James Caan Movies of the ‘80s

Known for his masterful acting in movies like The Godfather, Brian's Song, and The Gambler, James Caan is one of the most beloved faces in the world of movies. You can see Caan’s face everywhere these days – on the screen in his many versatile movie roles, and even on trending slots found at the best online casino you play at.

As Bitcoin casinos popularity is on the rise, people are more eager to play the Godfather-themed slots these days. Since the release of the official Godfather slot, Gamesys, the trending software developer, created one for the movie sequel, including James Caan to the list of characters.

These is one of the top reasons why we play on – to enjoy some gambling while watching our favorite actors on the screen, bringing us grand rewards with the right combination of symbols.

If you are interested to see where else you can watch James Caan and what his acting career was like in the 1980s, keep reading.

About James Caan

James Caan was an American actor that just
recently passed away on July 6, 2022. He was known for his unforgettable performances and nominations for Academy Award, Golden Globe Awards, and Primetime Emmy Awards.

It all started with his early roles in movies like El Dorado and The Rain People, but the most noticeable appearance of this actor to this day was in his role of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. This earned the actor a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination.

However, this is not the only movie James Caan is known for. He’s acted in some amazing movies over the years, few of which were released in the 1980s.

That’s what we are here for – to talk about his work in the 1980s.

James Caan in the 1980s

This decade doesn’t count many movies that this actor played in because Caan suffered from depression following his sister's death and cocaine addiction between 1982 and 1987. Even so, this decade was when one of the two most popular movies of his was filmed, standing head to head with The Godfather today.

As a matter of fact, he filmed that movie, Thief before this period, in 1981. This movie won him the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984.

Although Thief wasn’t a big success at the time, it definitely is today. Even then, Caan’s performance was considered exquisite, and Caan said that this was one of the two movies he was most proud of.

In an interview in 1992, the actor said that these 5 years marked a time “when a lot of mediocrity was produced… It was a period of time when I said, I’m not going to work again”.

Caan actually started filming the movie The Holcroft Covenant in 1982, but walked off the set and gave up on his role. During his break from the movie career, he spent his time coaching children’s sports.

But, this idea to retire from the movie industry didn’t last too long. That’s good luck for us, since soon after, Caan acted in some amazing movies. Caan returned to the acting scene in 1987 but for his first movie since the return, he only receives a quarter of his pre-hiatus salary. Even though this was the case, Caan swiftly got back on his feet with many great movies following this period.

James Caan’s Movies in the ‘80s

Now the most interesting part – a list of his movies one by one, with some of the plot to tell you what they were all about.

Hide in Plain Sight (1980)

The first movie that Caan acted in the '80s was Hide in Plain Sight, an American drama directed by Caan himself. This movie showed us his direction capabilities in addition to his amazing acting skill. The storyline of Hide in Plain Sight is based on a real-life case from Salvatore R. Martoche’s files. Martoche was a New York attorney that represented a real-life Buffalo victim called Tom Leonard, who sued to recover the lost contact with his children.

Here is how the story goes. Thomas Hacklin, the main role played by Cann, is a divorced father that cannot find his children when he visits them in his ex-wife’s residence. The children are gone – and he is unable to contact or find them. Authorities refuse to help him, but they speculate that the new husband of his ex-wife is in the US Witness Protection Program.

This movie’s storyline unravels when Thomas starts searching for their location, while the police are making it very difficult to succeed. Not only that, but Thomas discovers that even the mob is included in the story.

Thief (1981)

Thief is an American neo-noir action thriller film about a heist. It was written and directed by Michael Mann, one of Cann’s favorite creators.

This movie was based on the bestselling novel of 1975 called The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar, written by Frank Hohimer. It turned into a great movie just 6 years later with James Caan in the main role.

In Thief, James Caan played the role of a professional safecracker that attempts to escape the criminal life. He played right alongside Tuesday Weld, his movie wife, as well as the supporting cast members James Belushi, Dennis Farina, Robert Prosky and Willie Nelson.

The story of Thief is unique and engaging. Frank is an ex-convict and a jewel thief with several successful businesses in Chicago, including a car dealership and a bar. These are his fronts for criminal activity.

However, in the midst of all that criminal success, Frank meets Jessie, a cashier that he falls in love with. At the same time, his fence Joe Gags is murdered for skimming the collection money by the mob. It turns out that a company called Attaglia is responsible for this and at the same time, the payoff that Frank never receives.

The story continues and unravels as Frank discovers new things about the fraud that Attaglia performed on his fence. He decides that he’ll end this risky life, but only after his last job.

Fast forward and you’ll watch a large-scale diamond heist of massive sums, with amazing action revolving around Cann’s character.

Les Uns et Les Autres (1981)

Third in our list of ‘80s James Caan movies was Les Uns et les Autres, a French movie by Claude Lelouch. This movie is one of the best musicals in the industry, known as the best work of this director, right alongside his Un Homme et une Femme.

Les Uns et Les Autres won a Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984. It was named Bolero in the US and distributed in reference to Maurice Ravel’s orchestral piece that is used in the movie.

Soon after it was aired, the film reached tremendous success in France. It became the 6th highest-grossing film of 1981 and had 3,234,549 admissions.

The film follows four different storylines of four families with different nationalities. These families come from Germany, France, Russia, and the US. The thing they have in common is their passion for music from the 30s to the 80s.

The main event in Les Uns et Les Autres is the World War II when the stories and fates of the four families are mixed. Before this point, the film shares their stories separately, telling the viewer about the families individually.

It’s important to note that all the characters in this movie are fictional, but they are somewhat based on historical musical icons like Herbert von Karajan, Edith Piaf, and Glenn Miller.

Kiss Me Goodbye (1982)

The next movie that Caan acted in was Kiss Me Goodbye, an American romantic comedy directed by Robert Mulligan and aired in 1982. So far, Caan has worked in four different genres of movies in the ‘80s (comedy, action, musical, and drama), which only begins to show how versatile and talented the actor was.

Kiss Me Goodbye starred James Cann, Sally Fields, Claire Trevor, and Jeff Bridges. This is actually a remake of the famous Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, a Brazilian movie from 1976. The Brazilian version was based on the same-named book written by Jorge Amado.

Sally Field, Caan’s colleague from this movie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a comedy motion picture. Even so, Caan reported that he didn’t like this film and kept working on it solely for the money. As a matter of fact, in an interview he had in 1991, he said that Kiss Me Goodbye was an unpleasant experience in his career and one of the main reasons why he didn’t make other movies during the big ‘80s break.

Let’s talk about the storyline and you can decide whether or not this was a good movie to star in.

In Kiss Me Goodbye, Kay is a widow of a showman in Broadway called Jolly. Jolly fell from a staircase and died. Kay then met Rupert, an archaeologist that she wants to marry, but Jolly returns to her in the form of a ghost.

Jolly is only seen by his wife and starts meddling in her affairs, which causes others to question her mental health. The plot becomes more complicated and at one point, Rupert even pretends to be able to see the deceased husband.

Gardens of Stone (1987)

When Caan decided to get back to the silver screen, his first movie was this, Gardens of Stone. The movie was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on a same-named novel written by Nicholas Proffitt.

James Cann acted alongside Anjelica Huston, D.B. Sweeney, and Dean Stockwell in this film. He took the role of a hardened veteran from the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Sergeant First Class Clell Hazard.

In the movie, Caan wants to be an instructor and train solders for Vietnam, but he’s assigned to the 1st Battalion at Fort Myer, Virginia instead. The movie unravels the doubts that Hazard has for how the war is fought and tries to help the soldiers understand this.

If you like war movies, this is one amazing story to watch.

Alien Nation (1988)

After his role in the war movie, Caan starred in a science fiction action film called Alien Nation. Once again, he surprises with the versatility of acting he can do. Alien Nation was written by Rockne S. O’Bannon and directed by Graham Baker.

In this film, James Caan acted alongside Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin in the main roles. The movie became popular really fast since it inaugurated the beginning of the media franchise called Alien Nation.

This movie depicts an alien race in Los Angeles called “Newcomers” and their assimilation to the dismay of the locals. The plot combines science fiction themes with buddy cop film and neo-noir genres, and it centers on the relationship of Caan, a veteran police investigator and Patinkin, an extraterrestrial and a detective.

Alien Nation was released in 1988 and grossed over $32 million on a worldwide level, which equals a moderate success, financially speaking. It had a big cult following and even spawned a short-lived television mini-series, as well as a number of novels and comic books.

It is safe to say that this was one of the actor’s best roles. If you watch the film, you’ll see him thrive in the science fiction scene, just as he does in every other genre he acted in.

Have you Watched These Movies?

Now the main question arises – how many of these movies have you watched so far? If you are a fan of James Caan’s work, you definitely need to see each one of them. Since they are so versatile in plots, storylines, as well as genres, you can witness the talent of the actor in different lights in the movies from this list.

Not only that, but you can witness the return of Caan’s acting after a long break!

Photo courtesy Depositphotos

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