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The best Kevin Costner movies and TV shows to watch as Horizon begins & Yellowstone ends

No one delivers an understated, conflicted hero quite like Kevin Costner.

Waterworld screenshot
Image credit: Universal Pictures

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At the peak of his star power, there was no one in Hollywood bigger than Kevin Costner. He quickly amassed two Oscars and some impressive box office numbers in the late '80s and early '90s, but he continued to put out some great performances even after his heyday. The highlights of his career have been punctuated by some wild fluctuations in quality, with a few self-indulgent movies that became famous flops with views and critics.

But for every The Postman or 3000 Miles to Graceland, Kevin Costner has delivered performances on both the big and small screen that have touched, comforted, and thrilled viewers for more than 30 years. Even when the film flops, no one delivers the down-to-earth everyman persona quite like him, with the best Kevin Costner movies and shows going on to become all-time greats in their genres.

The best Kevin Costner movies and films of all time

6. Waterworld (1995)

Waterworld screenshot
Image credit: Universal Pictures

We’re going to take some flack for including this one on this list, especially since Waterworld was one of the movies that nearly derailed Costner’s career in the mid-90s. It was one of the most expensive movies ever made at the time, which almost doomed it to failure before it even came out. However, if you look past that, you get one of the most ambitious summer blockbusters of its time and Costner delivers a believable performance of an antihero in a world where dry land has disappeared. Plus, Dennis Hopper is having the time of his life chewing the scenery as the villain. What more do you want?

5. The Untouchables (1987)

The Untouchables screenshot
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Playing federal agent Eliot Ness and tasked with the seemingly impossible task of taking down the most famous gangster in American history, Kevin Costner proved his leading man credentials with The Untouchables. Sean Connery won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Jim Malone while Robert De Niro delivers a predictably intimidating performance as Al Capone, but Costner is undeniably the star of this movie, which remains one of the best crime films ever made.

4. JFK (1991)

JFK movie screenshot
Image credit: Warner Bros.

In the world of conspiracy theories, none are bigger than the Kennedy Assassination. It has been the subject of countless films and TV shows, but few are as watchable as 1991’s JFK. Costner is nearly playing against type here, delivering a fiery, intense performance as Jim Garrison stands out against his usual fare at the time. There is just enough of his salt-of-the-earth persona in the character to make it believable but otherwise, this is a fantastic conspiracy movie that isn’t just one of Kevin Costner’s best movies but is also one of Oliver Stone’s best outings as director.

3. Field of Dreams (1989)

Field of Dreams screenshot
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Aside from Westerns, the genre that has been the kindest to Costner over the years is sports movies. In Field of Dreams, he doesn’t play an athlete himself but a farmer who starts hearing a strange voice in his cornfield saying to build a baseball field. The plot is as wholesome and saccharine as they come but Costner’s performance grounds it even as the supernatural elements come into play. There are better sports movies out there but few will reduce you to tears the same way Field of Dreams will.

2. Yellowstone (2018-2024)

Screenshot from Yellowstone
Image credit: Paramount

Few actors are as passionate about the Western genre as Kevin Costner. He’s gone back to it over and over throughout his career, but Yellowstone is where he’s gotten the chance to shine the brightest as John Dutton III. Thanks to the TV format, Costner’s typically understated performance gets more time to breathe and grow on viewers, which has helped make Yellowstone one of the best Western series in recent years.

1. Bull Durham (1988)

Bull Durham screenshot
Image credit: Orion Pictures

So what is the best movie of Kevin Costner’s long and tumultuous career? That honor goes to Bull Durham, a sports movie that dips its toes into both the comedy and romance genres without fully committing to either. Costner is “Crash” Davis, a minor league baseball veteran who is tasked with helping a hotshot rookie pitcher fulfill his Major League potential. Despite the romance between Costner and Susan Sarandon, the real heart of the film is the relationship between Davis and Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh, which helps both men become better players and people. Kevin Costner’s understated wholesomeness brings this film to life in a way no other actor of the time could have.

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Trent Cannon avatar
Trent Cannon: Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)
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