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The 5 Roles That Defined Gene Hackman's Career

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 08:46 PM

Gene Hackman‘s acting career began in the late 1950s when he got a break off-Broadway in “Chaparral.” Since that time, he has appeared in several movies in both lead and supporting roles. Though Hackman retired from acting in 2004, his legacy lives on.

Here are five roles that defined Hackman’s career.

1. Buck Barrow, “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967)

This film, in which Hackman stars alongside Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, earned him his first Academy Award nomination.

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The film was based on the true story of bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who embarked upon a bloody crime spree during the Great Depression.

2. Detective Popeye Doyle, “The French Connection” (1971)

Hackman played a tough cop, earning an Academy Award for Best Actor. The film was a box office hit and is considered the launching point for Hackman’s career. In 1975, Hackman went on to appear in the sequel, “The French Connection II.”

Hackman has said that he was actually called “Popeye” on the street for several years following the film.

3. Coach Norman Dale, “Hoosiers” (1986)

Hackman portrayed a coach with a checkered past who goes on to take a high school basketball team to the championship. The movie was based a true story of the 1954 state finals in Indiana. Hackman worked alongside actor Dennis Hopper in the film, which is primarily about second chances.

4. Agent Rupert Anderson, “Mississippi Burning” (1988)

“Mississippi Burning,” a true story focused on the drama of the civil rights era, earned Hackman an Academy Awards nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

The film was based on a 1964 lynching, as resistance to racial integration, in Neshoba, Mississippi. Three men, college volunteers working as part of the Mississippi Summer Project, were killed.

5. Bill Daggett, “Unforgiven” (1992)

This Clint Eastwood film garnered Hackman an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Hackman starred alongside Eastwood, who also directed the Western, playing a cruel sheriff.

Hackman vowed to not appear in any more violent films after “Unforgiven.”

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Gene Hackman‘s acting career began in the late 1950s when he got a break off-Broadway in “Chaparral.” He has since appeared in several movies in both lead and supporting roles. Though Hackman retired from acting in 2004, his legacy lives on. Here are five roles that defined Hackman’s career.
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