Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

Walken’s Crime-Boss Roles

Over the years, Walken has had quite a few roles as the patriarch of a crime-family. These are men who have taken power. Forcefully. They own it. They are mad with it. They strut and preen, basking in the glow of it. They bully, threaten, coerce, torture.

They have underlings and henchmen. Masterplans. Ulterior motives. Secret lairs.

What do they NOT have? Qualms. Mostly about killing you if you’re in their way.

With the possible exception of BALLS OF FURY (which is up for debate), every film on this list is worth watching. This is Walken’s specialty. He does it very well:

  • A View to a Kill (1985) – Max Zorin, Bond-villain, loves earthquakes and uzis
  • At Close Range (1986) – Brad Whitewood, Sr., Pennsylvanian Godfather
  • King of New York (1990) – Frank White, no really: King of New York
  • Day of Atonement (1992) – Pasco Meisner, the Chilean Scarface
  • True Romance (1993) – Vincenzo Coccotti, a lie-detecting vindictive Italian, possibly also a vegetable of some kind
  • Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) – The Man With the Plan, being quadriplegic makes him somehow impossibly scarier
  • The Funeral (1996) – Ray Tempio, Depression-era, New York, tyrant, claaaaassic
  • Suicide Kings (1997) – Carlo Bartolucci, dangerous, even tied to a chair
  • Vendetta (1999) – James Houston, the New Orleans Cotton Viper
  • The Rundown (2003) – Hatcher, South American Strip-mine Despot
  • Balls of Fury (2007) – Master Feng, pseudo-Mandarin Ping-Pong Maniac

Honorable Mentions: Wild Side, Excess Baggage, Kiss Toledo Goodbye, The Country Bears, Kangaroo Jack, Kill the Irishman

Though he’s mentioned in the past that he wants to get away from this kind of role, he’s had more than a decade to play nice guys, best friends, and advisers.

Walken in a library

And that’s been fun, it has. But there is nothing like Walken in turbo-maniac mode, nothing.

I look forward (with fevered glee) to the day that Walken comes back to the sinister side of things again.

When he returns to rule the underworlds of our films, and imbue the monsters of our myths with his greatness.

6 comments on “Walken’s Crime-Boss Roles

  1. Pingback: At Close Range (1986) « walkenchronicles

  2. Pingback: Stand Up Guys (2012) « The Something Something Film Review

  3. Pingback: Day of Atonement (1992) | walkenchronicles

  4. Pingback: True Romance (1993) | walkenchronicles

  5. Pingback: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995) | walkenchronicles

  6. Pingback: The Funeral (1996) | walkenchronicles

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