Ron Howard Films

A listing of Ron Howard's films with a brief description of each one.

Night Shift (1982)

In Ron Howard's directorial debut, Henry Winkler sheds the tough-guy image of his familiar and popular television sitcom character Fonzie to portray the soft spoken, shy morgue worker Chuck Lumley. He is teamed with newcomer Michael Keaton who plays Bill Blazejowski, an outgoing, one-liner-slinging co-worker. The oddly paired night shift employees meet up with a pimp-less hooker and their entrepreneurial adventure as "love brokers" begins. Other performances include Shelly Long.

Splash (1984)

Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks) is a thriving businessman who has everything he could possibly want, save love. It isn't until he meets the young, lovely "foreigner" named Madison (Daryl Hannah) that he falls head over heels. Unbeknownst to him, Madison is not like other women and sports a fishtail when wet. Their romance is interrupted by a persistent oceanographer (Eugene Levy) that wants her for his research subject and the couple is forced to weigh the depth of their love. Other performances include John Candy.

Cocoon (1985)

A group of retirement home residents stumble upon a number of alien pods and feel rejuvenated just by being around them. After rescuing the aliens, the aging group is faced with a dilemma: to accept the gift of eternal life as an offering of thanks and leave all they know behind. Cocoon is a look into the human spirit and is a warm, fuzzy feel-good flick. Performers include: Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton, Steve Guttenberg, Brian Dehenny, and Tawnee Welch.

Gung Ho (1986)

Michael Keaton stars in this comic culture clash as a automobile factory foreman who is trying to save a Pennsylvanian plant from closing. He convinces a Japanese firm to take a risk on manufacturing cars in the States. The American workers and the Japanese management go toe to toe over different views of how the business should be operated. The conflict threatens to endanger the survival of the factory, but disciplinary compromise saves the day. Other performances include Gedde Watanbe, Mimi Rogers, George Wendt, and John Turturro.

Willow (1988)

Warwick Davis portrays Willow Ufgood, a "peck" farmer who longs to be a magician's apprentice in this fantasy film. Willow is entrusted by the village wizard (Billy Barty) to return an infant princess and keep her safe from evil. During his quest, he encounters a wide range of interesting characters such as Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), a renegade swordsman that has no loyalties, brownies, colorful locals, and fairies. Willow is bounced from one harrowing adventure to the next with the climax being a battle between good and evil. Other performances include Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and Jean Marsh.

Parenthood (1989)

Parenthood is a story that revolves around Gil Buckman (Steve Martin), his family, and extended family. It nicely reveals the variations of parenthood and the struggles as well as joys that come with the territory of raising children. Some of the ground covered in the movie are additions to the family, an adult child with a gambling addiction, children of divorce, unplanned pregnancy, the desire to raise a child in the "right way", and more tender moments. Parenthood has a strong cast of characters that include Dianne Wiest, Rick Moranis, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Tom Hulce, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Pheonix, and Martha Plimpton.

Backdraft (1991)

A series of related fires set by an arson to create a phenomenon known as backdrafts is the premise for this flaming mystery. The primary story line is set against the backdrop of two feuding brothers who are trying to live up to their father's legacy in the Chicago Fire Department. It's a reminder that while firemen perform heroic acts, they are very much human. Backdraft's characters are comprised of Kirk Russell and William Baldwin as the fire-fighting brothers, Robert de Niro as a fire inspector, Scott Glen as a fellow fireman, Donald Sutherland as an imprisoned firebug who gives insight into the case, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as a love interest.

Far and Away (1992)

Initially set in Ireland, Far and Away is the story of a tenant farmer (Tom Cruise) with simple dreams of having a bit of land of his own to work. Circumstances lead him to avenge his father against an oppressive landowner. His path crosses that of the landowner's daughter (Nicole Kidman) who is straining under the confines of genteel society and desires freedom. The two flee to America with visions of prosperity and the free land offered in Oklahoma Territory.

Far and Away is an epic, period piece that has riveting action sequences, steamy romance scenes, and amazing cinematography. The land rush near the end was a particular poignant moment for director Ron Howard because some of his ancestors had raced for land in the historic rush.

The Paper (1994)

Michael Keaton returns for a third Ron Howard direction as an employee for a fictitious New York City tabloid. The story covers just one day in his life and his obstacles in meeting his deadlines, both professionally and personally. Glenn Close portrays an uptight, aggressive, overachieving co-worker and Marissa Tomei plays his very pregnant wife. Other performances include that of Randy Quaid and Robert Duvall.

Apollo 13 (1995)

Tightly based on the real-life story of the astronauts brush with death while in route to the moon on Apollo 13, this movie reflects on the lives of Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) in 1971. It is full of amazing imagery and drama. Stock footage, computer graphics, and time spent in a non-gravity environment make for a realistic window into a past event. Other performances include Gary Sinise and Ed Harris.

Ransom (1996)

Mel Gibson portrays self-made millionaire Tom Mullen who has an attractive wife (Rene Russo), a much-loved son (Brawley Nolte), and his own airline. He has one nearly fatal flaw that results in the kidnapping of his son. He tends to buy his way out of conflict. After a botched government agency scheme to pay the ransom and get his son back, Mullen goes to a television station, displays the two-million dollar ransom, and proclaims it as the bounty on the kidnapper's (Gary Sinise) head. Well-laid plans unravel as each attempts to up the ante on the other's resolve. Other performances include Lili Taylor and Delroy Lindo.

EdTV (1999)

With voyeuristic television increasing in popularity, EdTV is a glimpse of the complications that come from living a life in front of the camera. Due to her sagging career, Cynthia Topping (Ellen Degeneres) comes up with a hook-line-and-sinker snag for more viewership for the television station she works for. Her choice for the twenty-four hour a day scrutiny is Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey), a thirty year old video clerk. Tempted by the money and spurred by his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson), Ed accepts. What follows is a near-Jerry Springer turn of events with the budding romance between Ed and his brother's girlfriend (Jenna Elfman), revealed discrepancies in the family history, and a dangerous pairing with a model (Elizabeth Hurley). Other performances include that of Rob Reiner the television station owner.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

This holiday movie has become a tradition in its original form and based on the book by Dr. Seuss. Following along the same lines as the others, the Grinch (Jim Carrey) begrudges the Christmas preparations and festivities of the Whos that live in the village at the base of his home on Mt. Crumpit. He sneaks around on Christmas Eve to steal everything related to the holiday. However, while there are some things inclusive to the original cartoon such as narration and songs, this version gives the Grinch a background and a romantic involvement (Christine Baranski). Other performances include Jefferey Tambor, Molly Shannon, and Bill Irwin.

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