Sean Astin, best known for his roles in Lord of the Rings and The Goonies, is a beloved actor, producer, and director, who has been acting ever since he was just 10 years old. Since then, he has managed to rack up more than 160 acting credits under his belt, in a very impressive filmography. The actor is adored for sharing his heart in every role he plays, and for making audiences immediately fall in love with the actor and any character in which he portrays.
Born February 25th, 1971, in Santa Monica, California, Sean Astin has been acting his whole life. Being born into an acting family, with his parents being well-known actors, made it fairly easy for Astin to get into the industry very early on in his life. His parents were Hollywood actors Patty Duke and John Astin; many other members of his family were also well regarded actors, including his uncle Ray Duke; his brother Mackenzie Astin, and his daughter Ali Astin.
The actor’s debut was on the TV show, Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom, in 1981, where he played a child with an abusive mother, portrayed by his real-life mom, Patty Duke. Soon after, in 1985, Sean Astin landed his first feature film role with the Richard Donner classic, The Goonies. This led to a very successful acting career, starring in classics like, Rudy, Toy Soldiers, 50 First Dates, and more recently, Stranger Things. So, with a very successful acting career under his belt, let’s take a look at Sean Astin’s best performances.
6 White Water Summer (1987)
In this 1987 summer flick, Sean Astin stars as Alan Block, a quiet and timid teenager who is sent to summer camp by his parents. Alan Block is the narrator to his own story, similar to Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; breaking the fourth wall to directly tell the audience the story. While the film wasn’t very successful on release, with the film receiving fairly negative reviews, Sean Astin still gained a lot of praise for his performance in the lead role.
White Water Summer follows Alan Block, a quiet and geeky teenager from New York, who is convinced by his parents to spend his summer at a summer camp with a hardcore and experienced wilderness guide, Vic (Kevin Bacon).
5 50 First Dates (2004)
Starring as Doug Whitmore, a lisping, steroid-dependent bodybuilder, Sean Astin delivers a hilarious performance as the arrogant brother to Drew Barrymore’s character. Sean Astin brings his usual heart and charisma to the role, making us fall in love with the character. In a film with lots of fun characters and many hilarious actors, who are frequent Sandler collaborators, Sean Astin makes the character of Doug a fan favorite and beloved character.
50 First Dates Follows Henry (Adam Sandler) a playboy vet who sets his heart on romancing Lucy (Drew Barrymore). Upon finding out that Lucy has short term memory loss, where she must re-live the same day over and over, Henry must find a way to woo her again and again.
4 Rudy (1993)
Sean Astin delivers an exceptional performance as the lead role in this sports biopic, bringing his usual charisma and impeccable acting chops to the role. The film is hailed as one of the most inspiring movies of all time. With Astin’s infectious performance in the lead role, he makes every time we see the character fail so heart-wrenching, but seeing the character triumph feels incredibly rewarding, and will make you feel proud. Astin’s performance cements Rudy as one of the best sports films ever made.
Releasing in 1993, Rudy follows the real life story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who has dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame, but has many obstacles he must first overcome before achieving his dreams.
3 Stranger Things (2016-Present)
Astin’s performance as Bob Newby, Joyce’s boyfriend in season two, quickly made Bob one of the most beloved characters on the show. As perhaps one of the purest characters on television, Astin brings much depth, demonstrating the character’s purity and big heart, which made fans fall instantly in love with him. This made Bob’s death towards the end of season two so heartbreaking, and left every single fan with tears in their eyes.
Stranger Things season two sees Will Byers being tormented by a giant tentacled creature known as the Mind Flayer. This reunites the group back together to solve the latest mystery about the upside down and save Hawkins from the Mind Flayer.
2 The Goonies (1985)
As Astin’s first feature film, audiences immediately fell in love with his portrayal as the adorable, charming, and adventurous Mikey. While being only 13 years old, Astin delivers a performance more engaging and endearing than many well-respected and famous actors at the time. The Goonies made Sean Astin a star, and opened the door to many more groundbreaking and beloved roles, and a very successful filmography.
This 1985 Richard Donner classic follows a group of kids, who attempt to save their town from foreclosure; while doing so, they find a map that leads them on a dangerous and exciting mission to find the treasure of the legendary 17th century pirate, One-Eyed Willy.
1 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
Starring as Samwise Gamgee, the kind-hearted, pure, and loyal Hobbit, Sean Astin delivers a performance with so much heart, that it made Samwise become one of the most beloved characters in fiction. As one of the best characters in the trilogy, Sam is a true friend to Frodo, and the best companion anyone can ask for. Sam is Frodo’s source of hope; constantly talking about the journey back home after they destroy the one ring, and finally marrying the love of his life; Rose. Sean Astin’s performance elevates the character from being an annoying and overbearing Hobbit, in which at times the film wants you to believe, but instead, makes the character lovable, and a true friend we all wish we had.
The Lord of the Rings follows a fellowship of courageous warriors, wizards, and Hobbits, as they set out on a quest to destroy the one ring that has brought darkness and death into the world of Middle Earth.