Like so many stars of his era, James Caan was a “kind” — however beneath the powerful Bronx persona was an actor able to nice nuance. Maybe that’s why his career-defining roles characteristic a lot vary, from his breakout efficiency as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather to the organic father of Will Ferrell’s titular Elf, elements which couldn’t have been performed by anybody else, at the least not almost as effectively.
The under roles symbolize a few of his greatest work over his sixty years on display — a mere fraction of his cinematic legacy, all of which reminds us why he’ll be very a lot missed.
— Liz Shannon Miller
Brian’s Track (1971) — Brian
There’s an 87% probability your dad has wept whereas watching Brian’s Track. Caan scored an Emmy nod for taking part in Brian Piccolo reverse Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers (who additionally scored a nomination) on this ABC Film of the Week. This shifting — and in the end tragic — story concerning the NFL’s first interracial roommates endures greater than nearly another TV film, partially due to the powerhouse performances delivered by its two leads. — Spencer Dukoff
The Godfather (1972) — Sonny
Sonny’s loss of life shouldn’t be solely one of the iconic scenes in The Godfather, it’s one of the iconic scenes in any movie. But, it’s within the scenes the place Sonny is alive that James Caan shines because the quick-tempered however sympathetic mafioso. Completely strolling the road between cold-blooded killer and household man, Caan’s portrayal of Sonny stays a foundational blueprint for mafia tales.
Caan brings each visceral anger and a inflexible sense of morality to Sonny, permitting the viewers to acknowledge the character’s flaws with out turning on him. It’s why the toll-booth hit is so iconic. Positive, the writing, cinematography, and course are all wonderful, however the scene succeeds as a result of Caan spent the movie as much as that time bringing us into the complexities of Sonny. It’s nothing wanting astonishing. — Jonah Krueger
A Bridge Too Far (1977) — SSgt. Dohun
The 1977 battle movie A Bridge Too Far had an enormous solid of stars and a combined essential reception on the time of its launch, however critics cited Caan’s position within the movie, as a employees sergeant who within the aftermath of battle, compelled a physician to save lots of his captain’s life at gunpoint, as one of many main standouts. Discovering the humanity in inhuman conditions was one of many issues that Caan at all times succeeded at along with his characters, even with restricted display time. — L.S.M.