Born in 1941, Faye Dunaway is a Hollywood classic. Although more of the second or third generation of old Hollywood (like Jane Fonda or Natalie Wood), she, like the others, had the opportunity to work with many of the older, classical Hollywood stars. Arguably, most of Dunaway’s best work was released in the 1960s and 1970s, but as with only a few of her contemporaries (Fonda, for instance), she is still alive and actively working in the media industry.
Dunaway starred in many a famous film, and the Indiana University Cinema’s record of screening movies in which she starred is indicative of her talent. Even though she only ever won one Oscar (see below), her list of credits provides an amazing resume. This semester the Cinema will be screening the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde on Monday, December 4th at 3 pm in which Dunaway was cast alongside Warren Beatty as the famous criminal duo Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. In the past the Cinema has shown three other films starring Dunaway: 1970’s Little Big Man in 2014 as well as 1990’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and 1981’s Mommie Dearest in 2015.
These four films are just the tip of the iceberg that is Dunaway’s career. Here are three other must-see films starring Dunaway:
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Supposedly Dunaway was cast in this Norman Jewison crime drama (also starring Steve McQueen, as Thomas Crown) after the director saw the actress in some pre-release scenes from Bonnie and Clyde. Apparently it took some persuading for McQueen to okay the choice, but in the end, Dunaway and McQueen’s chemistry is fantastic—especially in the very memorable chess scene. The film became a hit, and interestingly when it was remade in the late 1990s Dunaway was cast as Thomas Crown’s (Pierce Brosnan’s) psychiatrist.
- Chinatown (1974)
Roman Polanski’s mystery thriller Chinatown is often identified as one of the greatest films ever, and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards—one of them for Dunaway in the Best Actress category. The star received the role of wealthy Evelyn Mulwray, despite the fact that the role was said to have been written with Jane Fonda in mind. In 1991 the film was chosen by the Library of Congress to be a part of the US National Film Registry, and the actress and her co-star, Jack Nicholson, are both remembered for their phenomenal performances in this classic.
- Network (1976)
It was for her role in Sidney Lumet’s Network, however, that Dunaway received her one and only Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Starring alongside Hollywood legends like William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall, Dunaway thrilled as the hard, ratings-driven television executive Diana Christensen. Network is a well-remembered film, fascinatingly critical of the still fairly young television industry, but Dunaway’s skill here (for which she won multiple awards) is especially worth the watch.
A PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture, Katherine studies film and media, genre (particularly the Western), gender, and performance. She has a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has been fascinated with film since she could remember.