Brad Pitt has been gracing the silver screen since his first uncredited appearance as “Boy at the Beach” in the ultra-famous 1987 movie Hunk. His career began with brief roles in early ’90s hits like Thelma and Louise, but he soon established himself as a Hollywood star.
Here are ten spectacular Brad Pitt films to watch at your earliest convenience.
Brad Pitt is known for his sexy roles, and it doesn’t get much sexier than portraying Oakland A’s General Manager and former Major League journeyman outfielder Billy Beane. With a dashingly nerdy Jonah Hill by his side, Pitt commands the screen throughout this feel-good story of a mediocre baseball team that surprises everyone by winning their division and then promptly losing their first playoff series. Former MLB shortstop Royce Clayton portrays the more-famous shortstop Miguel Tejada, Chris Pratt shows up in the dugout playing catcher-turned-first baseman Scott Hatteberg, Oakland A’s manager Art Howe is lovingly portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Wright plays Billy Beane’s ex-wife. Pitt was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award.
A young Brad Pitt teams up with the older Morgan Freeman in this David Fincher police thriller to investigate an especially heinous serial killer (played by Kevin Spacey) who chooses victims and stages his murders to parallel the seven deadly sins. You know a movie is serious when it replaces a letter in the title with a numerical digit, and Se7en brings the pain all the way until its shocking end. Pitt and Fincher would go on to make a two more movies together—you might find one of them later on this list—but none as gruesome and visceral as Se7en. Try not to lose your head!
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The ultimate ensemble crime caper, the 2001 version of Ocean’s Eleven remade the 1960 Rat Pack classic and spawned an entire series of films to come. Stealing $150 million from Las Vegas casinos sounded more impressive twenty years ago than it does now in the age of billionaires, but the cast is worth the price. Brad Pitt doesn’t take the lead role of Danny Ocean—claimed here by George Clooney—but he still plays an important role as Ocean’s right-hand man, Rusty Ryan.
Pitt would go on to appear in Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen, but the original is where it’s at. Or at least, the remake of the original.
Burn After Reading (2008)
“It was just lying there.” This hilarious Coen Brothers espionage spoof aged very well in our current era of idiotic wannabe spies and disaffected government agents. Clooney leads another star-studded cast, alongside Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and J.K. Simmons, but Brad Pitt steals the show as a total moron who finds supposedly classified intelligence material and tries to sell it to the Russians. McDormand, who teams with her Hard Bodies Gym coworker Pitt, plays a tall, broad-shouldered woman who wants money for facial surgery; unlike the rest of the characters, she gets what she wants in the end.
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Now here is a movie with real star power and sex appeal. Brad Pitt plays the legendary outlaw Jesse James, who is followed, courted, worshipped, and eventually killed by the coward, played by Casey Affleck. The film was a box office flop, but the more you get to know it, the better it looks. Jesse James was an evil bastard who killed a lot of people, but we see little of that in this gorgeous, understated portrait of a 34-year-old man facing his own death, certain it will come but not knowing when or where.
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Speaking of young male love, A River Runs Through It presents Brad Pitt as a newly-blossoming flower. Set in 1920s Montana and centered around fly fishing in the rivers where they grew up, this film chronicles the back-and-forth relationships of two brothers, one who stays and one who goes. Pitt is the one who stays, while Craig Sheffer plays the city boy who goes off to Chicago. Their father is a Presbyterian minister played by Tom Skerritt, of course, who would immediately go on to headline the Twin Peaks knockoff, small-town crime show Picket Fences. Gorgeous scenery abounds.
12 Monkeys (1995)
If you love Terry Gilliam’s dystopic 1985 film Brazil, you’ll recognize a lot of aging and recycled effects in Gilliam’s decade-later virus-and-time-travel mind-bender 12 Monkeys. Bruce Willis is sent back in time to prevent human calamity—stop me if you’ve heard this one before—where he promptly gets locked in the psych ward with fellow patient Brad Pitt. The mutating virus apocalypse that drives the plot of the film hits a little close to home in the age of COVID-19, but the performances of Willis and Pitt stand the test of time. If you love time loops and manic geniuses, this is the Brad Pitt film to watch first.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Pitt and Quentin Tarantino have worked together across decades, from Tarantino writing 1993’s True Romance to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 2019. But their best collaboration focuses on killing Nazis.
Inglourious Basterds seems more relevant today than it did when it debuted 12 years ago—maybe Pitt really is a time-traveling genius—and this one is also a lot of violent fun. That’s par for the course from Quentin Tarantino, but this time with more real-world significance. Also, Pitt wears a mustache that makes us all feel better about ourselves.
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
A ravishing young Pitt twinks it up in this stylish gothic vampire film based on the novel by Anne Rice. Tom Cruise plays the lead vampire Lestat, but his performance pales in comparison to Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac. In this blockbuster hit, Pitt stars as the titular vampire sitting for the interview in modern-day San Francisco, while the events he narrates took place in New Orleans during the 1790s. What was it like to be a moody and misunderstood teenager in the 1990s? What happens when a dashing Tom Cruise takes your humanity and turns you into a creature of the night? Watch this classic film and find out.
Fight Club (1999)
“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Still the most iconic line Brad Pitt has delivered on screen. Fight Club changed cinema. Pitt and Fincher teamed for their best collaboration to make the ultimate move of the ’90s. Everyone wanted to be Tyler Durden. Many still do.