Sally Field is a highly respected and cherished actor, who can most recently be seen as Jessie Buss in HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. A two-time Academy Award winner, Field is no stranger to giving tour-de-force performances, and her hilarious turn as Jerry Buss’s chain-smoking mother is another addition to the list.
In a career spanning over six decades, Sally Field first came on the scene as the title character in the comedy series Gidget in 1965. Since then, the actor has amassed a spectacular filmography chockfull of beloved movies including Mrs. Doubtfire and Steel Magnolias. Metacritic has compiled the best movies in which Field has starred, showcasing the dynamic range the revered performer possesses.
10 Norma Rae (1979) – 61
Norman Rae is a single mother who works tirelessly in less-than-suitable conditions at a local textile factory. When she decides to help unionize the factory, with the hopes of a safer work environment and better pay, she discovers that the journey comes with many taxing obstacles.
Norma Rae gives a brutally honest look at the lives of factory workers, shedding light on the hardships most employees faced when trying to establish stability and security. Easily one of Sally Field’s most memorable and praised performances, Norma Rae went on to garner critical and commercial success, leading to a Best Actress Oscar for Field.
9 Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016) – 63
Hello, My Name Is Doris follows an eccentric woman named Doris (Field), who becomes instantly infatuated with her much younger co-worker named John. As Doris falls deeper into her obsession, she begins to act out in ways she never dreamed of.
Considered one of director Michael Showalter’s best projects, this poignant and touching film takes the romantic comedy genre and subverts it by examining themes of mental health, ageism, and sexism. Sally Field and Max Greenfield have an amazingly sweet chemistry that permeates throughout the entire film, making their unusual romance a pleasant and refreshing sight to see.
8 Absence Of Malice (1981) – 64
Screen legend Paul Newman co-stars with Field in this high-stakes thriller centering on a Miami reporter using false information to publically accuse a liquor wholesaler of murder. When the quest for the truth brings these two people together, an unlikely game of intrigue and romance comes to the forefront.
An interesting look at the world of journalism, Absence of Malice makes every effort to deliver thrilling surprises while teaching audiences about the importance of journalistic integrity. Newman is mesmerizing as Michael Gallagher, who was unsurprisingly nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the film.
7 Soapdish (1991) – 65
Soapdish is a satirical look at the world of daytime soap operas. Sally Field stars as Celeste Talbert, a narcissistic aging soap star who finds her personal life just as outrageous as her life on the small screen. The film features an impressive cast including Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robert Downey, Jr.
Sally Field delivers one of her funniest performances in this zany backstage comedy. Thanks to a clever script, Soapdish is able to poke fun at the many outlandish tropes of the soap opera genre while simultaneously, telling a heartwarming story about family. Field’s scenes opposite Goldberg and Kline are notably responsible for some of the movie’s biggest laughs.
6 The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – 66
An adaptation of the beloved comic series of the same name, The Amazing Spider-Man follows Peter Parker as he is transformed from a nerdy wallflower into a superhero. Now the master of his own fate, Peter must sharpen his skills in order to save New York from a reptilian foe.
This iteration of the Spider-Man comics follows more closely to the source material than its Sam Raimi-directed predecessor. Andrew Garfield shines as the web-slinger delivering quip after quip with charm, making it no surprise why many view Garfield as the best Spider-Man. Sally Field gives an endearing and heartbreaking performance as Aunt May, Peter’s aunt who suffers a terrible loss over the course of the film.
5 Places In The Heart (1984) – 70
This period drama follows a recently widowed mother who is left to care for her farm and her children alone. As she struggles to keep things under control, a group of ragtag strangers decides to help the young mother with keeping the farm afloat.
Critics and audiences alike applauded Places In The Heart for its captivating portrayal of motherhood and Depression-era farmworkers. The film is a hopeful and inspiring tale about the value of friendship and selflessness. Not only was the movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, but Field also went on to win Best Actress for her role as Edna Spalding.
4 Hooper (1978) – 70
Hooper reunites Field with her Smokey and the Bandit co-star, Burt Reynolds, who stars as an aging stunt performer contemplating retirement. This action-comedy follows Hooper as he prepares for his last death-defying stunt, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend (Field). The film is also known for featuring one of Burt Reynolds’ most iconic roles.
Hooper serves as a love letter to stunt performers in the industry who are often overlooked and undervalued. Field and Reynolds, once again, use their solid chemistry established in Smokey and the Bandit to convey a touching relationship that serves as the emotional throughline of the movie. Hooper was a financial success, becoming one the highest-grossing films of its year of release.
3 The Desert Of Forbidden Art (2011) – 75
The Desert of Forbidden Art is a documentary about the harrowing journey of Igor Savitsky, who defied Soviet Rule in order to procure thousands of prohibited pieces of art and house them in his own museum in Uzbekistan.
The documentary was praised for its insight into the life of a hero of the avant-garde art community. Not only does the film bring more attention to Savitsky, but it is also edited in such a way that transports the viewer into the tempestuous time in 20th century Russia. Sally Field provides her voice to the film, bringing a soothing element to the exciting story.
2 Forrest Gump (1994) – 82
Forrest Gump is an intellectually disabled man who overcomes many adversities in his life with an endless optimistic view of the world, instilled in him by his caring mother. From fighting in Vietnam to becoming a shrimp mogul, Gump lives a truly unique existence, hoping to one day end up with his lifelong love, Jenny.
Forrest Gump was one of the most successful movies of 1994, garnering critical acclaim for its inventive screenplay, whimsical direction, and gut-wrenching performances from its cast. Not only was Hanks revered for his portrayal of the lovable Gump, but many also praised Field’s performance as well, regarding Mrs. Gump as one of the best movie moms in history.
1 Lincoln (2012) – 86
This biographical drama follows Abraham Lincoln as he tries to abolish slavery and end the devastating Civil War currently ravaging the nation. With the support of his wife, Mary Todd (Field) Lincoln works tirelessly to pass the 13th amendment and put a stop to the endless hate ripping the country apart.
Lincoln is recognized for its masterful performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field, who deliver career-best work as the famed President and his spouse. With gorgeous production design and powerful direction from Steven Spielberg, Lincoln is a compelling retelling of one of the country’s most important moments.
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