The best Will Ferrell movies, ranked
Over the course of his acting career, Will Ferrell has taken a foundation in improvisation and built himself into a superstar with a global audience. The Irvine-born entertainer has been the star of countless projects over the years as a result of this effort, appearing in mainstream comedies, serious dramatic fare, and the odd cameo.
Someone unfamiliar with his filmography may not know where to start as a result of Ferrell’s eclectic résumé, but never fear. We’ve compiled a list of our definitive picks for his best movies to date. Nothing was counted where Ferrell played himself, and while Rotten Tomatoes was used for critical data, we also accounted for more subtle differences and debatable topics to assemble our list as opposed to just relying on firm numerical assessments.
10. Step Brothers (2005)
This 55 percent piece is one that everyone has seen at least 1,000 times, and though some of its goofier moments can become grating with age, the bulk of the farce about two men in arrested development brought together by their parents’ union mostly maintains its merits. The jury’s still out on how many people have been inspired to make bunk beds and attend the actual Catalina Wine Mixer ⏤ which was brought into existence and is still going on today as a result of this movie ⏤ but overall fans are not complaining that Step Brothers still has the ability to evoke more than a few guffaws.
9. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
This movie ended up being 66 percent fresh and while its associated release contains more interesting moments and even lost footage, the originator earns a spot on our list for a number of reasons. A funny dog, the goofy fight between the various news channels, nonstop humor, and an ahead-of-its-time commentary on the vapidness and poor behavior exhibited by men in the television industry make Anchorman something truly unforgettable.
8. Megamind (2010)
This movie earned a 72 percent positive rating and while it didn’t linger long in the culture in contrast to some other animated movies, it does have its merits. Ferrell does a good job of playing a goofy villain moved to be better here and is surrounded by a stacked and frankly under-appreciated voice cast (Brad Pitt, Ben Stiller) who elevate his work.
7. The Other Guys (2010)
This 78 percent positive production comes in ahead of its predecessors for being an idea rarely, if ever, expressed on screen. While there have been stories about man-children and bad people finding redemption, it is not always the case that the public gets to see what regular policemen are like in a world with action characters. Mark Wahlberg plays against type as an amusingly neutered braggadocious figure and Michael Keaton constantly making pop music references without seeming to realize it represent the best of what Ferrell can make when wanting to be very funny.
6. Elf (2003)
Most everyone has seen this Christmas classic at this point, which has an 85 percent rating. Even if you haven’t, it’s one that you’ll fall in love with instantly. Ferrell is delightfully earnest in the role of Buddy, has some great physical moments throughout the film, and his enthusiasm for Santa makes for a scene that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. The fact that Ferrell has basically refused to do a sequel makes Elf even more of a singular treasure.
5. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
This movie is 71 percent fresh and earns one of our top spots for being brave enough to take on Tom Cruise with some pretty biting gags at the height of his Hollywood power and is pretty impressive for being able to stick warmly in the minds of NASCAR professionals. Funny without being mean is tough to pull off, but Ferrell and his team stick the landing.
4. The Lego Movie (2014)
On paper, this 96 percent fresh film should have been a disaster. It reminded one of misfires like Battleship when it was first announced, but ended up being something poignant and sweet. Ferrell does well as a flamboyant villain and is able to display some impressive range during the movie’s final scenes when he sees how his son has thought of him.
3. Dick (1999)
We’re not sure why Ferrell has stayed out of historical films, as this piece about Richard Nixon and his downfall is quite good. It’s 71 percent positive and Ferrell plays legendary reporter Bob Woodward with humorous aplomb. Maybe someday he’ll be willing to play drummer Chad Smith in a biopic about the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music career?
2. Everything Must Go (2010)
This movie earned a 73 percent positive rating from critics and proves that Will Ferrell is no exception to the rule of comedians being able to transition to drama with ease. Here he plays a man on the verge of losing everything and also realizes in the piece that when this happens, it’s the best time to begin anew and find better things. One can only hope that more work like this comes his way in the future or he actively seeks it out given the money he’s made to date.
1. Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Will Ferrell’s foray into serious drama once he had established himself as a comedian brought him his best work to date. Here he stars as I.R.S. auditor Harold Crick, who begins to hear a mysterious narrator commenting on his every move. Crick’s life is mundane, but when he finds out that the narrator intends on ending his life, he has to make some big changes to prevent that from happening. No spoilers, but this film is one to see and one you won’t soon forget.
This concludes our list of the best Will Ferrell movies. Is there one you feel should have made the list but didn’t? What roles would you like to see Ferrell play in the future? Let us know in the comments below.