Dennis William Quaid is an American actor. He was born in Houston, Texas, in 1954. Dennis dropped out of college to establish a career in acting. His first notable work was in the film Breaking Away, after which he starred in many hits. He received several awards for his performances including an award for Best Supporting Actor by the New York Film Critics Circle for his performance in the film, Far from Heaven. The Guardian named him one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination. Let’s take a look at the best Dennis Quaid movies of all time:
15. The Parent Trap (1998)
The 1998 American romantic comedy is a remake of the 1961 film of the same name and is based on the novel Lottie and Lisa written by the German author Erich Kästner.
The story revolves around two identical twin sisters, both played by Lindsay Lohan, who were separated at birth due to their parent’s divorce, and who each kept one daughter. The story progresses as the twin sisters come across each other for the first time at a summer camp. They plot a plan to exchange places to live with their other parent in the hope of bringing back the whole family together.
The critics widely appreciated the film, and Lindsay Lohan took the audience’s breath away with her exceptional dual performance of the twins. The film also won Lohan a Young Artist Award for best performance in a feature film. The film was a huge box office success and earned 92.1 million USD worldwide.
14. D.O.A (1988)
The American thriller is the remake of the 1949 film noir of the same name and the third of five versions of the Dead on Arrival story. The film follows similar speculation as to its predecessor but with a different story and cast.
The whole story gets very gripping and interesting right from the opening scene, where a college professor, played by Dennis Quaid, reports himself poisoned with a radioactive drug, which has left him with only 24 hours to live. The story progresses as he sets out to find his killer with the assistance of one of his students Sydney Fuller, played by Meg Ryan.
The film received somewhat mixed reviews from critics. The film earned a total revenue of 12.7 million USD.
13. Innerspace (1987)
The American sci-fi comedy is an inspiration for the 1966 sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Short, Kevin McCarthy, and Robert Picardo appear in lead roles.
The film follows the sequences of a shrunken marine Tuck (Dennis Quaid) who finds himself within a hypochondriac body, Jack (Martin Short), as he tries to defend himself against infiltrators who are trying to steal the device that shrank him. The following events revolve around the struggle to retrieve the equipment from the thieves that will restore Tuck to his original size before his oxygen depletes.
The film generally received positive reviews from critics. The plot was said to be engaging and entertaining, and the actors were praised for their performances. The film grossed 42 million USD worldwide against a production budget of 27 million USD.
12. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The American sci-fi disaster film The Day After Tomorrow casts Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, and Sela Ward in the lead roles. The film is directed by Joe Dante, famous for bringing elements such as fantastical storylines and humor together in his films.
The plot is centered around a paleoclimatologist played by Dennis Quaid who must anyhow make a brave trek from Washington D.C to N.Y.C. to rescue his son who is trapped amidst the disasters caused by a sudden enormous storm, which he predicted but his claims was brushed aside due to lack of physical evidence. The storm has now created massive havoc worldwide and is due to bring with it a new Ice Age.
The film was criticized for its writing and scientific flaws but was acclaimed for its visual effects and strong performances from the cast. The film was a box office hit and grossed 552.6 million USD to become the sixth highest-grossing film of 2004.
11. Enemy Mine (1985)
The West German-American dark sci-fi film is based on Barry B. Longyear‘s short novel. We see Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. in the lead roles in the film.
Stranded on a desolate planet, spaceship pilot Willis (Dennis Quaid) forms an alliance with his enemy, Jeriba (Louis Gossett Jr.), from the alien race to survive the horrors of the hostile planet and its creatures. The plot progresses as their trust in each other increases until they form an unbreakable bond.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but the actors were praised for their performances. Variety magazine called it:
“an anthropomorphic view of life but touching nonetheless.”
Unfortunately, it only earned 12.3 million USD worldwide against a production budget of 29 million USD and thus was unsuccessful at the box office.
10. Breaking Away (1979)
Breaking away is an American youth comedy-drama film that revolves around a bunch of boys who are in transition from being a child who is carefree to a responsible adult.
Dennis Quaid, Dennis Christopher, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley play the four teenagers’ roles. Like usual teenagers, their activities involve getting into fights with boys and chasing girls. Dave has a passion for racing bikes and wants to enter competitive bicycle racing. The plot progresses as the four friends strive to make Dave’s dream a reality in the university’s annual bicycle endurance race as they face resistance from all corners.
The film was received quite well by the critics and was highly praised for its light comedy and brilliant performances. The film has an impressive approval rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also received several awards and nominations. The New York Times placed the film on its Best 1000 Movies Ever list. Moreover, it was ranked eighth on the List of America’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies compiled by the American Film Institute (A.F.I.) in 2006.
9. Savior (1998)
Savior is an American war film that casts Dennis Quaid in the lead role as a U.S. military specialist. Fueled with the spirit of vengeance, when his wife and son are killed in a terrorist attack in Paris, he becomes a part of the French Foreign Legion to seek revenge against Muslims, the suspects in the Paris attack.
Six years later, he finds himself as a mercenary in Bosnia for the Serbs, where he encountered serious atrocities of ethnic cleansing. Joshua once again finds a purpose to strive for when he meets a pregnant woman, played by Nataša Ninković, who is helpless against the Serbs who want to kill her on account of the ‘disgrace’ she brought to them.
The film received generally positive reviews and was loved for the brutal depiction of war’s horrors and atrocities.
8. Flesh and Bone (1993)
The American drama film has a generally tense feel about it that makes it a thriller without the reliability of actions for the suspense element. It is written and directed by Steve Kloves and casts Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid, and James Caan in the lead roles and Gwyneth Paltrow in a supporting role.
Arlis Sweeney, played by Dennis Quaid, witnessed in his childhood, his father murdering a family. He is still traumatized by the horrific events and prefers to live in the shadows and keep to himself. One day he crosses paths with Kay Davies, played by Meg Ryan, who is connected with his past’s misfortunate events. Oblivious to this fact, they grow close and fall in love with each other.
The plot takes a turn when his father shows up again with an accomplice. Arlis must now confront his fears and put an end to this once and for all.
The film received generally mixed reviews from critics. The audience praised the performances of Dennis Quaid and Gwyneth Paltrow.
7. Come See the Paradise (1990)
The American drama film is written and directed by Alan Parker. The film is about an Irish American man, Jack McGurn, played by Dennis Quaid. He falls in love with a Japanese American woman, Lily, played by Tamlyn Tomita, his employer’s daughter.
The couple has no choice but to elope when his father denies their relationship. They get married and settle in Seattle and after a little while, are blessed with a daughter. Following these events, World War II breaks out, and in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks, Lily is forced into a prison camp on account of her ethnicity.
The film received excellent reviews from critics. It was appreciated for its subtle depiction of the ugly circumstances in America during the wake of WWII. The actors were also appreciated for their brilliant performances.
6. Suspect (1987)
The American mystery thriller is directed by Peter Yates and casts Dennis Quaid, Cher, and Liam Neeson in the lead roles.
The film is set in Washington DC, where a deaf, mute, and homeless man, Carl Anderson, played by (Liam Neeson), is convicted for the murder of a file clerk at the Justice Department. Kathleen Riley, played by Cher, takes up the case to defend Anderson, who she believes is innocent. As she gets involved in the investigation of the case to trace down the real killer, she forms an alliance with a jury member, Eddie Sanger, played by Dennis Quaid. During the investigation, they unfold a great conspiracy.
The film received generally positive reviews and received tremendous appreciation for its iconic climax scene where the real killer is revealed. The film earned a total revenue of 18.7 million USD against a production budget of 14.5 million USD.
5. In Good Company (2004)
The American drama-comedy is written and directed by Paul Weitz. Things get tough for Dan (Dennis Quaid) when another company acquires the marketing agency he works in and his boss is replaced by a man, Carter, played by Topher Grace, who is half his age, and to make things more complicated, he also takes a keen interest in Dan’s daughter Alex, played by Scarlett Johansson.
The film was very well received and was admired for its well-written script and rich humor. The film was a box office hit and grossed 61 million USD worldwide.
4. Frequency (2000)
Frequency is an American sci-fi thriller film that revolves around some extraordinary circumstances that lead a man to travel back in time to alter some events.
New York-based officer, John, played by Dennis Quaid, lives alone in the same apartment where he grew up with his firefighter father, who died on duty in a fire accident 30 years ago, and his mother, who was a nurse. After stumbling across some of his father’s old stuff, he comes across a radio his father used to use.
In the wake of some events of which John is unaware, he is able to communicate with his dead father, 30 years apart. John sees this as an opportunity to prevent his father’s death and, in turn, alters the course of history, which leads to the discovery of some knowledge he was not expecting.
Frequency received positive reviews from critics and was appreciated for his subtle suspense elements, which kept the audience tied to their seats. The film was a box office hit and earned 68.1 million USD worldwide against a production budget of 31 million USD.
3. The Rookie (2002)
The American sports drama is directed by John Lee Hancock. The Rookie is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who made a dramatic debut in Major League Baseball after retiring from the sport ten years ago. Dennis Quaid stars as Jim Morris in the movie.
Jim is a coach and a science teacher at a school. He lives with his family and leads a simple life after retiring from baseball, where he never made it out of the minor leagues and had to quit due to a shoulder injury. Big Lake Owls, the team he coaches, discovers that their coach still has some impressive skills and pleads with him to give baseball one more shot. They make a deal with him to go to tryouts if their team makes it to the state playoffs. The team surprisingly wins the districts, and thus Jim, keeping his word, makes an attempt at the sport once again.
The film was very well received by the critics, and Dennis Quaid was highly appreciated for his outstanding performance. The film earned 80.7 million USD worldwide.
2. Far from Heaven (2002)
The American drama film is directed by Todd Haynes and stars Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, and Patricia Clarkson.
The story revolves around Cathy Whitaker (Julian Moore), who comes from a wealthy and high-profile family residing in suburban Connecticut. Her perfect life starts to fall apart when he discovers her husband’s (Dennis Quaid) sexual orientation, which then follows a series of events she never expected will take place.
It won Moore the Volpi Cup for Best Actress and cinematographer Edward Lachman, a prize for Outstanding Individual Performance, at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The film was a huge hit and received a great deal of admiration from critics. The critical consensus states:
“An exquisitely designed and performed melodrama, Far From Heaven earns its viewers’ tears with sincerity and intelligence.”
The film also received several awards and nominations.
1. The Big Easy (1986)
The Big Easy is a neo-noir romantic thriller film directed by Jim McBride. The film casts Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman, and Ned Beatty in the lead roles.
The story revolves around a corrupt lieutenant in Homicide Remy, played by Dennis Quaid, who is working on a case of gang killings. Amidst the investigation, he gets involved in an affair with a charming DA, Anne, played by Ellen Barkin. The film follows a series of unexpected events in the wake of which he discovers the actual plot behind the killings.
The film received an overwhelming review from critics and was widely praised for its suspense elements and excellent performance by the actors. Sheila Benson, writing for the Los Angeles Times, wrote:
“Screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. sets up the conflict, and director Jim McBride fleshes it out with devastating, sexy assurance…”.
The film received several awards and nominations and grossed 17.6 million USD worldwide.
We can’t complete our list without mentioning these great films featuring Dennis Quaid as well:
- The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (2008)
- Great Balls of Fire! (1989)
- Traffic (2000)
Did we miss any worthy title on our list of the best Dennis Quaid movies of all time? Let us know in the comments below!