Movie bookends: who had the best first/ last movie combination?

Finding the actor, writer, composer or director with the perfect bookends is harder than you think. You can find some strong starts with weak finishes, the other way around or nothing good at all. But let’s see some candidates:

John Huston: The Maltese Falcon (1941) - The Dead (1987)

A classic of noir film and a celebrated adaptation of a James Joyce short story. This one should be hard to top.

Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men (1957) - Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

One of the greatest movies of all time and a Phillip Seymour Hoffman starring film that had decent reviews.
Actors are trickier… but I’m going to cheat and pick an actor who died young:

James Dean: East of Eden (1955) - Giant (1956)

He had some uncredited stuff before Eden I’m not counting, and Giant may not be as revered as his other two, but he did get a nomination for his work on it.

How about Christopher Lee? From Corridor of Mirrors to The Hobbit.

John Cazale wins any thread concerning quality of film appearances, first, last, in between.

First: The Godfather
Last: The Deer Hunter

In between: The Conversation, Godfather: Part II, Dog Day Afternoon.

Any actor would give their right arm to be in films 5 films like that. Never mind being their only five.

Before getting nominated for Oscar after Oscar after Oscar for Best Cinematography, Douglas Slocombe’s first behind-the-camera credit was for Lights Out In Europe, in the course of which he shot documentary footage while “covering a Goebbels rally and the burning of a synagogue, for which he was briefly arrested.”

And his final behind-the-camera credit, the biggest movie of its year, got audiences to cheer for a guy who worked against Nazis: Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

As bookends go, that’s actually kind of awesome.

Yup, that’s totally awesome.

Going back to actors, how about Ernest Borgnine, with From Here to Eternity to his cameo in Red?