Michael Douglas's American Charmers
Eight very distinct characters with one thing in common: a likability that transcends their flaws.
Richard Adams (The China Syndrome, 1979)
In addition to producing this film, Douglas plays Jane Fonda's hard-charging, wisecracking cameraman, showing an early knack for sharing the screen effectively with starlets.
Jack Colton (Romancing the Stone, 1984)
His least complicated character: a handsome, Errol Flynn–channeled swashbuckling jackass. But it's the depth of Douglas's other roles that makes us fully appreciate this one.
Gordon Gekko (Wall Street, 1987)
In a single character – one he styled in appearance after his pal Pat Riley – Douglas captures why America is both loved and despised by the rest of the world.
Nick Curran (Basic Instinct, 1992)
As a detective involved with panty-less femme fatale Sharon Stone, Douglas shows his expertise playing guys suddenly in over their heads. (See Fatal Attraction.)
William "D-Fens" Foster (Falling Down, 1993)
It's testimony to Douglas that even as this aerospace worker cum vigilante wreaks havoc on burger joints and Korean groceries, you still find yourself rooting for him.
Andy Shepherd (The American President, 1995)
A shamelessly cornball role in which he plays a widower president whose greatest sins are compromising on an energy bill and being slow to snag Annette Bening.
Grady Tripp (Wonder Boys, 2000)
In this underappreciated film, Douglas plays one-hit novelist Tripp as a lost man on the other side of fame, deftly capturing his most dominant trait: coasting.
Ben Kalmen (Solitary Man, 2010)
He abandons his wife, commits fraud, leeches off his offspring, shows up late for his grandson's birthday, and beds his girlfriend's daughter. And yet we still like him!