Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton’s 10 Best Movies

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s and has enjoyed a career renaissance thirty years later.  With a stellar resume of both comedic and dramatic roles, Keaton has laid down landmark performances in both the DC (Batman) and Marvel (Vulture) film universes, and his only Oscar nomination came in 2015 from playing a washed-up super hero actor in 2014’s Birdman.  He’s been an anchor voice in two Pixar films: Cars and Toy Story 3, and was Tim Burton’s go-to actor before Burton and Johnny Depp mutually ruined each other’s careers.  Keaton will be reuniting with Burton for the director’s live-action adaptation of Dumbo for Disney.  With dramatic roles in films like The Founder and Spotlight, it would be great if someone could find a showcase for his comedic skills, because Keaton’s timing is a thing of beauty.  At any rate, it’s fantastic that Michael Keaton is a big star again.  Movies are better for it.

Michael Keaton in Spotlight
Michael Keaton’s Best 10
1. Spotlight (2015) Walter Robinson
2. Toy Story 3 (2010) Ken
3. Batman (1989) Bruce Wayne/Batman
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Adrian Toomes/The Vulture
5. Clean and Sober (1986) Daryl Poynter
6. Live from Baghdad (2002-HBO) Robert Wiener
7. The Founder (2016) Ray Kroc
8. Cars (2006) Chip Hicks
9. Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Dogberry
10. Batman Returns (1992) Bruce Wayne/Batman
Honorable Mention: Beetlejuice (1988) Beetlejuice

Michael Keaton in Batman

Oscars, Golden Globes & Emmys

Oscar Wins (0): None

Oscar Nominations (1): Birdman (2015)

Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Golden Globe Wins (1): Birdman (2015)

Golden Globe Nominations (2): Live from Baghdad (2002), Birdman (2015)

Morgan Freeman and Michael Keaton in Clean and Sober

Emmy Wins (0): None

Emmy Nominations (1): Fred Roger’s Favorite Neighbor (2004-Producer) 

Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice

My Favorite Keaton Scene:
“You Ever Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight” Batman (1989)

Next Film: Keaton is currently filming Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo in which he will be playing V.A. Vandermere.  The film is set for a 2019 release.  I would also be surprised if he didn’t reprise his role as The Vulture in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which also is set for a 2019 release.
Michael Keaton in Dumbo

23 thoughts on “Michael Keaton’s 10 Best Movies”

    1. Hey, he’s done a lot of stuff, and I knew I was going to get flak for that and Birdman. I don’t love Beetlejuice as much as some of his other films, but his resume at this stage in his career is pretty deep.

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      1. Wow, I didn’t even notice that you left out Birdman – I absolutely hated the film. I don’t understand its appeal at all (and even skipped my annual Oscar blog post because of it). The reason I mentioned Beetlejuice was not because of the film as such – but because of how shockingly – impressively! different Keaton was in there. I mean comparing his performances in Beetlejuice and Batman Returns, you would never believe that was the same actor! That’s skill.

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    1. I actually haaaate Birdman. I think it’s a brilliant directorial exercise, but as a film to actually watch and enjoy, not so much and not when there’s so many other things Keaton has done that are brilliant, though I know I’m in the minority on this one (but I write the lists, soooo) lol

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  1. Dave, I love you for recognizing the genius of Keaton’s Dogberry. When that movie came out, people were saying he was the worst thing about that movie, and KEANU REEVES was in that movie. I’m also glad you put in Batman Returns.

    But Birdman is one of my favorite movies of recent years, and I cannot believe you left it out. It is more than just a technical excersise, brilliant though that excersise might have been (I don’t think anyone would deny that the tracking shots and the percussive score, the obvious stuff, were the stuff of wizardry). But the movie got me in the gut, too.

    If your life has included any close, personal experience with people who suffer from mental illness, you will appreciate this movie a lot better than if not, because it is about a man with untreated, undiagnosed schizophrenia, and it is perfectly, devastatingly on target. And I thought that the central theme of a vague, lost, aging person trying to recapture his former glory rose above the level of a trope and was heartfelt and emotional and painful. When the character’s show was well-revieved, I wanted to cheer for him, even though I had figured out the way his story was obviously going to end. Plus, though I have no actual experience with the industry covered in this movie, the depiction feels honest and authentic, and makes me want to stay away from a life of showbiz at all costs.

    Plus the Birdman suit, and the scene with the dinosaur, was awesome.

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    1. I have a lot of experience unfortunately with that area but maybe thats one of the reasons it rubs me wrong. Hmm. At any rate, Keaton has managed after nearly 15 years of irrelevance to make himself one of the top actors in Hollywood again and he should’ve been nominated for Spotlight and probably The Founder as well. That he has only one Oscar nom with his body of work is lunacy.

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      1. One of the reasons the Oscars are irrelevant!

        He was fantastic in Spotlight. I have not seen the Founder. I have to be prepared to spend two hours watching the triumph of a kinda evil guy who really lived. Birdman is not a pleasant film, it is emotionally devastating, but when a film hits me, it hits me. I thought it was like a cinematic roller coaster. Beetlejuice goes waaaaaay above Cars by the way, Keaton is only the B man for like 12 minutes, and yet he IS that movie, and you don’t feel cheated. One of the great comic performances of all time. If only Burton had stuck with Keaton, it might have balanced out his work with Depp.

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  2. My Top 10 is:
    1. Clean & Sober
    2. Birdman (not my favorite movie but he is great in it)
    3. Beetlejuice
    4. Pacific Heights
    5. My Life
    6. The Paper
    7. Mr. Mom
    8. Spotlight
    9. The Founder
    10. Batman/Batman Returns

    Those are my picks for his greatest performances.
    Honorable Mentions:
    Game 6, Live From Baghdad and Multiplicity

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keaton has such a deep resume that you can easily juggle another 10 of his films into the mix. YOU LOVE MULTIPLICITY TOO???? I thought I was the only one. Mr. Mom was an agonizing last cut. All valid picks. That’s the fun of these lists, especially with someone as accomplished as Keaton is to show how many good films he’s been in.

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      1. Multiplicity is one of my favorite movies ever. Michael Keaton’s my favorite actor, I have 28 of his movies. I haven’t seen Spider-Man yet, so I might have to update the top 10 from what I keep reading in the reviews. A very underrated movie of his that he’s great in is The Merry Gentleman, which he also directed.

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      2. I need to see Merry Gentleman then because Keaton is one of my favorites as well. I think you’ll like Homecoming because Keaton is a huge part of its success and does what not many MCU villains have been allowed to do (and hopefully this changes) he creates a three dimensional, sympathetic, blue collar villain that doesn’t excuse his actions, but you get where he comes from, and that was huge to making the film stand out. I’m so happy he got a career renaissance, because there’s nothing the man can’t do.

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  3. I finally went to see Spider-Man and Michael is great in it. I wouldn’t put it in his top 10 though. I always said I feel like he’s the most underrated actor, because he can pretty much play anything. He really has played every type of role if you look at his credits, but he’s gotten overshadowed by other actor’s. I put Michael and Glenn Close in the same category, because they’re both overshadowed by other people such as Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, but I feel both Michael and Glenn are more talented. Unfortunately since Tom and Meryl are bigger names they get the better roles even though Michael and Glenn are more diverse actors.

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    1. When I rank the films, I do it by the film as a whole, not the performance, or that’s way too subjective. Keaton is like the glue. He binds an ensemble together better than any actor I can think of (think Spotlight or Live from Baghdad). Close is a great example also. I miss the first three seasons of Damages before things went downhill!

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      1. In your top 10 you have a couple animated films where he just did voice work. I don’t consider those movies eligible for these types of rankings because it’s such an ensemble and he’s voicing a Ken doll or a car. There’s no emotion and connection with the audience, it’s just for humor and entertainment. I always go by performance instead of movie, because sometimes movies are subjective too. Like Much Ado About Nothing is on your list, but he’s in it for like 15 min. I’d be more inclined to put that on a Denzel Washington list since it’s a different role for him. A great role Michael had was in the tv mini series The Company. Nightshift is another great performance, which was film debut.
        I agree about Michael and Glenn being great with ensembles, which I feel helped make The Paper such a good movie. It probably comes from the way the two started their careers. Keaton started at PBS working for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Glenn started in theater.

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      2. See, I disagree about voicework. Keaton was just as big a part of the Toy Story 3 success as anyone else, just like his live action work. And if he does 15 minutes in a move like Much Ado and throws down what he did, he deserves as much credit for its success as any other. I mean if it’s Hugh Jackman in X-Men First Class and he’s in it for 10 seconds, that doesn’t count, but small roles can make a movie. I see where you’re coming from though.

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  4. True smaller roles can help make a movie, but in a movie like Much Ado About Nothing I feel Michael gets a little lost in the mix really. In Pacific Heights where his role is the supporting role he totally makes the movie, and proves he can play a great villian. Beetlejuice is similar too since even though it’s the title role, he’s not in it as much as the other characters but makes the movie.
    A supporting role people tend to put on lists of Michael Keaton movies is Jackie Brown. I was never the biggest fan of that movie and it’s not one of the 28 I own. I think he’s good in it, but don’t know if it’s one of his best performances.
    I like to give credit to his main movies that he was one of the leads like, My Life and The Paper. Especially My Life because that’s a very underrated performance for Mr. Keaton, and The Paper is a great movie overall that he leads the cast with a great performance.

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