Top 10 Harvey Keitel Films

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Academy Award® nominated actor Harvey Keitel has made a career out of playing the bad guys you love to hate. Keitel always manages to capture that no-nonsense badass perfectly each time. To celebrate the release of his latest film, TWO MEN IN TOWN, out on DVD and digital platforms from 6th July 2015, we take a look at some of Keitel’s best roles over the years.


After 18 years behind bars Will Garnett (Forest Whitaker) is finally being released from prison. His supportive parole agent (Brenda Blethyn) and his new-found Islamic faith are the two things motivating Garnett to live right and cast his violent impulses aside. However, Bill Agati (Harvey Keitel), the Sheriff of the small New Mexico border county where Garnett is released doesn’t believe he is redeemable, and instead thinks he is a major threat to the county. Agati launches a vicious campaign to return Garnett to prison for life with no limits to how far he is willing to go.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

When a group of thieves come together they combine their skills to pull off the perfect diamond heist. The initially flawless plan soon turns into a blood bath when it becomes clear one of them is a police informer.  With there being no real honour among thieves it becomes a fight of survival, and each man is out for themselves. Keitel plays Larry “Mr. White” Dimmick, a no nonsense thief who has one hell of a kill shot, and values loyalty above all else. When he realises Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) was the informer, he puts that kill shot to good use and goes out all guns blazing in the midst of a police ambush.

From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

After a bank heist goes terribly wrong and several police officers are left dead, bank robbers Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and Richard (Quentin Tarantino) quickly decide to hightail it out of town to Mexico. Instead of leaving quietly they kidnap preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his kids and take them to Mexico too. Unbeknownst to them the bar they’re using as a hideout happens to be a vampire gang’s home base. Keitel doesn’t play your average preacher; he turns out to be a kick ass man in the cloth who has no problem slaughtering a couple vampires, until he becomes one himself.

Clockers (1995)

“Strike” Dunham (Mekhi Phifer), a small time drug dealer finds himself in a world of trouble when he is ordered  to shoot a dealer, who stole from his boss Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo). When the dealer shows up dead cops automatically suspect Strike. Things get a lot more complicated when Strike’s brother, Victor (Isaiah Washington) confesses to the crime although homicide detective Rocco Klein (Harvey Keitel) isn’t buying it. Keitel plays up the tough New York detective who knows just how to scare his targeted criminals straight.


Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Harvey Keitel once again finds himself living a dubious life working on the wrong side of the law despite being a police lieutenant. The Lieutenant is morally corrupt, entrenched in gambling debt, and a consumer of a number of illegal substances, but manages to fly under the radar whilst abusing his power.  When he is presented with the threat of paying off his debt or else from the mob he gains perspective. The Lieutenant focuses on solving the rape of a nun for the $50,000 reward attached to the case that could settle his debts.

Cop Land (1997)

When Murray Babitch (Michael Rapaport) gets himself into trouble with the law his uncle Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), a corrupt New York City cop, attempts to cover it up by faking his nephew’s death. The cover up initially seems to be going well until it leads to an investigation by Internal Affairs officer Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) and Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone), sheriff of the suburban New Jersey town where Donlan and his corrupt policemen live.

City of Industry (1997)

Harvey Keitel has a knack for playing characters that get involved in group heists that go terribly wrong. To pull off a Palm Springs jewellery heist Lee (Timothy Hutton) gathers his older brother Roy (Harvey Keitel), Jorge (Wade Dominguez), and Skip (Stephen Dorff), their weapons procurer and driver for the job. The robbery is executed perfectly until Skip tries to double-cross them and kills two of them. Roy being the last man standing goes after Skip in Los Angeles to avenge his partners.

Bugsy (1991)

This biopic follows New York mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (Warren Beatty) as he leaves the Big Apple for the glamour of Hollywood.  He comes to Hollywood with the sole intention of building up syndicate gambling rackets. His goal of developing a gambling haven drives him to expand his racketeering efforts into Nevada simultaneously helping develop Las Vegas. Keitel plays Mickey Cohen, a prominent no nonsense Los Angeles gangster who eventually comes to work for Siegel. In this role Keitel walks and talks with that tough don’t mess with me demeanour that commands respect.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

This cult favourite follows Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), two hitmen with an affinity for thought provoking conversations. Vega and Winnfield’s crime infested lives are intertwined with their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), his actress wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), a struggling boxer, master fixer Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel), and “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer), a pair of panicky armed robbers. Keitel’s infamous role as master fixer Winston Wolfe is the epitome of a smooth operator under pressure cleaning up the mistakes of others each time with both efficiency and style.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma (Geena Davis) joins her friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), on a fishing trip that quickly turns into them running from the law after Louise shoots and kills a man who tried to rape Thelma at a bar. To escape the law the two decide to head to Mexico. Straight shooting Detective Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) is the only one, who is able to piece together what happened to the two women, and sympathetically tries to convince them to surrender before their lives are ruined.

TWO MEN IN TOWN arrives on DVD and digital platforms from 6th July, 2015, courtesy of Signature Entertainment

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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