12 Best James Spader Movies and TV Shows

James Spader is an extremely talented actor who often passes unnoticed and is underrated because he doesn’t have a lot of mainstream movies under his belt. However, Spader who has a rather distinctive screen presence, is a joy to watch and his versatility is brought out through the many movies and television shows that he has acted in. Here is the list of top 12 movies and TV shows that star James Spader:


12. The Office

James Spader plays the role of Robert California in this comedy series. The show itself which bases its narrative on office antics and office politics, has Spader play a distinctively unlikable character – Robert is duplicitous and often has a very salacious sexual appetite. Spader who has honed his skill in these niche roles delivers a flawless rendition and Robert becomes the much despised guy in the office right in front of us with a few strokes of Spader’s effortless magic.


11. White Palace

This film is a romantic drama that came out in 1990 where James Spader plays the protagonist Max Baron opposite Susan Sarandon’s Nora Baker. While the film was well received Spader’s role as Baron remains a startling aspect. The fact that Spader’s role remains memorable is really put into context when people take into account the fact that he was starring opposite the incredibly talented Susan Sarandon. The film itself follows the love between Max and Nora, two people from very different walks of life and the emotional roller coaster that their relationship seems to take on. Spader shows the ennui of Baron and the pretentiousness of the character very effectively and the passionate scenes between Baron and Nora are brought to life by their acting.


10. Keys to Tulsa

Based on the novel of the same name, this film centers around the lives of a few people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Spader plays a similar role as he does in Less Than Zero. He is a drug dealer who extorts people – Ronnie Stover is the name of his character. Ronnie is a man who gets in over his head when he begins blackmailing the son of a socially prominent businessman. Spader can play mischievous characters to a fault and he does so with Ronnie’s character. A man who is up to no good and often finds himself in trouble, Ronnie’s persona is succinctly captured by Spader’s brilliance.


9. Boston Legal

Created once again by David E Kelley, this show is a spinoff of The Practice. While the previous show sees Alan Shore hiring Crane, Poole and Schmidt to represent him in a wrongful termination suit, this show starts with Alan and his paralegal friend Tara hired in Crane Poole and Schmidt as an associate and a paralegal respectively. James Spader of course reprises his role as Alan Shore and appears in 101 episodes throughout the series. Spader as I have discussed earlier was born to play this role and Shore matches Spader’s niche acting techniques – a lascivious character who enjoys making others uncomfortable but is deeply humane, deeply compassionate. The development of Shore’s character and his friendship with Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) is brought out beautifully by Spader and it comes as no surprise that Spader had the honor of winning two Primetime Emmy Awards for the same character in two different shows.


8. The Blacklist

Created by Jon Bokenkamp, this crime drama thriller stars James Spader as a US Naval Intelligence Officer by the name of Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington. Red turned at some point in his career and went to the dark side. However, it appears that he compiled a list of dangerous criminals and was offering his expertise to the FBI. A character who is as dangerous as enigmatic, Red resembles a snake very much in appearance and mannerisms. Cold, dead expressions, taking particular interest in one single individual, impenetrable but appearing friendly. Spader does a brilliant job at bringing the character to life having won two Golden Globe Awards for the same and this television show is definitely recommended to any fan of Spader’s works.


7. Avengers : Age of Ultron

Probably the most mainstream movie in James Spader’s career, it is a film where he voices the main antagonist. Spader doesn’t himself appear in the movie and it goes to speak volumes about his skills since he moderates and pitches his voice perfectly at all times to make Ultron the intimidating villain that opposes the Avengers. There is a kind of final fatality surrounding Ultron and Spader brings it out wonderfully. One only needs to recall the hint of evil and the potential of danger that is carried in Spader’s voice as he says ‘ I had strings / But now I’m free / There are no strings on me.’

Read More: Best Movies of Liam Neeson


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