The best of Michael Douglas

The man behind Gordon Gekko – and dozens of other heroes and anti-heroes – to be honored with a retrospective at Jerusalem Cinematheque.

michael douglas  (photo credit: REUTERS)
michael douglas
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Michael Douglas will receive the Genesis Prize for his humanitarian work on June 18 from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a ceremony at the Jerusalem Theater and will give an interview at the Jerusalem Cinematheque during the day.
Douglas’ fans will be happy to know that in honor of his visit, the Jerusalem Cinematheque is featuring a retrospective of some of the highlights of his career.
Douglas managed the difficult feat of coming out from under the shadow of his famous father, Kirk Douglas, to create his own identity as an actor. Douglas is notable among A-list stars for his willingness to play characters that are not very likable, even downright villainous.
But as tough and evil as the characters he plays may sometimes be, Douglas has a charm that can make you identify with them, even root for them.
On June 11 at 9:30 p.m., you can see him in his most famous role, in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, for which he won a Best Actor Oscar in 1988.
His “greed is good” speech in that film was one of the most controversial movie moments of the 1980s, and has become a catchphrase. In light of the 2008 Wall Street crash, Wall Street, and its portrait of unregulated excess, is even more topical – and entertaining – than ever.
You might not think of Douglas as a rom-com guy, but he did play a romantic lead in Rob Reiner’s The American President, which is showing at June 14 at 6:30 p.m. The movie, in which Douglas plays a straight-arrow US president who romances a lobbyist portrayed by Annette Bening, was written by Aaron Sorkin and was kind of a dry run for the television series Sorkin created, The West Wing.
Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic (2000), which will be shown on June 13 at 4 p.m., is a multi-character examination of how drugs affect life in the US. Douglas gives one of his most complex performances as an earnest but arrogant politician tasked with the impossible job of being the (anti) drug czar, who is powerless to stop his daughter’s descent into drug addiction. His real-life wife Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the wife of a jailed drug dealer in another of the movie’s storylines.
Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct is the kind of fun schlock they don’t seem to be able to do much anymore.
Sharon Stone stole the show when she crossed her legs, but Douglas is as convincing as anyone could be in the role of the police detective in love with this femme fatale. It will be shown on June 15 at 9 p.m.
The China Syndrome, which will be shown on June 16 at 6 p.m., was an extraordinarily topical film that addressed the issue of nuclear power in the US. Douglas plays a news cameraman who is working with a reporter played by Jane Fonda to get the truth out about a meltdown at a nuclear plant. The movie was released just 12 days before the Three- Mile Island nuclear accident occurred in the US, and the movie’s anti-nuke stance helped influence the debate.
It will be shown on June 16 at 6 p.m.
Douglas produced this movie and was passionate about this cause.
Douglas’ first outing as a producer was Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, considered to be one of the greatest films of the Seventies, if not of all time. It won an Oscar for Best Picture, as well as for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress (Louise Fletcher). After almost 40 years, the movie, based on the Ken Kesey novel, is as gripping, dark, funny and moving as it was the day it was released. It will be screened on June 17 at 9 p.m. – if you love great movies, don’t miss this rare opportunity to see it on the big screen.
Among the other films to be shown as part of this tribute will be King of California and The Game.
For more information and to order tickets, go to the Jerusalem Cinematheque website at