Brad Pitt is one of the most iconic American actors today, simultaneously revered for his good looks and depth as an actor. In this list, we’re going to rank the best Brad Pitt movies.

The ranking of these films are in regards to their quality and impact, not Brad Pitt’s performance. But every film on the list features Pitt in a substantial if not starring role.

Before we dive into the list of his best movies, let’s look at the role he won the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

And the Oscar goes to ― Brad Pitt!

Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.

Brad Pitt Top Movies

20. Spy Game (2001)

Pitt and Redford– a great team

Spy Game could be seen as something of a torch-passing. If you were to find an earlier analogue for Brad Pitt’s career, it would be Robert Redford’s, a man who started out as a golden-boy heartthrob and aged gracefully into more demanding roles and larger industry prestige. So it’s something of a shame that Tony Scott’s film didn’t make a bigger splash. But it’s a totally serviceable film with Pitt playing extremely well in his safety zone as a hothead who is impatient to do what’s right.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Spy Game is a minor note in the careers of nearly everyone who was involved in it. But there’s a lot of talent on display that makes it well worth the watch.

Best Brad Pitt Movies List

19. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

A barely-recognizable Brad Pitt

The role of Benjamin Button requires a lot from an actor. It’s not easy to play, you know, every single age. Pitt rejoined David Fincher for a film which tested both men’s capabilities. Say what you will of Pitt’s performance, but if you think this movie works (and some people don’t), it works because of Pitt. Without his performance, the entire thing collapses in on itself.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an audacious film, with an especially audacious performance from Pitt.

Best Brad Pitt Movies List

18. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

The performances in Mr. & Mrs. Smith were somewhat— actually, completely— overshadowed by the tabloid drama that surrounded the movie. But the chemistry between the two leads in the movie is undeniable, and credit must be given where credit is due. In a way, this is the height of a certain phase of Brad Pitt’s career. His presence could almost overwhelm a film.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


There’s a reason Mr. & Mrs. Smith has lingered in our cultural memory. It’s two of the world's biggest stars at the top of their game.

Best Brad Pitt Movies List

17. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Killing Nazis Brad Pitt Clip from Inglorious Bastards

The intonation of Brad Pitt’s voice in the role of Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds is nothing short of masterful. In the scene above, he pronounces many words with a special emphasis on the first syllable. Like when he says that Nazis need to be DE-stroyed. This movie is seriously elevated by Pitt’s performance. His pronunciation of Italian is also hilarious. Tell him goodbye and he’ll respond with an unconvincing A-riv-a-duhr-chee. 

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Inglourious Basterds boasts one of Brad Pitt’s best comic roles. And it’s also a pretty great movie to boot.

Brad Pitt Financial Crisis Movie

16. The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short Brad Pitt Scene

Although Brad Pitt is just one piece in the ensemble cast of The Big Short, it’s definitely worth including on this list. The Big Short has a lot of fun in telling the story of the 2008 financial crisis. But Pitt’s character, former trader Ben Rickert, really grounds the tragedy of the events of the film. In the scene above, he reminds us that even though shorting the predatory and ignorant stocks will result in huge payouts, it will still come at the expense of ordinary people. By this, he reminds us that this isn’t a victory story about overcoming the established elite, it’s a cautionary tale about the pursuit of unnecessary power. 

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Brad Pitt’s “voice of morality” roles can be grating, but The Big Short uses this archetype to good effect.

Best Brad Pitt Movies List

15. A River Runs Through It (1992)

A young Pitt

This is arguably the movie that helped launch Pitt into a new stratosphere. It showcases the strengths the star would rely on for most of his early career– his unpredictable and restless energy is the core of Paul. This is the performance of someone who wants to prove themselves as a legitimate force. In other films, this could steer an actor in the wrong direction, but in A River Runs Through It, it only feeds into Paul.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


A River Runs Through It has a great Pitt performance, but be warned: you will be crying by the end of its runtime,

Best Brad Pitt Drama Movies

14. Babel (2006)

Brad Pitt in Babel

Alejandro Inarritu’s ambitious drama Babel is an interwoven tale of tragedy across the globe. Pitt plays the role of an American tourist while Cate Blanchette plays his wife, who is shot by two young boys playing with a gun. InnarituInarritu dives into the back-story by showing us every implicated party in this inexplicable crime. Whether this level of detail is needed for the film is something up for debate. 

Watching Babel brings to mind a very simple exercise for film-makers. That is, tell me the story of the worst day of somebody’s life. For Babel, Pitt’s character is having the worst day of his life. It’s a really simple exercise in bringing a story to life.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Brad Pitt is undeniable in Babel, a criminally underrated movie. Check it out.

Top Gangster Movies With Brad Pitt

13. Snatch (2000)

Brad Pitt and the pikey caravan in Snatch

Brad Pitt’s commitment to the “pikey” vernacular in
 is just incredible. As Jason Statham says in the clip above, “it’s not Irish, it’s not English, it’s just well -- Pikey.” It’s not just Pitt’s accent that’s impressive. His physical performance is also great. The way he moves makes it seem like he could be a real ‘gypsy’ prize fighter. Snatch is a very entertaining movie, and Pitt is the best part of it.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


There’s no arguing that Snatch has one of Pitt’s most iconic performances. He fits right in with Guy Ritchie’s sensibilities.

Greatest Brad Pitt Movies

12. Ad Astra (2019)

Lima Project Clip from Ad Astra

Ad Astra was one of the most pleasant cinema surprises in 2019. The film from Director James Gray really builds upon the resurgence of high concept sci-fi flicks that we’ve seen in recent years. Brad Pitt plays the role of astronaut Roy McBride, who’s tasked with making contact with his disappeared father somewhere across the solar system. Pitt gives an excellent understated performance in the role. It seems likely that appreciation for Ad Astra will only increase in the future years, as viewers unpack new details after repeat viewings.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Ad Astra feels like one of Pitt’s most vulnerable performances. He grounds this space epic in a painful emotional realism.

Brad Pitt Gangster Movie

11. Killing Them Softly (2012)

Killing Them Softly Ending

It’s certainly true that Pitt’s character Jackie is a cynic. But I suppose it would be hard not to be when living a life of such horror as he does. Jackie is a hitman/enforcer for the mob and he carries out all the violent deeds the people at the top are too afraid to.

This film is an indictment of the American social elite. It exposes the hypocrisy of those who claim to have better intentions than their actions show. For its contentious subject matter, the film is very divisive.

But if you’re looking for a challenging film with a great Pitt performance, look no further than Killing Them Softly.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Killing Them Softly is another underrated entry in Pitt’s filmography. Remedy that by giving it a watch.

Brad Pitt Zombie Movie

10. World War Z (2013)

Brad Pitt runs from zombies  in World War Z

World War Z is a mostly by-the-books zombie movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. In fact, however much the film relies on tropes, it’s the great performances and impressive scale that elevates the film.

Brad Pitt plays the role of Gerry Lane, the man who is basically tasked with saving humanity from the zombie apocalypse. He travels around the world searching for a cure, fighting on the ground and in the sky against the deadly infected humans. At times scary, but often thrilling, World War Z is a great 21st century zombie film that uses CGI well.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


World War Z might have had a legendarily tortured production, but it resulted in a great Brad Pitt performance. So maybe it was worth it.

Brad Pitt academy award movie

9. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019)

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood Clip

Brad Pitt plays the role of stuntman Cliff Booth in the film, who is a character the audience really roots for. It speaks to the testament of Pitt’s performance and Tarantino’s sharp script, because Booth is a man of how do you say, questionable morals. Oh, and he did kill his wife in what may be the best scene of the film (don’t worry, not a spoiler). But Pitt turns Booth into a hero. Cigarette in mouth, cool talking, West-coast Miami Vice Cliff Booth may be Pitt’s best role in years.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Brad Pitt oozes charisma as Cliff Booth. It’s perhaps his most fun role to watch– a true delight.

Top Best Brad Pitt Movies

8. The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The Assassination of Jesse James Trailer

This sprawling Western follows the lives of Outlaws Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) and Jesse James (Brad Pitt.) Perhaps no modern Western is more conscious of the genres’ origin than The Assassination of Jesse James. Westerns were originally circulated throughout the East on newsprint, called Dime Novels. These stories exaggerated the exploits of cowboys and gunslingers; creating this sensational view of the West.

This film analyzes the ways in which that perception is false, and that the real thing is much less glamorous than the story.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Another movie which weaponizes Brad Pitt’s charisma. He’s the perfect Jesse James – bold, brash, and a little dangerous.

Best Brad Pitt Movies

7. 12 Monkeys (1995)

Brad Pitt in the institution in 12 Monkeys

The role of psycho-not so psycho Jeffrey Goines is one of Pitt’s most fun roles. He’s really able to stretch the limits of his acting, which is great because there are times he’s been type-casted. Aside from performances, 12 Monkeys is really one of the most underrated movies ever made. The story is so well thought out and intricately connected, it’s hard not to marvel at director Terry Gilliam’s control of the film-world.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


12 Monkeys has Pitt go beyond what we thought he could do as an actor. It’s reason 111 why you should see this movie.

Brad Pitt Best Movie

6. Moneyball (2011)

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane in Moneyball

Moneyball is the best sports movie ever made. The film is the true story of the Oakland A’s historic 2002 season. It’s about a group of out of the box thinkers who transformed Major League Baseball by applying new-age sabermetrics to a historically stubborn sport.

The cast includes Brad Pitt as GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill as a composite of front-office analysts, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Coach Art Howe. For more talent, how about a script penned by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Steve Jobs) and Steven Zaillian (The Irishman, Schindler’s List).

Oh, and to top it off, how about getting the great Bennet Miller (Foxcatcher, Capote) to direct? 

With all that talent, it’s no wonder Moneyball is a great movie, but it may surprise non-sports fans just how great it is. At the core of the picture is a tale of average people struggling against a rigged system. Try as you might, no matter how strong you may be, the system will remind you of the futility of your hopes. For now, Billy Beane is still chasing the championship he’s always wanted in Oakland.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


An Aaron Sorkin script is always going to present a challenge to an actor. In Moneyball, Pitt passes with flying colors.

Best Brad Pitt Movies

5. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Brad Pitt playing poker in Ocean’s Eleven

Ocean’s Eleven is the perfect heist movie. It has a great cast, sharp script, and it never takes itself too seriously. That being said, it still tells a great story with serious elements. The film is a loose remake of the 1960 Ratpack original. George Clooney replaces Frank Sinatra as title character Danny Ocean while Pitt comes on in a new supporting role.

If you’re looking to enjoy a movie without having to invest in too much drama, Ocean’s Eleven is the picture for you.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Okay, we’ll say “charisma” just one more time. It’s Ocean’s Eleven; how could we not?

Best Brad Pitt Movies

4. Se7en (1995)

Brad Pitt “what’s in the box? In Seven

The “what’s in the box?” scene may be the most famous of Brad Pitt’s career. It’s everything a tension climax should be; bold, expressive and resolute. It’s certainly what you would expect from David Fincher’s Se7en; an unrelentingly violent movie. Brad Pitt plays the role of Detective David Mills, a man who becomes embroiled in the crimes of a sadistic serial killer. Seven is an undeniably tough film to watch, but one all horror fans should see.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


The iconic ending of Se7en does not work without Pitt’s performance. Prove us wrong.

Top 5 Best Brad Pitt Movies

3. The Tree of Life (2011)

Brad Pitt explodes in The Tree of Life

Love it or hate it, it’s undeniable that The Tree of Life is one of the most important films of the 21st century. This singular vision from director Terrence Malick is an imposing piece of cinema. At times, I found myself mouth agape, wondering what in the world was happening. There are CGI dinosaurs, schools of fish just travelling in the ocean.

I thought this was a Brad Pitt movie?  Then, the film transitions back to more traditional story-telling. As it goes on, the movie weaves in and out waves and into the cosmos telling the story of the O’Brien family. Personally, I found the story incredibly rewarding in the end. 

Best Brad Pitt Movies


With The Tree of Life, we saw a new maturity in Pitt’s abilities as an actor. He is restrained, captivating, and menacing. It’s one of his best performances to date.

Top 5 Best Brad Pitt Movies

2. Burn After Reading (2008)

Pitt as Chad Feldheimer in Burn After Reading

Too often when we discuss the highs of an actor’s career do we ignore, or discount, their comedic performances. That cannot be the case with Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading. He is the comedic heart of this film, an absolutely hysterical airhead. The Coen Brothers have a knack for casting, and with Pitt as Chad Feldheimer, they knocked it out of the park.

It’s hard to know where to start with Pitt in this satire. The hair? The outfits? The phone call scene? The car scene? The [spoiler alert] scene? He squeezes humor out of every line he’s given. It would be easy to play Chad condescendingly, as a cartoonish doofus. But Pitt imbues him with a realness that makes his stupidity all the funnier. We all know a Chad.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Burn After Reading is Brad Pitt’s best comedic performance, hands down. It’s one of the best characters he’s ever given us.

Top Brad Pitt Movies

1. Fight Club (1999)

Don’t talk about Fight Club with Brad Pitt

Fight Club exploded onto the cinema screen like fire and kerosene. It’s difficult to remember how revolutionary the picture was without considering the context of when it was released. 1999 was a transitional year. The new century was about to bring forth aspirations of the future, and bury past misdeeds. The proliferation of cataloging and systematic socialization had adverse effects on those that couldn’t connect.

For those who couldn’t connect to a changing society, there was ‘fight club’; a world for men to vent frustrations and release testosterone-filled rage. It’s a crazy picture from the mind of Director David Fincher. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are phenomenal in starring roles.

I’m curious to see what kind of legacy Fight Club will have in the coming years. But there's no doubt that the film is a masterpiece of its time.

Best Brad Pitt Movies


Come on. It’s Fight Club. It has to be at the top of the list.

Up Next

Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies

Although Pitt and DiCaprio may be the most famous American actors working today, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood marked their first feature length film they acted in together. DiCaprio started acting at a very young age. As such, his filmography stretches back over thirty years. In this list, we look back at the 15 best movies of his storied career and rank them. 

Up Next: Best DiCaprio Movies →
Solution Icon - Shot List and Storyboard

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards.

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows.

Learn More ➜

Copy link