Happy Birthday Robert Duvall: Relive the Hollywood Star’s Best Moments

by Madison Miller

Today is iconic Hollywood superstar Robert Duvall’s 90th birthday. He also happens to share it with the wonderful Diane Keaton.

He starred in huge movies like “True Grit,” “The Judge,” “THX 1138,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather,” and “The Apostle.”

His career spans more than 60 years. He has been nominated for seven Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes. He won a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Emmy.

Robert Duvall started to pick up traction in the industry with his role as Arthur “Boo” Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

He has been in anything from dramas to comedies to Westerns to satire to movies about gangsters, Duvall has done it all.

What else has the famous actor accomplished in his astonishingly long career in acting? Here are some of his best roles and moments to date.

‘The Apostle’

This 1997 drama continues to be one of Duvall’s stand out roles.

The film tells the story of Euliss F. Dewey, a Pentecostal preacher. After his wife cheats with a youth minister, Dewey acts in anger and jealousy against him.

He then rebaptizes himself as “The Apostle E.F.” in Louisiana.

Sonny deals with ups and downs as he bargains with faith and racial justice. This film is different for Duvall since he was also the executive producer, writer, and director.

Duvall had mixed reviews from studios before deciding to fund it himself. His role as “The Apostle” would give Duvall an Oscar nominee for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

‘Apocalypse Now’

Duvall played Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.” He starred alongside Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Frederic Forrest in the 1979 psychological war film.

The movie is based on the book “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. It tells the story of a mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando), who is accused of murder and presumed to be insane.

The film is considered one of the greatest ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards. One of which was Best Supporting Actor for Duvall.

Fans of the film will remember seeing Duvall’s character shirtless in the middle of a fire-ridden battleground saying, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Due to his background in the military, this role may stand out for Duvall as well. Duvall himself was in the Army for two years in 1953. He left after two years and a Private First Class ranking. According to Military.com, he still was pursuing his acting career while in the Army. While he was stationed at Camp Gordon, he acted in plays like “Room Service.”

‘The Godfather’

In the classic mafia-focused film, Duvall plays the role of Tom Hagen. He is the family’s lawyer and an adopted son of sorts for how close he is to the family.

His ability to showcase a huge range of emotions in one role was on display in “The Godfather.” He is both logical and gentle as well as the overall voice of reason for the entire family.

It would earn him best-supporting actor nominations at the BAFTAs, Acadamy Awards, and National Society of Film Critics Awards.

‘Get Low’

This film follows part of his elderly recluse reoccurring character, similar to in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

This 2009 movie is about a Tennessee hermit in the ’30s. Despite being very much still alive, he decides to throw his own funeral party. Duvall plays Felix Bush who is so deep in the Tennessean woods that no one really knows him.

The town has its own nasty rumors about him. However, everyone must revaluate the old man as he enters town with lots of cash and the desire to celebrate his life.


While the TV show of the same name gets most of the credit now, Duvall starred in the raucous medical comedy before its concept got taken over by television.

The movie is set during the Korean War. It focuses on a small staff at the hospital who rely on their humor, jokes, and overall fun banter to get them through some excruciatingly painful and dark times.

Duvall is Frank Burns, the arrogant and religious surgeon. The movie would become an Oscar-winner for its standout script.


This film, directed by Sidney Lumet, tells the story of an anchorman who has mental breakdowns on air. The network that he works for decided to exploit these moments in order to boost ratings.

Robert Duvall plays the television executive exploiting Peter Finch’s character.

While he didn’t receive any nominations himself, the movie was an Oscar winner.