3. The Quick and the Dead (1995)
This didn't really hit the right note at the box office despite its high power cast, but I have to put it in the top 3 Raimi movies, maybe because it is so unlike other Raimi films yet combines all three of the best qualities of a director already mentioned; working with actors, innovating camera shots and telling a good story visually. This 1995 western featured a current and future all-star cast; Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Lance Hendriksen, and Gary Sinise. Made with $32 million, it brought in half that at the box office. Men just weren't ready for a girl gunfighter (Sharon Stone) to go against type-cast by doing something that didn't directly involve her already over-exposed vagina. Yet Stone does an impressive turn in this classic cowboy revenge story. Out to avenge the death of her daddy (Gary Sinise), she rides into Gene Hackman's kingdom to enter the annual gunfighter's duel put on for his amusement. Gene Hackman has his own problems, finding that his son (DiCaprio) has decided to earn his father's respect by also entering the contest. In a tournament that guarantees that at least one opponent must leave either dead or mortally wounded, this movie does an excellent job of maintaining the storyline, building suspense and according to Campbell's If Chins Could Kill, establishes that Raimi could more than hold his own in dealing with the giant Hollywood ego that was Gene Hackman. Despite internet rumors, this appears to be the only Raimi film that does not have his Delta 88 make a cameo (for obvious reasons, you'll agree).