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A-Ron’s Film Rewind Presents: Career Best Films Directed By Ron Howard

Ron Howard is a two time Academy Award nominee as Best Director for “A Beautiful Mind” (which he won the Oscar for) and for “Frost/Nixon”. Ron Howard is one of this generation’s most talented and greatest filmmakers. Ron Howard has created some of Hollywood’s most memorable and definitive films.

Ron Howard made his directorial debut in 1977 with Roger Corman’s “Grand Theft Auto”. He began his career as an actor in the film “The Journey” in 1959 and “The Music Man” in 1962. He became a household name starring in two of tv’s biggest sitcoms, as adorable little Opie Opie on the long-running television series “The Andy Griffith Show” and later starred in the popular series “Happy Days”. He drew favorable reviews for his performances in the George Lucas directed “American Graffiti” (1973) and “The Shootist” in 1976 with the legendary John Wayne. 

Howard and long-time and his still current producing partner Brian Grazer first collaborated on the hit comedies “Night Shift” and “Splash”. The two co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 to produce Ron Howard’s films as a filmmaker and to help create independently produced feature films for other filmmakers. 

Howard’s skill as a director has long been recognized. In 1995, he received his first Best Director of the Year award from the Directors Guild Of America for “Apollo 13”, which was nominated for nine Oscars. 

Howard was honored by the Museum of Moving Images in December 2005, and by the American Cinema Editors in February 2006. Howard and his creative partner Brian Grazer, were honored by the Producers Guild of America with the Milestone Award in January 2009, NYU’s Tisch School of Cinematic Arts with the Big Apple Award in November 2009 and by the Simon Wiesenthal Center with their Humanitarian Award in May 2010. 

In June 2010, Howard was honored by the Chicago Film Festival with their Gold Hugo – Career Achievement Award. In March 2013, Howard was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In December 2015, Howard was honored with a star in the Motion Pictures category, making him one of the very few to have been recognized with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He is still directing films today, having four films he will be directing in the horizon. In the meantime he has been keeping busy by producing the series “Breakthrough”, “Mars” and directed the first episode of the series “Genius”, starring Geoffrey Rush based on the life of Albert Einstein. All series made for NatGeo (National Geographic). 

Ron Howard is one of my very favorite filmmakers. He makes great films and is dedicated to his craft as a filmmaker. In celebration of his birthday I have ranked my top 20 career best films directed by the one and only Ron Howard. 

1.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)

*8 Oscar Nominations & 4 Wins (Best Director Ron Howard, Best Picture, Best Actress Jennifer Connelly and Best Screenplay)

A human drama and paranoia thriller inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the biography “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish. He soon finds himself on the run and trying to find himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

2.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Based on the best selling novel by Dan Brown. “The Da Vinci Code” is a superb thriller about a murder inside the Louvre. Clues are left in Da Vinci paintings, that lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

3.
Backdraft (1991)

*3 Oscar Nominations 

Chicago firefighting brothers Stephen (Kurt Russell) and Brian (William Baldwin) have been rivals since childhood. Brian, struggling to prove himself, transfers to the arson unit. There he aids Don (Robert De Niro) in his investigation into a spate of fires involving oxygen-induced infernos called backdrafts. But when a conspiracy implicating a crooked politician and an arsonist leads Brian back to Stephen, he is forced to overcome his brotherly competitiveness in order to crack the case.

4.
Ransom (1996)

Through a life of hard work, airline owner Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) has amassed a great deal of wealth. When a group of criminals want a piece of his cash, they kidnap his son (Brawley Nolte) for a $2 million ransom. Encouraged by his wife (Rene Russo) and an FBI agent (Delroy Lindo), Tom prepares to pay the money, but the ransom drop goes awry. Enraged, Tom decides to turn the tables on the kidnappers by making the ransom a bounty on their heads, which he announces on national television.

5.
Rush (2013)

In the mid-1970s, charismatic English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) share an intense rivalry in Formula 1 racing. Driving vehicles that are little more than gas-filled, rolling bombs, Hunt and Lauda burn up the track, all the while pushing themselves to the breaking point of physical and mental endurance. Meanwhile, the women (Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara) in their lives can only watch as both drivers risk death with every lap.

6.
Apollo 13 (1995)

*9 Oscar Nominations & 2 Wins (Best Sound & Best Film Editing)

This Hollywood drama is based on the events of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) find everything going according to plan after leaving Earth’s orbit. However, when an oxygen tank explodes, the scheduled moon landing is called off. Subsequent tensions within the crew and numerous technical problems threaten both the astronauts’ survival and their safe return to Earth.

7.
Gung Ho (1986)

When a western Pennsylvania auto plant is acquired by a Japanese company, brokering auto worker Hunt Stevenson (Michael Keaton) faces the tricky challenge of mediating the assimilation of two clashing corporate cultures. At one end is the Japanese plant manager (Gedde Watanabe) and the sycophant (Sab Shimono) who is angling for his position. At the other, a number of disgruntled long-time union members (George Wendt, John Turturro) struggle with the new exigencies of Japanese quality control.

8.
Parenthood (1989)

*2 Oscar Nominations 

Perfectionist Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) struggles with the deficiencies of his children, thinking they reflect poorly on his parenting — and Gil’s siblings only add to the stress of his life. One of his sisters (Dianne Wiest) faces difficulty when her teenage daughter (Martha Plimpton) becomes pregnant. Another (Harley Jane Kozak) clashes with her husband (Rick Moranis) when she asks for more children. Gil’s immature brother (Tom Hulce) turns up as well, with a young son he can barely handle.

9.
Solo A Star Wars Story (2018)

*1 Oscar Nomination 

Young Han Solo finds adventure when he joins forces with a gang of galactic smugglers and a 190-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca. Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos, the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian, the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission — the Millennium Falcon.

10.
Cocoon (1985)

*2 Oscar Nominations & 2 Wins (Best Supporting Actor Don Ameche & Best Visual Effects

Oscar-winning fantasy in which the residents of a Florida rest home get a new lease of life when they stumble across an alien “fountain of youth” in a disused holiday home. Unbeknown to them, aliens have been using the swimming pool in the house to store their cocooned brethren, giving the waters a powerful, rejuvenating quality.

11.
In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)

In 1820, crewmen (Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy) aboard the New England vessel Essex face a harrowing battle for survival when a whale of mammoth size and strength attacks with force, crippling their ship and leaving them adrift in the ocean. Pushed to their limits and facing storms, starvation, panic and despair, the survivors must resort to the unthinkable to stay alive. Their incredible tale ultimately inspires author Herman Melville to write “Moby-Dick.”

12.
Splash (1984)

*1 Oscar Nomination 

A young boy saved from drowning by a beautiful mermaid, falls in love with her 20 years later when she returns to seek him out. Before he can choose between life on dry land or a deep sea paradise with his dream woman, the lovers are rudely interrupted by the intervention of a scheming scientist.

13.
Far and Away (1992)

Joseph (Tom Cruise) and his landlord’s daughter, Shannon (Nicole Kidman), travel from Ireland to America in hopes of claiming free land in Oklahoma. The pair get sidetracked in Boston, where Joseph takes up boxing to support himself. When he loses a pivotal fight, the two are left penniless. Now faced with poverty, the two must find new ways to scrape by. As their affection for each other grows, Joseph questions whether he is truly what Shannon needs in her life.

14.
Inferno (2016)

In the third film of “The Da Vinci Code” trilogy, symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.

15.
Angels and Demons (2009)

In the second film of “The Da Vinci Code” trilogy. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome to warn the Vatican, the Illuminati’s most hated enemy. Joining forces with beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Langdon follows a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols in the hope of preventing the Illuminati’s deadly plot against the Roman Catholic Church from coming to fruition.

16.
Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years (2016)

Filmmaker Ron Howard examines the early years of the Beatles, from their club dates in Liverpool, England, to their concert tours in Europe and the rest of the world.

17.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

*3 Oscar Nominations & 1 Win (Best Make-Up)

In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch (Jim Carrey) decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen).

18.
The Paper (1994)

Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton) is an editor at the New York Sun, a tabloid paper facing financial cuts. His pregnant wife, Martha (Marisa Tomei), pleads with him to get a more respectable job so he can spend more time with his family. Hackett is considering an offer from another paper, with fewer hours and higher pay, when he gets his hottest story in years. When this scoop leads to a burst of violence and a conflict with his new boss, Alicia (Glenn Close), he faces a startling moment of truth.

19.
Night Shift (1982)

Chuck (Henry Winkler) has given up life as a stockbroker because it was too stressful. Now, he works an easy gig as a night shift attendant at a New York City morgue. His co-worker, Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton), on the other hand, is always looking to make a quick buck. When Bill finds out that Chuck’s prostitute neighbor, Belinda (Shelley Long), needs a place to do her work, he convinces Chuck to turn the morgue into a brothel where they can work as her pimps.

20.
Frost/Nixon (2008)

*5 Oscar Nominations 

In 1977, three years after the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) selects British TV personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) to conduct a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Though Nixon believes it will be easy to mislead Frost, and the latter’s own team doubts that he can stand up to the former president, what actually unfolds is an unexpectedly candid and revealing interview before the court of public opinion.

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About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros is the movie critic for Maui Watch. He lives on the beautiful island of Maui and is also a member of the elite Hawaii Film Critics Society and an active cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, where his Grandfather started his love for the movies.

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