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Ranking the 10 best Dustin Hoffman movies of all time

Dustin Hoffman's best movies are varied and incredible!

Dustin Hoffman

If you are a movie buff, or you had a family member who grew up in the 1970s, it’s surely impossible for you to not have heard of the legendary Dustin Hoffman. Ranking right up alongside the iconic Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman’s style was much more everyman and antihero than these other big names. Hoffman was able to provide a strange sense of comfort when he starred in a film, even if his characters made questionable choices along the way. Even though he’s not as active in his 80s, Hoffman is still acting and will appear in the fourth Kung Fu Panda movie alongside Jack Black. We’re here to rank the best Dustin Hoffman movies so you can catch up on all of his greatest hits!

10. Straw Dogs (1971)

10. Straw Dogs
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
It’s hard to find copies of Straw Dogs today, and this may be partly because this film was controversial for its outlandish violence and gore over 50 years ago when it released. Hoffman stars as a man who loses himself in rage after his wife is sexually assaulted in her hometown. The movie is a provocative piece about the extent of violence that can exude from even a calm person. Many critics were not so impressed with this intention, though, bashing the directing and writing for its graphic nature. This doesn’t make Hoffman’s performance any less great, though.

9. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

9. Kung Fu Panda
Genre Action, Adventure, Animation, Family, Comedy
Stars Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie
Directed by Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
Of all of Hoffman’s best performances, his voice work as Master Shifu in this DreamWorks classic may be the first role that comes to mind for a younger movie fan. Master Shifu provides wisdom, wit, and tranquility to Po (Jack Black) in the panda’s quest to become a respected Dragon Warrior. Hoffman adds to the studio’s legacy of big-name voice actors, and he will appear in the newest film in the franchise in 2024.

8. The Graduate (1967)

8. The Graduate
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross
Directed by Mike Nichols
The Graduate was Dustin Hoffman’s breakout role, the type of movie that can define your entire career. Even though Hoffman went on to have even more critically acclaimed performances, you always remember the movie that makes you famous. Hoffman plays a student who famously falls under the grasp of his older suitor, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The film was groundbreaking in its depiction of manipulative relationships between large age-gaped individuals, and it has been copied for decades since its release.

7. Tootsie (1982)

7. Tootsie
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr
Directed by Sydney Pollack
This Sydney Pollack-directed film is still highly enjoyable decades later because it understands the ridiculousness of gender stereotyping and the challenges that come along with people focusing too much on labels. Hoffman plays a male actor who pretends to be a woman so he can further his Hollywood career. The satire is still biting and quite funny, especially in light of some of the hotly debated political issues surrounding gender politics and transgender rights in the U.S.

6. All the President's Men (1976)

6. All the President's Men
Genre Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
Directed by Alan J. Pakula
The Watergate scandal remains one of the biggest black marks on a presidential administration in U.S. history. One of the reasons it remains relevant is due to all of the moving parts that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon as the President of the United States. Dustin Hoffman plays Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who dug up all of the corruption that led to the revelations about Nixon and his staff associated with the break-ins. This film is a thrilling and fascinating look at America and journalism during a truly tumultuous time.

5. Little Big Man (1970)

5. Little Big Man
Genre Adventure, Western, Comedy, Drama
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George
Directed by Arthur Penn
While other actors like Clint Eastwood are more famous for Westerns, Dustin Hoffman starred in one of the defining movies of the genre in the 1970s. Playing a white man taken in by Cheyenne Native Americans, Little Big Man analyzes the relationship dynamics between pioneers and the native people who were in direct conflict during the early days of the U.S. The movie is able to make people think about manifest destiny and its ramifications in truly new ways, and it remains fresh decades later.

4. Death of a Salesman (1985)

4. Death of a Salesman
Genre Drama, TV Movie
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John Malkovich
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
One of the most famous stage plays of the 20th century, Death of a Salesman tells the universal story of a man wandering in the hopelessness of disappointment during mid-life. Hoffman plays Willy Loman, the titular salesman who so desperately wants to turn his perspective upside down, but doesn’t quite know how. John Malkovich and Kate Reid supply outstanding supporting performances.

3. Lenny (1974)

3. Lenny
Genre Drama
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Valerie Perrine, Jan Miner
Directed by Bob Fosse
Lenny is the type of prototypical Dustin Hoffman movie where you truly see what the award-winning actor is all about. Portraying controversial stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce, Hoffman is able to delicately and articulately show the difficulties comics and performers can have when they aren’t so quick to fall in line with the rest of society. This movie is also very educational for those who want more information on the entertainment industry during the 1970s.

2. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

2. Kramer vs. Kramer
Genre Drama
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
Directed by Robert Benton
There is hardly any movie that more deftly handles marital distress and the effect it has on parent-child relationships than Kramer vs. Kramer. Hoffman stars alongside Meryl Streep to form one of the most dynamite duos of 1970s film as the two battle for the love and affection of their young boy in the aftermath of a messy divorce. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Hoffman.

1. Rain Man (1988)

1. Rain Man
Genre Drama
Stars Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Directed by Barry Levinson
Rain Man remains a massive achievement in cinema history due to its depiction of sibling dynamics and people on the autism spectrum. Hoffman stars as Raymond Babbitt, an autistic man who develops a deep bond with his brother in the aftermath of their father’s death. The movie is well known for making audiences aware of the struggles and triumphs people with autism can experience. Tom Cruise delivers an incredible supporting performance beside Hoffman.

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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