Looking Back on the Career of Rob Reiner

Posted by Erik Luers on 4.28.2014


Rob Reiner on the set of When Harry Met Sally with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

[Editor's Note: This article was updated Monday in celebration of tonight's Chaplin Award Gala.]

If you've yet to hear, filmmaker Rob Reiner will receive this year's Charlie Chaplin Award from the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The annual gala, taking place on Monday, April 28th, will honor Reiner's film and television work both in front of and behind the camera. To celebrate the upcoming event, we decided to take a look back of some of Reiner's most memorable and iconic contributions to the medium.

[Related: Rob Reiner Talks Hollywood, Activism, and Charlie Chaplin Ahead of Monday’s Gala]

After co-starring in an episode of The Partridge Family in 1971 (as a character named Snake), Reiner began his Emmy award-winning run on All in the Family, the landmark, boundary-breaking television program featuring Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, and Sally Struthers. In this scene, Reiner and Struthers, playing husband and wife Michael and Gloria, argue over the world's ever-changing sexual politics.

In 1974, Reiner guest-starred on an episode of The Odd Couple, the popular television adaptation of the Neil Simon play of the same name. Sporting a fashion sense rarely seen from a Reiner character (ear ring, afro, and decked-out vest jacket), Reiner played a down-on-his-luck, poor chap looking to win back his girlfriend (played by Penny Marshall), asking Oscar (Jack Klugman) for some advice.

In 1994, Reiner had a bit part in Bullets Over Broadway, the Academy Award-winning film from fellow New York native Woody Allen. In the scene below, Reiner, playing a playwright whose work is "written specifically to go unproduced," fights with John Cusack over a woman. Things quickly get out of hand.

As would later become somewhat common for the actor/director, Reiner appeared as himself on It's Garry Shandling's Show. In the clip below, he's asked and ridiculed about his performance on All in the Family.

Appearing once again as "Rob Reiner," Dickie Robert: Former Child Star allowed the actor a chance to work with SNL alum David Spade. The cameo features Reiner providing acting advice to Spade's character who is trying desperately to obtain work.

Reiner's most recent appearance on screen was in last year's The Wolf of Wall Street from director Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, the real life stockbroker who cheated many out of their life savings, Reiner appears as Jordan's outraged father, Max, in a hilarious performance.

Reiner is of course also known for his work behind the camera as both producer and director. One of the earliest films he helmed was the now cult classic This Is Spinal Tap. Be on the lookout for a cameo by the director in the classic clip below.

Based on the novel by Stephen King, Reiner's 1986 directorial effort, Stand by Me, featured a youthful cast filled with memorable faces (Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Jerry O'Connell, River Phoenix). The film would go onto receive an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay by Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans.

By far the film with the most passionate and enduring fanbase, The Princess Bride allowed Reiner the opportunity to connect with a younger audience while featuring a cast of veterans, newcomers and eighth wonders of the world (Andre the Giant).

Working with a script from Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner teamed up with stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan for the 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally... In this memorable scene below (set in New York's own Katz's Deli) Ryan's character proves it's difficult for men to detect when a woman is faking an orgasm.

Adapting yet another work from horror novelist Stephen King, Reiner's 1990 thriller, Misery, made Kathy Bates a household name (not to mention an Academy Award winner for Best Actress).

An A-list cast was assembled for A Few Good Men, Reiner's 1992 film adaption of Aaron Sorkin's Broadway play. Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, and Jack Nicholson star in the film, which arguably features the most iconic scene in Reiner's moviemaking career.

Reiner would again team with Nicholson 15 years later on The Bucket List, a sentimental drama co-starring Morgan Freeman. Nicholson and Freeman play men near death attempting to check off all the goals they had on their imaginary "bucket lists" before departing. As evidenced by the clip below, one such desire involved skydiving.

Flipped, from the summer of 2010, hearkened back to the youth-oriented casting of Stand by Me. "A minor pleasure that will strike a lot of moviegoers — those who think no one makes movies for them anymore — as a major treat," The Boston Globe raved.

Which Rob Reiner film is your favorite? Which do you think is his most iconic role? For ticket information and updates regarding the upcoming gala tribute, be sure to consult this page.

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