Lawrence Kasdan celebrates his 701st birthday on January 14, 2020. The four-time Oscar nominee has made a name for himself as both a writer of successful blockbusters and director of intimate character studies. But how many of those films are classics? In honor of his birthday, let’s take a look back at 12 of his greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1949, Kasdan burst onto the scene as a red hot writer with the one-two punch of “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981). These highly-profitable adventures paved the way for him to make his directorial debut with the steamy neo-noir “Body Heat” (1981), which starred Kathleen Turner as a sexy seductress who convinces a small-time lawyer (William Hurt) to murder her rich husband.
He reaped his first Oscar nomination just two years later: Best Original Screenplay for the baby boomer dramedy “The Big Chill” (1983). He would earn subsequent bids for the tender romantic comedy “The Accidental Tourist” (Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay in 1988) and the multi-character L.A. drama “Grand Canyon” (Best Original Screenplay in 1991).
Though he’s yet to win an Oscar, Kasdan did receive the WGA prize for “The Big Chill” and the USC Scripter award for “The Accidental Tourist.”
Kasdan has remained active throughout the century, penning scripts for the “Star Wars” reboots “The Force Awakens” (2015) and “Solo” (2018).
Take a tour through our photo gallery of Kasdan’s 12 greatest films both as a writer and director, including a few titles for which he should’ve gotten Oscar nominations.