Martin Sheen Movies
has appeared in a wide variety of films ranging from the embarrassing to the sublime. In addition to appearing in numerous productions on stage, screen, and television, Sheen is the father of a modern dynasty of actors and a tireless activist for social and environmental causes, particularly homelessness. Born Ramon Estevez
on August 3, 1940, he was the seventh of ten children of a Spanish immigrant father and an Irish mother. Growing up in Dayton, OH, Sheen wanted to be an actor so badly that he purposely flunked an entrance exam to the University of Dayton so he could start his career instead. With his father's disapproval, he borrowed cash from a local priest and moved to New York in 1959.
While continually auditioning for shows, Sheen worked at various odd jobs and changed his name to avoid being typecast in ethnic roles. "Martin" was the name of an agent/friend, while he chose "Sheen" to honor Bishop Fulton J. Sheen; until his early twenties, the actor had been a devoted Catholic. He joined the Actor's Co-op, shared a loft, and with his roommates prepared showcase productions in hopes of attracting agents. For a while he worked backstage at the Living Theater alongside aspiring actor Al Pacino
, and it was there that he got his first acting jobs. Around that time, Sheen married, and in 1963 broke into television on East Side West Side; more television would follow in the form of As the World Turns, on which he played the character Roy Sanders for a few years.
In 1964, Sheen debuted on Broadway in Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory, and that same year won considerable acclaim for his role in The Subject Was Roses, which in 1968 became a film in which he also starred. After making his feature film debut as a subway punk in The Incident (1967), Sheen moved to Southern California in 1970 with his wife and three children. During the beginning of that decade, he worked most frequently in television, but occasionally appeared in films as a supporting actor or co-lead. His movie career aroused little notice, though, until he played an amoral young killer (based on real life murderer Charles Starkweather) in Terrence Malick
's highly regarded directorial debut, Badlands
(1973). Further notice came in the mid-'70s, when the actor was cast by Francis Ford Coppola
to star in a Vietnam War drama filmed in the Philippines. Two years and innumerable disasters later -- including a near-fatal heart attack for Sheen -- the actor's most famous film, Apocalypse Now
(1979), was complete, and it looked as if he would finally become a major star.
Although the film won a number of honors, including a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, and Sheen duly gained Hollywood's respect, he never reached the heights of some of his colleagues. This was possibly due to the fact that during the 1970s and 1980s, he appeared in so many mediocre films. However, Sheen turned in memorable performances in such films as Ghandi (1982) -- from which the actor donated his wages to charity -- and Da
(1988), in which he took production and starring credits. He also did notable work in a number of other films, including Wall Street
(1987), The American President
(1995), and Monument Ave.
(1998). In 1999, he could be seen in a number of projects, including Ninth Street
and Texas Funeral
, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival that year; O, a modern-day adaptation of Othello; and The West Wing, a television series that cast him as the President of the United States (a role for which he would win the Best TV Series Actor in a Drama Award at the 2000 Golden Globe Awards).
Sheen took a supporting role in legendary director Martin Scorsese's crime drama The Departed, and joined the cast of Talk to Me, a 2007 comedy drama directed by Don Cheadle. In 2009, Sheen starred in The Kid: Chamaco, a boxing drama following a father (Sheen) and son's attempt to reconcile their differences to turn a fierce streetfighter into a boxing champion. The following year he would join son Emilio for The Way, an adventure drama featuring Sheen as a grieving father determined to make the pilgrimage to the Pyrenees in honor of his late son. The actor took on yet another lead role in Stella Days (2011), a drama that takes place in the 1950s and stars Sheen as a progressive Irish priest who causes a stir by opening a local movie theater.
In 1986, Sheen made his directorial debut with the Emmy-winning made-for-TV movie Babies Having Babies
. All three of his sons, Emilio Estevez
, Ramon Estevez
, and Charlie Sheen
(whom he directed in 1991's Cadence
), as well as his daughter, Renee Estevez, are movie and television actors. His brother, Joe Estevez
, also dabbles in acting. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
A virulent virus erupts aboard a cruise ship. The government wants to blow it up, but a scientist is determined to find a cure or at least a way to contain the deadly disease. He must hurry, for time is short and the government is getting impatient. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
- Lindsay Wagner, Brian Dennehy, (more)
Several music and film celebrities recall their former lives in this reincarnation-oriented feature with musical accompaniment. K.D. Lang considers herself the reincarnation of the late country singer Patsy Cline, Martin Sheen gives a rambling monologue about his near-death experience while filming Apocalypse Now, and Willie Nelson sings songs about cowboys who come back to live another life. Also included are Rae Dawn Chong, Catherine Oxenberg, Donovan, The Dalai Lama, Ringo Starr, and James Coburn. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
- Helen Shaver, Rae Dawn Chong, (more)
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"Greed is Good." This is the credo of the aptly named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), the antihero of Oliver Stone's Wall Street. Gekko, a high-rolling corporate raider, is idolized by young-and-hungry broker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen). Inveigling himself into Gekko's inner circle, Fox quickly learns to rape, murder and bury his sense of ethics. Only when Gekko's wheeling and dealing causes a near-tragedy on a personal level does Fox "reform"-though his means of destroying Gekko are every bit as underhanded as his previous activities on the trading floor. Director Stone, who cowrote Wall Street with Stanley Weiser, has claimed that the film was prompted by the callous treatment afforded his stockbroker father after 50 years in the business; this may be why the film's most compelling scenes are those between Bud Fox and his airline mechanic father (played by Charlie Sheen's real-life dad Martin). Ironically, Wall Street was released just before the October, 1987 stock market crash. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, (more)
This documentary showcases the dogs who worked to help their human handlers serve the American cause in combat. During the Vietnam War, these dogs saved many lives by dragging wounded soldiers to safety and by warning troops about impending ambushes. Dogs were trained to recognize booby traps, tunnels, mines, and weapons caches, and it is estimated that their intelligence and actions prevented more than 10,000 casualties in Vietnam alone. The film, first shown on the Discovery Channel and narrated by Martin Sheen, includes interviews with handlers and footage of the dogs in action. More than 1,200 Vietnam veterans have formed the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, and there is now a formal memorial to the forgotten canine heroes. ~ Alice Duncan, Rovi
Director Jim Burroughs ponders the prospect of a global war over water in this documentary focusing on the ways the national of Bangladesh has dealt with the duel threats of dwindling water supplies and rising sea levels. The deeper Bangladeshis drill for wells, the greater the risk of the locals suffering from arsenic poisoning. Now, thanks to global warming, the problem is spreading. In addition to exploring water-related problems in Bangladesh, Burroughs and company also travel to Holland in order to see how ultra-modern levees and canals are ensuring the nation will be better equipped to deal with the coming water crisis. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
- Martin Sheen
In this drama, a freed-POW returns home and is further traumatized by his supposed friends, family and neighbors. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
In this film, the Southern small-town life of two attractive twin sisters becomes much more interesting after they meet up with a traveling stranger. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi
This release takes an inside look at the White House, where a staff of maids, ushers, chefs, valets, butlers, gardeners, landscape architects and more all tend to the Presidential family and administration. Actor Martin Sheen narrates the program. ~ Cammila Collar, Rovi
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Filmmaker Chris Payne explores the many factors that played into the ultimate failure of the electric car to catch on with consumers, even as gas prices began to skyrocket, in a thoughtful meditation on the increasingly important role that renewable energy plays in modern society. Introduced as a means of providing an alternative to increasing oil consumption and reducing pollution in 1996, the electric car was an all-but-forgotten memory only a decade later -- but why? Through interviews with consumer advocacy experts, automotive industry experts, and oil industry heavyweights, Payne paints a thought-provoking picture of a culture whose aversion to change and reliance on dwindling resources may be rooted in the financial concerns of a wealthy few, and may also be leading consumers down a troubling path. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
- Greg "Gadget" Abbott, Dave Barthmuss, (more)