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Flashback Five – The Best Movies of Kiefer Sutherland

Son of actor’s actor Donald Sutherland (The Dirty Dozen, Klute, A Dry White Season), Kiefer has, against the odds, carved out an equally respectable career, despite having started out as a teen idol (Stand by Me, The Lost Boys), then spending some time in direct-to-DVD hell (Lost Boys: The Tribe). While most of that resurrection can be credited to the TV show 24, he’s also solidified his rep with top-notch performances in underrated movies. How might you assess his résumé? Read on.

1. Stand by Me (1986)
He doesn’t have the biggest part in the coming-of-age drama, but Kiefer is nonetheless one the movie’s most memorable characters. Here he’s a menacing foil to protagonists searching for a dead body. In a feel-good movie that launched young talent, the villain has emerged as the biggest star.

2. Dark City (1998)
As a doctor erasing the memories of humans trapped on a floating city, Kiefer gives a subtle performance that proves you don’t have to chew the scenery as a (more-or-less) evil doctor, even if starring in a flick that’s sci-fi.

3. The Lost Boys (1987)
In his most famous role outside of 24, Sutherland bleeds danger as an punk-rock vampire. Death at the hands of the two Coreys is a truly grotesque fate, sure, but being the bad guy in your generation’s Twilight makes it all worth it.

4. Phone Booth (2002)
Sutherland spent years lost in the wilderness of B-movies. Then he made a shocking comeback, as Phone Booth‘s sinister sniper. What’s more impressive is that he does it all while appearing mostly as a voice on a phone.

5. Flatliners (1990)
As a medical student exploring the afterlife by killing himself for minutes at a time, Sutherland is back to flirting with the dark side. It’s not easy to hold your own when you’re dealing with suicide, romance, and murder alongside Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon, but Kiefer does it.

Honorable Mentions

1. A Few Good Men (1992) – As the center of the military cover-up, Sutherland once again makes being bad complicated.

2. Young Guns II (1990) – Believe it or not, Sutherland shines even more brightly as outlaw Doc Scurlock in this tween sequel.

3. A Time to Kill (1996) – In a rare appearance with his father, Keifer almost makes you feel for a Ku Klux Klan organizer. Almost.

4. To End All Wars (2001) – Never heard of it? Check it out. Sutherland’s turn as a WWII POW building a railway shows him at his most complex.

5. The Three Musketeers (1993) – He’s the leader of the swashbuckling trio; he’s also a great straight man for Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt.


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