Top 10 Christian Slater Films

Neal Damiano charts the career of underrated actor Christian Slater in a run through the True Romance star’s ten best films.

Christian Slater might have tried his hand at action stardom – Broken Arrow, Hard Rain, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – but it is his more obscure work (Very Bad Things, Heathers, He Was A Quiet Man) where he has truly excelled.

It is one of the reasons why some of his peers are now household names while Slater remains an actor for cult film followers to post on their walls. A gifted but complicated New Yorker (numerous off screen issues have clouded an otherwise successful career), Christian Slater has to be congratulated for choosing to make films he believes in rather than for the pay cheque. Some films haven’t worked but his strong performances are always worth seeing. Here’s his ten best pieces of work.

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10. Hard Rain (Salomon, 1998)

Hard Rain is an unusual natural disaster movie becuase it adds the element of a crime thriller. Christian Slater plays an armed truck driver who tries to transport $300 million dollars across Indiana all the while in a viscious rain storm. The truck gets caught up in a river Morgan Freeman and his gang try to rob the truck of all its cash. Lots of action no pretty lead female co stars but technically cinematic and the editing is tight. Christian Slater puts up one brave fight.

9. Broken Arrow (Woo, 1996)

John Woo’s second film full of nonstop action he was smart to put John Travolta and Christian Slater together in one film. The chemistry is great as Slater and Travolta are buddies flying stealth bombers for the military. But things soon change Travolta is a traitor and crashes the plane into Death Valley so he can steal nuclear warheads for selling to terrorists. Car crashes, plane crashes, and plenty of violence add in the beautiful Samantha Mathis as the female lead and romantic interest for Slater’s character and you got an adventure.

8. Gleaming the Cube (Clifford, 1989)

It bombed at the box office but became a crowd favorite. The movie is just fun and Slater captures an innocent youth we all long for as we get old. The skateboard scenes are minimal and it tries to seem serious with the plot but it’s a tongue and cheek delight. His dialogue and look make us reminisce of an easier time in life our rebelious years.

7. Untamed Heart (Bill, 1993)

What a tearjerker film another movie that showed us Christian Slater can act. Full of romance, love and comedy Untamed Heart pulled at your heart strings Slaters performance made men cry.

6. He Was A Quiet Man (Cappello, 2007)

This film flew under the radar and it’s a shame I feel this movie really showed Slater’s ability as an actor. The film is dark with many layers to the lead role. Christian pulled off an amazing performance as a desperate man on the brink of insanity. He plays Bob a lonely office worker who is in love with a beautiful blonde coworker but she doesn’t know he exists. That changes when he saves her from another worker that finds out he’s being let go decides to pull a gun and shoot the office up. Now Bob can’t distinguish if she really has feelings for him or just grateful that he saved her. The film is extremely dark with surreal elements to it Christian is exceptionally

5. Murder in the First (Rocco, 1995)

A very well made film based on a court case in the 30s about three convicts that escaped from Alcatraz. Slater plays a public defender with the world against him as he tries to make the jury see just how badly these inmates were treated.

4. Very Bad Things (Berg, 1998)

How could you go wrong with this cast a twisted joyride things just keep getting bad for these guys during a harmless bachelor party. In my opinion Very Bad Things is one of the greatest dark comedies made the group chemistry is unmatched murder, paranoia and blame ensue into the night. Slater is a glorious mess.

3. True Romance (Scott, 1993)

I don’t think anyone could of pulled of this character better than Christian Slater and rumor has it Tarantino felt the same way. Supposedly he would not sell the script to Tony Scott (RIP) without Slater playing the lead.
Wether it’s true or not I’m glad he did because his performance was nothing short of amazing. Christian just has that quirkness about him that nailed this character!

See also: Top 10 Tony Scott Films | Top 10 romantic films men shouldn’t be ashamed to love | Top 10 Anti-Date Films

2. Heathers (Lehmann, 1989)

A personal favorite of mine. This film broke conventional boundaries. Many call it the anti-teen film and rightfully so. I think it’s one of the best dark films ever made. With its sarcastic undertones and contradictions this movie spoke volumes about what it was like to be a teenager. It features a ground-breaking performance from Slater, he’s so convincing as a sociopathic teenager. It’s actually scary that he’s such a likable guy. The ultimate anti-hero role for Slater, he’s rarely been better.

See also: Top 10 Teenage Rebellion Films

1. Pump Up the Volume (Moyle, 1990)

Pump Up The Volume is such an engaging film with a very strong message Slaters performance shines bright here. Excellent acting with great dialogue very qoutable. One of those films you can watch over and over to always find something new. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack that was sort of a character itself in the film. Christian Slater made me want to get a pirate radio hook up in my room and start a show.
Hard Harry comes on at 10pm!

See also: Top 10 Teenage Rebellion Films

Written and compiled by Neal Damiano.

Follow Neal (@Nealreviews1) on Twitter by clicking here and read more of his reviews at FilmWad

Read more of Neal Damiano’s thoughts on film in his other Top 10s on – Check Out: Top 10 Quintessential 1980s Films | Top 10 Slasher Films | Top 10 Cult Films

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About the Author
Neal Damiano calls himself “an unhip film geek” who mixes his passion for movies with an enthusiasm for travel, music and journalism.

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  1. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    I love Christian Slater’s work and you have pretty much nailed this list. Pump Up The Volume is so good that it belongs on my top 100 list of all time great films. The script is fantastic but if it wasn’t for Slater’s Hard Harry interpretation, it might not have worked as well. Samantha Mathis was great in there as well.

    I’m glad you put Untamed Heart as well. A beautiful film with a stunning performance from Slater.

    I haven’t seen “Quiet Man” but I will look for it.

    Great job Neil. Very nicely done.

  2. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Tetweeted that for sure. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Alex M Reply

    He’s done some great work on stage too. Who knows why he isn’t a bigger star but the man has talent. Pump Up The Volume is also my fave.

  4. Avatar
    Creeper Reply

    True Romance is the one for me. Tony Scott really hooked it up for that film. Plus, Patricia Arquette is so damn hot in that movie.

  5. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Ya True Romance is bad ass for sure.

  6. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    Thanks for the replys all. YES True Romance is an exceptionally good film and Slater is king in it!!! However I just completely loved Heathers and Pump Up The Volume his performance in both films is utterly phenominal, these two movies I hold dear!!!!

  7. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Dan Grant thanks for the comment mate! Glad you like the list and pump Up The Volume is in my top 50 film list!

  8. Avatar
    Pete Reply

    Totally agree with the top three. There’s a few on here I haven’t seen and would like to. Slater is awesome, wish he would have more success. Sad not to see Kuffs on here. Loved that movie when I was younger. And Austin Powers cameo might be brief but it sticks in the memory.

  9. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Pete thanks for the input……I did not put Kuffs on here because although a funny movie I feel it was not a strong enough script compared to his other work.

  10. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    Fantastic list. So glad Pump up the Volume took the top slot and that True Romance made it to the top 3. Those are my two favorite Christian Slater performances hands down.

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    mark Reply

    Maybe it’s me, and I must confess it’s been nearly 20 years since I saw it (on VHS), but I thought Pump up The Volume was one of those movies that had a great premise, a strong first half, but nose dived in the third act – most likely due to script wrangles.

    Given this, I would have put True Romance and Very Bad Things at the top.

    Coincidently, about two weeks ago, I sat thru Mind Hunters on late nite free-to-air TV. Hadn’t heard of it … Slater’s character is killed off fairly early. Afterwards, I consulted my Leonard Maltin book and he didn’t have a listing for it, despite the fact Val Kilmer was in it as well.

    I just hope Slater NEVER makes a movie with Jack Nicholson. I fear if he did it would be like We’re No Angels (I think that’s what it is called), which had mentor/protege De Niro and Penn playing two escaped prisoners on the run. An embarrasingly dull film that gives the term “self parody” a bad name.

  12. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    So totally agree with your number 1 choice. My favorite 80’s film, my favorite Slater film, my favorite “rebellion” film of all time.

    Stay Hard!!

  13. Avatar
    ruth Reply

    I quite like him in Untamed Heart, even Bed of Roses, ahah. Nice list Dan!

  14. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @mark I kind of see your point but don’t ……I disagree I think Pump Up The Volume is strong straight through the entire film and just enough not to make it all MTV so to speak and cliche. The movie made its point in an understandable solid way! It managed to remain rebellious without becoming pretentious!

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    Scott Lawlor Reply

    Very pleased to see Gleaming The Cube in there matey!! Takes me backt o being a kid!

  16. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Ruth glad you like the list thanks! But it is I who wrote it – Neal Damiano

  17. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    Thanks for all the input I felt it was about do! Christian Slater is an amazing character actor and his passion shines through in every performance. The roles he has chosen in his character have been brave and exciting!! So I was honored and happy to write this list he is one of my favorite actors.

  18. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    Terrific round-up of Christian Slater’s best films, Neal. I’d have to put Pump Up The Volume at the top of my list – such a good film depicting teenage angst and rebellion. Slater is terrific in it. That said, he’s great in most things he does and Heathers and True Romance are great choices for Silver and Bronze.

  19. Avatar
    Neal Reply

    Thanks Dan,
    I’m glad this list got such a positive response well deserved!

  20. Avatar
    Alex Withrow Reply

    This is a great list. Slater, for the win.

    Broken Arrow… I love that damn movie. So trashily good.

  21. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    And immediately after asking in another post about Pump Up The Volume, i check here and you’ve already put it in a list. Nice one!

    I think Slater is a vastly underrated actor – i don’t think I’ve seen a bad performance from him, even in some cruddy films, and those top 3 choices are spot on!

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