Edward Norton is widely recognized has being one of the greatest character actors of his generation. In addition to acting the multi-talented Thespian has worked as a film director, producer and screenwriter. Norton's acting ability has seen him twice nominated for an Academy Award. Here are a selection of Edward Norton's finest films.
Edward Norton first became known to audiences in his film debut Primal Fear (1996). In the film Norton co-stars alongside Richard Gere as an alterboy who has been accused of murder of a Catholic Archbishop. The performance by Norton is quite extraordinary and was widely well received by film critics and the public. Edward Norton was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Norton’s next role would win him the love of a generation of poker players as the co-star of the John Dahl film Rounders. In this film two poker players, played by Matt Damon and Edward Norton, need to pay off a large gambling debt. While the film wasn't a huge hit financially it quickly become a cult favorite with poker players. Edward Norton received the Southeastern Film Critics Association for Best Actor.
In 1998 Norton starred in the role that he is most famous for. This was Derek Vinyard in the Tony Kaye film American History X. In the film Norton plays the role of a Nazi Skinhead from Venice, Los Angeles. Norton's character tries to guide his younger brother away from the life of violence and racism which lead him to prison. Both the film and Norton’s acting were widely praised. Norton would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Film magazine Empire also credits American History X with being one of the greatest films of all time.
1999 saw Edward Norton star in another cult classic Fight Club alongside Brad Pitt. The film is based on Chuck Palahniuk's novel of the same name and is directed by David Fincher. In the film Edward Norton plays the lead role of a man who is discontented with his life and his job. He starts a fight club with a new acquaintance Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt. As the club grows in popularity and attracts more disillusioned men, the actions that they start to take against society become more extreme. The film would become one of the most controversial and discussed films of the 90's.
In 2002 Edward Norton starred as Will Graham in the lead role for Red Dragon. The film based on the Thomas Harris crime novel, is the first introduction to one cinema's greatest villains Dr. Hannibal Lecter. This was the second time that the book had been filmed with the previous version being the 1986 film Manhunter. The films also starred Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
25th Hour is a Spike Lee film based on the novel by David Benioff of the same name. The film stars Edward Norton as a drug dealer how has 24 hours of freedom left before he has to go to prison for seven years. The film focuses on his relationships with his two best friends and his girlfriend. Norton’s character in the film is uncertain as to whose betrayal lead his arrest.
More recently Norton appeared in the Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. In the film a concierge, played by Ralph Fiennes is framed for murder. Edward Norton plays the role of the policeman who is charged with tracking him down. The film as critically acclaimed and has grossed more than $140.9 million worldwide.
In addition to his working in film, Edward Norton is also a passionate advocate for social justice and environmental causes. He sits on the board of trustees of the Enterprise Community Partners which is a non-profit organization which works to develop affordable housing. This non-profit organization was founded by his grandfather James Rouse. Norton is also the president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.
Norton is well known for taken roles that challenge and interest him as an actor. As Norton branches more into directing and producing it will be fascinating to watch how his career develops.