Ron Howard’s Greatest Hits

KC Frankenburger

Read Time 3 minutes

Ron Howard is one of Hollywood's greatest treasures.
Ron Howard, one of Hollywood’s greatest treasures, celebrates his birthday on March 1st.

From Happy Days and The Andy Griffith Show, to directing blockbuster films like Apollo 13, Ron Howard has been a part of our pop culture landscape for longer than most people can remember. While he started as a child actor, his big claim to fame is his work behind the camera. And with six more films in the pipeline, including an adaptation of J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, this director is not slowing down one bit.

To celebrate Howard’s 65th birthday this March 1st, here are a handful of our favorite of his films we love:

Frost/Nixon
Type: Drama, Biography, History
Release Date: 2008
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Kevin Bacon
Rating: 93% RT, 7.7/10 IMDb

Richard Nixon’s post-presidency interview was intended to be a cake walk, but turned out to be anything but. This stirring biopic that managed to wow audiences and propel Michael Sheen to stardom is one of Howard’s strongest directorial works.

Backdraft
Type: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Action & Adventure, Drama,
Release Date: 1991
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro
Rating: 74%, 6.7/10 IMDb

Two rival fire fighting brothers (portrayed by Kurt Russell and Billy Baldwin) are at the center of this 1991 drama. Why Backdraft was so beloved back in the early 90s after its release, has a lot more to do with the artistic way it portrayed the harrowing fire scenes, than it did the dramatic storyline. Still, it has to be listed here as one of Howard’s best.

Ransom
Type: Crime, Thriller, Action & Adventure
Release Date: 1996
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Delroy Lindo
Rating: 76% RT, 6.6/10 IMDb

Pretty much the quintessential edge-of-your-seat thriller, Ransom stars Mel Gibson and Rene Russo as two wealthy parents whose worst nightmare has come true when their son is kidnapped. What’s remarkable about this movie is that over twenty years later it still holds up.

Apollo 13
Type: Action & Adventure, Drama, History
Release Date: 1995
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
Rating: 95% RT, 7.6/10 IMDb

Our loyal readers we know that we love space movies, but no other film in this genre has captured our hearts quite like the story of Apollo 13. The tale of real life astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert on a failed mission to the moon and their quest to get back home safely is one that we can all root for.

Parenthood
Type: Drama, Comedy, Family
Release Date: 1989
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest
Rating: 93% RT, 710 IMDb

Ron Howard’s comedy Parenthood attempted to take an honest (but hilarious) look at parenthood through the lens of one family. In case you’re wondering, the story of the Buckman family loosely inspired the 2010 television series of the same name.

Cinderella Man
Type: Drama, Biography, History, Sport
Release Date: 2005
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti
Rating: 92% RT, 7.4/10 IMDb

When it comes to biopics and true stories, Ron Howard sure knows how to pick them. Cinderella Man, centered around the life of 1920s boxer Jim Braddock and his unexpected comeback, is no exception.

Cocoon
Type: Science-Fiction, Drama, Comedy
Release Date: 1985
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Don Ameche, Jessica Tandy
Rating: 77% RT, 6.7/10 IMDb

If looking for a sentimental drama that mixes science fiction and comedy, you’ll find Cocoon. This beloved film is about a group of senior citizens who unexpectedly find they may have discovered the fountain of youth after trespassing in a pool that was housing alien cocoons.

Splash
Type: Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Release Date: 1984
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy
Rating: 90% RT, 6.2/10 IMDb

With Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah in the lead roles, this story about a businessman who “accidentally” falls head over heels in love with a mermaid is simply irresistible.

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