Hollywood’s Greatest Elder Actors to Hop on ‘The Comeback Trail’ (Plus Ranking Our Favorite Actors Over 70)
Certain actors have always been thought of as “old.” With their glory years behind them, these men have inhabited the role of cinematic elders for moviegoers in the 21st century. According to Deadline, Hollywood’s favorite grandpas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Tommy Lee Jones are set to appear together in The Comeback Trail on Nov. 13 (if COVID-19 allows). The George Gallo-directed comedy follows De Niro as a washed-up movie producer, Max Barber, who finds himself indebted to a crime boss, Reggie Fontaine (Morgan Freeman). In a desperate attempt to cash in on an insurance policy, Barber hires an aging cowboy/actor (Tommy Lee Jones) to star in a horrible and dangerous film called The Oldest Gun in the West. As you can probably imagine, things don’t go according to plan, and heartwarming high jinx ensue.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: where’s Jack Nicholson? Let’s speak plainly—he’s probably rocking those iconic shades at some corner bar, drunk and without a care in the world. However, that doesn’t mean De Niro and company are anywhere close to retirement. The Comeback Trail is set to prove that wrinkles, cataracts, and arthritis still have a place on the silver screen. Defying ageism in the industry, here is a ranking of our favorite actors over 70 years of age.
Cover Photo: Kevin Mazur (Getty Images)
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12. Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart OBE recently turned 80 years old. You know him best for his work as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise. Also, he has one of the most distinguished and commanding voices in the game — which has been used to narrate films such as 2012’s Ted.
11. Ian Mckellen
Sir Ian McKellen CH CBE is 81 years of age. He has achieved international fame for his work as Magneto in the X-Men franchise and as the wisest of the wise, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
10. Harrison Ford
Believe it or not, Harrison Ford is 78 years old. Ford has been going strong since his early days as Han Solo in Star Wars and the titular character in the Indiana Jones franchise. Outside of those franchises, Ford has starred in classics such as Blade Runner and The Fugitive. More recently, he starred in Disney’s The Call of the Wild adaptation and is set to return as Indy in 2022.
9. Al Pacino
Al Pacino is 80 years old. He is one of the few actors to have won an Academy Award, Emmy, and Tony (the "triple crown" of acting). Pacino came to fame in iconic films like The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Scarface. In this century, he’s appeared in Insomnia, Paterno, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and The Irishman. He’s set to appear next in Michael Radford’s King Lear as the titular character.
8. Tommy Lee Jones
At 73 years of age, Tommy Lee Jones is still Hollywood’s cowboy. After winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1993 for his role as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive, we were unable to see him as anyone other than an enigmatic gunslinger. He’s capitalized on this in films like the Men in Black franchise and No Country for Old Men.
7. Morgan Freeman
There’s only one actor who could've pulled off playing God in Bruce Almighty: Morgan Freeman. This could be because his prowess as a narrator knows no equal (sorry Patrick Stewart). Or, this might be because he always seems to know something other people don’t; whether that something is Batman’s true identity in The Dark Knight trilogy or where Andy Dufresne went in The Shawshank Redemption. At 83 years old, Freeman is just as enigmatic as ever.
6. Samuel L. Jackson
What isn’t Samuel L. Jackson in? At 71 years of age, Jackson is easily one of the busiest actors in the business. The man has over 180 film credits to his name. Some of his most memorable outings include Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Unbreakable, the Star Wars prequels, and his role as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine is 87 years old. Caine made his breakthrough in the '60s with roles in films such as Zulu, Alfie, and The Italian Job. After his career made a resurgence in the '90s with an Oscar-nominated role in The Cider House Rules, Caine became universally recognized as Alfred Pennyworth in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. He has since appeared in a handful of other Nolan films and is set to appear in Tenet (whenever it releases).
4. Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood turned 90 this year. You’d be hard-pressed to find another actor (ever) to experience a career instilled with the longevity of this man’s. From playing the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy and Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry franchise to directing (and starring) in films like Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, and The Mule, Eastwood achieved legendary status a long time ago.
3. Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson is 83 years old. He's been in the industry for over 60 years. He’s known for playing the outsider; characters that, for better or worse, don’t fit in. These characters have been anti-heroes, villains, heroes, and every shade of gray in-between. His filmography includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Chinatown, The Shining, Batman, A Few Good Men, and more recently, The Departed. Wherever you are Jack, “Salud.”
2. Anthony Hopkins
Sir Phillip Anthony Hopkins is 82 years old. When he talks, whether the words come out of his mouth as Dr. Hannibal Lector, Richard Nixon, Odin, or Dr. Robert Ford, we listen. His commanding screen presence has earned him numerous accolades; he is, without a doubt, one of the greatest actors of all time. His recent filmography includes Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld, and The Two Popes.
1. Robert De Niro
At 76 years old, Robert De Niro embodies the kind of commitment and creativity all other actors strive towards; being crowned by many admirers as the greatest thespian of all time. He’s most well-known for genre-defining classics like The Godfather (Part I and II), Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas, Casino, and Heat. In recent years, he’s cemented his relevance in outings such as Silver Linings Playbook, Joker, and The Irishman.
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