RANKED! 12 Favorite Brad Pitt Movie Roles (Before ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’)
Photo by Virtual Studios
Brad Pitt is easily one of our favorite Hollywood heroes working today, which is what makes ranking his best work so difficult. He simultaneously harkens classic handsomeness found in the Golden Age of the American movies while propelling the industry forward, a hero who hasn’t pandered to the actor elite donning capes with big budgets. Between movies like Fight Club and Snatch, Pitt creates his own mythos for his characters, and that’s what makes him indistinguishable from the rest (except for Robert Redford). He has been nominated for countless awards, but his most recent project, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is one in which he is most deserving of accolades, carrying the film as a supporting actor. And now, we rank our favorite Brad Pitt movie roles.
12. Thelma & Louise (1991)
He wasn't Thelma or Louise, but Pitt stole the show as a young buck in the girl-duo classic. Hard to believe baby Brad was only 26 when they shot this.
11. Kalifornia (1993)
If you've ever wondered what an easy-going guy like Pitt would be like on a drug-fueled bender, Kalifornia gives you a good look at a hillbilly Brad with a killing problem.
10. Burning After Reading (2008)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s highly-underrated Burn After Reading features perhaps the funniest—and definitely the goofiest—performance of Pitt’s career. When the memoirs of a CIA analyst (John Malkovich) fall into the hands of two gym employees (Pitt and Frances McDormand), they seek to raise their social standing. Unfortunately, neither of them know how to do that, and they only make things worse for themselves. Among their many wonderful films, Burn After Readingnonetheless deserves more recognition.
9. The Assassination of Jesse James (2007)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is often touted as one of the best Western films of the modern era. It dramatizes precisely what is described by its title, wherein Missourian and outlaw Jesse James (Pitt) is killed by Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), an envious young gunslinger whom James takes under his wing. Pitt and Affleck's performances are both laudable, as is Roger Deakins' cinematography.
8. Moneyball (2011)
Based off one of the best-selling business books and the real life of Billy Bean, who still works famously differently in baseball scouting today, Pitt delivers a regular guy with an irregular brain in an extraordinary way.
7. Se7en (1995)
Se7en was an early hit for both Fincher and Pitt. The former was able to show off his prowess behind the camera—something he felt unable to do in the apparently restrictive environment of Alien3 a few years prior. The latter had the one of the first of many meaty, memorable roles after several years in bit parts in films like True Romance and cult films like Cool World. Se7en is a chilling, remarkable piece of filmmaking, even if you already know how it ends.
6. By the Sea (2015)
When Brad & Angelina take a honeymoon, it's of course to shoot an indie flick written and directed by at least one of them. The South of France greets a cozy secluded vibe where Pitt and Angelina drink, fight and voyeur their sexual desires whilst dealing with their own personal crises.
5. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
Another Brad and Angelina movie to bookend their relationship, Brad's role as a hitman posing as a construction project manager is mirrored by his new wife who also kills for a living. The two were a perfect match for one another's skillsets...until they weren't.
4. Meet Joe Black (1998)
Romance meets comedy with a kiss of death when Brad Pitt is immediately (and hilariously) killed off in the start of a three-hour film, until he returns as Death to shadow Anthony Hopkins and woo his sweet daughter. Truly a masterpiece, if you can sit still that long.
3. Troy (2004)
One of his biggest transformations came for his role of Achilles amidst the comedic role of the Oceans 11 trilogy. Pitt bulked up, took up the mantle and threw down hard in this war classic, and he reserved very little recognition for it.
2. Snatch (2000)
The truest Pikey we've ever had the pleasure of meeting, Pitt is just one bright star in a whole line-up, but definitely remains the badass of the bunch. Still maybe one of the greatest movies of all time.
1. Fight Club (1999)
Celebrating 20 years of Fight Club, Pitt broke all the rules of his peers with this one, and we still swear by the laws of Tyler Durden today.
But if we had to choose any Pitt role...
It'd be his Thanksgiving guest spot on Friends, duh.