10 Best George Clooney Movies

10 Best George Clooney Movies

George Clooney is the textbook definition of an A-list celebrity. He is widely beloved and undeniably handsome. He has a charm to him that is mostly unmatched. But perhaps most importantly—he’s versatile. He can play drama or comedy, manic or depressed. He takes any role he is given and turns it into something memorable.

It took Clooney a number of years to break through into stardom. He had already been working for 15 years when he began his role as Dr. Doug Ross on the hit television show E.R. In the years that followed, he found work with popular directors like Robert Rodriguez in From Dusk till Dawn (1996), Terrence Malick in Thin Red Line (1998) and Steven Soderbergh in Out of Sight (1998). He went on to work with Soderbergh a handful of times, including the title role in the Ocean’s trilogy (2001 to 2007) and his 2002 remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 Solaris.

He’s worked with the Coen brothers a number of times as well as Wes Anderson in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Alfonso Cuaron in Gravity (2013).

Indeed, Clooney is a busy man. He’s acted in nearly forty films over the course of his career so far, as well as tried his hand at writing, directing and producing—but acting is most likely what he will be remembered for because of his magnetizing presence onscreen. Here are the 10 best films of his career so far.

 

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

In the Coen brothers’ adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey set in the Depression-era American South, Clooney plays the protagonist Ulysses Everett McGill. He and his two friends (John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) escape a chain gang, hoping to find McGill’s buried treasure before the area is flooded. Clooney is pitch-perfect in the central role, playing McGill as an arrogant and bossy but ultimately likable.

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Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

In Steven Soderbergh’s classic film, Clooney plays wise-cracking con artist Danny Ocean. He assembles a team of crooks with various skills to help him rob five Las Vegas casinos in one night. The film’s script is sharp and quick and Clooney fills the role of cool criminal ringleader Danny Ocean perfectly.

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The Descendants (2011)

Alexander Payne’s The Descendants is an emotional story of a man who is forced to reassess his life when his wife is made comatose by a boating accident. Clooney plays the central character, Matt King, who tries to cope with the disconnect between him and his daughters, his wife’s impending death and the interested buyers of the valuable Hawaiian property of which he is the sole trustee. Clooney’s performance in the Academy Award-winning film is both earnest and deeply moving.

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Michael Clayton (2007)

In Tony Gilroy’s legal thriller Michael Clayton, Clooney plays the eponymous character. He is an attorney for a firm whose client is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit. He is brought in to help on the case when his friend and coworker has a breakdown as a result of not taking his bipolar medication. It is a gripping story about corruption and greed with Clooney perfectly cast as the conflicted man in the middle of it all.

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Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading is sometimes forgotten among the Coen brothers’ many great films. In the vein of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the film is a black comedy that pokes fun at the personal lives and personality disorders of employees of government agencies, one of whom is George Clooney’s womanizing U.S. Marshal Harry Pfarrer. His romantic involvement with a CIA Analyst’s wife causes his life to unravel before him. The film in general and Clooney, in particular, are hilarious.

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Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

Clooney reprises his role as con artist ringleader Danny Ocean. Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) wants revenge for Ocean’s team’s heist on his casinos in the previous film and demands that they pay him retribution. Even with their backs up against the wall, Clooney continues to play Ocean as the cool and collected thief he is.

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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar! is another collaboration between Clooney and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen. The film is a sendup of Golden Age Hollywood in which Clooney’s megastar actor Baird Whitlock is kidnapped by a group of blacklisted communist filmmakers to try to rally him to their cause. He is one of a number of hilarious and zany actors who are represented by protagonist Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin).

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Three Kings (1999)

David O. Russell’s Three Kings is a story about disillusioned American soldiers deployed to the Gulf War who intend to pull off a heist to better their personal standing. Clooney plays Major Archie Gates, the brains behind the operation. Clooney plays Gates as outwardly funny and cynical, but with a heart underneath.

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The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line was Terrence Malick’s return to cinema after 20 years without producing any work. It tells the story of American soldiers in the Guadalcanal campaign during World War II. Clooney plays Captain Charles Bosche, a smug commanding officer who appears only briefly but nonetheless helps color the world of the film as one of its many small but rich characters.

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Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)


In Soderbergh’s third and final act of the Ocean’s trilogy, Clooney returns once more as the eponymous Danny Ocean. When his friend Reuben (Elliot Gould) is double-crossed by his business partner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) Danny reassembles the team for one last revenge job. Clooney and the rest of the cast knock the film out of the park, producing something quite rare: a satisfying third film.

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