Fox 2000 Pictures

Best and worst movies from the careers of 15 famous actors

We all have that favorite actor who can do no wrong. It’s that standout movie, that breathtaking performance, that makes you want to watch everything else in their filmography. But have you ever gone to the theater and sat through a movie with a plot so cringe-worthy and with such atrocious acting that you walked out, despite it starring your favorite do-no-wrong actor?

Most actors have a movie on their resume that fills them with pride, and one that fills them with just as much—if not more—embarrassment. One exception to this is Nicolas Cage, who says he stands by every role he’s played. For some actors, sometimes a script they read and loved turned out to be a totally different movie by the time it made it to the screen. For others, acting is a job—even for the most well-known names—and it’s as simple as this: a paycheck’s a paycheck. Of course, it helps if you’ve already won an Oscar.

Giggster picked 15 famous actors and determined the highest-rated and lowest-rated films of their careers, using IMDb ratings, with ties broken by user votes. Only feature-length, live-action films with over 1,000 votes were considered. Cameos were not included.

Take a look and see how many movies you’ve watched on this list—and be sure to note the films to add to your bad-movie-night queue.

Cinema Sciences Corporation

Sandra Bullock’s worst: ‘Hangmen’ (1987)

– Director: J. Christian Ingvordsen
– IMDb user rating: 2.8
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Sandra Bullock’s debut film was not one to remember. Bullock stars as Lisa Edwards in the crime thriller “Hangmen,” a forgettable film about assassins, spies, and corrupt CIA agents. The 1987 movie didn’t soil Bullock’s career, as she later became a successful actor.

Bob Yari Productions

Sandra Bullock’s best: ‘Crash’ (2004)

– Director: Paul Haggis
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Metascore: 66
– Runtime: 112 minutes

Nearly 20 years after starring in the flop that was “Hangmen,” Bullock redeemed herself in “Crash,” where she plays a bored, rich housewife named Jean Cabot. The film, which won Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards, was praised at the time for interweaving stories of race, loss, and redemption. “Crash” is also regarded as the worst Best Picture in some film critic circles, and it received a decent amount of pushback after the 78th Academy Awards.

Acme Rocket Fuel

Nicolas Cage’s worst: ‘Jiu Jitsu’ (2020)

– Director: Dimitri Logothetis
– IMDb user rating: 2.9
– Metascore: 27
– Runtime: 102 minutes

This video-on-demand martial arts film may have been panned by critics, but Nicolas Cage could care less. “I could find these scenes I wanted to play, not unlike a rock album where maybe most of it is crap but you’ve got one song you want to sing. I could find one or two good scenes in these scripts that I was proud of and I stand by that,” he said of his low-rated movies in a March 2022 interview. “I do feel that the work I’ve done has been sincere even though not all the movies have worked as a whole.”

Beverly Detroit

Nicolas Cage’s best: ‘Adaptation.’ (2002)

– Director: Spike Jonze
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 115 minutes

Cage played both Donald and Charlie Kaufman in Spike Jonze’s award-winning dramedy “Adaptation.” alongside costars Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper. In this film, Cage’s role, which was written by Charlie Kaufman himself, earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination at the 75th Academy Awards.

RabbitBandini Productions

Jessica Chastain’s worst: ‘The Color of Time’ (2012)

– Directors: Edna Luise Biesold, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Gabrielle Demeestere, Alexis Gambis, Brooke Goldfinch, Shripriya Mahesh, Pamela Romanowsky, Bruce Thierry Cheung, Tine Thomasen, Virginia Urreiztieta, Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo
– IMDb user rating: 4.1
– Metascore: 34
– Runtime: 73 minutes

Despite an ensemble cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, and Henry Hopper, “The Color of Time” did not sit well with critics. Twelve New York University film students directed this ambitious biographical drama. Chastain played Mrs. Williams in the movie, which explored different parts of Pulitzer-winning poet C.K. Williams’ life.

Paramount Pictures

Jessica Chastain’s best: ‘Interstellar’ (2014)

– Director: Christopher Nolan
– IMDb user rating: 8.6
– Metascore: 74
– Runtime: 169 minutes

Chastain plays Murph, the daughter of an astronaut who becomes a NASA scientist, in the mind-blowing 2014 space drama “Interstellar.” Though the actors weren’t nominated for any Oscars, the film took one home for Best Achievement in Visual Effects at the 87th Academy Awards.

Capella International

Robert De Niro’s worst: ‘The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle’ (2000)

– Director: Des McAnuff
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: 36
– Runtime: 92 minutes

The Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons may be iconic, but the live-action film “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” missed the mark in the cultural lexicon. In addition to playing the character Fearless Leader, Robert De Niro also co-produced the movie. It ended up grossing $35.1 million worldwide at the box office—but its budget was $76 million.

Paramount Pictures

Robert De Niro’s best: ‘The Godfather: Part II’ (1974)

– Director: Francis Ford Coppola
– IMDb user rating: 9.0
– Metascore: 90
– Runtime: 202 minutes

De Niro plays Vito Corleone in “The Godfather: Part II.” The crime epic won Best Picture at the 47th Academy Awards and gave De Niro not only his first Oscar nod but his first win, too, in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Ambi Pictures

Danny Glover’s worst: ‘2047: Sights of Death’ (2014)

– Director: Alessandro Capone
– IMDb user rating: 2.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 89 minutes

Danny Glover plays a character named Sponge in “2047: Sights of Death.” The action sci-fi movie also stars Stephen Baldwin, Daryl Hannah, and Michael Madsen, but fans still panned the project for the horrible acting.

Warner Bros.

Danny Glover’s best: ‘The Color Purple’ (1985)

– Director: Steven Spielberg
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 78
– Runtime: 154 minutes

Glover plays Albert Johnson in 1985’s “The Color Purple,” based on the novel of the same name by Pulitzer-winning author Alice Walker. The period piece was nominated for 11 Oscars at the 58th Academy Awards. Despite its bounty of nominations and rave reception from critics, in a controversial upset, the supposed shoo-in went home empty-handed by the end of the night.

Warner Bros.

Lily James’ worst: ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (2012)

– Director: Jonathan Liebesman
– IMDb user rating: 5.7
– Metascore: 37
– Runtime: 99 minutes

The 2010’s film “Clash of the Titans” did not go over well with critics, but it was a box-office success, so naturally, a sequel was made. Lily James ​​appears as a female warrior named Korrina in the follow-up “Wrath of the Titans,” which also received poor reviews from critics. It was the actor’s first role in a feature film.

TriStar Pictures

Lily James’ best: ‘Baby Driver’ (2017)

– Director: Edgar Wright
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Metascore: 86
– Runtime: 113 minutes

James plays Baby’s (Ansel Elgort) love interest Debora in “Baby Driver.” The creative action film—which is equal parts about music, cars, and heists—was nominated for three Oscars at the 90th Academy Awards.

Columbia Pictures

Zoë Kravitz’s worst: ‘After Earth’ (2013)

– Director: M. Night Shyamalan
– IMDb user rating: 4.8
– Metascore: 33
– Runtime: 100 minutes

M. Night Shyamalan’s movies have garnered inconsistent receptions from film to film, and unfortunately for Zoë Kravitz, “After Earth” did not land well with critics and audiences. The actor plays Senshi Raige in the sci-fi film whose story was conceived by Will Smith, who also stars alongside his son, Jaden Smith. In a 2015 interview, Will called the project “the most painful failure in my career.”

Warner Bros.

Zoë Kravitz’s best: ‘The Batman’ (2022)

– Director: Matt Reeves
– IMDb user rating: 8.3
– Metascore: 72
– Runtime: 176 minutes

Nearly a decade after Kravitz appeared in “After Earth,” she starred in “The Batman” as Cat Woman alongside Robert Pattinson. The latest iteration of the Dark Knight proved to be a massive success; it has the potential to receive a few nods at the Academy Awards next year.

Dreamworks Pictures

Thandiwe Newton’s worst: ‘Norbit’ (2007)

– Director: Brian Robbins
– IMDb user rating: 4.1
– Metascore: 27
– Runtime: 102 minutes

Thandiwe Newton said she had to “jump through hoops” to land the part of Kate Thomas in 2007’s “Norbit.” Producers weren’t sure if she would be able to deliver the comedic performance they needed. Apparently, no one was able to, because the Eddie Murphy–starring movie was panned by critics.

Columbia Pictures

Thandiwe Newton’s best: ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006)

– Director: Gabriele Muccino
– IMDb user rating: 8.0
– Metascore: 64
– Runtime: 117 minutes

A year before “Norbit,” Newton acted alongside Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness.” In it, she stars as Linda Gardner—the unhappy wife of Smith’s Chris Gardner. The role earned Smith a Best Actor nod at the 79th Academy Awards.

Elevated Films (II)

Rosie Perez’s worst: ‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ (2020)

– Director: Dee Rees
– IMDb user rating: 4.3
– Metascore: 35
– Runtime: 115 minutes

Rosie Perez plays Alma Guerrero in “The Last Thing He Wanted.” The political thriller premiered on Netflix and got panned for its writing. The film was adapted from Joan Didion’s 1996 novel of the same name, but Didion did not write the screenplay.

40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

Rosie Perez’s best: ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)

– Director: Spike Lee
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Metascore: 93
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Perez’s debut film role was as Tina in Spike Lee’s 1989 classic “Do the Right Thing.” The opportunity jump-started her career, and four years later, Perez was nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Fearless.”

April Films

Brad Pitt’s worst: ‘Cutting Class’ (1989)

– Director: Rospo Pallenberg
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: 43
– Runtime: 91 minutes

Before he became a household name, Brad Pitt played a high schooler named Dwight Ingalls who gets framed for murder in “Cutting Class.” The black comedy slasher flick was Pitt’s first major role, but it might be one he’d like to forget.

Fox 2000 Pictures

Brad Pitt’s best: ‘Fight Club’ (1999)

– Director: David Fincher
– IMDb user rating: 8.8
– Metascore: 66
– Runtime: 139 minutes

Ten years after he was outrunning killers in “Cutting Class,” Pitt played Tyler Durden in “Fight Club.” The movie was only nominated for one Academy Award, but over time, it became somewhat of a cult classic.

Carnaby International

Alexander Skarsgård’s worst: ‘The Last Drop’ (2006)

– Director: Colin Teague
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 103 minutes

Streaming movies might be the norm these days, but in 2006, straight-to-video was usually a bad sign for any film. This was the fate of “The Last Drop,” a World War II film that sees Alexander Skarsgård playing a renegade German soldier named Lt. Jürgen Voller.

New Regency Productions

Alexander Skarsgård’s best: ‘The Northman’ (2022)

– Director: Robert Eggers
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 136 minutes

Skarsgård’s “The Northman” just hit theaters in April 2022, but it’s already been deemed the highest-rated movie of his career. The actor stars as a Viking named Amleth determined to avenge his father’s death in the action epic.

Gotham Entertainment Group

Jada Pinkett Smith’s worst: ‘Woo’ (1998)

– Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
– IMDb user rating: 4.1
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 84 minutes

Jada Pinkett Smith stars as Darlene “Woo” Barnes in the 1998 romantic comedy “Woo.” The joke ended up being on the cast and crew when the movie grossed about $8.1 million domestically against its $13 million budget.

Paramount Pictures

Jada Pinkett Smith’s best: ‘Collateral’ (2004)

– Director: Michael Mann
– IMDb user rating: 7.5
– Metascore: 71
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Smith plays Annie Farrell in “Collateral,” starring alongside Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. The neo-noir action theater was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Foxx’s portrayal of Max Durocher and for Film Editing.

New Line Cinema

Denzel Washington’s worst: ‘Heart Condition’ (1990)

– Director: James D. Parriott
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 100 minutes

Before he became a beloved dramatic actor, Denzel Washington starred as a lawyer named Napoleon Stone in the 1990 buddy comedy “Heart Condition.” It’s no wonder Washington starred in more dramatic roles after this one, as the movie received mostly negative reviews upon its release.

Universal Pictures

Denzel Washington’s best: ‘American Gangster’ (2007)

– Director: Ridley Scott
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Metascore: 76
– Runtime: 157 minutes

Washington plays the role of Frank Lucas in “American Gangster,” a critically acclaimed biographical film based on the criminal career of his character. Washington’s performance earned him a Golden Globe nod in the Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama category.

308 Ent

Bruce Willis’ worst: ‘Cosmic Sin’ (2021)

– Director: Edward Drake
– IMDb user rating: 2.5
– Metascore: 9
– Runtime: 88 minutes

Bruce Willis stars as disgraced Alliance military general James Ford in “Cosmic Sin.” The role landed Willis a “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie” nomination at the 42nd Golden Raspberry Awards, but it was rescinded when his aphasia diagnosis was made public in March 2022.


Bruce Willis’ best: ‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

– Director: Quentin Tarantino
– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Metascore: 94
– Runtime: 154 minutes

When people think of “Pulp Fiction,” chances are the first actors to pop into their heads are Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. Still, Willis’ Butch Coolidge character also comes to mind as one of the many players among the ensemble cast of one of Quentin Tarantino’s culturally relevant films.


Michelle Yeoh’s worst: ‘The Touch’ (2002)

– Director: Peter Pau
– IMDb user rating: 4.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 103 minutes

Just two years after starring in the Oscar-winning wuxia hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Michelle Yeoh found herself playing Pak Yin Fay in the not-so-successful martial arts film “The Touch.” Critics slammed the movie for its clichéd storyline, among other follies.


Michelle Yeoh’s best: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (2022)

– Directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
– IMDb user rating: 8.9
– Metascore: 82
– Runtime: 139 minutes

Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang in the fantasy phenom that is “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” An art-house film distributed by A24, the movie has broken box office records for the distribution company—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yeoh enjoyed playing the role of a middle-aged, Chinese American woman, telling NPR: “I felt that it was so important for someone like that to be given a voice and then to be shown that she is actually a super heroine. And we allow her to prove herself, her self-worth and to shine.”

This story originally appeared on Giggster
and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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