Sam Elliott Named the Quiet Sign of a Great Film

by Joe Rutland

Actor Sam Elliott knows a thing or two about making great films. But there is one specific sign that he looks for when seeing one on screen.

In an interview with “Sarasota Scene Magazine,” Sam Elliott said he knows a film is good when “there is silence in the theater.”

Two films that he possibly could put in that “silence in the theater” world are “The Searchers” and “Red Rover.” Both films happen to be his favorite Western films. Both of them also star John Wayne. But don’t go running with the theory that because Wayne is in them is why Elliott likes both movies just yet.

“Jimmy Stewart was my guy,” Elliott told Laura Grande in an interview for Zoomer in 2017. “And my favorite actor was probably Gary Cooper.”

That’s despite both movies having Wayne in starring roles. Sam Elliott said both Stewart and Cooper were “guys that [he] most appreciated with the kinds of roles that they played.”

Sam Elliott Was ‘Flattered’ To Learn 2017 Movie ‘The Hero’ Was Written For Him

“The Hero” was a film written just for him. Sam Elliott talked about it during an interview with NPR’s “Fresh Air” in January 2017.

Writers Brett Haley and Marc Basch wrote the screenplay for “The Hero” according to IMDb. Haley also directed the movie, too. Sam Elliott played a movie star named Lee Hayden who faces a fatal illness. Then Hayden spends time looking back on how he spent his life.

“Fresh Air” host Dave Davies asked Sam Elliott how it felt to have such a part written for him.

“I was totally flattered that he and Marc would take the time to write an entire screenplay for me,” Elliott said. “I’ve had a few parts written for me over the years, but I’ve never had a screenplay written for me.”

Veteran Actor Found Himself ‘Crying’ While Watching One Of His Films

Sam Elliott has had a lot of different roles cross his path over a long, distinguished career. One of them, though, brought tears to his eyes…in a good way.

Outsiders cry, too, so let’s explain the situation. Elliott starred in the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the lead roles.

Cooper played a musician who is strung out on alcohol addiction. Elliott played his older brother and manager.

But Sam Elliott remembered seeing that movie in the theater.

“I saw it in Toronto, months and months later, and I wept through half the thing,” Elliott told Vanity Fair in 2019. “It just killed me. It killed me for a number of reasons. One was I was there in the film, and clearly there. But the music killed me. Every song.”