Robert Altman is a filmmaker and an American director, producer, actor and writer. Robert Altman was born on February 1, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. Altman is known as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.

Altman’s career began in the 1940s as an assistant director. His first film was “Bachelor Flat” (1949) which was followed by “Confidential Agent” (1954).

After directing several films for television, he became a full-time filmmaker with “MASH” (1970), which won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.

He also directed “Brewster McCloud” (1970), “Nashville” (1975), “The Player” (1992), and “Gosford Park” (2001). Altman’s films are noted for their stylistic innovations that often pay homage to American roots music, Americana and midwestern culture.

The themes of his films often take place in the Middle West or within black communities.

Best Robert Altman Movies

Robert Altman is one of the greatest directors of all time.

His films are always thematically complex, yet they also have a unique sense of humor that makes them enjoyable to watch.

1. The Long Goodbye (1973)

Often considered the last of Robert Altman’s “classics,” The Long Goodbye (1973) is a visually dazzling, often witty, and always absorbing exploration of Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

It stars Elliott Gould as PI Phil Marlowe, who is hired by a rich woman to find her missing husband. The investigation leads him to a world of drugs and violence, where he encounters a number of colorful characters along the way.

Altman’s film is a perfect example of how he uses his camera to create an impressionistic effect. In one scene, Marlowe looks up at the night sky while driving down Hollywood Boulevard, and it becomes clear that he’s not really looking at anything at all;

rather, his eyes are following an imaginary line in space until they come upon some interesting object or detail. It’s as if he’s drawing us into this dreamlike world where everything seems possible.

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2. Nashville (1975)

Nashville is a film about the music industry in Nashville, Tennessee. The film was directed by Robert Altman and stars Burt Reynolds, Lynne Frederick, Ned Beatty, Connie Sellecca, Janice Rule and David Keith.

Nashville is considered to be one of the great American independent films and has been hailed as an essential work that changed the way American cinema viewed itself.

The film is set in the 1970s during the country music boom of the time period between Elvis Presley’s death in 1977 and the rise of rock singer John Mellencamp. The film chronicles five days in the lives of several struggling musicians including Rose Maddox (played by Connie Sellecca),

who is trying to achieve stardom after being fired from her job as a hotel manager; country singer David “Honeyboy” Edwards (played by Burt Reynolds), who idolizes his father but cannot escape his family’s poverty; songwriter Floyd “Pop” Spears (played by Ned Beatty),

who struggles with alcoholism while writing songs for other people; singer-songwriter Harlan Howard (played by David Keith), whose marriage falls apart when he cheats on his wife with singer-songwriter Tammy Wynette; country star Chet

Nashville
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Henry Gibson, Barbara Baxley, Ned Beatty (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Joan Tewkesbury (Writer) - Martin Starger (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

Robert Altman is one of the most important American filmmakers, whose career has spanned five decades. His work displays a unique blend of realism and stylistic innovation. The director was born on February 1, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri and died on February 3, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.

Altman was raised as a Catholic and later converted to Judaism after meeting his future wife Barbara Barrie. He began his career as an actor in the early 1950s before moving into directing with M*A*S*H (1970).

He then moved away from acting and began making films that were both commercial and critically acclaimed, earning an Oscar nomination for Nashville (1975).  In addition to directing feature films, Altman wrote screenplays for his own productions and others’ films as well.

Altman’s best known movies include MASH (1970), McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971), Brewster McCloud (1970), Popeye Doyle (1980) and The Player (1992).

McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Renee Auberjonois (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Robert Altman (Writer) - David Foster (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

4. Short Cuts (1993)       

 Short Cuts is a 1993 American anthology film, directed by Robert Altman, and starring Tim Matheson, Teri Garr, Lance Henriksen and Kathy Baker. The screenplay was written by Donald Margulies. It won the Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.

The film consists of four separate stories:

A country music singer (Tim Matheson) returns to his home town and tries to reconnect with his family after a long absence.

A young man (Lance Henriksen) who has been adopted by a gay couple struggles with his sexuality as he grows up in Montana.

A woman (Teri Garr) returns home from prison after serving time for murder and attempts to reconcile with her daughter (Kathy Baker).

An ugly duckling hired to perform on television becomes popular due to her beauty, but her life falls apart when she realizes that she has lost her ability to love other people.

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5. Brewster McCloud (1970)

Marilyn Monroe, who had a very brief but memorable cameo in this film, plays the woman Brewster falls in love with. She’s a waitress at the local diner and he’s always trying to save her from her abusive boyfriend. Brewster is a big fan of Marilyn’s and he even takes pictures of her while she’s asleep.

However, when his pictures become really good she wakes up and says they’re not that good and then leaves him alone. Of course, Brewster doesn’t take it well and ends up stalking her in order to get more shots of her sleeping.

Eventually she gives in and lets him take pictures of everything he wants until one day when she wakes up again and sees him taking pictures of himself holding a pillow and then decides that if he can do it then she can too.

This scene is one of my favorite moments from the entire film because I love how angry Marilyn looks at first but then you see how much she likes it when Brewster does it for both of them as well as how happy she gets when he finally gives up trying to shoot her again after this scene happens many times before (I’m not sure exactly how many times but I

Brewster McCloud
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Bud Cort, Sally Kellerman, Michael Murphy (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Doran Cannon (Writer) - Lou Adler (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

6. The Player (1992)       

 A low-budget movie about the game of poker, The Player (1992) is a fascinating look at Hollywood and the media. It’s also one of Altman’s best films, and it’s easy to see why.

The Player stars Tim Robbins as Mark Faudo, an actor who makes a living playing villains in movies. He’s just finished filming a movie that has been nominated for an Oscar, but his director is convinced that he should play the lead role.

Mark refuses because he feels he has nothing going on inside his head anymore; he doesn’t want to be known as “the player.”

Mark then meets the beautiful Julia (Holly Hunter), who is also an actress with an Oscar nomination of her own. They hit it off right away, but when they go out on their first date together, she suddenly disappears without explanation.

When Mark calls her house later that night, he finds out that she was kidnapped by two men who work for her agent (Peter MacNicol).

It turns out that Julia is being held hostage by her agent so that Mark will star in his new film. However, there are two problems: firstly, Mark doesn’t want to star in the film anymore; secondly, Julia doesn’t

The Player
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Michael Tolkin (Writer) - Cary Brokaw (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

7. Secret Honor (1984)

This is a film about the Vietnam War, but it’s not about the war. It’s about what happened afterwards, when we all had to deal with the consequences of our actions.

   

This is Robert Altman’s first film since his comeback in the ’80s, and he’s never been better than in this movie. He has an uncanny ability to capture both sides of any argument, and Secret Honor is no exception.

He shows us why people loved the war and why they hated it at the same time. He shows us how people who didn’t go to Vietnam felt guilty for not having gone, even though they were just as much victims of their government’s lies as those who did fight overseas.

And he does it all without being preachy or judgmental; he just lets each person tell their own story and let them speak for themselves.

Secret Honor
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Philip Baker Hall (Actor)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Donald Freed (Writer) - Robert Altman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. Gosford Park (2001)

 Gosford Park (2001) is a British-American comedy-drama film directed by Robert Altman. It is based on the 1995 ITV miniseries of the same name, which in turn was inspired by Gosford Park. The film stars Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess and Jim Broadbent as Sir James MacGuffin, her American nephew.

The film is set in 1930s suburban Britain, and follows the servants at a country estate called Gosford Park, who are trying to come up with ways to entertain guests for a large dinner party hosted by an eccentric American heiress.

The lead character is Mrs. MacGuffin (Maggie Smith), an old woman who has recently inherited the house from her late husband’s distant relative, Sir Charles Bingham (Kenneth Branagh).

Mrs MacGuffin discovers that she has been left not just one but three servants: Butler Bates (Roger Allam), maid Daisy (Julia Ormond) and footman Peter MacGuffin (Ralph Fiennes).

Mrs MacGuffin is given charge over them all when Sir Charles leaves his wife Lady Sylvia Crawley (Helena Bonham Carter) without a means of support after he dies unexpectedly at sea while on holiday;

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Gosford Park
  • Gosford Park finds director Robert Altman in sumptuously fine form indeed. From the opening shots,...
  • Aristocrats gather together for a weekend shooting party with their dutiful servants in tow, and the...
  • Greed, vengeance, snobbery, and lust stir comic unrest as the near dizzying effect of brisk script...
  • First and foremost, Maggie Smith is marvelous as Constance, a dependent countess with a quip for...
  • Gosford Park manages to be fabulously entertaining while exposing human shortcomings, compromises,...

9. MASH (1970)                

 Robert Altman is one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in Hollywood history. His films consistently push boundaries and test the limits of what can be done on film.

MASH was a breakthrough for Altman, who had previously made only two features, The Delinquents (1955) and Thieves Like Us (1956). This film was written by Ring Lardner, Jr., who would later become famous as the author of several best-selling novels.

The film centers on Captain “Bones” McCoy (Donald Sutherland), an Army surgeon whose job involves treating soldiers wounded during the Korean War. McCoy is a brilliant surgeon, but he has trouble dealing with other people, especially when they are in pain or emotional crisis.

The film’s other characters include Captains “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Maggie Smith), “Hawkeye” Pierce (Spalding Gray), Private First Class Trapper John McIntyre (Jamie Farr), and Corporal Klinger (Harve Presnell).

Altman created a unique tone for MASH, which combined comedy with drama and action sequences; it also featured many unusual camera angles and editing techniques that were new at the time (the use of split screens in

Mash
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Richard Hooker (Writer) - Ingo Preminger (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

10. Three Women (1977)

The opening scene of Three Women (1977) is one of the most famous scenes in American cinema. It is also one that has been imitated, parodied, and deconstructed over the years. The scene is a party held by Anna Lee (Meryl Streep), who has just been released from prison after serving seven years for murdering her husband. At the party,

Anna meets three other women: Elaine (Karen Black), a stripper; Carol (Diane Ladd), who is married to a rich doctor; and Judie (Jessica Lange), a prostitute who lives with her mother. The women soon realize they have all been attracted to each other since childhood and decide to spend New Year’s Eve together at Elaine’s house.

As with most films by Robert Altman, there are many layers of meaning behind this seemingly simple scene.

Although it can be interpreted simply as an observation about life’s absurdities or even as an example of male film critics’ sexism  Altman was clearly interested in exploring larger questions about gender roles in society and how those roles affect individuals’ lives.

3 Women
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule, Robert Fortier (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Robert Altman (Writer) - Robert Altman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

11. California Split (1974)

Robert Altman’s California Split (1974) is a crazy-quilt of different genres and tones, from the quiet, almost documentary-like opening scene to the more traditional Hollywood ending.

The film opens with a montage of newsreels and photographs of various historical events in California, including the discovery of gold in 1848 and the discovery of oil in 1901.

These events are contrasted with scenes from modern times, as well as moments when two men (Gene Hackman and Elliott Gould) meet at a bar and talk about their lives. Although they seem to be discussing something important, they don’t really say anything until they are interrupted by a third man (Martin Sheen).

The main story begins when two men named Hal Styer (Hackman) and Butch Cassidy (Gould) are sitting at their favorite bar drinking beer. Hal is an accountant who lives with his wife and three children in Sacramento; his best friend is Butch Cassidy,

who has been dead since 1889 but still lives on in legend. They discuss their lives together as outlaws during their time as bank robbers during the late 19th century up until their deaths in 1899 & 1891 respectively. The film cuts back

California Split
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Joseph Walsh (Writer) - Robert Altman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

12. That Cold Day in the Park (1969)

That Cold Day in the Park is a film that has become somewhat of a lost gem. It was one of Altman’s first films, and it was shelved by Warner Bros. for almost two decades before being released on DVD as part of their “Essential Cinema” series.

The film itself has been called “the most autobiographical film ever made,” and it’s easy to see why. In it, Altman plays himself as a young man growing up in Los Angeles during the 1950s and 1960s.

The story centers around Ned (Altman), a young man who has just moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles with his family. He’s excited about his new home, which he describes as “an old house with an elevator.

Ned’s father is played by Warren Oates as an aging Hollywood director; his mother is played by Kathryn Dowd as a struggling actress trying to make ends meet while raising her three children alone after her husband’s death.

When Ned arrives in L.A., he finds that things aren’t quite so simple as they seem at first glance. He soon discovers that Hollywood is not what he thought it would be at all — not least because some people have plans for

That Cold Day In The Park
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sandy Dennis, Michael Burns, Susanne Benton (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Gillilan Freeman (Writer) - Donald Factor (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

13. Images (1972)           

 Images is a 1972 surrealistic drama film written and directed by Robert Altman. The film was inspired by the writings of Georges Bataille, a French intellectual and writer, who was also an important influence on the work of the surrealists.

The film stars Julie Christie as an American actress who returns to Paris to find out why her brother died in World War II. She finds herself caught up in a world of sexual intrigue and rivalries among a group of artists.

The film features several unconventional scenes including one in which Christie’s character is hypnotized and another in which she becomes paralyzed.

Images was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Director for Altman, Best Actress (Christie), Best Supporting Actress (Anne Heywood) and Best Original Screenplay (Altman). It won two awards:

Julie Christie won Best Actress at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival and Anne Heywood won Best Supporting Actress at the 1972 Independent Spirit Awards.

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14. Popeye (1980)           

 Popeye (1980) is a fun, campy and very entertaining film. It is directed by Robert Altman and stars Robin Williams. The film is based on the comic strip character of Popeye the Sailor Man by E.C. Segar.

The movie opens with Popeye as a child being punished for not doing his chores. He then goes to his grandmother’s house where he gets his first meal which consists of spinach. The rest of the movie follows him as he grows up and becomes a sailor man who fights crime with his spinach powers.

Popeye has a love interest in Olive Oyl (played by Shelley Duvall) who works at a beauty parlor where she cuts hair and sells cosmetics with her boyfriend Bluto (played by Gene Hackman).

The two fall in love but they cannot marry because they are both going into the navy and they must wait 10 years before they can get married. So they decide to run away together but Popeye’s boss refuses them permission because Popeye was fired for not working hard enough so Popeye decides to steal some money from a bank which he does successfully and then decides to go back after taking care of some business matters at home including getting rid of the

Popeye
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, Ray Walston (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Jules Feiffer (Writer) - Robert Evans (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

15. Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)             

 The first Jimmy Dean movie I ever saw was Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. It was on TV and I watched it with my cousin. We both loved it.

The second time I saw it was on TV again and then again at a theatre in New Jersey with my parents. It’s one of my favorites because of the music, the story and the ending.

In this film, Robert Altman plays a character named Robert Altman who is an actor who has been working in Hollywood since he was a teenager. He’s now played by Tom Cruise and he’s having trouble getting work because he doesn’t have enough experience.

So he decides to go back home and try to get his career back so that he can finally get his big break in acting.

It starts out pretty much like any other movie about a man going back home to try to get his career back on track with some help from his family and friends along the way.

But it also has some really interesting things going on with it as well because you see how Hollywood works and what it takes for someone to really become successful as an actor or director or whatever else they might be into or interested in doing professionally after

Come Back To The Five And Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Ed Graczyk (Writer) - Scott Bushnell (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

16. Thieves Like Us (1974)           

 Thieves Like Us is a 1974 American crime film directed by Robert Altman and starring Paul Newman, Sharon Stone and Fred Ward. The film is based on an original story by Elmore Leonard, who also wrote the screenplay.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won two: Best Supporting Actress (Sharon Stone) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

The film takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1964; the city is suffering from racial tensions between whites and blacks. Its black residents are forced to deal with the violent crimes committed against them by white youths who are being controlled by white racists.

A group of black citizens form an underground group called “The League”, which confronts these crimes as well as trying to work towards social justice for all races in Tulsa.

In 2009, Thieves Like Us was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.

Thieves Like Us
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Robert Altman (Writer) - Jerry Bick (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

17. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)   

 A Prairie Home Companion is a 2006 musical film directed by Robert Altman and starring the late Robin Williams. It is a tribute to the FSM radio program A Prairie Home Companion, which was broadcast from 1974 to 2011 on American Public Media’s flagship radio network,

American Public Media. The movie features actors and musicians who either starred in the original show or appeared as guests on it during its run.

The film was released on DVD as part of a box set that also included the 2004 film Dr. T & The Women and 1999’s The Essay Collection: Bob Dylan, later reissued in 2007 as One More Time with Feeling:

The Music That Inspired Bob Dylan. In addition to Williams’ performance, the soundtrack includes performances by James Taylor, Dylan himself performing “All Along the Watchtower” (from his 1975 album Blood on the Tracks) and Richie Havens performing “A Simple Twist of Fate”.

In January 2017, A Prairie Home Companion was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Prairie Home Companion
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Garrison Keillor (Actors)
  • Robert Altman (Director) - Garrison Keillor (Writer) - Robert Altman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Characteristics of Robert Altman Movies

Robert Altman is a film maker who has made some of the most memorable films in Hollywood history. His films can be described as movies that are both realistic and surreal. He uses characters who are ordinary, but not at all typical, and his stories often have a dreamlike quality to them.

Robert Altman’s films are known for their distinctive style. They feature realistic dialogue, which is often delivered in a deadpan manner. This style of filmmaking was developed by Wes Anderson, who studied with Altman in the 1970s and later used it on his own films.

The films of Robert Altman tend to focus on small moments and tell stories that involve an ensemble cast of characters. The main character may have a unique personality trait or background, but they are still relatable because they react realistically to situations that occur around them.

Best Robert Altman Movies – Wrapping Up

This has been a list of the best Robert Altman movies. These are all great films that you should watch if you love classic cinema.

 

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