RIP: James Caan, Star Of ‘The Godfather’, ‘Misery’, And More, Dead At 82

Tragic news to report as legendary tough-guy actor James Caan has died at the age of 82. The news of Caan’s passing was announced by his family over social media.

I say “tough-guy” because Caan’s most memorable role will forever be that of eldest brother Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. Caan would earn an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for the performance, which culminated in Sonny’s unforgettable death scene.

Caan’s resume was considerable over his decades-long career, which began in the ’60s with roles in Howard Hawks’ Red Line 7000 and El Dorado. It was in the 1971 TV film Brian’s Song, in which he played terminally ill Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, that Caan would earn an Emmy nomination for yet another iconic performance that has stood the test of time.

Caan seemed to keep finding his way into films that hold a special place to millions of fans. He would star in Michael Mann’s big feature debut, 1981’s neo-noir thriller Thief. Caan basically retired from acting for a few years in the ’80s, but re-emerged and featured in a string of movies with cult followers, such as 1988’s Alien Nation, Wes Anderson’s directorial debut Bottle Rocket, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last original action hit Eraser, the classic Will Ferrell Christmas comedy Elf, and who can forget Caan’s treatment at the hands of Kathy Bates in Misery? His final feature film role would be in the 2021 comedy Queen Bees alongside others of his generation.

We here at Punch Drunk Critics send our condolences to Caan’s friends and family.



Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.