Kevin Costner’s Favorite Movie Is A Jimmy Stewart Classic

Kevin Costner's favorite movie is It's A Wonderful Life.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Kevin Costner has headlined many iconic films, but the Yellowstone star has especially high praise for one standout in his long filmography, and it isn’t Waterworld. During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Kevin Costner compared his 1989 baseball fantasy Field of Dreams to his favorite movie, asking, “Is that our generation’s It’s a Wonderful Life?”

Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is undoubtedly one of the best classic movies ever made. Kevin Costner could do worse than the Christmas staple when selecting a favorite movie, but to compare one of his own films to the bonafide classic is a bold move.

Rich Eisen quickly pointed out that It’s a Wonderful Life is often associated with the holiday season, but Costner backed up his claim. “There’s something endearing about that movie.”

Then Kevin Costner punctuated the comparison of Field of Dreams to his favorite movie by saying: “I mean, it’s really about things that go unsaid between fathers and sons, and that’s pretty biblical, right?” Both films are layered with fantasy elements and rich characters, but they can be distilled down to a simple message about appreciating the life in front of you.

Kevin Costner has great respect for Field of Dreams and its characters; if he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t have compared the film to his favorite movie. When asked what his Field of Dreams character, Ray Kinsella, might be up to after the events of the movie, Costner replied with a chuckle, “I would hate to see him selling t-shirts and stuff like that… Pretending not to be a millionaire because he was right.”

Kevin Costner went on beyond his favorite movie to note some of his other favorite experiences in his storied career. Costner noted original James Bond actor Sean Connery as the biggest star he ever worked with, but called Gene Hackman the greatest actor he ever had the pleasure of starring opposite in a film.

kevin costner ray liotta

Kevin Costner recounted a story from the set of No Way Out, the 1987 crime drama he starred in with his favorite movie star acting partner. Costner said he had done several scenes with Gene Hackman staged at a desk, but a scene finally came along where Costner believed they needed to position themselves elsewhere in the room. The director argued the choice with Costner until the actor finally put his foot down. “I said, ‘I don’t care, it’s here.’”

The director asked what Gene Hackman would do. Costner replied, “Gene will figure out what to do. Because he’s really good!” The scene worked and made it into the film. Afterward, Hackman approached Costner in the parking lot. Kevin Costner was afraid that one of the world’s favorite movie stars was about to explode.

Instead, Costner said Hackman approached in humility. “Hey, I went through a divorce, I’ve been doing I’ve been doing a lot of kind of questionable movies lately,” Costner paraphrased on Hackman’s behalf. He continued, “When I saw you fighting for what you wanted today… It reminded me of how I used to feel about acting… It was good what you did.”

With a story like that, it is no wonder why Kevin Costner called Gene Hackman his favorite movie star he ever worked with. Hackman is best known among comic book fans for portraying Lex Luthor in Richard Donner’s 1978 film Superman. Kevin Costner also went on to play in a Superman film, taking on the role of Superman’s adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, in 2013’s Man of Steel.

Kevin Costner has made many people’s favorite movie with one project or another. His latest turn on the hit Paramount series Yellowstone may soon come to a close, but Costner helped make the Taylor Sheridan-created show one of the biggest of its time. Kevin Costner has had a wonderful career in movies, and his greatest works have helped give moviegoers a wonderful life, indeed.