With his salt-and-pepper hair, piercing gaze and half a smile, Richard Gere has been a Hollywood dreamboat for nearly five decades. While he’s made a name as a romantic hero with cult films like Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, there is much more to the actor than his sizzling screen chemistry with his leading ladies. As he turns 73, we pick five must-see films that have Gere in non-romantic roles.
Time Out of Mind (2014)
It is easy to imagine Gere as a suave charmer or even a bad boy, but not as much as a dishevelled, homeless man. Time Out of Mind leaves a lasting image of a distressed George (Gere), who is struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter Maggie (Jena Malone) while coping with homelessness. The movie is a poignant commentary on the issue of elderly people and people with mental health problems being rendered homeless in major American cities like New York. Sit with a box of tissue as Gere’s portrayal of George can move you to tears at several points in the film.
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
The tale of a man and his dog who waits for him even after his death – what can be more heartwarming than that? Gere, as the doting pet parent Parker Wilson, in Hachi: A Dog’s Tale can make you want to get a four-legged companion of your own. Wilson is a kind professor who is loved by all, especially by his dog, Hachiko, whom he had found at a railway station and took home. The film is based on a real-life incident in Japan, where a dog would wait at a railway station to receive his master in the evening every day.
The Hoax (2006)
Another real story that Gere brought to life on screen was that of writer Clifford Irving and his fake Howard Hughes autobiography scandal. In The Hoax, Gere steps into the shoes of the moody and shrewd writer and dives into the turmoil Irving experienced when he tried to get a fake autobiography of the reclusive businessman Howard Hughes published. This had led to the writer’s arrest and incarceration.
The Jackal (1997)
The Jackal is a cat-and-mouse chase between two celebrated actors — Gere and Bruce Willis. Willis portrayed the titled character The Jackal, a hired assassin, while Gere played a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) sniper cooperating with the FBI for his freedom from imprisonment in America. With Willis as a menacing villain, Gere steps up to the plate as a formidable action hero who is not really an out-and-out good guy but has enough morals to help the FBI till the end.
First Knight (1995)
Despite Sean Connery in the role of King Arthur, a much younger Gere took the spotlight as Lancelot in the period film First Knight. The film does have its share of forbidden romance between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere (Julia Ormond), but it is more about the young Lancelot’s journey to knighthood and his loyalty to Arthur for whom he forgoes his love for Guinevere. Lancelot’s faithfulness earns him the crown and the queen in the end. Gere, as the honourable knight, is right up there with Bridgerton’s Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) as one of the most lovable period drama hotties.