James Caan movies: 12 greatest films ranked from worst to best

On July 6, 2022, one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors passed away at the age of 82.  Best remembered for his Oscar-nominated performance in “The Godfather” (1972), James Caan‘s career spanned almost 60 years of theatrical and television work.

Born in the Bronx on March 26, 1940, Caan made his TV debut on an episode of “Naked City” in 1961, and his film debut two years later in an uncredited role in Billy Wilder‘s “Irma la Douce.” He soon made a name for himself co-starring alongside such Hollywood legends as Olivia de Havilland in “Lady in a Cage” (1964) and John Wayne and Robert Mitchum in “El Dorado.”

In 1971, he earned his sole Primetime Emmy nomination for his title role in the tearjerker “Brian’s Song,” and the following year achieved an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, for his memorable turn in “The Godfather.” This was the role with which he became most identified; however, over the next half century, Caan provided many steady lead performances and solid supporting roles in over 100 movie and TV appearances.  After “The Godfather,” he had several tough guy roles, in films such as “Thief,” but also proved to be equally adept as a romantic lead in “Funny Lady” (1975) and “Chapter Two” (1979), and as a comic foil in “Honeymoon in Las Vegas” (1992) and “Elf” (2003). From 2003-2007, he starred as Ed Deline in the drama series “Las Vegas.”

Caan continued to work until his death, with his most recent cinematic release being “Queen Bees” in 2021. Tour our photo gallery ranking his 12 greatest feature film roles (not including “Brian’s Song” since it was a TV movie).