Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
Michael Douglas' first movie appearance comes with a touch of irony. Douglas' father, Kirk, was a Hollywood legend who did indeed cast a giant shadow. But Michael wasn't one to cower away in Oedipal fear, and instead he piggy-backed in the starry jaunt.
Kirk is celebrated military man 'Mickey' Marcus who becomes involved with the Israeli army during the 1948 conflict. John Wayne, Yul Brynner and Frank Sinatra fill out the cast, and Mike gets his first Hollywood cap as 'Jeep Driver'. Well, it's a start.
Smug Doug? Not much for Junior to be smug about here.
Hail, Hero! (1969)
After a brief appearance in an episode of CBS Playhouse , Douglas got his first lead role in Hail, Hero! He played Carl Dixon, an idealistic college student who quits his studies to join the war effort in Vietnam.
Another movie of father issues galore: Carl's 'make love, not war' approach doesn't go down well with his military pop. Douglas used this 'issues' movie to prove that he could actually act, and was a worthy offspring of Kirk.
Smug Doug? There is something self-satisfied about wide-eyed Carl, though his rebellious hairdo is worlds apart from the slick Douglas we're more familiar with.
Adam at Six A.M. (1970)
Another lead role for Douglas, and it echoes some of his later parts. He plays Adam, a young semantics professor at a California college who becomes disillusioned with his lifestyle.
He travels home to Missouri for a family funeral and decides to stay for the whole summer, during which time he works as a manual labourer and romances Jerri Jo Hopper (Lee Purcell). Douglas does a decent line in inner turmoil as he struggles to decide whether or not to return to his academic lifestyle.
Smug Doug? It's there in the burgeoning mullet and the womanising ways.
After another little TV part in The F.B.I. , Douglas was back in movies for Summertree . The Vietnam drama had similar themes to Hail, Hero! , and producer Kirk Douglas allegedly bought the rights to make the film as little Mikey had been fired from the stage version.
Douglas plays a down-on-his luck twenty-something, who tries various (unsuccessful) methods of dodging his draft.
Smug Doug? Not at all, as luckless Jerry faces bad times with his love affair, his 'little brother' and his musical education in a relentless run of poor fortune.
Napoleon and Samantha (1972)
After taking another couple of TV jobs, Douglas headlined this Disney family flick, though he had something of a superfluous role, playing second fiddle to a couple of journeying kids (Jodie Foster and Johnny Whitaker) and their pet lion.
The kids seek out Danny (Douglas), who lives in a cabin on a mountain, to help them out of a couple of scrapes.
Smug Doug? The wilderness man lifestyle leads to a bit of a rugged, holier-than-thou lifestyle, though he does do his best to help out the young nippers.
The Streets of San Francisco (1972-76)
This long running TV cop drama got Douglas his first signature role as Inspector Steve Keller. He was the young, inexperienced partner of Karl Malden's Lieutenant Stone, and Douglas praised Malden as a "mentor" on his death in July 2009.
During his time on the show, Douglas found time to produce his first movie: a little Jack Nicholson-starrer called One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which saw Douglas' name inscribed on the Best Picture Oscar).
Smug Doug? He clearly enjoyed playing the 'cocky young buck' half of the crime-solving odd couple.
Douglas starred as a surgery resident in this medical thriller from writer-director Michael Crichton. The Jurassic Park author adapted Robin Cook's novel, in which trainee doctor Susan Wheeler uncovers a major conspiracy at a Boston Hospital.
Susan's boyfriend, Mark Bellows (Douglas), is reluctant to believe her theories when she discovers that a number of healthy, young patients are becoming comatose during routine operations, but he eventually acts when his beloved gets into trouble.
Smug Doug? Casually confident at first, but not so chirpy when he discovers the missus was right...
The China Syndrome (1979)
Another paranoid thriller for Douglas, though this one tapped into fears of nuclear catastrophe. Jane Fonda is a dollybird news anchor, who hits on a potentially huge story of safety errors at a nuclear power plant.
Douglas sports a legendary beard-mullet combo as Fonda's cameraman, and Jack Lemmon gives a fine dramatic performances as a sweaty, overwrought plant supervisor who just might be able to blow the whistle on the Homer Simpson-esque safety risks.
Smug Doug? If you were rocking his 70s lion's mane, you'd be feeling pretty good about yourself.
Rocky with running! Douglas is down-on-his-luck marathon runner Michael Andropolis, striving to compete in the 1976 Olympics, largely to earn a bit of cash, and to win back the respect of his ex and their kids.
After fortuitously getting a place in the games when a qualified competitor suffers an injury, Andropolis must learn to temper his instincts and pace himself in order to win the race. Like Rocky, he loses the race, but proves his gutsiness.
Smug Doug? Not here. Perhaps he knew that running makes for inherently less exciting cinema than boxing.
It's My Turn (1980)
Proof that lame rom-coms are nothing new, It's My Turn is the tale of uptight professor Kate Gunzinger (Jill Clayburgh), who falls for loutish baseball player Ben Lewin (Douglas) after meeting him at her father's wedding. Problem is, she already has a boyfriend in the form of dweeby Homer (Charles Grodin).
Douglas and Grodin do elevate the material somewhat, but not to the point of making it recommendation-worthy.
Smug Doug? Yep, he clearly enjoys playing the seductive schlub.
The Star Chamber (1983)
Michael Douglas is an idealistic young judge in this thriller that could loosely be described as Judge Dredd in a real world context. Loosely.
Judge Hardin (Douglas) is dismayed to see two heinous crims get off the hook in a trial via an evidence technicality. A friend advises him on the 'Star Chamber', a secret group of judges who ensure that justice is meted out, and it's not long before Hardin is in over his head.
Smug Doug? More 'fraught and angsty' crusader here.
Romancing the Stone (1984)
Zemeckis' rompy adventure launched the golden period in Douglas' career, landing both director and star their first bona-fide blockbuster (with Michael apparently only getting the gig after Sly Stallone and Christopher Reeve passed).
Comparisons to Indy were inevitable, but Romancing the Stone has endured as a Sunday afternoon favourite over the years, not least due to the crackling chemistry between Douglas and Kathleen Turner, and Zemeckis' crowdpleasing sensibilities.
Smug Doug? The cocky adventurer is one of his most irrepressibly confident performances.
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
The success of Romancing saw a sequel follow extremely hot on its heels, although this time without Zemeckis at the helm, as he was off making Back to the Future .
Douglas, Turner and Danny DeVito are still good company, but this sequel feels like limp, lifeless retread of the first movie. It retains much of the Douglas-Turner chemistry, but everything else lacks spark. The boredom is made a little more awkward by some disquieting racial stereotyping.
Smug Doug? His contractually-obliged grin and swagger are put on display.
A Chorus Line (1985)
Richard Attenborough directed this exceptionally campy dance tale, which stars Dougie as a theatre director wrangling a bunch of young talents who are hoping to make it into the titular chorus line.
Complications ensue when one of Douglas' former flames makes it into his troupe. Some impressive choreography isn't really enough to make this trouble your 'must watch' list.
Smug Doug? More of a stern arrogance, as he's in Simon Cowell mode, berating the leotarded lovelies prancing about on his stage.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Michael Douglas was prime A-list when he made this steamy thriller. It was a huge hit, raking in $320m worldwide, and nabbing six Oscar noms.
Douglas is Dan Gallagher, a family man who cheats on his wife in a one-off encounter with Glenn Close's Alex Forrest. Douglas deftly switches from cool to crumbling when events turn sour, but it's Glenn Close's unhinged performance that'll stay with you.
Smug Doug? Considerably less pleased with himself once Alex cranks her revenge scheme into motion.
Wall Street (1987)
Gordon Gecko is still widely regarded as Michael Douglas' signature role (the actor returns to play him again in this year's sequel).
Gecko chomps cigars, champions greed and crushes businesses for sport, taking Charlie Sheen's innocent (read: weak-willed) Bud Fox under his wing for some insider trading.
The slimy power-yuppie's name has become the byword for 80s excess, but so charismatic was Douglas' performance that many wannabe stockbrokers were actually encouraged by his antics.
Smug Doug? Never more so...
Black Rain (1989)
Michael Douglas was in action man mode for Black Rain , one of the lesser-known films in director Ridley Scott's canon. Nick Conklin (Douglas) is an NYPD officer who, along with his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia), is tasked with returning a Yakuza member back to Japan.
The criminal escapes and goes on the run as soon as he is on his home turf, leaving Conklin and Vincent to hunt him down, and delve ever deeper into the murky Japanese underworld.
Smug Doug? Douglas' motorcycling cop wears a permanent scowl throughout his Japanese adventure.
The War of the Roses (1989)
Douglas, Turner and DeVito were reunited again for this terminally black comedy about a couple whose relationship goes down the pan. Barbara and Oliver Rose meet under romantic circumstances, fall in love, and slowly grow to despise each other.
This refreshingly dark film (directed by DeVito) once again relishes in the Douglas-Turner chemistry, while taking it to disturbingly-violent new levels. DeVito plays Oliver's lawyer friend, who recounts the tale of the Roses to a client considering divorce.
Smug Doug? Marital tensions quickly see Douglas' cool demeanour become dishevelled.
Shining Through (1992)
This poorly-received period thriller cast Melanie Griffith opposite Douglas. He plays attorney-cum-OSS colonel Ed Leland, she plays his assistant and translator whose German language skills come in handy when Ed needs some help investigating a murder in wartime Berlin.
Douglas and Griffith don't do enough to make the improbable series of events even remotely plausible, and, for co-star Liam Neeson, this makes for a poor contrast with Schindler's List .
Smug Doug? He doesn't exactly look like he's having the time of his life here.
Basic Instinct (1992)
Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller sounds like something that you'd find if you were doing some late night channel-hopping, but decent performances and tense plotting keep it very watchable.
Sharon Stone gave a career-defining performance as author, hedonist and possible murderer Catherine Trammell. Douglas is Nick Curran, the put-upon, pullover-wearing cop who ends up balls-deep in the case. A textbook guilty pleasure.
Smug Doug? Only when he's getting his end away…
Falling Down (1993)
Up there with Gecko in the ranks of Douglas' most memorable performances is William 'D-Fens' Foster. He's a stressed out, unemployed divorcee who, spurred on by a sweaty traffic jam, decides to take action against the society that he feels has wronged him, during the course of one long, hot day.
He administers his own brand of skewed justice to shopkeepers, gang members, neo-Nazis and fast food outlets. Robert Duvall is the pursuing copper who's in for a particularly memorable last day on the job.
Smug Doug? No, this is Douglas at his most fraught and delusional.
You could (very tenuously) call this the final part of a Douglas vs Sexually Predatory Women trilogy. Sadly this effort can't hold a candle to either Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct .
Tom Sanders (Douglas) is surprised when his ex, Meredith (Demi Moore), beats him to a promotion. After he spurns her advances, she tries to set him up for sexual harassment, destroying his life in the process. With the only chance of help an anonymous emailer, this is Douglas at his most neutered.
Smug Doug? Not while the events were transpiring, but you can imagine him telling the tale with relish at future opportunities.
The American President (1995)
This was written by Aaron Sorkin before he hit big with The West Wing (and much before he was grabbing plaudits galore for this month's The Social Network ). Rob Reiner was at the helm of this old-school charmer in which the widowed leader of the US (Douglas) tries to juggle romancing environmental lobbyist Annette Bening with running the country.
Sorkin and Reiner bring depth and class to this unfailingly pleasant tale, and Douglas and Bening provide bags of charm to hold everything together.
Smug Doug? He'd get our vote…
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
Based on the true story of African railway workers who were killed by marauding lions at the end of the 19th century. Douglas plays Charles Remington, a game hunter called in to help engineer John Henry Patterson (Val Kilmer) with his feline problem.
Douglas has fun with the pulpy material, but he apparently requested that his enigmatic character have a bigger role and more backstory, much to the chagrin of screenwriter William Goldman.
Smug Doug? He's pretty confident in his hunting abilities.
The Game (1997)
David Fincher's Se7en follow-up sees Douglas as super-wealthy financier Nicholas, who receives a gift voucher for a game from mysterious company Consumer Recreation Services.
At first he seems to enjoy this exciting twist in his life, until he realises that CRS is after his cash and it becomes impossible to distinguish his real life from the game. Douglas turns in a measured, subtle performance, veering between cold isolation and suffocating panic without the need for histrionics.
Smug Doug? Anyone regularly described as 'the man who has everything' will likely be a little self-satisfied.
A Perfect Murder (1998)
Michael Douglas got in on the Hitchcock remaking game with this one. He was playing it incredibly wealthy again as Steven Taylor, an industrialist who discovers that his hot young wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) is having an affair.
Rather than simply confronting her, the cuckold hires her lover (Viggo Mortensen) to off her in exchange for a stack of cash. Could it be that Taylor has eyes on inheriting her trustfund? A Perfect Murder is hardly one for the ages, but it rattles along decently enough if you need to kill a couple of hours.
Smug Doug? Sinisterly so.
Wonder Boys (2000)
Douglas acted his age as bumbling professor (and block-stricken novelist) Grady Tripp.
The marijuana-smoking literary professor is struggling to come up with an ending to his second novel, following the wide acclaim that his first received. His love life is in total disarray, and he's also dealing with troubled students Katie Holmes and Tobey Maguire.
The top notch cast (Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr) ably support Douglas in this affective adaptation of Michael Chabon's character-led novel.
Smug Doug? This is a rare, and very welcome, change of pace.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones both appear in Steven Soderbergh's multilayered, Oscar-netting drug drama, although they don't actually share any screentime.
Douglas plays a judge tasked with tackling the drug problem on a nationwide scale, and he struggles to hold it together when he learns that his daughter is addicted to cocaine. Zeta-Jones is the well-kept trophy wife who discovers her husband has been getting all of his dosh from drug running. Soderbergh darts in an out of the various social strata affected with dazzling fluidity.
Smug Doug? Nah, this is subtly-cracking-under-the-pressure Doug.
One Night at McCool's (2001)
Douglas, who also produces here, is on fine form in a supporting role in this multiple-perspective comedy that plays something like Carry On Rashomon .
Three variously-deluded blokes recount their evening spent with Jewel (a never-more-seductive Liv Tyler), with comically disparate results. Michael Douglas quiffs it up to the max as a sleazy hitman, hired by barkeep Randy (Matt Dillon) to dispatch his woman trouble.
Smug Doug? Hell yeah, he's clearly loving the chance to cut loose in a secondary role.
Don't Say a Word (2001)
This so-so thriller pits Michael Douglas' child psychiatrist Nathan Conrad against Sean Bean's jewel thief, when the latter needs the doc to crack into Brittany Murphy's head (not literally) and retrieve a vital six-digit code.
It's a mightily silly premise, and it ends up acting as a distancer rather than a hook. The cast are fine (Bean and Murphy are always good value), but there is nothing to lift this thriller above the humdrum.
Smug Doug? Too bored to try it on.
It Runs in the Family (2003)
After returning to TV for a couple of years, and picking up an Emmy nom for a guest role on Will & Grace , Mike got the chance to work with his dad, mum and son in this comedy.
Seeing Kirk and Michael onscreen together is likely to be the only reason you'd even consider catching this, as you certainly aren't going to get any other form of enjoyment out of it: this lame laugh-void doesn't distinguish itself from the countless comedies that have half-heartedly tried to insert the word fun into 'dysfunctional'…
Smug Doug? There's three generations worth of the Douglas grin in this one.
The In-Laws (2003)
It's hard to imagine that anyone was begging to see Douglas in another family comedy after the mediocrity of It Runs in the Family . One can only surmise that Douglas took this project on so that during a retrospective of his career, it would make the former look a little more appealing.
Douglas is an undercover CIA agent, whose son (Ryan Reynolds) is marrying Albert Brooks' daughter. The two mismatched dads end up on the run from the FBI in this woefully unfunny comedy.
Smug Doug? He can smirk all he wants, we're not buying it.
The Sentinel (2006)
After a poor run, Douglas took a much needed break, but he didn't exactly return to prime form. The Sentinel is as rote an action thriller as you're likely to see. Playing a presidential bodyguard who is framed for an assassination attempt, Douglas' attempt to shift back into action man mode has him coming across as Jason Bourne's frisky great-uncle.
Douglas is more convincing than he has any right to be, but as genre cinema this is forgettable stuff.
Smug Doug? He's not looking so chipper when he's got Jack Bauer on his tail.
You, Me and Dupree (2006)
Be thankfully for this one then. Despite the mediocre quality of the project as a whole, the irritating house-guest comedy gets an appreciated boost by a back-on-form Dougie.
As the boss of his daughter's hubby, Douglas gets some of the movie's best moments, enjoying the chance to smarm it up to the max whilst irritating the hell out of Matt Dillon's exasperated newlywed.
Smug Doug? He's off the leash here.
King of California (2007)
Alexander Payne produced this indie com starring Michael Douglas as Charlie, a recently discharged mental patient who disrupts the life of his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) when he comes to stay with her.
He is obsessed with finding buried treasure, and believes that the mother lode he is looking for may just be under the local Costco. As an examination of mental illness, it's pure froth, but Douglas is game as the deluded but loveable oldie.
Smug Doug? Not really, though he has every reason to be proud of that beard.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
This remake of the 1956 Fritz Lang thriller is thoroughly daft stuff. Desperate Housewives star Jesse Metcalfe stars as C.J., a TV reporter looking for a big break. Michael Douglas is District Attorney Mark Hunter, and C.J. suspects him of tampering with evidence to put innocent people away (seemingly for the hell of it).
With Metcalfe ostensibly the leading man, it's a welcome relief whenever Douglas is on screen, but even his presence doesn't do much to elevate this intelligence-insulting hokey.
Smug Doug? It's the return of the sinisterly smug Doug.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)
Douglas was the standout in the Matthew McConaughey Dickens redo. He sleazes it up royally as the ghostly uncle of McConaughey's heartless lothario (he's basically the new Jacob Marley), not afraid to send up his image by going 'full Hef' for the role.
Interest spikes whenever he's on screen, adding a genuinely funny note to the occasionally sickly sweet confection. Jennifer Garner and Emma Stone are also pretty decent in it as well, so it's mostly McConaughey who lets the side down.
Smug Doug? Ghostliness gives him the creative license to go all out.
Solitary Man (2009)
Not to be confused with Tom Ford's A Single Man , Douglas has no problems playing with his public persona in this well-cast 'dramedy' (sorry). He's a successful car magnate who finds his life taking a nosedive when his 'romantic indiscretions' get the better of him.
Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg, Mary-Louise Parker and old chum Danny DeVito are among the supporting players in his life, but make no mistake, this is the Michael Douglas show.
Smug Doug? It's a credit to Douglas' charm that he makes sure this shameful cad is always likeable.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
After years of rumours (followed by months of postponement) Michael Douglas is finally returning to his signature, Oscar-winning role: Gordon Gekko. It's 2008, and after a long spell in prison, Gekko has had plenty of time to think about the error of his ways.
He tries to warn the financial community of the impending disaster, while simultaneously aiming at a reconciliation with his daughter (Carey Mulligan), via her trader boyfriend Shia LaBeouf.
Check out the Total Film review here .