Kevin Costner has an IMDB other actors could only dream of. His run of movies in the 1980s and 1990s garnered near-universal acclaim and several awards, including Best Picture and Best Director Academy Award wins alongside a Best Actor nomination for Dances With Wolves.
But that stardom meant doing a TV show back then simply wasn’t on the cards for Costner. That all changed in the 2010s, culminating with a star performance on Yellowstone. So with such a vast catalogue of genuinely excellent work to choose from it felt time to put together a list of essential Kevin Costner viewing.
Here’s a list of TV shows and movies you can watch right now starring Kevin Costner, all available on the best streaming services out there.
Kevin Costner’s first massive hit comes alongside a star-studded cast in The Untouchables. This Brain De Palma crime film is based on the true story of how Eliot Ness (Costner) and his team “The Untouchables” ultimately took down Chicago crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Aside from Costner and De Niro, the cast also includes Sean Connery as Agent James “Jim” Malone and Andy Garcia as Agent Giuseppe "George Stone" Petri.
Okay, when I said “based on a true story,” I should have also added loosely. While Ness did help bring down Capone, most of this movie is inaccurate or just outright fictional. But that doesn’t stop it from being a great movie with some memorable moments and memorable lines. Plus it's a great entry point for any budding Costner fan.
Watch on Paramount Plus
Dances with Wolves
If The Untouchables is the start of Kevin Costner’s stardom then Dances with Wolves is undoubtedly the peak. Released in 1990, this movie is a sprawling (three hours!) Western based on the 1988 novel of the same name. It follows United States Army Lt. John J. Dunbar’s journey as a Civil War veteran who wants to see the wild, untamed western frontier before it disappears. Ultimately though, it's a tale that sheds light on the tragic end of the Great Plains Native American cultures, specifically the Lakota Sioux
Dance with Wolves went on to be a smash hit, grossing $424.2 million and accumulating numerous awards — including 12 Oscar nominations. It would go on to win seven of those, including Costner’s only Academy Awards to date. Its reception from critics and audiences has some nuance, primarily the “white savior” character that is Costner’s Dunbar but also the lack of depth in how it covers the Lakota Sioux culture, but overall it is still considered an important film well worth watching provided you have several hours to spare.
Watch on Prime Video
When it comes to TV shows starring Kevin Costner, pickings are slim. But what he does act in, tends to turn to gold. And Yellowstone is no exception. This show kicked off the Sheridan-verse that includes 1883 and more and while it’s not always the favorite of critics it is beloved by fans.
Yellowstone follows the lives of the Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton III (Kevin Costner). Over the course of five seasons, Yellowstone follows the Dutton family as they fight to keep the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch alive and safe from outsiders. With the final six episodes set to air later this year, catch up now so you’re ready for the end of this acclaimed series.
Watch on Peacock
Hatfields and McCoys
The lone other entry of note on Kevin Costner’s TV filmography, this History Channel miniseries tells the famous — or infamous — tale of two Appalachian clans fighting out a blood feud across generations. This six-hour, three-episode epic covers the decades-long feud with Kevin Costner playing Willam Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Bill Paxton playing rival Randolph "Randall" McCoy.
The dramatization got decent reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were much more receptive, giving it an 88% audience score. And with six hours of history, blood, sex and violence, what’s not to love, right? Plus, aside from Yellowstone, it’s the only other way to experience Costner the TV star rather than Costner the movie star — though if we’re being honest this is almost a trilogy of movies as much as a miniseries.
Watch on Netflix
Following the success of Dances with Wolves, Costner followed up with the box office hit, but critically maligned Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and JFK — Oliver Stone’s political thriller examining the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In JFK, Costner plays district attorney Jim Garrison, who becomes increasingly convinced that the assassination of the president was killed in part of a greater conspiracy to enrich the military-industrial complex.
While Costner is great in JFK — he would get a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Garrison — the rest of the cast is loaded. I genuinely cannot list all the big names here, but some of the highlights are Kevin Bacon as Willie O’Keefe, Gary Oldman as Lee Harvey Oswald and Tommy Lee Jones in an Oscar-nominated performance as Clay Shaw. Aside from Dances with Wolves, this is possibly the most prestigious movie in Costner’s filmography and it’s not one to be missed.
Watch on Max
Before playing a baseball fan in Field of Dreams, Costner played a baseball player in Bull Durham. One of the greatest sports movies of all time, Bull Durham gets its name from the real-life minor league baseball team the Durham Bulls. Costner plays Lawrence "Crash" Davis, a career journeyman who is sent to Durham to fix the pitching of rookie sensation Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh (Tim Robbins).
But what makes Bull Durham so special is it’s also an excellent romantic comedy. The love triangle between Crash, Nuke and Annie Savoy, a “baseball groupie” played by Susan Sarandon is as much a part of what makes Bull Durham great as the actual baseball. If The Untouchables began Costner’s rise to stardom, Bull Durham cemented him as someone who can be the leading man in any film.
Watch on Max
Field of Dreams
Of course, you can’t have a list of Kevin Costner movies without including Field of Dreams. While not my favorite on the list, or even my favorite baseball movie on the list (see above), Field of Dreams is undeniably a classic. “If you build it, he will come” is probably one of the most quoted — and misquoted — lines in movie history.
Unlike in Bull Durham, Costner isn’t playing a pro here. Instead, he plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer with regrets about his poor relationship with his baseball-loving father. One night, he hears the now-famous words “If you build it, he will come” in his head and from there, the movie turns into a sentimental fantasy espousing the glory and importance of baseball but also family. Despite its sappiness at times though, it’s beloved for a reason and you’ll definitely need to watch it to complete your Kevin Costner experience.
Watch on Peacock