Dennis Quaid was born on April 9, 1954 in Houston, Texas and would begin his acting career in the early 70’s and maintain success throughout his entire career. Dennis Quaid has three children and has been married three times and just recently announced his engagement to his fiance 26-year-old Laura Savoie. His brother Randy Quaid also found success in hollywood, although not quite as successful as Dennis. With a career spanning almost 50 years there are so many movies starring Dennis Quaid that it’s easy to forget some of the great ones, so let’s start early in his career and take a look at his better works all the way up until current day.
Although his first official role was in the movie Crazy Mama in 1975 and he had a three or four roles after that, the role that really got him noticed was in the film Breaking Away released in 1979 Quaid would play a recent high school graduate alongside actor Dennis Christopher. The film would explore how these recent high school graduates traverse college life and how they deal with being looked down on by some of the students for coming from blue collar backgrounds and also depicts one of the young men’s talent for bicycle racing and how his love for it helps him to overcome the obstacles in his life. The film was nominated for 14 awards and won 11 including an Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
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Okay I know Jaws 3-D sucked wicked bad but it’s a Jaws movie and as bad as the movie was it’s a role I remember him in more than most of his roles back then. The movie was released in 1983 and sought to cash in on the 3-D craze going on back then, it was a critical and commercial failure but was an important step in getting Dennis Quaid one step further up that career staircase. Although considered a failure the film did gross $88 million at the box office. The film depicts the Brody children from the past films and takes place at a Florida Seaworld.
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The Right Stuff
Released in 1984 The Right Stuff is the film that put Dennis Quaid in contention to become a household name, playing Gordon Cooper alongside great actors such as Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Barbara Hershey. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s Best-Selling novel of the same name the film focuses on the lives of the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that they are still just everyday people with everyday issues and showing the dedication it takes to be an astronaut. The film was nominated for 16 awards and won 11 including 4 Academy Awards, one being for Best Music, Original Score.
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In 1985 Quaid would star in the Science Fiction film Enemy Mine, which would explore how a human soldier and an alien solder on opposite sides of a war must work together to survive when they become stranded on a hostile planet together. Also starring Louis Gossett Jr. the film would be nominated for 6 awards and win 2 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Awards. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I feel it isn’t given enough credit.
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The Big Easy
The mid to late 80’s would be one of the hot spots for Quaid’s career , in 1986 he would star as Remy McSwain, A crooked New Orleans police officer who investigates the death of a mobster only to be dragged into a web of more crooked cops and the means they’ll go to in order to stay hidden. The film also stars Ellen Barkin and John Goodman and was nominated for 4 awards and won 4 including Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead for Quaid’s performance.
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Released in 1987 Innerspace wasn’t the best movie but I was very fond of it as a kid. The film gave Quaid the chance to show his comedic skills alongside comedian Martin Short in a story of a man that is shrunk and accidentally injected into another man’s body. Also starring Meg Ryan the film was nominated for 4 awards and won an Oscar for Best Effects, Visual Effects.
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Great Balls Of Fire!
A movie based on the life of Rock and Roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls Of Fire! would put Quaid in the lead role alongside Winona Ryder and Alec Baldwin and although it isn’t considered to be much of a success I personally loved this movie. It was nominated for 1 award and won a Young Artist Award for Winona Ryder’s performance.
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In 1994 Dennis Quaid would star in what is to this day one of my favorite Westerns ever, Wyatt Earp, as legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday in an exploration into the life of the lawman Wyatt Earp and the other historical figures involved in his story. Also starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Jeff Fahey and Michael Madsen the film would be nominated for 6 awards and would win 3 including a Western Writers of America Award for Best Drama Script.
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In 1996 the film Dragonheart would place Quaid in the lead role as Bowen, a dragonslayer that must team up with the last dragon left on earth to stop an evil immortal king. Joined by the likes of Sean Connery (as the voice of the dragon) and Jason Isaacs the film would gain a kind of cult following and would spawn at least 1 horrible sequel that I know of. The film was nominated for 8 awards and won 3 including an Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Voice-Over Performance for Sean Connery’s performance as Draco the dragon.
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The Parent Trap
A Disney classic The Parent Trap was released in 1998 and was a remake of the 1961 film of the same name. It can be credited with kick-starting the career of actress Lindsay Lohan. The movie centers on two identical twins that were separated at birth and when they find each other they do everything they can to get their parents back together, Quaid playing the dad. Also starring Natasha Richardson the movie was nominated for 7 awards and won 2 including a Young Artist Award for Lindsay Lohan’s performance.
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Any Given Sunday
Released in 1999 Any Given Sunday puts Dennis Quaid into the role of pro athlete Jack Rooney and delves into the ups and downs of being a successful pro athlete and the struggles to hold onto that success as he gets older. With a star studded cast including Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, James Woods and Matthew Modine the film is a masterclass in the struggles of pro athletes and was nominated for 9 awards and won 3 including an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film for Cameron Diaz’s performance.
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Released in 2001 to critical and commercial success Traffic would follow several different storylines revolving around drugs, politics and racism. Dennis Quaid would play Arnie Metzger alongside a stellar cast including Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas and Jacob Vargas and th film would be nominated for 85 awards and would win 73 including 4 Oscars, one being for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Benicio Del Toro’s performance.
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The Day After Tomorrow
Dennis quaid plays a scientist on a journey to get to his kid during a super -storm that has plunged the world into a new ice age in the film The Day after Tomorrow. Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum the film takes us on a perilous journey with a dad that will do anything to get back to his family and it was nominated for 13 awards and won 6 including a BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects.
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Released in 2009 Horsemen sees Dennis Quaid in the role of Aidan Breslin, a recently widowed detective who is investigating a case involving a serial killer whose crimes are inspired by the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. This psychological thriller is full of twists and turns and will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Also starring Ziyi Zhang, Eric Balfour and Lou Taylor Pucci the film is really better than given credit for as it only grossed $2.4 million worldwide at the box office.
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A science fiction horror thrillride that’s full of chaos and action Pandorum puts Dennis Quaid in the role of Payton, a crew member of a spaceship who wakes from hypersleep to find himself in a total nightmare aboard his ship and no clue where or when he is. The film also stars Ben Foster and Norman Reedus and grossed over $20 million worldwide.
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Released in 2010 Legion portrays Quaid as Bob Hanson, one of a group of strangers stranded at a diner in the midst of a demonic/angelic battle because the pregnant waitress at the diner is carrying mankind’s one and only hope. Also starring Paul Bettany, Tyrese Gibson and Doug Jones the film grossed over $67 million worldwide.
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Although Quaid has had a few duds in the last decade or so he did star in this recently released hidden gem. Released in 2018 the film focuses on a young boy who finds a powerful alien weapon and does everything he can to keep it out of the wrong hands and to protect his adopted brother.The film has a great cast including Michael B. Jordan, Zoe Kravitz, James Franco and Gavin Fox and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best DVD/Blu-Ray Release.
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