The 32 greatest Brad Pitt movies

 Ocean's Eleven.
Ocean's Eleven.

Ever since he bit necks in Interview with the Vampire and opened a dreadful box in Seven, Brad Pitt has enjoyed one of the most prolific careers in Hollywood. With a vast profile of movies to his name, it begs the question: Just which of Brad Pitt's movies are the greatest of all time?

Just two weeks short of graduating from the University of Missouri, Brad Pitt went to Hollywood and started working as an actor. Beginning with minor guest roles in television shows like Growing Pains, Dallas, 21 Jump Street, and Freddy's Nightmares, his fame grew after he beat out other major actors for the role of a hot hitchhiker in Ridley Scott's 1991 classic Thelma & Louise. After a string of hits like A River Runs Through It (1992), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and Seven (1995), Pitt's career took off like a rocket.

With a face made for glossy magazines but real talent to back him up, Brad Pitt is the textbook definition of a Hollywood star. In celebration of his career, here are 32 of his greatest movies of all time.

32. Cutting Class (1989)

Cutting Class
Cutting Class

Long before Brad Pitt was an Oscar-winning actor, he starred in the schlocky '80s teen slasher Cutting Class, directed by Rospo Pallenberg. At a typical suburban high school, the return of a troubled student sparks a strange rash of murders on campus. Brad Pitt has a major supporting role as swoon-worthy rebel Dwight, whose lush hair and bright red jacket feels evocative of James Dean. While Cutting Class doesn't exactly pass with flying colors - even given the low bar for '80s slashers - it's still a delightful midnight movie worth seeking out, if only because it's got a young Brad Pitt still cutting his teeth as a soon-to-be superstar.

31. Meet Joe Black (1998)

Meet Joe Black
Meet Joe Black

In Martin Brest's handsome but bloated romantic fantasy, Brad Pitt starts the film playing a young, charismatic man who enchants female lead Susan (Claire Forlani) at a coffee shop. The man is then abruptly killed outside by traffic. But Death itself has other plans, and inhabits the man's body to better understand humanity while guiding an aging media executive (Anthony Hopkins) during his last days on Earth. Although it clocks in at an unnecessarily long three hours, Brad Pitt asserts his talents as a Hollywood leading male in the part of a curious specter who learns just how beautiful it can be to be human.

30. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Seven Years in Tibet
Seven Years in Tibet

Based on Heinrich Harrer's 1952 memoir, Seven Years in Tibet stars Brad Pitt as real-life Austrian mountaineer and sportsman Heinrich, whose attempts to climb Nanga Parbat in British-ruled India coincides with the start of World War II. Because of his status as enemy aliens, he is imprisoned at a POW camp in the Himalayas; he later escapes to Tibet, where he becomes tutor to the 14th Dalai Lama. While controversial to the point it was censored in China, Seven Years in Tibet is a rudimentary travel movie coated in warm color hues, with serious aid by renowned composer John Williams and revered cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

29. Cool World (1992)

Cool World
Cool World

Hot off the heels of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988, prolific animator Ralph Bakshi seized his chance to return to the big screen with his high-concept animated hybrid Cool World. Brad Pitt stars as a World War II vet who, after a motorcycle accident, is transported into a parallel cartoon universe and starts a new life as a private detective. Originating as a horror movie, Cool World was changed by its producers in an attempt to make it a mass-appealing film, instead of a riskier R-rated movie. In the end, Cool World bombed hard with both critics and audiences. In hindsight though, Cool World is easily one of Pitt's strangest and must-see movies of his career, a jagged-edge oddity that colors outside the lines.

28. Bullet Train (2022)

Bullet Train
Bullet Train

In this delirious action-comedy from David Leitch, Brad Pitt plays an assassin who wants to step back from his job amid a bad luck streak. But while transporting a briefcase full of cash on a bullet train through Japan, Pitt finds himself in the eye of a storm, surrounded by other killers and rogues with their own agendas. While Bullet Train engages in tired stereotypes of Japan - seen as a cutting-edge neon wonderland overrun by yakuza with samurai swords - Bullet Train still gets the job done as pure popcorn entertainment. It helps the film packs a stacked cast including Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, and even Sandra Bullock in a supporting role.

27. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Brad Pitt is in exceptionally rare form as notorious outlaw Jesse James in Andrew Dominik's epic Western film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Casey Affleck plays gushing fanboy Robert Ford who embeds himself in Jesse's James Gang. Things turn sour when Robert Ford, disturbed by Jesse's erratic behavior and visible paranoia, eventually agrees to a bounty to kill Jesse James. (We'd say that's a spoiler but, come on, it's right there in the title.) More than just a gorgeous snapshot of the American frontier in the 1880s, Pitt leverages his movie stardom in a part that has everyone trembling in their boots in his presence.

26. Troy (2004)

Troy
Troy

A throwback to the sword and sandals blockbusters of Hollywood's past, Troy is an elaborate retelling of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War, albeit with heavy changes to the familiar story. Brad Pitt stars as Achilles, the great warrior of Greece who leads the invasion of Troy defended by its crown prince Hector (Eric Bana). While Greek epic purists take umbrage with the many liberties taken by director Wolfgang Petersen and writer David Benioff, Troy is still a most entertaining Hollywood blockbuster that brings all who watch it to its knees.

25. World War Z (2013)

World War Z
World War Z

While it pales in comparison to other apocalyptic zombie movies like 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, and even I Am Legend, World War Z succeeds with a sharp sense of scale and spectacle. In this adaptation of the 2006 novel by Max Brooks, Brad Pitt stars as a retired UN investigator and family man who is forced to travel the world in search for a cure to a sudden zombie pandemic. Despite cruddy CGI and dizzying edits to avoid an R rating by the MPAA, World War Z works because Brad Pitt is simply believable as a man willing to do everything it takes to safely reunite with his family. You can't ask for much more, and World War Z delivers nothing less.

24. Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma & Louise
Thelma & Louise

In Ridley Scott's timeless road movie about two women on the lam, Brad Pitt has a star-making turn as a vagabond stud named J.D.. While J.D. has minimal screen time, the part elevated Pitt's recognition around Hollywood, allowing him to star in bigger, high-profile movies in the years that followed. Although Pitt auditioned, he was initially passed over on the basis that Scott felt he was too young. (Other men considered were George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, John Mellancamp, and Dermot Mulroney.) After Scott's main choice Billy Baldwin dropped out of the movie, Pitt was hired after actress Geena Davis screen tested with him and she insisted Pitt was the man they're looking for.

23. Legends of the Fall (1994)

Legends of the Fall
Legends of the Fall

At the beginning of his breakthrough, Brad Pitt starred in Edward Zwick's expansive period romance Legends of the Fall. Anthony Hopkins co-stars as Colonel William Ludlow, whose disgust towards the U.S. government's treatment of Native Americans leads him to leave the military and raise his family in remote Montana. His three sons are led by the eldest, Tristan (Pitt), who joins his brothers in the Canadian military during World War I and becomes involved in bootlegging during Prohibition upon his return home. Though majestic in scenery and scope, Legends of the Fall can't outmuscle its melodramatic limits. But it's still a fine exhibition of Pitt maturing as a cinematic leading man.

22. Sleepers (1996)

Sleepers
Sleepers

In this underrated and overlooked drama from director Barry Levinson, Brad Pitt plays one of several adult men who bonded in their harrowing physical abuse as children at a juvenile detention center. Now grown, the men seek vengeance against their abusers. Sleepers is easily one of Pitt's darkest movies, an ouroboros of misery where even the satisfying serving of ice cold revenge comes with a bitter aftertaste. Sleepers is star-studded, with Pitt surrounded by other formidable actors like Rober De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Jason Patric, and Billy Crudup.

21. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave

In Steve McQueen's acclaimed adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon, a free African American violinist with a wife and children in New York who is conned and kidnapped by two white men and sold into slavery. Brad Pitt, who was a producer on the movie, has a small but critical role as Samuel Bass, a Canadian abolitionist who helped Solomon reobtain his freedom through mailing letters to Solomon's friends. Upon release in 2013, 12 Years a Slave won plentiful praise from critics and won three Oscars - including Best Picture - at the Academy Awards ceremony in 2014.

20. Fury (2014)

Fury
Fury

In this hard-as-metal World War II drama from David Ayer, Brad Pitt leads an American tank crew who roll into battle against their better-armed Nazi rivals during the last weeks of World War II. Loosely inspired by Ayer's own military family and Belton Y. Cooper's 1998 memoir Death Traps, which detailed the high casualty rates of American tank crews during the period, Fury expertly encapsulates the hardship of warfare from those who went in wheels first. Pitt told Express UK in a 2014 interview that he and his castmates endured a week-long bootcamp to simulate their characters' experience. He said: "It was set up to break us down, to keep us cold, to keep us exhausted, to make us miserable, to keep us wet, make us eat cold food. And if our stuff wasn't together we had to pay for it with physical forfeits. We're up at five in the morning, we're doing night watches on the hour."

19. 12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys
12 Monkeys

A sci-fi classic from Terry Gilliam led by Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt stars in a pivotal supporting role as an anti-corporate radical environmentalist and patient at a Baltimore mental hospital. The movie revolves around Willis' character, James Cole, a prisoner who travels back in time to stop the release of a deadly virus - which wipes out most of humanity in the future - in exchange for a reduced sentence. Easily one of Gilliam's most successful movies both critically and commercially, 12 Monkeys helped reinforce Pitt's budding status as a major Hollywood player with a performance that earned him his first acting Oscar nomination.

18. A River Runs Through It (1992)

A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It

In this decades-spanning drama from director Robert Redford, adapting the autobiography by Norman Maclean, two brothers grow up in the early 20th century under their strict father who instructs them about God and fly fishing in equal measure. Brad Pitt stars as the younger of the siblings, Paul, whose disruptive newspaper job and gambling habits keep him walking on the razor's edge. While A River Runs Through It possesses ample grandpa-core energy, it is nevertheless a sight to behold. Through Redford's careful and stately direction, the Montana wilderness is simply breathtaking, as well as Pitt comfortably inhabiting the part of a loose cannon with principles.

17. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Smith

In this popular action-comedy tentpole from director Doug Liman, Brad Pitt co-stars with soon-to-be-wife (and later ex-wife) Angelina Jolie. The two play a beautiful but bored married couple in suburbia whose secret jobs as assassins for rival agencies force them against each other. The violence, of course, is just the foreplay before the two learn to love each other again. Comical and sensual, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is the platonic ideal for a Hollywood tentpole, being a delightful satire of modern day relationships through its weaponizing of familiar action movie conventions. In 2024, an acclaimed series remake premiered on Amazon with Donald Glover and Maya Erskine in the lead roles.

16. Babel (2006)

Babel
Babel

From renowned director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel is an Oscar-nominated, multi-narrative feature with a large ensemble cast whose stories interweave across oceans. Brad Pitt co-stars with Cate Blanchett as a married couple from America vacationing in Morocco, with Blanchett's Susan critically wounded on a tour bus. Partially inspired by Iñárritu's own life and travels around the world, Babel is a gorgeous epic about the strange ways we connect even with total strangers. Pitt notably dropped out of Martin Scorsese's The Departed, which he produced, in order to star in Babel.

15. Snatch (2000)

Snatch
Snatch

From director Guy Ritchie, Brad Pitt plays one of several main characters in a story set in the modern London underworld. Pitt plays a bare-knuckle boxer and mama's boy, Mickey O'Neil, whose pride keeps him from throwing fights that incur the wrath of gangsters. This movie is often considered by observers to have one of Pitt's all-time greatest performances due to his chameleonic transformation into an incomprehensible Irish Traveller. (Seriously, you need subtitles turned on just because of him.)

14. True Romance (1993)

True Romance
True Romance

Directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance tells of newlyweds who run from the Mafia after they steal a shipment of drugs. Brad Pitt has a rather small role as Floyd, the burnout roommate of Dick (Michael Rapaport), who seems to see the entirety of the movie unfold from the couch. Though Pitt's presence in the movie is minimal, True Romance is a '90s cult classic beloved by cinephiles and movie aficionados as both a demonstration of Scott's talents as a director and for harnessing the zeitgeist of America in the early 1990s.

13. Spy Game (2001)

Spy Game
Spy Game

Reuniting with his A River Runs Through It director Robert Redford, Brad Pitt stars as a protege to Redford's seasoned veteran. After an unauthorized mission at a Chinese prison goes south, retiring CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) races against the clock to get his protege, Tom Bishop (Pitt) out alive. Propulsive and transporting like any good spy novel, Spy Game comes alive through sharp direction by Tony Scott and magnetic performances by two men who represent their respective generations.

12. Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading
Burn After Reading

In the Coen Brothers' pitch black send up of espionage stories, a CIA analyst (John Malkovich) loses a disc containing his in-progress memoir. The files fall into the hands of two gym employees: Linda (Frances McDormand) and himbo Chad, played by Brad Pitt. As the two idiots try to extort money out of what they believe are top-secret government files, events spiral hilariously out of control. With a boy band hairdo, killer dance moves, and white iPod earbuds surgically attached to his ears, Pitt radiates the screen with a dimwit's charisma, being the only one in the movie content with their life and paying for it dearly.

11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Reuniting with Seven director David Fincher, Brad Pitt leads his 21st century classic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as the title character, a man born in 1918 who somehow ages backwards. With the framing device of his journals being read aloud, the strange life of Benjamin Button traces the tumultuous 20th century, with seismic events like Prohibition to World War II to the Swinging Sixties and beyond all seen through his unique perspective. Pitt is accompanied by an equally powerhouse Cate Blanchett, who plays his lifelong love interest.

10. Babylon (2022)

Babylon
Babylon

From Damien Chazelle comes a love letter, or suicide note, to the thing we call the pictures. Set during the sunset of Hollywood's silent era, an ensemble cast of dreamers and doers in the early movie biz are rocked by the advent of sound, forever changing their industry - and our culture - forever. Brad Pitt leads as Jack Conrad, a prominent matinee idol who struggles to maintain his fame now that audiences can hear him. Also starring Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Li Jun Li, and more, Babylon is a filthy but affectionate romp across an era when Hollywood was altogether more dangerous and more pure.

9. Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Interview with the Vampire
Interview with the Vampire

Based on Anne Rice's gothic romance best-seller, Brad Pitt stars as centuries-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, who recounts his life story to a San Francisco journalist in the late 20th century. The movie traces Louis from his first encounter with the seductive vampire Lestat (Tom Cruise), through their life together roaming America and Europe as bloodsucking creatures of the night. A smash hit with critics and audiences, Interview with the Vampire maintains its reputation today as a '90s classic and autumntime staple. It is especially noteworthy for introducing a young Kirsten Dunst in one of her first roles, and for giving Pitt momentum to become one of the most recognized leading men in Hollywood for years to come.

8. Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball
Moneyball

When the Oakland Athletics endured yet another embarrassing season circa 2002, general manager Billy Beane was fired up to find a new way to assemble a winning team. His ordeal served as the basis for the nonfiction book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. That book became Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller, with Brad Pitt in the role of Beane, a man haunted by his own unfulfilled prospects as a baseball superstar determined to prove he belongs in the game. Understated but transfixing, Moneyball is nothing more and nothing less than Pitt batting a thousand.

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds
Inglourious Basterds

There's maybe no one in cinema history more inspiring than Brad Pitt's Lt. Aldo Raine. With a sharp Tennessee twang and a mustache for days, Raine leads a black ops squad of Jewish American soldiers who wage guerilla warfare to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of Nazis during World War II. A sublime throwback to pictures like The Dirty Dozen and Guns of Navarone from none other than Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt is both hilarious and fist-pumping awesome who makes a real meal out of lines like, "They need to be dee-stroyed" and "I want my scalps!"

6. Ad Astra (2019)

Ad Astra
Ad Astra

The haunting and exquisite Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as the son of a famed astronaut who blasts off to space to locate his formerly presumed dead father (Tommy Lee Jones), now lost somewhere near Neptune. Set in a speculative vision of our near future where space travel is more commonplace but no less dangerous, Ad Astra is all about the lengths we're willing to go to put to rest the things that still keep us up at night. Impossibly beautiful and magnificent in its staging, Ad Astra is up there with movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Interstellar, and Pitt proving late in his career that he still has plenty more oxygen in his tank.

5. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club
Fight Club

Let's face it: You don't need me to tell you about Fight Club. But just for formality's sake: From director David Fincher comes this wildly popular adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel. It famously stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, the latter being the charismatic enigma Tyler Durden who is a lot more connected to Norton's sleep-deprived narrator than he realizes. A muscular classic that interrogates modern day masculinity and malaise with calcified knuckles, Fight Club is the movie in which we know all the rules.

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In what is maybe, arguably, Quentin Tarantino's greatest movie of his career, Brad Pitt stars as Cliff Booth, the handsome stunt double to fading Western actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio). As the rules of who and what makes a movie star changes before everyone's eyes, Cliff finds himself in his own side quests that put him in close proximity to the dangerous Manson Family. A sprawling recreation of 1960s Hollywood from the eyes of someone who reveres that time period the most, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood shows that even the greatest stories have to end.

3. Seven (1995)

Seven
Seven

By the end of David Fincher's Seven, we're all screaming: "What's in the box?" In this searing psychological thriller and undisputed neo-noir classic, a serial killer stages a violent spree after the Biblical Seven Deadly Sins. Two detectives, played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, butt heads as they work to track him down. While early development of Seven almost saw the film remove its memorable ending (due to negative responses from test audiences), Pitt, who had star power after Interview with the Vampire, insisted the film keep its ending. He cited his own disappointment with Legends of the Fall compromising its story over test audiences as his main reason.

2. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Ocean's Eleven
Ocean's Eleven

A modernized remake of the 1960 Rat Pack classic, Steven Soderbergh's handsome and breezy remake is arguably better than the original. George Clooney and Brad Pitt star as a pair of con men who lead an ensemble of specialists - all played by Bernie Mac, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, and more - on a heist to steal $160 million from a Las Vegas casino. This casino, by the way, happens to be owned by the new lover of Clooney's characters' ex-wife (Julia Roberts). A perfect studio movie if there ever was one, Ocean's Eleven drips style and swagger in a way few movies ever can dream of.

1. Killing Them Softly (2012)

Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly

A knife-sharp satire of Obama-era optimism in the disguise of a violent gangster thriller, Brad Pitt anchors Andrew Dominik's movie Killing Them Softly as a mob hitman tasked with looking into a poker game robbery. In this movie, Pitt is undeniably the coolest he has ever been (and that's saying something) as a chain-smoking, black-clad killer who doesn't mind working for amoral men so long as he gets paid. Killing Them Softly may not be Brad Pitt's most popular movie, but there's no question that it is one of his greatest.