Sam Neill has been acting in films since 1975, making his debut in Landing. Born in Ireland, Neill moved to New Zealand at a young age. Neill is considered an international actor, a man who has crossed continents and worked with directors all over the world. Neill continues to act in independent dramas while pursuing more mainstream opportunities in films such as Peter Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok.
Neill is best known for playing Dr. Alan Grant in jurassic park. Neill reprized his role in Jurassic Park 3and he will come back for the next one Jurassic World: Dominion. Neill’s dynamic career also includes roles in several iconic horror films, such as Event horizon, In the mouth of madness, Possessionand mortuary silence. Neill, it seems, does it all: drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi and action.
Updated June 6, 2022 by Shawn S. Lealos: Sam Neill will be one of three main characters from the first Jurassic Park movie to return this year in the latest installment of the Jurassic World franchise. Starring Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, characters from old and new will come together for the conclusion. It makes for a good time to look back at the illustrious careers of these three actors. For Sam Neill, it dates back to the 1970s and he has so many critically acclaimed films under his belt that it’s easy to see 15 or more all ranking over 80% positive on the Rotten Tomatoes. .
15 My Brilliant Career (1979) – 86%
- Stream now on HBO Max and The Criterion Channel.
Based on the classic novel by Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career stars Judy Davis as a young woman who lives in rural Australia and wants to be a writer one day. However, these dreams are disturbed by social circumstances and also by a budding romance.
Sam Neill plays Harry Beecham, a man she begins to fall in love with. However, she soon realizes that her career dreams take precedence over everything else. The film earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and Davis won the BAFTA award for Best Leading Actress.
14 Skin (2008) – 86%
- Stream now on Prime Video, Fubo, Vudu, Tubi, Kanopy, Crackle, Pluto TV. and Plex.
Skin was a film set in South Africa and starred Sam Neill and Alice Krige as a couple who raised three children. However, their daughter Sandra looked mixed-race and when they enrolled her in school with her brother, she was expelled because she was not a white child.
As the parents won in court, Sandra grew up realizing she would never pass as white. However, when she fell in love with a black man, her father disowned her and she had to go through life without the love of her family, which she desperately wanted. The film won several awards, including several for Sophie Okonedo, the actress who played Sandra.
13 Until the End of the World (1992) – 88%
- Streaming now on The Criterion Channel.
Wim Wenders’ sci-fi road trip stars William Hurt and Solveig Dommartin as a couple on the run from the law who happen to be in possession of a device that records dreams and visions. Neill stars as Dommartin Claire’s character’s former lover, a man who follows her around the world.
Until the end of the world also involves a subplot about a damaged Indian nuclear satellite colliding with Earth. Max von Sydow also makes an appearance as the father of Hurt’s character, Trevor.
12 The Hunt for Red October (1990) – 88%
- Available to rent now on Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft, Redbox, AMC on Demand, Apple TV and DirecTV.
One of the highest-grossing domestic box office releases of 1990, The Hunt for Red October is based on the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy. It is the first to feature Clancy’s flagship character: Jack Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin.
Set during the Cold War era, this star-studded drama tells the story of a rogue Soviet Navy captain who attempts to defect to the United States. Neill stars alongside Sean Connery as the captains of their titular Soviet submarine.
11 Possession (1981) – 88%
- Streaming now on Metrograph.
Possession was a horror film released in 1981 that saw Sam Neill play the role of an international spy named Mark who returns home from a mission in West Berlin. However, when he comes home, his wife Anna files for divorce, then she starts acting very strangely after their separation and he starts worrying about their son’s safety.
This leads to a series of events that prove there’s something supernatural at work here, all based on a tragic event that happened while Mark was away. The film became a cult classic and Isabelle Adjani won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance.
ten Dean Spanley (2008) – 88%
- Stream now on Starz, DirecTV. and Spectrum on demand.
Dean Spanley is a British fantasy comedy film directed by New Zealander Toa Fraser. Set in Edwardian England, the film is inspired by the 1936 short story by Lord Dunsany My interviews with Dean Spanley.
Neill plays the title character, an eccentric clergyman who crosses paths with members of a strained family known as the Fisks during a conference hosted by a visiting swami. Jeremy Northam and Peter O’Toole co-star as members of the Fisk family.
9 The Piano (1993) – 92%
- Stream now on DirecTV.
Neill returned to New Zealand to star in Jane Campion’s period drama, a story of forbidden love set on the country’s outer limits in the 19th century. Holly Hunter plays Ada McGrath, a mute Scotswoman who is sold by her father to a pioneer in New Zealand, Neill’s character, Alisdair Stewart.
McGrath, an accomplished pianist, communicates through music. She develops a secret romance with Harvey Keitel’s character George Baines, a fellow frontier who has adapted many native Māori customs.
8 Little Fish (2006) – 90%
- Stream now on Peacock, Roku, Vudu, Tubi, Kanopy, realeyz, Pluto TV and Freevee.
In an Australian drama, Little fish stars Cate Blanchett as a former heroin addict who tries to raise money to buy a computer game store. When her character’s ex-boyfriend Tracey Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) returns to town, he convinces her to get involved in a drug deal that could give her the money she needs.
Hugo Weaving plays Tracey’s drug-addicted stepfather in this gripping tale of trauma, loss and healing. Neill plays a Sydney drug kingpin, Brad “The Jockey” Thompson.
seven Rams (2020) – 91%
- Stream now on Hulu, Hoopla and Kanopy.
Sam Neill starred in the comedy-drama film Rams in 2020. The film is set in Western Australia where two estranged brothers are in conflict. Neill plays Colin while Michael Caton plays his brother Les, with the siblings raising separate flocks of sheep from their family’s prized flock.
The two brothers must then join forces as the local authorities order all their sheep to be killed when a ram is infected with a rare and fatal disease. The film is a remake of an Icelandic film made in 2015 and it received several Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for Neill.
6 Jurassic Park (1993) – 91%
- Stream now on HBO Max, DirecTV and Spectrum on Demand.
Steven Spielberg has modernized big-budget action movies with his epic sci-fi tale about a geneticist who decides to bring dinosaurs back from extinction. Neill’s character, Dr. Alan Grant, is one of the few experts invited to get a sneak peek at Dr. John Hammond’s new theme park.
Needless to say, all hell breaks loose after malfunctions in the park’s electrical system. With its cutting-edge special effects, well-paced action sequences, and memorable cast (including Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum), jurassic park is a classic big-budget action movie.
5 Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – 93%
- Stream now on Disney+.
Sam Neill’s role in Thor: Ragnarok wasn’t big, but it was a memorable appearance. In the film, Thor returned to Asgard after defeating the demon Surtur to find things weren’t quite right. He came across a play on display for Odin, and he watched in amazement as it was a dramatic play about Loki’s sacrifice.
In the room, there were some great cameos. Matt Damon played Loki, Luke Hemsworth played Thor, and Neill played Odin. It was a very fun series of MCU cameos for the three actors that the production was able to keep under wraps.
4 A Cry in the Dark (1988) – 93%
- Streaming now on The Criterion Channel.
This film is a fictionalized real-life story of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, a New Zealand couple who claimed in 1980 that their baby girl had been kidnapped by a dingo (or Australian wild dog) while camping. Meryl Streep and Neill play the couple, who have come under media scrutiny for their claims.
The Chamberlains were put on trial for the death of their daughter, where they were forced to plead their innocence in front of an audience that did not believe them. Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.
3 The Dish (2001) – 96%
- Not currently streaming at this time.
An Australian comedy set in 1969, The dish explores the role of the Parkes Observatory in broadcasting images of mankind’s first steps on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The telescope, located in New South Wales, shows how NASA relied on the Australian staff of the facility to write television history.
Although based on real events, the characters in the film are fictionalized. Neill plays Cliff Buxton, the pipe-smoking “pipemaster” at Parkes Observatory.
2 Sweet Country (2018) – 96%
- Stream now on Prime Video, AMC+, Roku, Vudu, Tubi, Kanopy, DirecTV, Crackle and Sundance Now.
hard and ruthless, sweet country is an Australian Western set in 1929. The events of the story take place in the outback of the Northern Territory, where European settlers and Australian Aborigines are embroiled in a bitter battle for land.
Neill plays a farmer and preacher named Fred Smith, a white colonizer who employs Aborigines. Through its intense character studies, the film provides plenty of sociopolitical commentary.
1 Wild Hunt (2016) – 96%
- Stream now on Netflix, Fubo, Roku, Hoopla, Tubi, Kanopy, Pluto TV and Plex.
Wilderpeople Hunt is one of New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s comedic gems. According to Barry Crump Wild Pork and Watercressthe film traces the trials and tribulations of a young orphan who moves in with an eccentric foster family.
Neill plays Hec Faulkner and Julian Dennison plays his ward, Ricky. Trouble finds them and the two are forced to flee into the bush to escape their captors.
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15 Best Sam Neill Movies (According To Rotten Tomatoes) – CNET