The ’70s and ’80s were a wild time in Hollywood: some of the biggest stars were born. The members of the Brat Pack, made famous by John Hughes, were teenage royalty. There was so much spandex. The bigger the hair, the better. But time doesn’t slow down for anyone, and those studs of yesteryear are looking pretty different these days.
We’ve compiled all the biggest actors of the ’70s and ’80s in one place so that you can see where they are today. Get ready for a trip down memory lane, or possibly to feel just a little bit older than you wanted to. Are you ready to see where they are a full 50 years after the heights of their careers?
Let’s take a look at all our favorite actors of decades gone by.
His career in the ’70s was defined by that role, and we all recognize him from the greatest training montage of all time.
Not only did he reprise the role of Rocky in 2018’s Creed II, he’s also spent the 2010s starring in the Rambo films and The Expendables.
He was known for his roles in Videodrome and Once Upon a Time in America, plus TV movies Promise and My Name is Bill W.
Some of his best moments were voicing himself in The Simpsons and Family Guy. You know you’ve truly made it when you simply get to play yourself.
He spent the ’80s doing work on Saturday Night Live, plus making movies. He even had his own TV shows that spanned into the ’90s. What is certain is that he was making us laugh in the ’80s.
He’s primarily been doing voice acting in the 2010s, plus some very cool TV cameos. He even had a Netflix special with Steve Martin in 2018.
Starring in the thriller The French Connection, The Royal Tennenbaums, and Unforgiven (the best western of all time?), Gene Hackman had a long and storied acting career.
Since hanging up the acting boots (acting masks?), Hackman’s taken up writing, having turned out three books, all in the historical fiction genre. (But he’ll always be Royal Tennenbaum to us.)
Remember when this fresh-faced young man got a recommendation to take up a career in plastics and then slept with an older woman? Hoffman’s role in The Graduate launched him into the upper echelon of actors.
Dustin Hoffman is the kind of actor who could appear in literally any movie, and you’d be like, “yeah, I can see him in this.” In the past few years he’s starred in Kung Fu Panda, the HBO TV series Luck, and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories.
Man, in my head, Robert De Niro has always been an old man. But I guess he had to look fine at some point in his career, and this here was that point. Around this time, De Niro was starring in The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull.
These days, Robert De Niro has diversified from the prestige films that defined his early career. He can do an Irishman and also do a Meet the Parents. The man is versatile.
Now, I don’t want to insult the man, but does Donald Sutherland have an overall creepy vibe to him? I mean, he was in M*A*S*H and The Dirty Dozen, but all I can think of him as is the horrifying monster man at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Listen, you don’t cast a man to play the almost comically evil Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games if you don’t get a bad vibe about him. (I’m sure Donald Sutherland is a wonderful man in real life.)
Even though he was lookin’ damn good in the ’80s, Willem Dafoe still played a lot of bad guys, including the 80s movies Streets of Fire and To Live and Die in LA.
Now this is the Willem Dafoe we remember — he’s got those crazy eyes he used on Peter Parker in Spider-Man and on the, uh, guys he had to shoot in Boondocks Saints.
Look at this guy — he looks like he’s interrogating you before you take his daughter to prom. Anyhow, he was in The Godfather and the original True Grit.
Mr. Duvall (as I assume he would insist I call him) is still acting, appearing in films like Wild Horses and Jack Reacher.
Morgan Freeman appeared back in the day on kids’ show The Electric Company and later earned an Oscar nomination for Driving Miss Daisy.
Listen, you can trust Morgan Freeman. No wonder he played God in Bruce Almighty and wise mentor Red in The Shawshank Redemption.
Clint Eastwood b=played badasses in countless movies like A Fistful of Dollars and Dirty Harry, and you can see why. His glance is withering.
Doesn’t it feel like this older Clint Eastwood has a meanness to him? Maybe I’m just thinking of all the mean characters I’ve seen him play since he got old in movies like Unforgiven (yes, it is the best western ever made) and Gran Torino.
Young Michael Douglas, what with his wavy hair and aquiline nose, is a total babe.
And today, he’s, well, he’s not not a babe.
Look, an older Michael Douglas is still a good-looking Michael Douglas. But now I’m less swooning over him than I am kind of hoping he’ll send me a birthday card with money inside, as old people are wont to do.
When I think of the ’80s, I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger bursting through walls at the Terminator and swinging a way-too-big sword around as Conan the Barbarian.
We’re used to it now, but can we talk about how weird it was that he got into politics and became California governor in 2003? We elected the flippin’ Terminator to oversee the world’s fifth largest economy. What a choice that was!
The kind of guy you wanted but knew you shouldn’t want, Mickey Rourke dominated the ’80s heartthrob scene in movies like Diner and 9 1/2 Weeks.
Those pretty boy good looks went away in a blink. Rourke let acting go by the wayside and took up boxing in the ’90s. He’d reemerge, with a brand new visage, in the 2000s and play completely different roles in movies like The Wrestler and Sin City.
Harrison Ford was the perfect Han Solo.
Man, look at that face — this mug just screams confident smuggler who is barely on the right side of intergalactic law.
I guess that was the next logical extension of the devil-may-care attitude Harrison Ford had in the ’70s. Obviously he’s had a number of iconic roles since Star Wars, including playing the President in Air Force One and a maybe-robot (still unclear) in Blade Runner.
Even though he was playing action movie stars in movies like Escape from New York, Kurt Russel looked so much like a dad. (Those big wire frame glasses will do that to a man.)
All dads, once they get out of the workforce, splurge a little on black frame glasses. Although, the man’s not yet retired — these days, he’s appearing in the Fast & Furious franchise.
The one-time fresh-faced Elliot Gould was a mainstay in Robert Altman’s films, including M*A*S*H* and The Long Goodbye.
Today, he’s looking pretty not young.
Nowadays, Gould is doing voice-over work for animated shows and video games, and also popped up in the Showtime show Ray Donovan.
And since he was in The Godfather, he is one of the ’70s biggest stars. That’s just how it works when you’re in one of the greatest movies of all time.
After a quick retirement in the mid-’80s, Caan returned to acting, starring in Stephen King’s Misery and, most importantly, as Will Ferrell’s dad in the Greatest Christmas Movie Of All Time, Elf.
Maybe it’s that affable, easy charm that made him such an easy choice to star in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Maybe I can’t get his performance from Mr. Holland’s Opus out of my mind, but Richard Dreyfuss seems to me like the kind of professor who is always angry at you, because he knows you can be better than this!
Appearing in Deliverance and Coming Home in the ’70s, Jon Voight has always felt like an actor’s actor (even if he was as handsome as any Backstreet Boy has ever been).
Jon Voight is now the kind of actor you add in to your movie if you want that hint of prestige. That’s how he ended up in the original Mission: Impossible and Enemy of the State.
And Voight’s also in Ray Donovan?! Was that show just created to give these old serious actors a playground to run around in and act?
If only because he’s so well-known for his role in sketch group Monty Python, I always assume John Cleese is down for a goof.
Cleese would go on to become British acting royalty, appearing as Q in a single James Bond movie (which must be every British actor’s dream, right?) and Nearly-Headless Nick in the Harry Potter movies.
Before becoming the top box office draw in 1967 for his roles in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Pointier became the first African-American to win a Best Picture Oscar for his work in Lillies of the Field.
Pointier’s last film role was in 1997’s The Jackal, although he has popped up in a few documentaries since then.
There’s something about those Walken eyes, man. I feel like he knows more than he’s letting on; like he has the upper hand. Maybe that’s why he was so convincing playing intense characters like he did in The Deer Hunter.
Remember when Christopher Walken danced in that Fatboy Slim video? Yeah, the dude is wild. He can do anything. We are all at his mercy.
In the ’80s, if you wanted a good-looking man to star in your movie, Richard Gere was your first call. You might have seen him in American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman, where he showed his range by picking up a girl and letting her put on his hat as all his Navy friends cheered for love.
Richard Gere hasn’t been in a major studio movie since 2008’s Nights in Rodanthe, but at least he went out on a high note! That movie was ranked #74 on a list of the worst movies of all time.
Kevin Costner had it goin’ on.
This man popped off in the ’80s, starring in movies like The Untouchables, Silverado, and Field of Dreams.
When a movie needs to add just a dash of seriousness to their movie, they cast Kevin Costner as, like, the FBI chief or something. Over the last few years, he’s been in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Hidden Figures as a suit-wearing businessman.
Ben Kingsley played Ghandi. Ghandi.
Just imagine being trusted with that role. And he was so good in it that he won the Best Actor Oscar! Dude can act.
Not to rag on the guy, but Ben Kingsley no longer has a great track record. He’s kind of in… every movie? The guy popped up in Species, Lucky Number Sleven, and the abhorrent Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Plus, he played Marvel’s worst villain in Iron Man 3. I wonder if he knows he’s allowed to turn movies down?
He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Platoon, and showed up in The Big Chill and Major League.
Berenger’s two most recent roles were in 2001’s Training Day, which rules, and Inception, which is maybe the most-referenced movie of our time? (Anytime there’s a thing inside of another one of that thing, some jackass goes “Oh, it’s a thing-ception!” and I hate them for it.)
In the ’80s, Nolte could seemingly do no wrong, starring in 48 Hrs., Down and Out In Beverly Hills, and the incredible Cape Fear remake.
I’m sorry, but if you put Nick Nolte, Jon Voight, and James Cann in a lineup and asked me which one was which, I could only figure it out if I could ask them which one was in that super-weird Ang Lee Hulk movie (SPOILER: it was Nick Nolte).
Can you even picture him playing a villain? He was in Lethal Weapon, Angels in the Outfield, and Silverado, playing good guys in every role.
The man’s still working, showing up in Jumanji: The Next Level and The Last Black Man in San Francisco just last year!
This picture makes me think that the Wild and Sexy Guy character he played on SNL might not have been that big of a reach?
Steve Martin gets to host the Oscars pretty much at-will, which is a big deal for any comedian. I can’t even get on stage at open mics anymore.
He is the scruffiest little baby, isn’t he? During the ’70s and ’80s, Bridges was earning accolades for is roles in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Tron.
Jeff Bridges’ iconic portrayal of The Dude in The Big Lebowski is one of those roles that defines an actor forever. It’s hard to imagine the shaggy, bearded Bridges doing anything but chillin’ at home and admiring the way his rug pulls the room together.
You can see why Hollywood would go nuts for Tom Cruise, as this picture proves he is objectively the most attractive man there has ever been.
As a bit, I was going to just post the exact same picture of Tom Cruise and be like, “man, this guy doesn’t age, does he?” But it’s almost more surreal to see a present day Tom Cruise and marvel at the fat that the only thing that seems different is the haircut and the addition of color to the photograph.
Coming from the original SNL cast, Bill Murray was in some of the ’80s funniest movies, including Caddyshack and Ghostbusters.
Not only is he still appearing in various weird roles for Wes Anderson movies, there are rumors that Bill Murray shows up to college parties and tells everyone that no one will ever believe he was there. Truly wild.
He has a connection to one of the previous actors on our list: he played Apollo Creed opposite Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Plus he was in Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger, so he has serious “cool” cred.
He starred in the first season of The Mandalorian, and even had a small part in Toy Story 4. Now that’s an IMDB page we can get behind.
His character, Sonny Crockett, was the epitome of cool: thousand dollar suits, Ferraris, and a pet alligator? Nice.
But he’s had some impressive roles in movies like Django Unchained and Knives Out in recent years.
And OF COURSE for his role in The Mighty Ducks. No one can forget Coach Gordon.
Both TV and movies, he’s taken on a role more behind the scenes in shows like CSI: NY, Two and a Half Men, and Criminal Minds.
Hall is also incredibly well known for his role in Sixteen Candles as Ted. He was absolutely a part of the Brat Pack, with his signature role being the nerd.
He spends more time working on his literacy program, as well as playing music. But he is set to play a part in the upcoming Halloween Kills.
He definitely caught our eyes in The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire. I mean look at that jawline.
He starred in West Wing, Parks and Recreation, and is set to take the lead in 9-1-1: Lone Start.
But whose name is so ubiquitous he can hardly be called a part of the Brat Pack. There’s so much more to Cusack.
In 2014 he referred to the business as “a whorehouse and people go mad.” He’s also gotten into a lot of hot water over political tweets in recent years.
Reynolds got his start in the ’60s in Gunsmoke, but he had some major successes through the ’70s and ’80s with roles in Westerns, comedies, and noirs.
Defining Moments is set for a 2020 release, with Reynolds starring a posthumous role.
Star of Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Pulp Fiction, he was not only an actor but also a musician whose hit “You’re the One That I Want” (from the Grease soundtrack) hit number one on the Billboard chart.
In 2009, his son died while the family was vacationing in the Bahamas. But he’s continued to work, acting in multiple movies per year through the 2010s.jack
His role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 won him an Academy Award, but his filmography through the ’70s and ’80s is chock full of amazing films.
His last movie was in 2010, but that gives him a career of over 60 years, so I’d say he’s earned a bit of a retirement.
Most of us probably would barely recognize young Michael Caine, but he starred in quite a few movies in the ’70s and ’80s, including The Man Who Would Be King, and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Alfred in Batman or Chester King in The Kingsman are ideal examples. If you need a wise British man, Caine is your guy.
When you think Pacino, you think mobster. That reputation was cemented with his role in Scarface in the ’80s.
He was in Angels in America, and has even been a joint president of the Actor’s Studio since 1994. And most recently he played a fictional Nazi Hunter in Amazon’s Hunters.
Robert Redford made what was arguably his biggest movie in 1973: The Sting. But that just kicked off two decades of fantastic films. All the President’s Men, Out of Africa, and Ordinary People also dropped during the ’70s and ’80s.
He founded the Sundance Film Festival and started a production company called Sundance Productions. He fully retired from acting in 2018.