Barbra Streisand: 10 Best Movie Roles

Barbra Streisand Movies
Barbra Streisand is an iconic American singer, actress, director, and producer, who has forged a path for women and filmmakers alike. She is considered one of the most successful personalities in show business. Moreover, Streisand is the only person ever to receive all of the following awards and accolades–Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, Peabody awards, as well as the American Film Institutes Lifetime Achievement honor and the Film Society of Lincoln Center Chaplin Award. With such a storied and established career, it could be difficult to discern which achievements rank highest or shine brightest. However, in the film industry, there is no comparison. Streisand has blazed a path like no other, which encompasses a brilliant, fierce, and outstanding body of work that will stand the test of time. Here is an overview of Barbra Streisand’s 10 best movie roles to date, in no particular order.

1. Funny Girl–This film established Streisand as a star. The 1968 classic film, based on the life of 1930s Ziegfeld Follies’ star, Fanny Brice, cemented her star power and secured Streisand her first Oscar for Best Actress. The film also featured Omar Shariff (Doctor Zhivago) as Brice’s husband, gambler Nick Arnstein.

2. Hello, Dolly!–This 1969 comic delight featured Streisand as matchmaker Dolly Levi, who wooed and sparred with Walter Matthau’s Horace Vandergelder. The film was also directed by dancer extraordinaire and screen legend, Gene Kelly (Summer Stock).

3. The Way We Were–This 1973 seminal film allowed Streisand to shine as a romantic lead opposite Robert Redford (All the President’s Men), and also showcased her capacity for dramatic acting. Moreover, it also provided an outlet for the actress to exercise her political prowess. The film was helmed by iconic director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie).

4. A Star Is Born–This 1976 film featured a tremendous soundtrack and heartbreaking performances from Streisand, as well as her leading man, Kris Kristofferson (Cisco Pike). The movie was a remake of a 1954 version, which starred Judy Garland (Meet Me in St. Louis) and James Mason (North by Northwest).

5. The Main Event–This 1979 knockout comedy re-teamed Streisand with pal Ryan O’Neal (Paper Moon), who also co-starred together in the neurotic comedy romp, What’s Up, Doc? (1972).

6. Yentl–This 1983 introspective drama featured a tour-de-force performance from Streisand, who also directed the film. The movie co-starred Amy Irving (Micki + Maude) and Mandy Patinkin (Criminal Minds). Without a doubt, one of Barbra Streisand’s best and most layered movie roles to date.

7. Nuts–This 1987 underrated gem showcased Streisand as a high-class call girl with a heart of gold, who is accused of murder and fights for her right to stand trial rather than be declared mentally incompetent. The movie co-starred Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl) and Karl Malden (The Streets of San Francisco).

8. The Prince of Tides–This 1991 heart wrenching tale of survival, loss, and renewal featured powerhouse performances from both leading man, Nick Nolte (The Company You Keep), and Streisand, who once again directed the film. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

9. Funny Lady–This 1975 film classic is a sequel to the film that launched Streisand’s career, Funny Girl (1968). The movie once again chronicles the life of comedienne Fanny Brice, as well as her second marriage to showman Billy Rose, portrayed by James Caan (The Godfather).

10. The Mirror Has Two Faces–This 1996 Pygmalioninspired lark featured easy chemistry and witty banter between the leads, Streisand and Jeff Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Brothers). The film also co-starred screen legend Lauren Bacall (Dark Passage) and was nominated for two Oscars. The movie was also directed by Streisand.

Barbra Streisand has crafted a career that many would find enviable and very few could dispute. She is considered one of the most successful and versatile personalities in show business. The iconic, multifaceted performer has established a stellar body of work that has and will stand the test of time. Moreover, she has blazed a revolutionary path that is to be respected and admired, particularly among women as well as filmmakers. When considering Barbra Streisand’s 10 best movie roles to date, there are no disappointments, only undiscovered treasures that are waiting to be explored.

Opinion By Leigh Haugh

The Globe and Mail

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