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Obsessed with Only Murders in the Building? The 10 best Steve Martin movies and shows, ranked

Steve Martin can be the straight man or the silly one, and he's a star either way

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building.
Hulu / Hulu

Living legend doesn’t even begin to describe Steve Martin’s place in Hollywood lore. The stand-up comic turned actor has been entertaining the masses in family-friendly films since the 1970s. It makes you often wonder, “How old is Steve Martin?” because not many nearly-80-year-old actors are still chugging along with so much success. Martin likes to play characters who endure everyday problems, but are also usually subjected to uncanny or weird circumstances. His ability to go with the flow and overcome the humorous situations in the movies makes his brand of humor relatable yet unique.

While Steve Martin hasn’t been as active in the 2010s and 2020s, his renaissance for the masses has come with Hulu’s mystery series Only Murders in the Building. Steve Martin and Martin Short are joined by Selena Gomez for murder-mystery fun and intrigue, and the series has just entered its third season on the streamer. Let’s see where it ranks amongst the 10 best Steve Martin movies and shows of all time.

10. The Pink Panther (2006)

10. The Pink Panther
Genre Comedy, Mystery, Crime, Adventure, Family
Stars Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Kevin Kline
Directed by Shawn Levy

Not every list has to include just critical darlings. The Pink Panther may not have been well-received by reviewers, but the fans went to the theaters in droves to see Steve Martin play Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The detective is hilariously underprepared to actually solve any murders or crimes, and the combination of physical humor and heart displayed by Clouseau makes this one an absolute riot every time you turn it on. Also, seeing Steve Martin fart in front of Beyonce in a singing booth is one of the best movie moments of the 2000s; I don’t care what anyone has to say! 

9. Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

9. Cheaper by the Dozen
Genre Comedy, Family
Stars Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo
Directed by Shawn Levy

While this remake of the 1950s Cheaper by the Dozen isn’t nearly as well-liked, Steve Martin’s sense of humor makes this a fun family affair for all ages. Martin plays a father of 12 children who moves across the country when a new job opportunity arises, and, as you can expect, not everyone is excited about the upheaval. Director Shawn Levy, who is more known for his work on Stranger Things now, does well in these comedy collaborations with Martin.

8. The Jerk (1979)

8. The Jerk
Genre Comedy
Stars Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
Directed by Carl Reiner

The Jerk’s premise probably (definitely) gets some side-eye today: a white child of Black sharecroppers grows up to experience what it’s like outside of his family bubble. But it also marks Martin’s first lead role in a movie — which you’d never know from his incredible ability to shine bright and carry the production.

7. The Spanish Prisoner (1997)

7. The Spanish Prisoner
Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Steve Martin, Campbell Scott, Ben Gazzara
Directed by David Mamet

Steve Martin gets out of his comfort zone and typecast in this suspense film about a shady business magnate who wields his money and power any way he pleases. His main victim is the main character, Joe Ross, an inventor with a novel idea. Martin plays the antagonist in this film, something that is more than rare for the usually upbeat, everyman superstar.

6. Father of the Bride (1991)

6. Father of the Bride
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Directed by Charles Shyer

Steve Martin has shown throughout his career that he does an excellent job playing a concerned, overwhelmed father. Here he plays a stereotypical dad who can’t easily come to grips with his daughter getting married. This remake of the 1950 film by Vincente Minnelli is beloved for the star casting of Martin and Diane Keaton. (It’s also one of the first big roles of Succession star Kieran Culkan’s career.) 

5. Only Murders in the Building (2021)

5. Only Murders in the Building
tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Mystery
Cast Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez
Created by Steve Martin, John Robert Hoffman

This meta-analysis of the mystery and true crime genres is still going as strong as ever. The chemistry between Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez as three mystery-hungered problem solvers is still sharp and comforting. The side characters are played by big names like Amy Schumer, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd, and Shirley Maclaine. It’s hard to describe exactly what makes this show so special; rather, all of the elements combine to become greater than the sum of their parts. Many more strong seasons could see this show rank at the top of Martin’s resume by the time it’s finished. 

4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Genre Comedy
Stars Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins
Directed by John Hughes

John Hughes’ decision to make a comedy starring adults rather than high schoolers was absolutely gold. Steve Martin and John Candy make for one of the all-time great comedic duos when their mismatched personalities clash and eventually mesh as they try to make it home to family for Thanksgiving dinner. The simple premise and humanity of the storyline help to ground this film and make it a holiday classic that absolutely never gets old, no matter how many years in a row you watch it.

3. Roxanne (1987)

3. Roxanne
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich
Directed by Fred Schepisi

Roxanne was something of a passion project for Steve Martin. He invested years of research and writing into the role of Charlie Bales, a likable fireman with an obnoxiously large nose. It is based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac from 1897. The romantic tale at the heart of the film between Charlie and Roxanne is feel-good and played to perfection by Martin and Daryl Hannah. 

2. All of Me (1984)

2. All of Me
Genre Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Stars Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Tennant
Directed by Carl Reiner

Fantasy is perhaps the best genre to bring the most comedic ideas to audiences around the world. Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin do an impeccable job of joining forces in one body, quite literally, when Tomlin’s character tries to have her soul put into another woman after her death. Martin is masterful at drawing the most possible laughs out of every unrealistic, fantastical situation. 

1. Parenthood (1989)

1. Parenthood
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest
Directed by Ron Howard

Steve Martin yet again plays a father who is struggling to parent his children in the way he deems acceptable, blaming his kids for the lack of perfection he desires. Keanu Reeves and Joaquin Phoenix make early-career appearances in this comedic classic. Families of any age should be able to find at least one storyline or character in this film that they relate to.

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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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