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These are the 13 best Brad Pitt movies, ranked

Does your favorite Brad Pitt movie make the list?

A solemn Brad Pitt
Murat Sancak / Flickr

If you were to look up the word “superstar” in the dictionary, it wouldn’t be surprising if Brad Pitt’s visage was strewn across the page. When you hear his name, it’s hard not to think of his chiseled abs, effortless charm, and distinctively beautiful face. Many may even immediately think of all the media surrounding his romantic entanglements with Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, but we’re definitely not here to talk about that.

Today, we are here to talk about the many strides Brad Pitt has made in his film career; from war movies to heist comedies, he’s taken his physical beauty and made the most of it. While he may not have the reputation of Tom Hanks or Al Pacino, Pitt has become a great performer in his own right. In addition to his prolific acting career, Pitt is also a producer with more than 60 credits to his name. Clearly, there is much more to him than just what meets the eye, which is part of what makes him such a compelling screen presence.

Despite having almost 100 acting credits on IMDB, we’ve managed to narrow in on a list of 13 films that make Pitt one of the greats. Nobody is going to agree 100% with any rankings, so please remember that these are subjective and up for debate. Now, here are the 13 best Brad Pitt movies ranked from least great to best.

13. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

13. 12 Years a Slave
Genre Drama, History
Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen’s powerful portrayal of one man’s decade-plus journey through American slavery drives how a personal point of how traumatizing this period of history was on the folks who were so unfairly forced into it. Brad Pitt plays an abolitionist who tries his best to aid the main character, Solomon Northup, in his quest to be freed from a plantation life. The film’s thought-provoking nature and historical accuracy made it a Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards.

12. True Romance (1993)

12. True Romance
59 %
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime, Romance
Stars Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Michael Rapaport
Directed by Tony Scott
Perhaps a more unconventional pick, this movie doesn’t exactly star our beloved hero but it’s definitely an underrated role. A pleasantly unique story from writer Quentin Tarantino brimming with familiar faces, Pitt plays Floyd, a character who seems to be unbothered by burdens or concerns. In the face of danger, nothing threatens the unshakeable indifference of our Audioslave stoner hero. “Don’t condescend me, man…” Floyd warns as he sort of comprehends the situation at hand. Pitt takes the back seat for this ride and unintentionally steals the spotlight, despite noteworthy performances from Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, and Dennis Hopper. Even without considering Pitt’s role, True Romance is definitely worth the watch.
True Romance (1993) Official Trailer # 1 - Christian Slater HD

11. Moneyball (2011)

11. Moneyball
87 %
Genre Drama
Stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by Bennett Miller
One of the best baseball movies of all time, Moneyball tells the true story of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his crazy plan that changed baseball forever. The A’s are in dire financial straits and just lost their best players because of it. Following a mass exodus, Billy Beane (Pitt) enlists the help of Yale Economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and uses advanced statistics to recruit new players. It’s a momentous and sincere telling of a true event in baseball history, and writers Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian make the dialogue crisp and genuine. Differing from just about any role he’s ever played, Brad Pitt’s performance is the icing on the cake. His ability to portray the real stress of balancing a seemingly insurmountable task with the difficulties of being a father is impressive, carrying a power that can only come with life experience.

10. Legends of the Fall (1994)

10. Legends of the Fall
45 %
Genre Adventure, Drama, Romance, War, Western
Stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn
Directed by Edward Zwick

Legends of the Fall is a dramatic film with a reasonable runtime that feels like a lifetime. Brad Pitt plays Tristan, one of three brothers to a single father living in the Montana wilderness in the early 1900s. We watch these brothers live through heavy losses, deep love, true betrayal, and war. With his flowing golden locks, mathematically symmetrical face, bright blue eyes, and seemingly effortless physical shape, it’s easy to see why he was so seductive to unsuspecting audiences. Pitt gives a wonderful performance playing a brother in pain, further confirming that it sure helps to be attractive, but it won’t make you into a leading man. It feels like this role was written especially for Pitt given how easily he fits into the part.

9. Snatch (2000)

9. Snatch
55 %
Genre Crime, Comedy
Stars Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones
Directed by Guy Ritchie
“D’ya like dags?” Snatch is the kind of movie you might expect to see from writer/director Guy Ritchie, especially if you’ve seen his catalog of gun-toting crime movies that always feature some thick accents and a few broken teeth. Speaking of and due to the accents, our guy Pitt is — yet again — a huge highlight of this movie and the main source of comedy despite being a side character. Pitt plays a bare-knuckle boxing gypsy named Mickey, a name you only know because Turkish (Jason Statham) mentions it a lot. Mickey’s gypsy accent is hysterically over the top and impossible to understand, and that is used in the film to help con others out of their belongings due to inevitable misunderstandings. Maintaining his wiry and chiseled physical shape from Fight Club the year before, Pitt is definitely used for eye candy but is hands down my favorite part of the movie.
Snatch (2000) Official Trailer 1 - Brad Pitt Movie

8. Ad Astra (2019)

8. Ad Astra
80 %
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Directed by James Gray
Pitt can be hugely entertaining, but he’s also proven in the later stages of his career that he’s a wonderful actor. In Ad Astra, Pitt strips away all of the frills and delivers a stripped-down, emotionally vulnerable performance that is one of his most moving to date. The movie follows Pitt’s Roy McBride as he’s assigned a space mission to retrieve his father, who is floating somewhere out there in the cosmos. It’s a movie about fathers and sons and about the feelings between two people that are almost impossible to communicate. The movie definitely has a slower and more existential bent, but if you’re looking for a performance that proves how emotive Pitt can be, look no further than this performance.

7. Troy (2004)

7. Troy
56 %
Genre Adventure, History, War
Stars Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Bringing the story of the Trojan War to the screen is not an easy task, but it sure helps to enlist the talents of director Wolfgang Petersen to see it through. A staple tale of love, war, gods, and men, Troy is an epic that everyone should see at least once. What’s a great highlight of this movie? Brad Pitt playing apex warrior slash demigod Achilles is definitely among them. His dedication to the role was helpful in securing it, dieting, and exercising religiously for six to eight months before filming began. After getting into god-like shape, Pitt reportedly lived in a centuries-old hut in Mexico for a time to understand the loneliness of the character. Since he was a perfect fit for the role, it’s only natural to see him as a Greek warrior to this day. One of the more impressive things about this performance is that he and co-star Eric Bana declined stunt doubles for their epic face-off, but instead agreed to pay each other money for each accidental hit.

6. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)

6. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
83 %
Genre Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
In what is definitely not the best Quentin Tarantino movie, Brad Pitt finally gets the chance to team up with Leonardo DiCaprio in a comedic fashion. In a land where history meets fantasy, two characters, Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Pitt) are plopped down into 1969 to accidentally deflect one of Hollywood’s worst tragedies. Cliff is Rick’s stuntman in the film and is also his driver/housesitter/handyman when they’re not working on a film together. Cliff gets into all kinds of situations where he witnesses glimpses of real history in motion, and he also meets Bruce Lee in a fairly disrespectful and unnecessary sequence. While this film has some not-so-great moments, Cliff is an incredible character with some great and humorous dialogue that really carries the film along. For his performance, Pitt received an Oscar, apparently still charming the socks off of Hollywood elites.

5. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

5. Ocean's Eleven
74 %
Genre Thriller, Crime
Stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Pitt is not the lead of Ocean’s Eleven, but the movie wouldn’t work at all without him standing right next to George Clooney’s Danny Ocean. This is Pitt in full-on movie star mode, and it works because he’s one of the most charming screen presences in the history of cinema. Ocean’s Eleven is also an ideal movie if you want to catch Pitt doing what he does better than any other actor: eat anything and everything he can while performing his dialogue. Ultimately, what makes Pitt stand out in Ocean’s Eleven is that even amidst of see of incredibly charismatic actors, he’s still someone who is impossible to pull your eyes away from.
Ocean's Eleven (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

4. Fight Club (1999)

4. Fight Club
66 %
Genre Drama
Stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by David Fincher

Likely the most culturally defining role for Pitt, Fight Club was a short-lived “woop!” for critics upon release but later gained a huge cult following. Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, some young and aggravated men decide the best way to solve their problems is to kick the crap out of each other and reject social standards. Other than causing social unrest in the frustrated young men of society (despite the story’s moral resolution in the end), the movie has some great writing and an awesome twist ending. Pitt’s performance in the film is somehow charming, disgusting, sexy, and terrifying all at once, commenting on the social expectations and outlooks of young men in a sometimes very meta way. Whether you love or hate this film, it’s guaranteed to be continually referenced for a long time to come.

3. Se7en (1995)

3. Se7en
65 %
Genre Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by David Fincher

Se7en tells the classic story of a young buck detective who is partnered with a veteran on his way out, but put David Fincher at the helm of this well-worn tale and you get a much bleaker version. Brad Pitt plays Mills, the aforementioned hardheaded rookie who is new to the homicide detective game. Tracking a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins, he and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) encounter horrors even the days-from-retirement detective has never seen. As one of the best David Fincher films, it is, of course, very dark — also in a literal sense. Pitt’s performance is one of his best, giving a genuinely flawed and rough nature to the character, especially in the popularly referenced climax. Without getting into spoilers, the end scene is without a doubt some of the best dramatic acting from Pitt’s whole career, masterfully emoting what you might expect one to feel in such a situation.

2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

2. Inglourious Basterds
69 %
Genre Drama, Action, Thriller, War
Stars Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Taking a high rank among the best Quentin Tarantino movies, Inglorious Basterds is another film where he plays with history in a different way. In this “war movie” it’s World War II, as the film tells the story of a fictional group of Jewish-American soldiers who infiltrate Nazi-occupied France to eliminate well-known leaders. The leader of this squad is the bold and brazen Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) or “Aldo the Apache,” who instructs his men to be “…cruel to the Germans…” in an Apache fashion by collecting scalps. With Tarantino’s writing at work, the film’s entertaining dialogue and scene choices complement Pitt’s swagger in a way never before seen. Provided with a false scar across his throat — and never an explanation as to why — Pitt outstandingly employs the rough and tough former Tennessee moonshiner wit and scraggly voice to the best of his potential. Like the film or not, Pitt’s performance is as impressive as it is darkly hilarious, assuming you’re a fan of Tarantino’s style of filmmaking.
Inglourious Basterds Official Trailer #2 - Brad Pitt Movie (2009) HD

1. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

1. Twelve Monkeys
74 %
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but Pitt yet again features in (subjectively his best) mind-bender film with a twist. A sci-fi mystery from Terry Gilliam, convict James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent to the past to discover what caused a virus to destroy the majority of human life. One of the greats from the vast list of timeless sci-fi flicks, Brad Pitt’s character Jeffrey Goines is instrumental to the film’s greatness. Playing a scheming rambler in a mental ward, we get an indelible image of Pitt that you can’t shake, which says a lot about how well he performed the role. Determined to show an authentic reality to his character, Pitt trained with a psychiatric coach, trying to make a distinction between patients who are mentally ill and those who are suffering from mood disorders. Either way, the film does a good job making the audience question what is real, simply boosted in success by Pitt’s commitment to a more artistic role. He received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for his performance, and it remains one of the best Brad Pitt movies to this day.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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