The Golden Age of Hollywood

Fans of Robert Ryan


Fans of Robert Ryan

Giving incredible performances in such films as Crossfire, Inferno, Odds Against Tomorrow and Bad Day at Black Rock, Robert Ryan was one of the most under-rated actors in Hollywood.  This group is for those who love and admire this very under-appreciated man.

Members: 5
Latest Activity: May 12, 2016

About Mr. Ryan

A tremendously under-rated Hollywood talent, Robert Ryan originally set out to be a journalist; however, with the Depression in full swing at the time of his graduation from Dartmouth College, there were no newspaper jobs available to him, so he took on a number of other jobs for several years. Eventually, he got involved in the theatre and made his way to Hollywood, where he gave incredible performances in such films as Crossfire, InfernoOdds Against Tomorrow, and Bad Day at Black Rock.

This fabulous actor often played angry, sadistic, hardened, unlikeable characters, and he did so brilliantly...and totally believably.  Really, I can't think of any other actor who oozed cynicism, cruelty, and/or malevolence as fabulously as Ryan did...Bad Day at Black Rock, House of Bamboo, Caught, Odds Against Tomorrow, Crossfire, Billy Budd, Lonelyhearts, and on and on.  He was spectacular in every single one of those films...his presence was electrifying and completely commanding.  Even though his characters are detested, one cannot help but be mesmerized by Ryan's positively sensational portrayal of them.

And yet, he could also exhibit surprising tenderness, as he did to Ida Lupino's blind character in On Dangerous Ground.


He could pull off softer characters as well...Tender Comrade, Her Twelve Men, The Secret Fury, About Mrs. Leslie. And he was wonderful as an aging boxer in The Set-Up.


Although he never retired from films and was making his final movie, The Iceman Cometh, the year of his death, the stage often drew Ryan back. Though he did other stage roles, having been a Shakespeare appreciator, he enjoyed taking part in Shakespearean plays; one of his roles was Marc Antony (opposite Katharine Hepburn's Cleopatra).  Helen Hayes said about that portrayal, "What a joy it is to see a real man playing Antony."

And yet, great as Robert Ryan was, he never received the recognition he deserved---in his entire amazing career, he received only one Academy Award nomination...a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role in 1947's Crossfire.  Not receiving more nominations...let alone awards...was a definite oversight on the part of the Academy.

Although Ryan portrayed a bigoted character in several of his films, in actuality, he was a staunch civil rights supporter; therefore, the characters he played were light years away from the man he really was, and he did it completely believably...the sign of a great actor.  It would be easy to portray a character that is exactly like oneself, but to play a character that is totally counter to everything one believes in definitely requires skill and finesse...something Robert Ryan definitely had.

While Robert Ryan may not be a household name like Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant, I do believe he ought to have been.  He was as capable an actor as any of the more "known" actors.  A viewing of any of his films will bear that out.

Besides entertaining audiences with his brilliant portrayal of cruel, angry, sadistic men, Mr. Ryan also served his country by way of the Marine Corp. Based at Camp Pendleton, California, he spent two years as a drill sergeant. Kind of fitting that his birthday is on Veteran's Day.  (November 11, 1909 - July 11, 1973)

Here's a great tribute site for the sensational Mr. Ryan...

Here's a short TCM tribute, narrated by Ernest Borgnine...

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Comment by Terra Markov on May 12, 2016 at 6:02pm
I Love Robert Ryan's Film Noirs
Comment by Carolyn Geary on May 31, 2013 at 3:01pm

I just finished watching a marathon of Robert Ryan films in the last few days. I watched Inferno, On Dangerous Ground, Born To Be Bad and About Mrs. Leslie. What fun!!!!!

Comment by Carolyn Geary on March 25, 2013 at 5:38pm

I saw King Of Kings when it first came out in the theater.  It was quite an experience. I haven't seen it in many years so I will look forward to seeing it again.  Thank's for all that interesting information.

Comment by Carolyn Geary on November 9, 2012 at 2:57am

Your right Patti,  I love On Dangerous Ground and I love Ida so I may watch it too.


Comment by Carolyn Geary on November 8, 2012 at 3:08pm

I need to see something romantic, so I'll watch About Mrs Lesley and Tendar Comrade.

Comment by Carolyn Geary on September 4, 2012 at 2:21am

yOU Ashould give Since You Went Away another look.  It's a long film but I just love the cast. Claudette Colbert and Jennifer Jones are two of my favorites. And I love Joseph Cotten. And poor Robert Walker. I really feel for him having to do those love scenes with Jennifer during their breakup with her future husband Sellznick looking on. grr.

Another couple of wartime films I also enjoy are Mrs Miniver and So Proudly We Hail.

Comment by Carolyn Geary on September 2, 2012 at 8:01pm

Of course I find him extremely attractive evewn in the heavy roles, but it's wonderful seeing him as a romatic lead as in Tendar Comrade and my favorite About Mrs Leslie which I like to re-visit from time to time. and it's nice to see a female lead that is average in looks too. Quite unusual. Bless Shirley Booth.

BTW.  My favorite wartime homefront films are 'Since You Went Away and I'll be Seeing You... Both very touching movies. Love them. 

Comment by Carolyn Geary on September 2, 2012 at 5:12pm

I enjoy Tender Comrade, mainly for Ryan's performance. He was so cute as the young lover in his playful scenes with Ginger. I happen to like the flag waving films of the 40's. What a difference from the Hollywood of today. 

Comment by Carolyn Geary on August 25, 2012 at 3:11pm

Yes I've seen them all. I even like him in The Naked Spur and I'm not a huge fan of westerns. lol!  But he is so fascinating on screen that I don't believe I've ever seen him in a bad performance.

Comment by Carolyn Geary on August 25, 2012 at 3:11am

I love his hard edge style. Some of my favorites of his films are "Born To Be Bad"," Inferno", "On Dangerous Ground" and an unual role in "About Mrs Leslie" where he showed a gentler side.   


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