10 Best Sissy Spacek Movies
Known for getting her start in one of the most iconic Stephen King projects of all time, Sissy Spacek is far greater than the sum of her roles — even though those roles really add up to something impressive. With a career in the feature film industry dating all the way back to starring in Terrence Malick’s first film and helping behind-the-scenes of David Lynch’s debut feature Eraserhead, Spacek is and always has been an important voice throughout 20th and 21st-century film. With just 63 roles across film and TV throughout her decades-long career, it’s clear that Spacek is incredibly careful when it comes to choosing her roles. This strategy has paid off for her: there are very few duds and countless hits contained in her filmography. Some have managed to rise above the rest, proving to be the best Spacek has to offer.
Seven-time Oscar nominee Robert Altman is responsible for some of the most influential movies of the 20th century. One of those films, 3 Women, stars Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek as two of the three titular women. Oddly enough, both of these actresses managed to score great roles in Stephen King adaptations. Spacek gives her finest performance in this drama about a strange relationship.
The film that showed audiences what Terrence Malick was all about also gave viewers a glimpse at a future star in the making: Sissy Spacek’s second-ever movie role is in Badlands, a true story about an impressionable teenage girl and her older boyfriend as they go on a killing spree across South Dakota. It’s one of Malick’s best, for sure, and the same goes for Spacek.
The Straight Story
Decades after helping him complete his tumultuous first film Eraserhead, Sissy Spacek got the opportunity to star in his 1999 film The Straight Story. Playing the mentally disabled daughter of actor Richard Farnsworth’s character Alvin, Spacek is one-half of the two spectacular performances that play out in The Straight Story. This movie is unlike anything else in Lynch’s filmography, and the same could be said for Spacek.
Castle Rock Season One
Her most recent collaboration with Stephen King, the first season of Castle Rock combines elements of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Dark Half, Needful Things, The Shining, The Dead Zone, and plenty of other novels — it’s a love letter to the author and his work, complete with the casting of other actors who have worked with him before. Spacek is the best example, getting the chance to deliver one of the best performances of 2018 in episode seven, titled “The Queen.”
A president’s life is often a treasure trove for filmmakers wishing to make an easy Oscar winner. JFK is no exception — it covers the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and stars Kevin Costner and Sissy Spacek. It’s quite long, clocking in at over three hours, but that just means the actress has more opportunities to show up on-screen.
The movie that made her a star, 1976’s Carrie is not only one of Spacek’s greatest roles, but one of Stephen King’s greatest movie adaptations. Based off of the author’s debut novel, Carrie tells the infamous story of a girl with telekinesis as she is tormented by her fellow classmates. Spacek is truly creepy here, coming across as sympathetic and psychopathic at once.
Written and directed by Greek filmmaker Costa-Gravas, his most popular film, Missing, follows Spacek as the wife of a missing reporter who sets out to locate him after a coup d’etat in Chile. Spacek knocks it out of the park here, proving she’s always been one of the most talented actresses.
In the Bedroom
One of many instances where Spacek earned an Oscar nomination for her acting, In the Bedroom sees the actress in a story about a college-aged man and his older girlfriend as well as her two children and her menacing ex. It was incredibly well-received at the time and happens to feature Marissa Tomei in one of her best roles too.
The Coal Miner’s Daughter
The role that finally won her an Oscar, The Coal Miner’s Daughter is about legendary country singer Loretta Lynn and her rise from poverty to worldwide notoriety. Tommy Lee Jones is undoubtedly great here, as well, but the movie is completely and totally Spacek’s. Biopics are often pandering and underwhelming, but The Coal Miner’s Daughter is no such film.
The Old Man and the Gun
The most recent film on the list, The Old Man and the Gun doubles as Robert Redford’s final performance and Sissy Spacek’s second great role of 2018. The movie is subtle and low-key, profiling the life of an easygoing career criminal and prison escape artist who continued to commit crimes well into his old age. Spacek is in a supporting role, but she’s as great as ever no matter what the size of the role.
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