Wood, Stockard Channing, Parker Posey, and uncredited cameos by Steve Martin and Cheech Marin.

Films in the 2000s include Jesus’ Son (2000), with Billy Crudup, Samantha Morton, Holly Hunter, Denis Leary, Will Patton, John Ventimiglia, Michael Shannon, and Jack Black; Ticker (2001), with Tom Sizemore, Jaime Pressly, Steven Seagal, Ice-T, Kevin Gage, and Nas; Knockaround Guys (2001), with Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, and John Malkovich; Unspeakable (2002), with Dina Meyer, Jeff Fahey, Lance Henriksen, and Michelle Wolff; Leo (2002), with Elisabeth Shue, Joseph Fiennes, and Sam Shepard; The Night We Called It a Day (2003), with Melanie Griffith, Portia de Rossi, Joel Edgerton, Rose Byrne, and David Hemmings; and Out of Season (2004), with Gina Gershon.

Films in the mid to late 2000s include George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead (2005), with Simon Baker, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Leguizamo, and Eugene Clark; 10th & Wolf (2006), with James Marsden, Giovanni Ribisi, Brad Renfro, Val Kilmer, Piper Perabo, Lesley Ann Warren, Tommy Lee; Memory (2007), with Billy Zane, Tricia Helfer, Ann-Margaret, and Terry Chen; Sleepwalking (2008), with Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, and Harrelson; Hell Ride (2008), with Larry Bishop (who also directed), Madsen, Eric Balfour, Vinnie Jones, Leonor Varela, and David Carradine; Elegy (2008), with Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, Patricia Clarkson, and Peter Sarsgaard; Swing Vote (2008), with Costner, Paula Patton, Kelsey Grammer, Nathan Lane, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez, and Madeline Carroll; and David Zucker’s An American Carol (2008), with Kevin Farley, Grammer, Jon Voight, Robert Davi, Trace Adkins, Jillian Murray, and Leslie Nielsen.

Hopper’s later work included a leading role in the short-lived television series Crash (2008–2009), inspired by the film of the same name. He appeared in three films released posthumously: the animated film Alpha and Omega (2010), with Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Danny Glover, and Christina Ricci; The Last Film Festival (2016), with Leelee Sobieski, Katrina Bowden, Chris Kattan, and Jacqueline Bisset; and Orson Welles’s long-delayed The Other Side of the Wind (2018), with John Huston, Bob Random, Peter Bogdanovich, Strasberg, Oja Kodar, Norman Foster, Bob Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Mercedes McCambridge, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Stewart, Gregory Sierra, Tonio Selwart, Dan Tobin, and Joseph McBride; which had been filmed in the early 1970s.

TV films and miniseries include Doublecrossed (1991), with Robert Carradine, Richard Jenkins, Adrienne Barbeau, Don Hood and G.W. Bailey; Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Paris Trout (1991), with Hershey and Ed Harris; Nails (1992), with Anne Archer; The Heart of Justice (1992), with Eric Stoltz, Connelly, and Dermot Mulroney; Paul Schrader’s Witch Hunt (1994), with Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Bogosian, and Mazar; Nicholas Roeg’s Samson and Delilah (1996), with Eric Thal, Hurley, Diana Rigg, and Michael Gambon; Jason and the Argonauts (2000), with Jason London, Frank Langella, Natasha Henstridge, Derek Jacobi, Olivia Williams, and Angus Macfadyen; and Firestarter: Rekindled (2002), with Marguerite Moreau, Danny Nucci, and Malcolm McDowell.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955)** – directed by Nicholas Ray
  • I Died a Thousand Times (1955) – directed by Stuart Heisler – uncredited
  • Giant (1956) – directed by George Stevens
  • Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) – directed by John Sturges
  • The Story of Mankind (1957) – directed by Irwin Allen
  • Sayonara (1957) – directed by Joshua Logan – uncredited voice
  • From Hell to Texas (1958) – directed by Henry Hathaway
  • Swiss Family Robinson (1958) – directed by William A. Graham – TV movie
  • The Young Land (1959) – directed by Ted Tetzlaff
  • Key Witness (1960) – directed by Phil Karlson
  • Night Tide (1961) – directed by Curtis Harrington
  • Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort of (1964) – directed by Andy Warhol
  • The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys (1964) – directed by Andy Warhol – short
  • The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) – directed by Henry Hathaway
  • Queen of Blood (1966) – directed by Curtis Harrington
  • The Trip (1967) – directed by Roger Corman
  • Cool Hand Luke (1967) – directed by Stuart Rosenberg
  • The Glory Stompers (1967) – directed by Anthony M. Lanza
  • Panic in the City (1968) – directed by Eddie Davis
  • Hang ‘Em High (1968) – directed by Ted Post
  • Head (1968) – directed by Bob Rafelson – uncredited extra
  • Easy Rider (1969) – also director, co-writer
  • True Grit (1969) – directed by Henry Hathaway
  • The Last Movie (1971) – also director, co-story
  • Crush Proof (1972) – directed by François De Menil – cameo as himself
  • Kid Blue (1973) – directed by James Frawley
  • Mad Dog Morgan (1976) – directed by Philippe Mora
  • Tracks (1977) – directed by Henry Jaglom
  • The American Friend (1977) – directed by Wim Wenders
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1977) – directed by Edgardo Cozarinsky
  • Fresh Color (1978) – directed by François Weyergans
  • Last In, First Out (1978) – directed by Claude d’Anna
  • Apocalypse Now (1979) – directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  • Bloodbath (1979) – directed by Silvio Narizzano
  • Out of the Blue (1980) – also director, uncredited co-writer
  • King of the Mountain (1981) – directed by Noel Nosseck
  • Reborn (1981) – directed by Bigas Luna
  • Human Highway (1982) – directed by Neil Young (as Bernard Shakey) & Dean Stockwell
  • Rumble Fish (1983) – directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Osterman Weekend (1983) – directed by Sam Peckinpah
  • White Star (1983) – directed by Roland Klick
  • The Inside Man (1984) – directed by Tom Clegg
  • Stark (1985) – directed by Rod Holcomb – TV movie
  • My Science Project (1985) – directed by Jonathan R. Betuel
  • Running Out of Luck (1985) – directed by Julien Temple
  • A Hero of Our Time (1985) – directed by Michael Almereyda
  • Riders of the Storm (1986) – directed by Maurice Phillips
  • Stark: Mirror Image (1986) – directed by Noel Nosseck
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – directed by Tobe Hopper
  • River’s Edge (1986) – directed by Tim Hunter
  • Blue Velvet (1986) – directed by David Lynch
  • Hoosiers (1986) – directed by David Anspaugh
  • Black Widow (1987) – directed by Bob Rafelson
  • Straight to Hell (1987) – directed by Alex Cox
  • O.C. and Stiggs (1987) – directed by Robert Altman
  • The Pick-up Artist (1987) – directed by James Toback
  • Colors (1988) – director only
  • Black Leather Jacket (1989) – directed by Nick Mead – narrator – TV movie
  • Blood Red (1989) – directed by Peter Masterson
  • Chattahoochee (1989) – directed by Mick Jackson
  • Flashback (1990) – directed by Franco Amurri
  • Catchfire (1990) – also director (as Alan Smithee)
  • The Hot Spot (1990) – director only
  • The Indian Runner (1991) – directed by Sean Penn
  • Doublecrossed (1991) – directed by Robert Young – TV movie
  • Eye of the Storm (1991) – directed by Yuri Zeltser
  • Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991) – directed by Eleanor Coppola, George Hickenlooper, & Fax Bahr – himself – documentary
  • Sunset Heat (1992) – directed by John Nicolella
  • The Heart of Justice (1992) – directed by Bruno Barreto – TV movie
  • Boiling Point (1993) – directed by James B. Harris
  • Red Rock West (1993) – directed by John Dahl
  • Super Mario Bros. (1993) – directed by Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
  • True Romance (1993) – directed by Tony Scott
  • Chasers (1994) – also director
  • Speed (1994) – directed by Jan de Bont
  • Witch Hunt (1994) – directed by Paul Schrader – TV movie
  • Search and Destroy (1995) – directed by David Salle
  • Waterworld (1995) – directed by Kevin Reynolds
  • Carried Away (1996) – directed by Brazilian Bruno Barreto
  • Basquiat (1996) – directed by Julian Schnabel
  • The Last Days of Frankie the Fly (1996) – directed by Peter Markle
  • Space Truckers (1996) – directed by Stuart Gordon
  • Samson and Delilah (1996) – directed by Nicholas Roeg – miniseries
  • The Blackout (1997) – directed by Abel Ferrara
  • Top of the World (1997) – directed by Sidney J. Furie
  • Cannes Man (1997) – directed by Richard Martini – cameo as himself
  • Road Ends (1997) – directed by Rick King
  • Meet the Deedles (1998) – directed by Steve Boyum
  • Welcome to Hollywood (1998) – directed by Tony Markes & Adam Rifkin – cameo as himself
  • Tycus (1999) – directed by John Putch – straight to video
  • EDtv (1999) – directed by Ron Howard
  • Straight Shooter (1999) – directed by Thomas Bohn
  • Justice (1999) – directed by Richard J. Lewis – uncredited – TV movie
  • The Venice Project (1999) – directed by Robert Dornhelm
  • Bad City Blues (1999) – directed by Michael Stevens
  • Lured Innocence (2000) – directed by Kikuo Kawasaki
  • The Spreading Ground (2000) – directed by Derek Vanlint
  • The Prophet’s Game (2000) – directed by David Worth
  • Jesus’ Son (2000) – directed by Alison Maclean
  • The Prophet’s Game (2000) – directed by William Gove
  • Luck of the Draw (2000) – directed by Luca Bercovici
  • Jason and the Argonauts (2000) – directed by Nick Willing – miniseries
  • Held for Ransom (2000) – directed by Lee Stanley
  • Ticker (2001) – directed by Albert Pyun
  • Choke (2001) – directed by John Sjogren – straight to video
  • Knockaround Guys (2001) – directed by Brian Koppelman & David Levien
  • L.A.P.D.: To Protect and to Serve (2001) – directed by Ed Anders – straight to video
  • Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002) – directed by Robert Iscove – miniseries
  • Unspeakable (2002) – directed by Thomas J. Wright
  • Leo (2002) – directed by Mehdi Norowzian
  • The Piano Player (2002) – directed by Jean-Pierre Roux – straight to video
  • The Groovenians (2002) – directed by Jordan Reichek – TV short
  • The Night We Called It a Day (2003) – directed by Paul Goldman
  • Suspense (2003) – directed by David Koepp – TV movie
  • Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2003) – directed by Kenneth Bowser – himself – documentary
  • The Last Ride (2004) – directed by Guy Norman Bee – TV movie
  • Out of Season (2004) – directed by Jevon O’Neill
  • The Keeper (2004) – directed by Paul Lynch
  • Legacy (2004) – directed by Bo Svenson – short
  • Americano (2005) – directed by Kevin Noland – straight to video
  • The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005) – directed by Lance Mungia – straight to video
  • Land of the Dead (2005) – directed by George A. Romero
  • House of 9 (2005) – directed by Steven R. Monroe
  • Inside Deep Throat (2005) – directed by Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato – narrator – documentary
  • Sketches of Frank Gehry (2006) – directed by Sydney Pollack – himself – documentary
  • Hoboken Hollow (2006) – directed by Glen Stephens
  • 10th & Wolf (2006) – directed by Robert Moresco
  • Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film (2006) – directed by Ric Burns – himself – documentary
  • Memory (2007) – directed by Bennett Joshua Davlin
  • Sleepwalking (2008) – directed by William Maher
  • Hell Ride (2008) – directed by Larry Bishop
  • Elegy (2008) – directed by Isabel Coixet
  • Swing Vote (2008) – directed by Joshua Michael Stern
  • Palermo Shooting (2008) – directed by Wim Wenders
  • An American Carol (2008) – directed by David Zucker
  • Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008) – directed by Mark Hartley – himself – documentary
  • Bananaz (2008) – directed by Ceri Levy – himself – documentary
  • Alpha and Omega (2010) – directed by Ben Gluck & Anthony Bell – posthumous release
  • Made for Each Other (2015) – directed by Bo Svenson – short – posthumous release
  • The Last Film Festival (2016) – directed by Linda Yellen – posthumous release
  • The Other Side of the Wind (2018) – directed by Orson Welles – posthumous release