Sally Field has been a beloved actress for several decades. Whether she was starring in an Oscar nominated movie or appearing as a classic comic book character, Field has always knocked it out of the park with her charm, skills, and everything else she brings to her characters.
Today, I’m going to be going over some of Sally Field’s best movies and how you can watch them, from some of her first major appearances to some of her latest, and all of those in-between - starting with one of my favorites.
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
If you ever wondered what it would take to transport several cases of beer illegally, that’s what Smokey and the Bandit can answer for you. This comedy, starring the legendary Burt Reynolds, tells the story of Bandit and Snowman, two bootleggers who are trying their damndest to steal several hundred cases of Coors beers, while outrunning the law.
Sally Field plays Carrie, otherwise known as “Frog” in the movie, and I have to say, she is stellar in this. What really makes her character is the relationship she has with Burt Reynolds' character, “The Bandit,” and how well they play off of each other. It’s not a surprise that those two had a real relationship after this film with how much chemistry they had. The movie in general is a lot of fun, and while there are two sequels, I prefer the original.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Robin Williams was a film legend, and this was one of his best, that he did with Sally Field. The family comedy Mrs. Doubtfire tells the story of a divorced man who wants to spend more time with his kids after his ex-wife received custody - so, he dresses up as a full-blown nanny in disguise, calling himself Mrs. Doubtfire.
Sally Field really does shine in this film. While I’ve always loved her in her dramatic roles - as you’ll see later in this list - there’s just something about her character in Mrs. Doubtfire that fills me with so much joy, and her interactions with Robin Williams are just to die for. The film is perfect for adults and kids, so if you’re looking for the next movie for family film night, this is the one.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Let me tell you, Sally Field knows how to pick Oscar winners, and this is one of many on this list. Forrest Gump tells the story of the titular character, Forrest, who lives a very eventful life, from surviving the Vietnam War to appearing in college football championships and running across the country.
Sally Field plays Forrest’s mother in Forrest Gump, and to be honest, this is one of my favorite acting performances of hers. Her character is so giving, and will do anything to make sure her son is provided for, all the way up until her bitter end. The love she has for her son makes my heart warm, and I adore watching her every time. Plus, she and co-star Tom Hanks have some awesome familial chemistry, and you really believe that they’re mother and son. Such a great movie - really good visual effects as well.
You can rediscover the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s best presidents, through Lincoln. In this biographical film, we follow the president as he tries to abolish slavery in the United States, and end the Civil War that was tearing the country apart.
Sally Field plays Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, and this was, again, one of her best performances (I'm starting to think she doesn’t have any bad performances). Her as Mary Todd was so brilliant; she was a force to be reckoned with. In her scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis (who played Lincoln), she was even more amazing, and the costume design only added to the greatness of the movie.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Steel Magnolias is one of those movies where it shows just how close a friend group can be, and the ripple effects that can happen when it is disrupted. Following a group of women who are close in the South, Steel Magnolias tells the story of who they are, and what happens when one of their closest friends passes away.
Steel Magnolias makes me cry every time I watch it. Sally Field stars as M’Lynn Eatenton, one of the main characters, and is perfect in every sense of the word. Her in the funeral scene alone makes me want to cry. But, the film itself is incredible, from the whole cast to the storyline, and shows the beauty of friendship. It’s a lovely story from beginning to end, and one that everyone should see, especially if you are a Sally Field fan.
Murphy’s Romance (1985)
If you’re looking for a fun romantic-comedy, check out Murphy’s Romance, starring Sally Field and James Garner. This movie tells the story of a woman who moves away to a ranch with her son after she goes through a divorce. While there, she ends up falling in love with an older man, named Murphy, but things aren’t so simple for her, especially with the people around her, leading to hilarious moments.
Murphy’s Romance is a perfect film that I like to watch when I’m feeling down. It’s just such a feel-good film that not only has a good amount of romance, but a great amount of comedy as well. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a great movie with a great cast, and Sally Field is awesome in her starring role as Emma, creating a believable romance and sparking an entertaining competition between Murphy and Bobby (Emma’s ex-husband).
Places In The Heart (1984)
Next up, we have a brilliant period piece, Places in the Heart. After the death of her husband, Sally Field’s character, Edna, has to find a way to survive all on her own with her two children on their farm in Texas in 1935, knee deep during the Great Depression.
This is one of those films where I don’t want to give away too much. Trust me when I say Places in the Heart is a fantastic film. If you don’t believe me, believe the seven Oscar nominations that it received, and the two it won - Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress for Sally Field. It’s truly one of her best, and a great period piece about how far a mother is willing to go to keep her children alive and safe.
Norma Rae (1979)
Sally Field plays the titular character in the drama Norma Rae, who is a simple worker at a factory with not that much education to her name. However, when her and her friends lives are put to the test daily at their workplace due to bad conditions, she joins in on unionized activities so she can fight for their rights.
Sally Field won the Academy Award for her work in this film, and something that really stands out to me about it is not only the great story, but the message that says it doesn't matter what kind of power you hold or where you come from - as long as you feel passionate about something, you can take a stand, and that is exactly who Norma Rae is. She is someone we can all envision ourselves as, which is what makes her character just as relevant today.
The Amazing Spider-Man Movies (2012, 2014)
Comic book movies have pretty much become the new normal now, and these were right when they were starting to get even more popular. The Amazing Spider-Man movies, starring Andrew Garfield, tell another origin story of Spider-Man, a teen who was bitten by a radioactive spider and became a hero for New York.
Sally Field plays Aunt May, and personally, I’ve always loved her version of the character so much, even if she says it wasn’t her favorite role she’s ever done. She feels like a more developed character than past versions of Aunt May, with a genuine drive to provide for Peter, and Field brings that perfect spunk to the role that’s needed. With how popular this version of Spider-Man has become, who knows? We might get to see her play Aunt May once more.
Absence Of Malice (1981)
If you want to watch another drama, check out Absence of Malice. This film demonstrates just what might happen if someone is falsely accused of murder, and how one little article completely turns a man’s life upside down due to libel defamation.
As someone who went to college for journalism, I have seen Absence of Malice a fair amount of times as a way of learning how libel works and what can happen. But, for someone who isn’t watching it for educational purposes, Absence of Malice provides an excellent story that’s full of twists and turns and a great performance from not only Sally Field as Megan Carter, but Paul Newman as Michael Gallagher.
Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
Last but not least, we have Hello, My Name is Doris. Starring Sally Fields as the titular character, Doris, this romantic comedy tells the story of an older woman who is down on her luck and isn’t super secure with herself. After a seminar, though, she finds the courage to start living how she wants, and that includes asking out the man at her office she has a crush on - who happens to be much younger than her.
Hello, My Name is Doris is so freaking cute. It’s a sweet coming of age story and Sally Field is perfect in the role as Doris, providing not only that cute quirky side of the character, but some awesome emotional moments as well. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, take the time out to watch it now.
Just writing about all of this is making me want to watch more of her movies, or see if Field will be popping up in any 2022 movies. Regardless, at least now you know what some of her best films are - and maybe you just might find a new one that you’ll end up loving just as much as I do.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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