8 movies that make Steve McQueen “THE KING OF COOL”

Terence Steven McQueen or Steve McQueen, the ultra-cool movie star of the 60s was “The King of Cool”. His anti-hero persona added to his popularity among the masses. Here are 8 movies that defined his cool-quotient throughout 60s.

1. The Magnificient Seven (1960) – Christened as Vin…The dangerous one, this was Steve McQueen’s first big movie role where he played the second-in-command to Yul Brynner. John Struges’s adaption of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai was just a small glimpse of what we would see of him in future. He plays the role of Vin Tanner, a gambler who has gone broke and may have to accept the position of a store clerk, until he is recruited to defend the village from Calvera and his bandits.

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen……gunfighter…..cowboy hat…..maiden Western. Need we say more?

2. The Great Escape (1963) – John Sturges cast him again in this World War II ensemble that saw him play Hilts ‘The Cooler King’. It is not every day that you come across a PoW, especially not one who always has his Baseball gloves on. The Great Escape is one such movie that blends all the elements of an Epic with a World War thriller

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen’s riding a BMW motorcycle hair-raising 60 foot jump on a BMW motorcycle over a fence.

3. The Cincinnati Kid (1965) – If Paul Newman had The Hustler to his credit, Steve McQueen had The Cincinnati Kid to boast about. Here he plays an up-and-coming poker player in this trying to prove himself in a high stakes match against the master of the game, Lancey Howard (played by Edward G. Robinson). 

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen taking on Edward G. Robinson in a poker game.

4. The Sand Pebbles (1966) – Robert Wise cast Steve McQueen in the role of a ‘rebellious’ Machinist’s Mate First Class Jake Holman who comes onboard the gunboat U.S.S Pablo, nicknamed the “Sand Pebble”. Robert Wise whose original choice was Paul Newman went on to cast Steve McQueen, who received an Oscar nod for his dramatic performance in this epic.

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen sheds off his cool image to play a cropped-hair ‘cynical’ character who goes on to become a war hero!

5. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) – Norman Jewinson, who directed him in The Cincinnati Kid collaborated with him again, this time to commit a heist. He is suave as Thomas Crown, the millionaire who pulls off the perfect multi million-dollar heist, only to match wits with an insurance investigator (played by Faye Dunaway) on his prowl. 

Cool Factor: A cigar-smoking thief who is ‘criminally cool’.

6. Bullitt (1968) – Inspired by real life SFPD Homicide Detective Steve Toschi, here he plays the role of a no glory San Francisco cop Frank Bullitt who is determined to find the underworld kingpin that killed the witness in his protection. One of the finest ‘cool cop’ movies besides Dirty Harry.

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen chasing the bad guys on the streets of in a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback

7. Papillon (1973) – Based on the autobiography of a French convict, Steve McQueen plays the role of Henri Charriere who is wrongly convicted for murder. He joins hands with Louis Dega (played ‘spect-acularly’ by Dustin Hoffman) in planning ‘the great escape’. 

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen shows his mettle as an actor of substance in this biographical prison drama.

8. Towering Inferno (1974) – The Towering Inferno came at a time in the 70s when ‘disaster’ movies were a rage. The Towering Inferno is one of the finest disaster movies ever, and an EPIC one too. The movie lines up a string of actors ranging from Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway to Fred Astaire and William Holden. Steve McQueen plays Chief O’Hallorhan, who comes to the rescue of the occupants of world’s tallest building that has caught fire.

Cool Factor: Steve McQueen comes to the rescue of Paul Newman……EPIC COOL!


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