Lee Marvin’s best? That’s a pretty subjective concept. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison but still and all, some things along such lines are pretty obvious.  “The 5 Best Lee Marvin Movies” is the title of a recent blog entry I came across by chance on the web and the concept is the subject of this blog.
I’m not really big on chiding other writers but the author’s choices leave much to be desired. The title alone is somewhat irksome: “The 5 Best Lee Marvin Movies.” Why only five? Wouldn’t ten be more appropriate for such a lengthy career? And his choices! If you can’t see the link I included above, here’s what he chose:
5. The Wild One
4. The Big Heat
3. Cat Ballou
2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1. The Dirty Dozen
Can you see the problem I had with the choices that were made? Three of the five are not even Lee Marvin movies in the strictest sense. Marvin had supporting roles in The Wild One, Big Heat and Liberty Valance. Granted, they were great scene-stealing roles, but supporting roles, nonetheless. They are all better known as Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford & John Wayne movies and Lee Marvin would be the first one to say it. All the films (and more) are of course recounted and detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank, by the way. It also includes Marvin’s input into these roles as well as what he thought of each of them.
While I applaud the effort made in the end to encourage others to seek out Marvin’s films, doing so by this list would make someone wonder what’s the fuss about Lee Marvin since he apparently was merely a villain in the 1950s & 1960s. The author barely recognized the fact that Marvin was a major star in the 1960s & 1970s.
I’m not and never have been a fan of “Best Lists,” which is why there isn’t any on this blog site. However, if one were to attempt a list of Lee Marvin’s best, here’s a good start, at least in terms of what might make someone a fan. Consider the following a sort of starter kit. If after viewing these films, you’re still not a fan, then you never will be.
– Dwayne Epstein

The Professionals, 1966.

Point Blank, 1967

Monte Walsh, 1970

Emperor of the North, 1973

The Big Red One, 1980


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  1. That guy has ZERO clue………..as one of his BEST supporting roles was in SEVEN MEN FROM NOW>……….find a more realistic death scene, and I’ll buy uyou a beer……..and how could ANY list NOT have The Professionals?…….dude must be 22……and DUMB!!…..yup!!

  2. I just think he added to any film he was in and I am a big fan of the man and the actor, found a film earlier that had passed me by but am excited to watch very soon called Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday and as a treat it has Oliver Reed and Lee Marvin in it….what more could you ask for, a classic comic western with 2 fabulous actors and huge personalities. I do agree I don’t like best lists as everyone has different tastes but perhaps they just wanted to get their opinion out there and start a conversation. Lee Marvin will always be a fabulous actor doesn’t matter what film he was in and I don’t think those films would put anyone off him if they saw them, they were very good films regardless of if he was the leading man or not and he had Star written all over him in neon paint whatever role he played. They just don’t make them like that any more do they.

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