The 10 Best Sigourney Weaver Movies
Sigourney Weaver is an iconic actor. Her performances as Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise and Dana Barrett in the Ghostbusters films have cemented her place in American pop culture. She has had a myriad of successful roles, but none more so than those. In addition, she has given delightful performances in Working Girl and Galaxy Quest. Whether in drama, comedy, or—most likely—science fiction, Weaver is great to see. Here are her ten best films to date.
Ridley Scott’s Alien needs little introduction. It is one of the best science fiction-horror films of all time. From acting to pacing to set and costume design, it is an undeniable masterpiece—perhaps the best of Scott’s career as well as Weaver’s. The return home from a routine interplanetary industrial mission is interrupted by a mysterious distress signal. Answering that distress signal proves to be a mistake, as it results in an unwelcome otherworldly creature picking off members of Ellen Ripley (Weaver)’s crew one by one.
After the success of Alien, James Cameron—director of Terminator and Avatar—took the helm of the film’s sequel. Rather than a claustrophobic, slow-burning horror flick like the original, Aliens crossed genres into an all-out action thrill ride. When a small human encampment finds itself terrorized by the same aliens that attacked Ripley’s crew, she is recruited to help the survivors. It may not be quite as laudable as the film that preceded it—but it is a worthwhile sequel indeed.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Galaxy Quest essentially asks the question, “what if aliens saw Star Trek and thought it was real?” Weaver, along with Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell and Tim Allen play washed-up actors best known for their roles in a campy science fiction series called “Galaxy Quest.” That is, until actual aliens come to Earth to request their aid in a fight against their own extraterrestrial terror. Both well-written and well-acted, Galaxy Quest is one of the all-time great science fiction comedies.
Alien 3 (1992)
Alien 3 is perhaps best known as David Fincher’s feature-length directorial debut. The film was not as well-received as previous installments to the franchise and Fincher himself has washed his hands of the film because he was dissatisfied with the theatrical cut. In the years since, an extended cut has been released which critics and audiences received more positively. In the film, Weaver’s Ripley is the sole human survivor when her ship crashes onto a planet housing only a men’s prison. With scant weaponry, she and the inmates must attempt to clash once more with the titular deadly alien species.
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Alien: Resurrection has a lot of things to say. Perhaps more than any previous film of the franchise. Whether it says the things it wants to say successfully, audiences and critics have been mixed on that front. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Delicatessen) and Joss Whedon (The Avengers) make strange bedfellows to be sure, but Weaver gives one of the most memorable performance of her career. With supporting performances from Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman, it is not to be skipped.
In all their years of filmmaking, WALL•E may be Pixar’s magnum opus. With Ben Burtt—sound designer responsible for the auditory world of Star Wars—is in top form in a film populated largely by robots. The titular character is a trash compactor robot tasked with cleaning up an abandoned Earth who finds the first living plant in centuries. He finds his way to the Axiom, a luxury starship on which much of humanity now resides. The rusty, industrial robot quickly finds himself a comedically disruptive force spotless ship. Weaver gives voice to the ship’s computer in this gorgeous film.
Working Girl (1988)
Working Girl was a smash hit comedy when it was released, getting nominated for quite a few awards and earned a cool hundred million dollars at the box office. Melanie Griffith plays the titular “working girl” Tess McGill. When her manipulative boss Katharine Parker (Weaver) is put out of commission, Tess takes advantage of the opportunity by pretending to be Katharine and pursuing a merger deal with a handsome executive, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). Of its many accolades, Weaver won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her part.
James Cameron’s Avatar was a surprising phenomenon. In spite of all its colorful, computer-generated bells and whistles, the story feels familiar. Earth industrialists seek to mine a planet called Pandora for the rare element it produces. To gain access, they must ingratiate themselves with a local tribe called the Na’vi. Starring Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington, Weaver plays a key supporting role as a doctor brought along by the military. If you haven’t seen Avatar, now is the time to get on board, as four sequels are apparently well on their way.
Ghostbusters is nothing short of a cult classic. Ivan Reitman puts together some of the best comedic actors together into a campy and silly supernatural comedy. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson play the eponymous guys who bust ghosts around in New York City. With Weaver’s memorable supporting role and the classic theme song by Ray Parker Jr., Ghostbusters continues to be popular today.
Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
By the time Ghostbusters II rolls around, the once-flourishing Ghostbusters have gone bankrupt. When they try to get their vigilante ghost hunting service back in business, they are continually pinned down by government regulation. The plot may be thinner than the first, and Weaver may not have quite as much to do, but Ghostbusters II nonetheless has its enjoyably campy moments.