His first real film was the very good boxing biopic Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, Robert Wise), where he uncredited plays a knife-wielding hooligan. But it was 1960, when he made The Magnificent Seven, that he became really big, and it lasted for 20 years until he died of cancer, only 50 years old. The Magnificent Seven was also the first time he worked with director John Sturges, and other films he was great in include The Great Escape (1963, also by Sturges), The Sand Pebbles (1965, Robert Wise again) and Bullitt (1968, Peter Yates), and somewhat different in The Reivers (1966, Mark Rydell), a comedy based on William Faulkner's last novel (Roger Ebert wrote at the time that the adaptation felt closer to Mark Twain).
But even if I don't have the same need for McQueen any more, every now and then I get the urge to see some of his films. Just to see him act. Or perhaps not act, but be. Here's a clip from Le Mans (1971), a great film, and this is one of those quotes I mentioned above:
Philosophy on film can take many different forms.