Happy Birthday Robert Redford!

Birthday: August 18, 1936

Age: 82

Zodiac Sign: Leo

We’re all collectively wishing Robert Redford the happiest of birthdays! After all, you only turn 82 once.

With 78 acting credits, 10 director credits, and 50 producer credits, Redford is an accomplished Hollywood legend. Not to mention his achievements with his non-profit organization, Sundance Institute, as well as the internationally recognized Sundance Film Festival. Outside of film, Redford surrounds himself with family and the breathtaking backdrop of Mt. Timpanogos at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Notably, Redford has been a Utah resident for almost 60 years.

Since we are celebrating Robert Redford’s momentous birthday, we are going to recognize three of his made-in-Utah motion pictures as well as his altruistic dedication to the arts.

1. Downhill Racer (1969)

Downhill Racer, directed by Michael Ritchie, highlights a budding Redford as a U.S. ski team downhill racer who clashes with the team’s coach. The duration of the film is brimming with stimulating action sequences and sensational scenery. Downhill Racer was filmed on location in Switzerland, France, Colorado, and Utah (specifically, the Sundance Mountain Resort).

Robert Redford during the filming of Downhill Racer (1969)©The Criterion Collection

       2. Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

The iconic hit, Jeremiah Johnson features Robert Redford as a rugged mountain man living and fighting for his life in the isolated and snowy Rocky Mountains. Directed by Sydney Pollack, the film highlights the geographic location of Mt. Timpanogos. Additional Utah filming locations include Snow Canyon State Park, Ashley National Forest, Zion National Park, Uinta National Forest, Leeds, and St. George.

Robert Redford during the filming of Jeremiah Johnson (1972)©IMDB

       3. Electric Horseman (1979)

Sydney Pollack directed another fantastic feature starring Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, and the thoroughbred horse, Let’s Merge. Redford, a rodeo star past his prime, steals his company’s horse and rides off into the desert. Fonda, a feisty television reporter, follows in tow. Gratifyingly, Redford purchased Let’s Merge, the horse from Electric Horseman. Redford brought Let’s Merge to his home at Sundance where the two spent an additional 18 years together.  

Robert Redford and his horse, Let’s Merge©Horse and Hound

With the help of a few friends, Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute in 1981. His true allegiance was rooted in his artist residency programs known as the Sundance Filmmaker Labs. Redford was committed to the growth of independent artists to aid in the cultivation of storytelling. In June of 1981, Robert Redford, Sterling Van Wagenen, and a few staff members produced the first Filmmaker Lab. In addition to the Filmmaker Labs, Sundance Institute took over the US Film Festival in 1984 and rebranded as the Sundance Film Festival in 1991.

Robert Redford and Sterling Van Wagenen photographed at the Sundance Mountain Resort

We will always cherish Robert Redford for his enthusiasm for positive-change, storytelling, equality, and of course, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The list goes on!

Syd Smoot is the Film Office Coordinator at the Utah Film Commission.  She’s a Utah native and film fanatic.

For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at filmpress@utah.gov.