Best Brad Pitt Movies of All Time
After starting out in small roles in several obscure films and TV series, Pitt got his first big break in the runaway hit, Thelma & Louise, in 1991. As JD, the one night love interest of Thelma (Geena Davis), Pitt excited women the world over with his carefree, handsome good looks. He was able to parlay that part into a leading role the following year in Robert Redford's epic, A River Runs Through It. It was Pitt's outstanding portrayal, as a reckless dreamer who never grew up, that catapulted him into star status. The benefit of working with Redford in an early role had to help Pitt decipher the best roles as he became inundated with opportunities after this film.
Brad Pitt has evolved over the years into a serious actor with the ability to portray a wide range of roles. He is not typecast into any one genre as he can be found in dramas, action films, suspense thrillers, comedies, historical epics and even a couple of animated films. He has been able to portray the gritty nature of a villain, such as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, as well as the touchingly poignant, protagonist, Benjamin Buttons, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.
Everyone has their favorite Brad Pitt movies, but this ranking of the best Brad Pitt Films is based on the rankings of members at Rankography best movies which includes movie bloggers and other serious movie fans. After the Top Ten Brad Pitt Movies, you will find the full Brad Pitt Filmography and you can vote for your favorite of the rest of Pitt's movies.
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10. Burn After Reading (2008)
Another Coen Brothers Black Comedy of Epic Proportions
The film opens with the humiliating demotion of CIA analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) due to alcoholism. Steaming with fury, he decides to write a potentially damning tell all memoir. Unbeknownst to Cox, his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) is having an affair with a womanizing, but married Treasury agent, Harry (George Clooney), who meets his women through internet dating services.
When Osborne accidentally loses a CD containing all of Cox's data, including notes for his memoir, at a Georgetown gym, two gym employees, Chad (Brad Pitt) and Linda (Frances McDormand), hatch a plan to blackmail the CD's owner for a cash reward. However, capers are never simple and even less so when our villians are haplessly stupid. Their schemes degrade into a spectacularly funny series of mishaps for the cast of this caper comedy.
Burn After Reading is a snappy dark comedy that may lack the sharp edges of a Fargo but the sheer talent of the cast and the interesting look at the "internet age", held this film together and made it a critic favorite.
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9. A River Runs Through It (1992)
A Film about Family in Big Sky Montana
Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul Maclean (Brad Pitt) grow up in Montana in the early years of this century under the supervision of their stern Presbyterian-minister father (Tom Skerritt) whose passion for fly fishing teaches his sons to be reverent about the wonders of nature. While Norman is a responsible, grounded person who ends up as a college professor, Paul is a reckless carouser, with a passion for drinking, women and gambling. Paul becomes a Journalist but he also goes on repeated benders in which he disappears for days at a time. The film focuses on the importance of love between family members and spiritual solace in nature.
Director Robert Redford (also the Narrator) perfectly conveys the depth of a story as Paul spins out of control and Rev Maclean struggles to understand what he did wrong and how his boys could become so different. Sheffer and Pitt both give outstanding performances, but it was Tom Skerritt's portrayal of the strict, yet loving father, that really brings home the drama of the film.
River was nominated for three Academy Awards and won one for Best Cinematography. This is one of the best Brad Pitt movies and should be a must see film for any Pitt fan.
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8. Snatch (2000)
The Witless Capers of a Band of Misfit Gangsters and Crooks
Snatch has the same outrageously creative style that Ritchie brought to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, yet looks at a different sub-sect of the seedy underbelly of London. Turkish is an unlicensed fight promoter who partners with Tommy (Stephen Graham), a slot machine operator. When the duo attempt to fix a fight for local gangster, Brick Top (Alan Ford), things go horribly wrong which sets off a chain of disasters involving all of the cast.
Much like his first film, Snatch showcased Ritchie's ability to combine an intriguing complex storyline, with interesting visuals and clever, hilarious dialogue. Like its predecessor, this is a non-stop action thriller with a funny cast of low-level misfit gangsters and crooks. If you have not seen these two first films buy Ritchie, put them on your list to see -- you won't be disappointed.
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7. Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons (2008)
A Fantastical Tale but Delivered with Epic Human Drama
Born as an arthritic 80-year-old man, Button (Brad Pitt) is left on the steps of a retirement home by his biological father after his mother died in childbirth. He is taken in and raised by the kind nurse, Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). While in the home, he meets Daisy (Cate Blanchett) whose aging mother is staying in the same care facility. Their relationship develops over time as Benjamin gets stronger, and younger, as the year passes. The couple meet in the middle of their lives and embarked on romantic bliss, but due to Benjamin's continued descent into childhood and Daisy's inevitable aging, they are forced to separate.
The special effects to create the old and young Benjamin Button are a true breakthrough in visual filmmaking. Pitt and Blanchett are able to portray the subtle humanity and mental anguish in their roles that help us to empathize with plight of the characters. The story is poignant and rich, if not a little overstuffed with sympathy. But Button is ultimately an epic fantasy tale for all ages.
The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Fincher) and Best Actor (Pitt). It won three Oscars for Best Make-up, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.
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6. Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Probably the Best Modern Heist Comedy Film
Together, Ocean and Ryan begin assembling a team of experts to pull off this epic heist. The band of outlaws includes the son of a legendary thief, Linus (Matt Damon), an explosives expert, Basher (Don Cheadle), a brother duo of talented mechanics and hilarious arguing snipers (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan), a casino insider and card dealer, Frank (Bernie Mac), an talented acrobat, Yen (Shaobo Qin) and an elderly confidence man, Saul (Carl Reiner). An old friend, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould), a former casino owner, agrees to finance the operation as he is seeking revenge against the target, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Along the way, we find out there is an ulterior motive to Ocean's casino target, Benedict is dating his ex-wife, Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts)
The film is brilliant both for its high stakes heist planning and suspense, as it is for its understated sense of humor. It is one of those films where you wish you could simply hang out with this group of misfits for the weekend because the fun and laughs would seem to be nonstop. Pitt and Clooney's on-screen chemistry work to give the film its slick entertainment value. With the powerhouse ensemble, smart dialogue, intriguing plot and quick pace, it's no wonder that this Brad Pitt movie grossed over $450 million worldwide.
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5. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
One of the Legendary Vampire Movies
Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) is a 200 year old vampire who tells his life story to a reporter named Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater). In 1791 after losing his wife and daughter to sickness, Louis wanted to end his life but instead of finding death, he stumbled upon Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise), a vampire who made him choose between death and eternal life (but with a catch the constant need to hunt for blood). Louis chose the latter and lived to regret it.
Brad Pitt performs well as the sometimes befuddled, sometimes vengeful Louis. Tom Cruise gave life to Lestat with just the right mix of flippancy and dark humor. But it was Kirsten Dunst who stole the show as 6 year old child, Claudia, who has been turned by Lestat to give Louis a companion. Her acting was beyond her years as she portrayed all the emotions of an adult woman trapped in a child's body with such finesse and conviction.
The movie reinvents vampire lore, with Anne Rice being dubbed the mother of the modern vampire and director Neil Jordan mixing the right amount of atmosphere and tone to create a fabulous adaptation. Interview with the Vampire was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Original Score.
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4. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
A Complex Sci Fi Thriller with Surprises Throughout
Cole is first mistakenly sent to 1990, where he was pronounced clinically insane and then to the trenches of the First World War, before finally landing in 1996. During his time travels, he meets Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), a psychologist that first thought Cole was delusional but eventually helped him with his mission and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), a schizophrenic, animal rights activist who turns out to be the leader of the subversive Army of The 12 Monkeys, the organization that is thought of to be responsible in the release of the virus.
The thriller is the perfect genre for Bruce Willis and he is as focused and intense as ever in 12 Monkeys. And for Brad Pitt, despite all his outstanding films this was the first Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actor) as a schizophrenic mental patient. Twelve Monkeys is a satisfying, complex and thoroughly engaging post-apocalyptic thriller.
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3. Inglourious Basterds (2010)
Tarantino's Distinctive Take on War Movies
As their legend grows, they also gain notoriety and the ire of the Nazi superiors who put the sadistic Col Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) on the hunt to find the Basterds. He is relentless and eventually successful in capturing Raine, but that is when things get really interesting. I can't reveal anymore without spoiling the ending of the film.
Inglorious Basterds is more than just a fantasy revenge tale of Jews against the Nazis, it is more than just a story about a person or a group, and this is what sets it apart from the plethora of WWII-themed movies. In true Tarantino style, it starts with a basic premise but over time deeper and deeper layers of sub-plot are revealed. This is one of the must see Brad Pitt movies.
The film has Tarantino's trademark of gory details and meaty dialogues. His script oozes with sharp tension, intelligence, dark humor and wit that will not fail to enchant the audience. Although megastar Pitt gets top billing, the Austrian Waltz is brilliant in the film.
The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and Waltz won the Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Col Landa.
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2. Se7en (1995)
A Serial Killer Uses the Bible for his Script
The old cop/new cop theme may be a little overused but it is highly successful in this film as the two officers learn from each other and the duo are needed for the shocking finale to this twisted serial killer movie. After the second murder is committed, the two cops realize that the killer is murdering people according to the seven deadly sins mentioned in the Bible: Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride and Lust.
Director David Fincher successfully created a feeling of unease throughout the whole film with interesting camera angles and disturbing graphic imagery. The pure, unadulterated visceral thrill of Se7en is so intense that the images linger in your brain even days after seeing it. The leads both provide top notch performances. Freeman sustains his position as one of Hollywood's greatest talents and Pitt continues to impress with his growing maturity as an actor. Kevin Spacey also gives us an amazing performance as John Doe, the mentally deranged serial killer.
This is definitely one of the best Brad Pitt films. Se7en was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing.
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1. Fight Club (1999)
A Masterpiece Psychological Thriller from David Fincher
Fight Club is adapted from the book of the same by Chuck Palahnuik. The nameless Narrator ("Norton") works for an automobile company who travels to crash sites to assess the potential costs of product recalls and liability. This constant barrage of death combined with his uncaring and incompetent bosses, wears on him mentally and he is ripe for a mental breakdown. On a plane trip home from one of the crash sites, the Narrator meets Tyler Durden (Pitt), a traveling soap salesman with a carefree attitude but some very unconventional ideas about authority.
Durden leads the Narrator down a dark path that starts with an underground "Fight Club" in which guys get together and fight barehanded until somebody quits. As the two feed off each other, their ideas become much more sinister ultimately leading to Project Mayhem, a terrorist group that begins to bomb public buildings.
However, along the way we start to learn that the Narrator is actually schizophrenic and in periods of clarity he becomes deeply troubled with where Project Mayhem is headed. We cannot reveal any additional details of the twists and turns of this film without spoiling the end.
The performances by Brad Pitt, Norton and Carter are stunning. If for no other reason, you should see this film for their performance. But much like Fincher's other films, it is tough not to get sucked into this psychological thriller and enjoy this twisted tale.
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