The Best Michael Biehn Movies: Our Picks

Michael Biehn is a fan-favorite actor whose performances are often wildly underrated. Here’s a list of our favorite Michael Biehn movies.

Last Updated on May 20, 2024

Michael Biehn movies

What more can be said about the great Michael Biehn? This Anniston, Alabama native (who also bounced through Lincoln, Nebraska and Lake Havasu City, Arizona while he was growing up, eventually attending the drama program at the University of Arizona) has been a part of most film fans’ lives for decades now and he seems to have no stopping in mind with a few films coming up soon. With one of these resumes that would make any actor jealous, there are a lot more Michael Biehn movies that are worth watching besides The Terminator and Aliens. He has shared screentime with everyone from Sigourney Weaver to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Kurt Russell to, well, you get the idea. Here are five of our favorite Michael Biehn films:  

The Terminator (1984) 

Michael biehn the terminator

An absolute classic with unforgettable performances, this film by a fairly new to the scene James Cameron was a big gamble to take on, but for all involved it was a great career launcher. While Biehn wasn’t entirely new to the scene (he had starred in the cult classic The Fan opposite Lauren Bacall), he wasn’t fully well-known at this point. The Terminator showed that he could act, handle action scenes and wouldn’t get overshadowed by his co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. His work here is more than solid, showing that he was a leading man just waiting to shine. Of course, the film became a huge hit and spawned a bunch of sequels, but this first instalment in the series is truly special and it really shows how talented Biehn has been since the start of his career. He should have gotten more lead roles in major productions.

Aliens (1986) 

corporal hicks

A couple of years later, and with a few more films on his resume, Biehn teamed back up with James Cameron for another epic science-fiction action film. Aliens was a film that expended the universe of the first, adding much more action, and bringing on a team of strong actors to create something truly special, a sequel as good as and potentially better than the original. Of course, fans will debate that until the cows come home, but really, it’s an excellent film. Biehn’s role as Corporal Hicks is one that is central to the film and helps ground it among the other performances. To note, Biehn was actually a last-minute replacement for James Rear, who was fired early on in the shoot. It’s hard to think of anyone else being as good as Hicks.

The Abyss (1989)

Michael biehn the abyss

Michael Biehn reteamed with James Cameron a few years later for his sci-fi epic, The Abyss, which shamefully has yet to be issued on Blu-ray, much less 4K (although that may soon change). Biehn doesn’t play the heroic lead this time, with an against-type Ed Harris assuming that role. Instead, Biehn plays the movie’s antagonist, Coffey, who gets “The Bends” and turns into a psycho villain that wants to launch a nuke into the new alien civilization the crew discovers in the depths of the ocean. This one helped proved Biehn could just as easily play baddies, and if you want to see more Biehn gone bad performances, check out The Fan from 1981.

K2 (1991) 

Michael biehn k2

A film some seem to have forgotten, K2 boasts a strong performance from Michael Biehn, giving him something quite different to work with in this sports film all about a team climbing K2 and encountering plenty of issues along the way. Here, Biehn is top-billed and he shows how he can truly be a leading man. His work is solid and gives his fans a lot of performance to bite into. His part as Taylor is central and it’s a terrific, underrated showcase for him. For those who have yet to see it, a fantastic performance awaits you. 

Tombstone (1993) 

Johnny ringo  tombstone

Now considered a classic of its genre, this western is filled to the brim with strong performances, boasting a cast of who’s who from the early 1990s with Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestley, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, and of course Michael Biehn. With a cast like this, standing out is difficult and not always the right way to go. Biehn takes his part of Johnny Ringo and brings him to life in a way that puts him in the spotlight at times, but also shows that he can be a team player when needed. His performance here steals a few scenes and really brings him up as an actor who can do anything he is given, from his early days in science-fiction, to action, to drama, to westerns. This performance showed that he was here to stay and so it was. His work coming through as one of the performances in the film is also something of a feat given the cast listed above as well as those not listed here. This is a film filled with amazing performances and having one of the memorable ones really reminds the viewer that Michael Biehn can really work with any part. 

Honorable Mention: Planet Terror (2007) 

Another science-fiction film with lots of action and a bit of horror, this one was released as part of Grindhouse as a double bill with Death Proof. In Planet Terror, Biehn plays Sheriff Hague, a man who has to deal with all that is going on as the town he works in is seemingly under attack after a bioweapon is released. This film is a nod to a bygone era of cinema, but it brings something extra. Biehn in his part appears and shows the audience that he can be the journeyman actor, the one with parts that don’t look like much at first, but who makes the most of it through his performance. In another film with a loaded cast, Biehn once again manages to steal some scenes, have an impact on the story and the audience, and leave a mark on those who have seen the film. In a film with everything and the kitchen sink thrown at the audience, having your performance remembered is no easy task, yet here is Michael Biehn making it look like a walk in the park. 

Of course, these are but 5 of Michael Biehn’s parts out of over 110 so far. The man seems to be unstoppable and open to just about any genre of part. His work is always stellar, so picking 5 favorites was not the easiest. His next film to come out looks to be the horror outing, The Red, although the part he’s playing is not clear yet. Whatever the case is, I’m sure he’ll be memorable in it.

What are your favorite Michael Biehn parts and films? Do you think Navy Seals should be on this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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