Top 5 Hollywood Dynasties

For our top 5 this week, we check out some of Hollywood’s greatest dynasties – families who have, generation after generation, wowed audiences with their creative talents…

5. The Sheen’s

We begin our top five Hollywood Dynasties with the Sheens. Dad Martin’s career speaks for itself with a series of classics, most notably Apocalypse Now, while his sons Emilio Estevez (who took his father’s birth name) and Charlie Sheen have enjoyed their own success. While Charlie is possibly best known for his public indiscretions, he has delivered some great performances in the likes of Wall Street and Platoon, while Emilio enjoyed plenty of fame as part of the teen movie Brat Pack in the 1980s.

4. The Sutherland’s

The Sutherland’s are next at number four. Donald Sutherland, even with appearances in classics like The Dirty Dozen, Don’t Look Now and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, couldn’t have imagined the success of son Kiefer. The younger man burst onto the screen in the 1980s, memorably starring as bully Ace Merrill in Stand By Me and as a vampire in The Lost Boys. However, it’s his work in the popular action-adventure series 24 as the ever-present Jack Bauer that made Kiefer the superstar he is today.

3. The Douglas’s

At three, we have the Douglas dynasty, one that has enjoyed almost 70 years in the limelight thanks to Kirk Douglas making his screen debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers in 1946. He has since worked with some of the industry’s greatest directors such as Stanley Kubrick on Paths of Glory and Spartacus, and Billy Wilder in Ace in the Hole. Son Michael has enjoyed even more success, his stand out performance coming in 1987 when he starred as the ruthless stockbroker Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.

2. The Fonda’s

At two, we celebrate the Fonda’s beginning with Henry, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. In a career spanning nearly fifty years he starred in some of the greatest movies ever made, winning two Academy Awards as Best Actor for 12 Angry Men and his final outing alongside Hollywood legend Katherine Hepburn in On Golden Pond. The family have enjoyed similar success with children Jane and Peter enjoying their own glittering Hollywood career while their children, including Peter’s daughter Bridget, have followed in the family’s footsteps with movie careers of their own.

1. The Coppola’s

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Kings and Queens of the Hollywood Dynasty, however, must be the Coppola’s who take first place in our top 5. Almost the entire family has enjoyed success in the industry. Oscar glory for patriarch Carmine Coppola (who won for his Godfather II score) joins son Francis Ford Coppola’s shiny gong for making it. Daughter Talia Shire won her own Oscar for starring in Rocky before Francis’ daughter Sofia became the first female director to get a nomination for Lost in Translation. Let’s not forget the extended family too: nephew of Carmine – Nicolas Cage – is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars while Talia Shire’s son Jason Schwartzman has enjoyed plenty of critical success through his frequent collaboration with writer-director Wes Anderson. When it comes to Hollywood Dynasties, the Coppola’s really do rule!

Written by Daniel Stephens & Presented by Rebecca Perfect

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.
  1. Avatar
    Mark Reply

    As I was reading it, I thought surely the Fondas before the Coppolas, but you are absolutely right.

    Other contenders:
    The Bridges (Lloyd, Jeff and Beau)
    The Carradines (John, David, Keith, Robert)
    The Hustons (Walter, John, Angelica)
    The Downies (Robert snr and jnr)

  2. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Excellent article Dan. Interesting to see the longevity these families have. I thought the Fonda’s would be number one but you are bang on about the Coppola’s.

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