Dustin Hoffman is a Hollywood legend, and like him or loathe him, he’s produced some of the most masterful movies in history, from his early work back in the 1960sthrough to the present day, picking up plenty of Academy Awards, Emmys, and even lifetime achievement awards along the way.
2022 will see a return to work for the 84-year-old with As They Made Us, a new movie from Mayim Bialik, the star of sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory, and it’s already got people excited.
Robert De Niro once described Hoffman as “an actor with the everyman’s face who embodied the heartbreakingly human”, and with such a showreel of movies, it’s difficult not to agree.
If you’re looking to dig into Hoffman’s movies for the very first time, here are our favourite five to get you started…
Rain Man is a movie all about sibling relationships that straddles the boundary of caper movie, with plenty of it set in Las Vegas trying to beat the casinos. Hoffman plays Raymond, an autistic savant who meets his long-lost brother (Tom Cruise) in the wake of his father’s death.
Noting Raymond’s skill for numbers and mathematics, he takes Raymond on a road trip to Las Vegas to play the casinos in order to pay off his own debts. There are some fun times as the brothers compete in a number of casino games, the same sort of games millions of us enjoy on casino sites to this day, but there’s a manipulative edge to Cruise’s character and the casino soon discovers he’s been making Raymond card count.
It’s a movie that earned critical acclaim and also scooped Hoffman his second Academy Award in 1988.
The Graduate in 1967 was Hoffman’s breakout role and backed with a wonderful soundtrack from Simon & Garfunkel it became an instant classic. Playing Benjamin Braddock, Hoffman plays a young man who is seduced by an older woman and at the time it was seen as a rather rebellious movie, with the star earning a Best Actor nomination as well as Mike Nichols, the director, scooping the Best Director award.
To this day it’s cited as one of the best movies ever made, and it’s a must for any young man to watch, especially.
Kramer vs Kramer
Released in 1979, Kramer vs Kramer saw Hoffman win his first Academy Award, playing Ted Kramer, a work-obsessed businessman who gets assigned to an important account just as his wife (Meryl Streep) leaves him. That leaves him with their son Billy, who he must then raise alone.
It asks all sorts of questions, many of which parents around the world will ask themselves, and is a brilliant film that sees Hoffman produce one of his most moving and emotional performances ever.
Originally, Hoffman proved a controversial choice to play the comic Lenny Bruce in a biopic of his life, but those fears were soon put to bed as it proved to be one of Hoffman’s all-time best performances.
It was nominated for six Academy Awards in total, with the 1974 movie proving to be a great example of Hoffman’s character acting, perfecting Bruce’s eccentric-yet-controversial style as well as building a mesmerising on-screen relationship with Valerine Perrine who plays his wife, Honey.
Marathon Man was a huge hit for Hoffman during the 1970s and also saw him work alongside Laurence Olivier. The movie saw him play Babe Levy, a marathon runner who gets involved with Nazi war criminal Szell, played by Olivier.
Based upon a novel, it follows the story of the relationship between the two with Szell arriving in the USA to claim a collection of diamonds. It’s a real powerhouse of acting and saw one of the greats go head-to-head with the modern great that is Hoffman.