Sam Elliott Movies List: From ‘Road House’ to ‘Tombstone,’ Here’s a Complete Guide to the Cowboy Icon’s Film History

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Critics' Choice Television Awards)

During his long and prolific acting career, actor Sam Elliott has become a cowboy icon. With his unique mannerisms, rugged physique, and unmistakable resonate deep voice, Sam Elliott is always unforgettable on-screen. During his successful movie career, Sam Elliott has primarily taken on supporting roles. However, these supporting roles certainly haven’t stopped audiences from hailing the veteran actor as one of the best in the business.

Sam Elliott Is Making His Mark On Television and Movie History

Sam Elliott first broke into the business guest-starring in a variety of classic television shows. From appearances on the original Mission: Impossible series, Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-O, and The Yellow Rose. But, by the mid-1980s, Sam Elliott moved to the silver screen landing unforgettable roles in some of our all-time favorite films to date.

A Complete Guide To Sam Elliott’s Film History:

  • Mask (1985)
  • The Blue Lightning (1986)
  • Fatal Beauty (1987)
  • Shakedown (1988)
  • Road House (1989)
  • Prancer (1989)
  • Sibling Rivalry (1990)
  • Rush (1991)
  • Tombstone (1993)
  • Gettysburg (1993)
  • Blue River (1995)
  • The Final Cut (1995)
  • Dog Watch (1996)
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)
  • The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
  • The Contender (2000)
  • We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • Hulk (2003)
  • Off the Map (2003)
  • Thank You For Smoking (2005)
  • The Alibi (2006)
  • Blood Diamond (2006)
  • Ghost Rider (2007)
  • Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009)
  • Up In the Air (2009)
  • The Company You Keep (2012)
  • Draft Day (2014)
  • I’ll See You In My Dreams (2015)
  • The Hero (2017)
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then Bigfoot (2018)
  • A Star Is Born (2018)

Of course, we all know that Sam Elliott has been a big part of film history. Starring in some of the most critically acclaimed films of all time. But, what are some of Sam Elliott’s best roles to date? Let’s take a quick look at some of the actor’s biggest roles on film:


  • Release Date: March 22, 1985
  • Director: Peter Bogdonavich
  • Starring: Cher, Eric Stoltz, Sam Elliott

The 1985 film Mask is hailed as being Sam Elliott’s breakthrough role. The film follows a teenage boy, Rocky (Eric Stoltz) who is born with an extreme case of craniodiaphyseal dysplasia In the widely acclaimed film, Elliott portrays Gar, a member of a motorcycle gang and the boyfriend of Rocky’s mother (Cher).

Road House

  • Release Date: May 19, 1989
  • Director: Rowdy Harrington
  • Starring: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliott, Brad Gazzara, Marshall Teague

Shortly after Mask, Sam Elliott continued to find success on the big screen starring in Fatal Beauty (1987) and Shake Down (1988). By 1989, the actor would join Patrick Swayze on the screen for one of his most memorable roles portraying Wade Garrett on Road House.

In this cult-classic film, Elliott plays the mentor to Patrick Swayze’s character, James Dalton. Roadhouse follows Dalton as a bouncer who moves from New York City to manage a Missouri bar. Elliott’s character, Wade Garrett comes to Dalton’s aid when things begin to get too rough.


  • Release Date: December 25, 1993
  • Director: George P. Cosmatos
  • Starring: Kurt Russel, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton

In 1993, Sam Elliott went full cowboy starring in another one of his many western/cowboy roles in Tombstone. The film stars Kurt Russel as the legendary Wyatt Earp fighting a gang terrorizing a mining town. Elliott portrays Wyatt Earp’s brother, Virgil. Of course, as is fitting with any Sam Elliott role, Virgil Earp serves as a sort of wise and guiding figure for Earp throughout the film.

Sam Elliott Takes Westerns To A Whole New Level In Latest Paramount + Role

While we love to see Sam Elliott on the big screen, he has definitely given us a healthy dose of his iconic charm in recent months in his portrayal of Shea Brennan in the Yellowstone spin-off series 1883. In the series, Elliott’s Shea Brennan is traveling west with James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and his wife Margaret (Faith Hill), and the couple’s family. Brennan and the Dutton clan are taking on the nearly impossible journey as they head west hoping to settle into a new life.