This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

List of Sam Waterston Movies: Ranked Best To Worst

1. The Killing Fields (1984)
16
2
The Killing Fields
R
16
2

This historical drama film takes us to the civil war in Cambodia. It revolves around a journalist, who is trapped during tyrant Pol Pot’s cleansing campaign, which took the lives of two million ‘undesired’ civilians. 

As:
Cast
Role:
Sydney Schanberg
Director:
Roland Joffé
Genres:
Drama, History, War, Biography
Star Cast:
John Malkovich, Craig T. Nelson, Haing S. Ngor, Julian Sands
2. Mahoney's Estate (1972)
12
2
Mahoney's Estate
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Felix
Director:
Harvey Hart, Alexis Kanner
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Maud Adams, Alexis Kanner, Diana Leblanc
4. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
14
2
Crimes and Misdemeanors
PG-13
14
2

An existential comedy considered by many as Woody Allen’s greatest work, the film follows two story lines. One concerns a successful, but philandering ophthalmologist, who has his mistress killed when she threatens to reveal his affair and the other concerns a married documentary filmmaker in love with his brother-in-law’s associate producer. 

As:
Cast
Director:
Genres:
Comedy, Drama
Star Cast:
Daryl Hannah, Alan Alda, Martin Landau, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Bill Bernstein, Claire Bloom
5. Interiors (1978)
13
2
Interiors
TV-MA
13
2

Interiors is a drama film which tells the story of an interior designer who decides to split up with her husband after decades of marriage. Their three daughters receive this news as a shock, and their lives start going out of control.

As:
Cast
Director:
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Geraldine Page, Diane Keaton, Richard Jordan, Mary Beth Hurt, E.G. Marshall, Kristin Griffith
6. Hopscotch (1980)
13
2
Hopscotch
R
13
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Cutter
Director:
Ronald Neame
Genres:
Adventure, Comedy
Star Cast:
Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Herbert Lom, Ned Beatty
7. Swimming to Cambodia (1987)
11
2
Swimming to Cambodia
R
11
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Additional cast from 'The Killing Fields' (archiveFootage)
Director:
Genres:
Drama, Comedy
Star Cast:
Spalding Gray, Ira Wheeler
8. Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? (1971)
11
2
Who Killed Mary Whats'ername?
PG
11
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Ernest Pintoff
Genres:
Crime, Mystery
Star Cast:
Red Buttons, Sylvia Miles, Alice Playten, Conrad Bain
9. Mindwalk (1990)
12
2
Mindwalk
PG
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Jack Edwards
Director:
Bernt Amadeus Capra
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Liv Ullmann, John Heard, Ione Skye, Emmanuel Montes
11. The Man in the Moon (1991)
11
2
The Man in the Moon
PG-13
11
2

The Man in the Moon is a coming-of-age romantic drama film which revolves around Dani, a 14 year old tomboyish girl who finds herself attracted to Court, an older boy who is her neighbor. However, their journey of love is not as smooth as she had hoped.

As:
Cast
Role:
Matthew Trant
Director:
Robert Mulligan
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Star Cast:
Reese Witherspoon, Jason London, Tess Harper, Gail Strickland
12. Generation (1969)
11
2
Generation
PG
11
2

Generation is a comedy drama film which tells the story of Doris Bolton, a woman who is pregnant for nine months and is due any day. She eventually gets married to a photographer named Walter Owen, who doesn’t want anything to do with conformity. Both of them plan to have a natural childbirth, without any drugs or doctors, but this news shocks Doris’s father, Jim Bolton.

As:
Cast
Director:
George Schaefer
Genres:
Comedy
Star Cast:
Carl Reiner, David Janssen, Andrew Prine, Pete Duel
13. Capricorn One (1977)
11
2
Capricorn One
PG
11
2

This science fiction thriller film tells the story of the first manned mission to Mars, which includes three astronauts. However, when it seems that due to a mechanical failure, all three men may die, NASA removes them from the mission and sends the capsule unmanned. In order to prevent a public outcry, NASA comes up with a plan to fake the mission in a studio.

As:
Cast
Role:
Peter Willis
Director:
Peter Hyams
Genres:
Thriller, Action
Star Cast:
James Brolin, Telly Savalas, O. J. Simpson, Hal Holbrook, O.J. Simpson, Elliott Gould, Brenda Vaccaro
14. Heaven's Gate (1980)
11
2
Heaven's Gate
R
11
2

Heaven’s Gate is an American Western drama film which revolves around Sheriff James Averill, of Jackson County, who gets involved in a a class war against Nathan Champion, a mercenary who has been supporting the rich cattle farmers in the area, while the poor immigrants are forced to live in terrible conditions.

As:
Cast
Role:
Frank Canton
Director:
Michael Cimino
Genres:
Drama, Western, Adventure
15. The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1966)
11
2
The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean
11
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Andy
Director:
Juleen Compton
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Sharon Henesy, Robert Gentry, Marco St. John, Skip Hinnant
16. Fitzwilly (1967)
11
2
Fitzwilly
11
2

Fitzwilly is a loyal butler who works for Victoria Woodhouse. Although she has been bankrupt since her father died, Fitzwilly hides this fact from her, and schemes with the fellow servants to maintain the household. But things get quite complicated when a new secretary is hired by the name of Julie.

As:
Cast
Director:
Delbert Mann
Genres:
Comedy, Romance
Star Cast:
Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Feldon, Cecil Kellaway, Edith Evans
18. The Great Gatsby (1974)
10
2
The Great Gatsby
PG
10
2

Based on the popular novel of the same name by F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is a romantic drama film which revolves around the life of Nick Carraway, who is fascinated and drawn to his neighbor Jay Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle.  He soon becomes a part of Jay’s inner circle, only to witness a world of obsession and tragedy.

As:
Cast
Director:
Jack Clayton
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Star Cast:
Robert Redford, Lois Chiles, Bruce Dern, Mia Farrow, Karen Black, Scott Wilson
19. Rancho Deluxe (1975)
10
2
Rancho Deluxe
R
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Cecil Colson
Director:
Frank Perry
Genres:
Romance, Comedy, Western
Star Cast:
Harry Dean Stanton, Slim Pickens, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Ashley, Clifton James
20. Serial Mom (1994)
11
2
Serial Mom
R
11
2

The satirical black comedy features a dedicated homemaker Beverly Sutphin, who leads a happy life with two teenaged children. But she insists on retaliating against any slight. The parking place-snatcher neighbor starts receiving obscene calls; the math teacher gets run over for criticizing her son. As homicides increase, police get wise on the killer and Beverly becomes media sensation as ‘Serial Mom.’ 

As:
Cast
Role:
Dad
Director:
Genres:
Thriller, Crime, Comedy
21. Three (1969)
10
2
Three
M
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Taylor
Director:
James Salter
Genres:
Romance, Drama
Star Cast:
Edina Ronay, Charlotte Rampling, Robie Porter, Pascale Roberts
22. Sweet Revenge (1976)
10
2
Sweet Revenge
PG
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Le Clerq
Director:
Jerry Schatzberg
Genres:
Drama, Comedy, Crime
Star Cast:
Stockard Channing, Franklyn Ajaye, Richard Daughty, Norman Matlock
23. September (1987)
10
2
September
PG
10
2

September is a drama film which tells the story of a suicidal woman named Lane, who retreats to her summerhouse in Vermont to spend some time alone. However, problems arise when houseguests disrupt her healing process. Meanwhile, Lane also struggles to deal with her obnoxious mother, who pays her a visit. Soon, things get complicated when Lane finds herself attracted to a writer named Peter.  

As:
Cast
Role:
Peter
Director:
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Elaine Stritch, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Denholm Elliott, Elaine Stritch
24. Eagle's Wing (1979)
10
2
Eagle's Wing
PG
10
2

Set in the untamed wilderness, the film centers on a magnificent white stallion, which belonged to an Indian chief, having a trading relationship with two white merchants called Henry and Sheen. While going to meet the white traders, the Indians are attacked by another group of Indians led by brave and stern White Bull and the chief is killed in the ensuing battle.

As:
Cast
Role:
White Bull
Director:
Anthony Harvey
Genres:
Western
Star Cast:
Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen, Stéphane Audran, John Castle
25. On the Basis of Sex (2018)
9
2
On the Basis of Sex
PG-13
9
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Mimi Leder
Genres:
Biography, Drama
Star Cast:
Felicity Jones, Kathy Bates, Stephen Root, Justin Theroux
26. Savages (1972)
9
2
Savages
R
9
2
As:
Cast
Director:
James Ivory
Genres:
Comedy, Fantasy
Star Cast:
Thayer David, Susan Blakely, Margaret Brewster, Neil Fitzgerald
27. Journey Into Fear (1975)
9
2
Journey Into Fear
R
9
2

Howard is an American engineer living in Istanbul, who is targeted for assassination, as he has made contributions to the Turkish Navy. Eventually he manages to escape with the help of police Colonel Haki, and decides to board a ship to safety from his hotel. On board, one of the passengers seem suspicious.

As:
Cast
Role:
Mr. Graham
Director:
Daniel Mann
Genres:
Thriller
29. Warning Sign (1985)
9
2
Warning Sign
R
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Cal Morse
Director:
Hal Barwood
Genres:
Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Star Cast:
Richard Dysart, Yaphet Kotto, Kathleen Quinlan, Jeffrey DeMunn
30. Sweet William (1980)
9
2
Sweet William
R
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
William McClusky
Director:
Claude Whatham
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Star Cast:
Anna Massey, Arthur Lowe, Jenny Agutter, Geraldine James
31. Cover Me Babe (1970)
8
2
Cover Me Babe
PG
8
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Noel Black
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Ken Kercheval, Sondra Locke, Robert Forster, Susanne Benton
32. Le divorce (2003)
7
1
Le divorce
PG-13
7
1

Isabel learns that her sister, who is a poetess, has been left by her French husband, and therefore, she decides to help her escape her misery. However, soon it seems that her sister is being stalked by someone.

As:
Cast
Director:
James Ivory
Genres:
Drama, Comedy, Romance
34. A Dog Race in Alaska (1993)
11
2
A Dog Race in Alaska
11
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Bart Freundlich
Genres:
Short
Star Cast:
Robert Sean Leonard, Bruce Altman, Jamie Harrold, Cara Buono
35. The Journey of August King (1995)
10
2
The Journey of August King
PG-13
10
2
As:
Cast, Producer
Role:
Mooney Wright
Director:
John Duigan
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Thandie Newton, Maya Angelou, Jason Patric, Larry Drake
36. The Commission (2003)
9
2
The Commission
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
J. Lee Rankin
Director:
Mark Sobel
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Ed Asner, Martin Landau, Martin Sheen, Edward Asner, Joe Don Baker
37. Just Between Friends (1986)
9
2
Just Between Friends
PG-13
9
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Allan Burns
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Mary Tyler Moore, Ted Danson, Julie Payne, Salome Jens, Beverly Sanders
38. Welcome Home (1989)
9
2
Welcome Home
R
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Woody
Director:
Franklin J. Schaffner
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Brian Keith, Kris Kristofferson, JoBeth Williams, Thomas Wilson Brown
39. The Proprietor (1996)
8
2
The Proprietor
R
8
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Harry Bancroft
Director:
Ismail Merchant
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Sean Young, Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Austin Pendleton
40. A Captive in the Land (1990)
8
2
A Captive in the Land
8
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Royce
Director:
John Berry
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Aleksandr Potapov, Keir Giles, Victor Ignatyev, Aleksey Ivashchenko
41. Devil's Paradise (1987)
8
2
Devil's Paradise
8
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Jones
Director:
Vadim Glowna
Genres:
Adventure, Drama
Star Cast:
Mario Adorf, Jürgen Prochnow, Suzanna Hamilton, Dominique Pinon
42. Please Be Normal (2014)
8
2
Please Be Normal
8
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Haik Kocharian
Genres:
Family, Thriller, Drama
Star Cast:
Dana Eskelson, Louis Cancelmi, Evan Enderle, Lucy Kaminsky
43. Flagrant désir (1986)
8
2
Flagrant désir
R
8
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Inspecteur Gerry Morrison
Director:
Claude Faraldo
Genres:
Crime, Drama, Mystery
Star Cast:
Lauren Hutton, Marisa Berenson, Arielle Dombasle, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu

TV Movie(s)

1. Much Ado About Nothing (1973)
12
2
Much Ado About Nothing
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Benedick
Director:
Nick Havinga
Genres:
Romance, Comedy
Star Cast:
Barnard Hughes, Kathleen Widdoes, Charles Bartlett, Frederick Coffin
2. The Glass Menagerie (1973)
12
2
The Glass Menagerie
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Tom Wingfield
Director:
Anthony Harvey
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
3. Friendly Fire (1979)
12
2
Friendly Fire
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
C.D. Bryan
Director:
David Greene
Genres:
Drama, War
Star Cast:
Carol Burnett, David Keith, Timothy Hutton, Dennis Erdman, Ned Beatty
4. The Boy Who Loved Trolls (1984)
12
2
The Boy Who Loved Trolls
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Ofoeti
Director:
Harvey S. Laidman
Star Cast:
William H. Macy, Susan Anton, Matt Dill, Nicolle Cherubini
5. Reflections of Murder (1974)
11
2
Reflections of Murder
11
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Michael Elliott
Director:
John Badham
Genres:
Thriller, Mystery, Horror
Star Cast:
Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett, Lucille Benson, Michael Lerner
6. The Matthew Shepard Story (2002)
11
2
The Matthew Shepard Story
TV-14
11
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Roger Spottiswoode
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Stockard Channing, Wendy Crewson, Shane Meier, Kristen Thomson
7. Games Mother Never Taught You (1982)
11
2
Games Mother Never Taught You
11
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Lee Philips
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Robert Brown, Zane Buzby, Christopher Allport, Al Anton
8. Dempsey (1983)
10
2
Dempsey
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Doc Kearns
Director:
Gus Trikonis
Genres:
Sport, Biography, Drama
Star Cast:
Peter Mark Richman, Sally Kellerman, Victoria Tennant, Treat Williams
9. In Defense of Kids (1983)
7
1
In Defense of Kids
7
1
As:
Cast
Role:
Paul Wilcox
Director:
Gene Reynolds
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Blythe Danner, Joyce Van Patten, Georg Stanford Brown, Beth Ehlers
10. A Walk in the Woods (1988)
13
3
A Walk in the Woods
13
3
As:
Cast
Role:
John Honeyman
Director:
Kirk Browning
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Robert Prosky
11. I'll Fly Away: Then and Now (1993)
12
2
I'll Fly Away: Then and Now
12
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Forrest Bedford
Director:
Ian Sander
Star Cast:
Regina Taylor, Ashlee Levitch, John Aaron Bennett, Jason London
12. Finnegan Begin Again (1985)
11
2
Finnegan Begin Again
11
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Paul Broadbent
Director:
Joan Micklin Silver
Genres:
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Star Cast:
Mary Tyler Moore, David Huddleston, Sylvia Sidney, Robert Preston
13. Lantern Hill (1989)
10
2
Lantern Hill
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Andrew Stuart
Director:
Kevin Sullivan
Genres:
Drama, Family
Star Cast:
Sarah Polley, Mairon Bennett, Patricia Phillips, Zoe Caldwell
14. A House Divided (2000)
10
2
A House Divided
R
10
2
As:
Cast, Producer
Role:
David Dickson
Director:
John Kent Harrison
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Jennifer Beals, Tim Daly, LisaGay Hamilton, Shirley Douglas
15. Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami (1988)
10
2
Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Jim Delmore
Director:
Jeff Bleckner
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Ron Leibman, Joe Morton, Robert Davi, Jo Henderson
16. David's Mother (1994)
10
2
David's Mother
TV-MA
10
2
As:
Cast
Role:
John Nils
Director:
Robert Allan Ackerman
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Kirstie Alley, Stockard Channing, Chris Sarandon, Michael A. Goorjian
17. Exiled (1998)
9
2
Exiled
9
2
As:
Cast
Director:
Jean de Segonzac
Genres:
Drama, Crime
Star Cast:
Benjamin Bratt, John Fiore, Dann Florek, Chris Noth, Paul Guilfoyle, Dabney Coleman
18. Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker (1994)
9
2
Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker
PG-13
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Daniel Chamberlain
Director:
Harry Morgan Moses
Genres:
Thriller, Drama
Star Cast:
Samuel L. Jackson, Mason Adams, Eddie Bracken, Val Avery
19. Love Lives On (1985)
9
2
Love Lives On
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Bernie
Director:
Larry Peerce
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Lauren Holly, Louise Latham, Christine Lahti, Ricky Paull Goldin
20. The Fifth Missile (1986)
9
2
The Fifth Missile
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Capt. Allard Renslow
Director:
Larry Peerce
Genres:
Thriller, Drama
Star Cast:
Jonathan Banks, Robert Conrad, Richard Roundtree, Art LaFleur
21. The Enemy Within (1994)
9
2
The Enemy Within
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
President William Foster
Director:
Jonathan Darby
Genres:
Thriller, Drama
Star Cast:
Forest Whitaker, George Dzundza, Jason Robards, Dana Delany, Josef Sommer
22. The Room Upstairs (1987)
9
2
The Room Upstairs
9
2
As:
Cast
Role:
Travis Coles
Director:
Stuart Margolin
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Linda Hunt, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stockard Channing, Joan Allen

Animation(s)

TV Shows and Videos

Q.E.D. (1982)
Q.E.D.
As:
Cast
Role:
Prof. Quentin E. Deverill (6 episodes, 1982)
Genres:
Mystery, Adventure
Star Cast:
Julian Glover, George Innes, A.C. Weary, Caroline Langrishe
I'll Fly Away (1991)
I'll Fly Away
As:
Cast
Role:
Forrest Bedford (38 episodes, 1991-1993)
Director:
Jack Bender, Michael Katleman, Michael Fresco, Allan Arkush, Eric Laneuville
Genres:
Drama
Star Cast:
Wayne Brady, Victor Garber, Samuel L. Jackson, Kathryn Harrold, Jeremy London, Regina Taylor
Awards:
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
The Path to Violence (2013)
The Path to Violence
As:
Cast, Narrator
Role:
Narrator (2013) (unknown episodes)
Star Cast:
Megan Wehrman, Gina Butter, Tyler Tomlinson, Greg Whinham

Sam Waterston Awards

Golden Globe Awards
I'll Fly Away Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama 1993
Primetime Emmy Awards
Lost Civilizations Outstanding Informational Series 1996