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2. JEREMIAH JOHNSON (1972) - Rivals The Revenant
Before The Revenant's Hugh Glass, there was Jeremiah Johnson. Played by Robert Redford, the titular hero of this film is a weary Mexican-American war veteran who decides to live the rest of his life in isolation. Arriving in the western Rockies and becoming a trapper-by-trade, Johnson's dream of a quiet life is interrupted by the unpredictability of nature and, worse yet, man. Sydney Pollack, who would eventually make seven films with star Redford, including 1985 Best Picture winner Out of Africa, is not known for grand storytelling but, working from a script co-written by John Milius (Conan the Barbarian, Apocalypse Now) and cinematographer Duke Callaghan (also of Conan the Barbarian fame), has fashioned a quietly powerful character study on an epic scale. While Redford is not an actor of great range, he delivers a performance that easily ranks with his best.