Brad Pitt: the man your mum loved before she met your dad. He’s not necessarily the best actor in the world; in fact, he’s far from it. From his wooden performance in Meet Joe Black to his towering oak tree interpretation of Achillies in the 2004 epic Troy (the trojan horse gave a more lively performance than Brad did), we’re certainly not saying that he should be held up with the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis or Meryl Streep.
But he ain’t half-bad either….and do you know what? He’s fucking cool, man.
The secret to Brad’s success is no big secret. His biggest strength – aside from that anvil of a chin and raging six-pack – is his ability to choose a good role. Perhaps then we should be complimenting his agent? Regardless, Brad Pitt clearly knows a good character when he sees one and he rarely overextends himself, always ensuring that his roles are challenging but leave little room for a big misstep. And isn’t that what maketh a man successful: knowing your strengths, and playing to them?
For a long while there, Brad was the Jason Momoa of the silver screen: supremely hunky and as charming ‘off-screen’ as he was ‘on’. He’s dated and married some of the most beautiful women to grace this earth and still, after all these years, he’s killing it – in a mere few days, we’ll soon see him play stuntman Cliff Booth in Tarantino’s highly anticipated Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
From donning giant, ridiculous wigs and parading around pretending to be a vampire, to bashing zombie heads in, Brad Pitt has sure had a lot of films over the years. But there are some, that are worthy of more recognition than others. So here it is, cross-referenced with critical aggregators Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB for added context, is Man of Many’s definitive list of Brad Pitts top 10 films, ranked.
10. Interview With A Vampire
A film that confirms that Brad can brood with the best of them, Interview With A Vampire drew mixed reviews from critics but found favour in the real decision-makers: the common people. Pitt’s performance was pivotal as the tortured bicentennial vampire Louis – and as far as vampire flicks go, this movie is one of the greats.
9. Fight Club
We realise that in not putting this at number one, that we’re angering an alienating a few of you. But hear me out. Fight Club is an excellent film, and yes Brad Pitt’s performance as Tyler Durden is very, very good but with such a rich tapestry of characters that Pitt has portrayed, can you honestly say that it’s his performance that makes the film great? Or is it perhaps the fantastic script and confident stylistic Director?
Either way, there’s no way Brad eating chips really loudly for half of the entire film is going any higher than this. That, and maybe we just wanted to destroy something beautiful.
Playing the extremely hard to understand, but no -less colourful pikey ‘Mickey’ in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, Pitt showed everyone that he was a truly versatile actor. Filmed during peak Pitt rig era, there are few actors at the time who had the lean figure – and proper acting chops – that were required to pull off the dynamic role of Mickey. Despite sharing the screen with a plethora of experienced actors, not to mention Ritchie’s erratic directorial style, Pitt’s performance shone through and would have undoubtedly opened him up to all new kinds of roles.
7. World War Z
A thinking man’s post-apocalyptic film – although the tense of ‘post’ is arguable as we are taken through the inception of the demise of the modern world during the course of the film – World War Z was a box office success and reviewed favourably. Whilst Brad wasn’t going for absolute broke in his performance, he was somewhat of a coal train character throughout the film – consistent, steady and evenly paced.
His cool facade, only briefly broken at key moments during the film, elevated what could have been ‘just another zombie movie’ and made for a highly rewatchable film that will remain relevant for years to come.
6. 12 Monkeys
A low-budget blockbuster that still boasts an extremely smart script, the cult-classic 12 Monkeys starred Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer and of course, ya boy BP. Pitt’s performance as the manic Jeffrey is totally chilling, with the key oddity being the sight of his familiar (and let’s face it, remarkably attractive) face contorted into all sorts of crazy.
One of Pitt’s slower films, Babel is more than worthy of the middle rank on this list. Covering complex subject matter, and even more intricate themes of longing and love-lost in translation, Pitt shined playing a caring father – like he did in World War Z – and showed the world (or at least the few people who’ve seen the movie) that ‘less’ is definitely more.
4. Ocean’s Eleven
Boasting a monolithic cast of Hollywood heavyweights, including George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac and many more, it was Brad Pitt and Clooney who took out the lead roles of Rusty Ryan and Danny Ocean. Pitt’s character oozed ‘cool’; he never raised his voice beyond a silky drawl because, well, he simply didn’t have to. To boot, Soderbergh’s efforts as Director paid off big time, bringing us one of the all-time great heist films.
The story of a man being questioned and scorned at every turn, Moneyball is less about ‘the man with the vision’ and more about the man ‘who saw the man’ if you catch our meaning. Brad Pitt does an incredible job of breathing life into a niche kind of character and successfully showcases that those with an eye for talent are pivotal in enacting real-world change, especially when it comes to sports.
2. Inglourious Basterds
When Pitt teamed up with Quentin for the epic Inglourious Basterds, we wonder if he realised he’d be making one of, if not the best Tarantino film of all time. Regardless, Pitt’s character Aldo the Apache is one of the baddest motherfuckers to grace the silver screen. With a lust for “Killin’ Nazis” and preserving the American dream, Aldo plays a significant role in the film’s plot and is essential in sealing Hitler’s fate – if only it went down like that in real life, ay?
But it’s due to Pitt’s highly-exaggerated southern accent and perfect comedic timing that we award Inglourious Basterds the number 2 rank on this list.
As stated in our top 20 list of movies with a mind-bending twist, Se7en is a thriller masterpiece. And whilst many may look to Kevin Spacey’s performance as the hideous villain of the piece, it’s Freeman and Pitt who make up the majority of the film – it’s their understated chemistry that really elevates the story, and establishes the stakes.
But that’s not why Se7en takes out the coveted first place on this list. Se7en wears the crown, not because of Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice but the thanks to the man himself: Brad Pitt. His acting in the final scene is the finest work he’s done in his career; coupled with an amazing Director (David Fincher), Se7en ended up becoming one of the very best thriller films of all time.