Brad Pitt is back, literally, with a vengeance as a crime lord “fixer” in Killing Them Softly. The superstar has used his remarkable career to show his incredible range. Pitt has been a romantic lead, an action star, a comic lead and even a mad English gypsy… all with perfection.
Now that he’s back in a role that is fascinating in its depths with Killing Them Softly -- think Fight Club’s Tyler Durden meets Ocean 11’s Rusty Ryan with a touch of Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s John Smith -- it’s time to look back and name the Top 10 Brad Pitt movies of all-time.
10. Ocean’s 11 Franchise
We can forgive Ocean’s 12, because Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 13 were so damn good. Pitt killed it as the slick Rusty Ryan, who is one of the leaders of George Clooney’s crew that seeks to steal the un-stealable. Pitt became part of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s ensemble with Matt Damon and effortlessly left his top tier star status at the door in favor of being part of an (acting) crew that created one of the best franchises of all-time.
9. Interview with the Vampire
For many who did not care for Tom Cruise’s casting as Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, the saving grace was Pitt’s stellar turn as Louis de Pointe du Lac. Still a relative unknown, Pitt launched himself to the A-list with the 1994 film that still to this day is one of his best and also features one of the Top 10 Movie Vampires of All-Time.
8. Legends of the Fall
Legends of the Fall is one seriously sweeping epic. As expansive as the landscape was in the film, so too was Pitt's character arc. The actor further proved his burgeoning talents, going toe-to-toe with screen legend and current star of Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
A true acting challenge was met with amazing success with Pitt’s portrayal of a man who was born old, and then proceeds to age by looking younger. There are very few actors in the world who could have commanded the screen as Pitt does with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The scenes when he and Cate Blanchett are at the “same age” are some of the most romantic work of the man’s entire career.
6. Thelma and Louise
The budding superstar had very little screen time in Thelma and Louise, but it was an explosion of impact for Pitt. It was the first role that truly announced him to the world when he seduced Geena Davis’ character and proceeded to steal all her money. Many consider his sex scene with Davis among Hollywood’s hottest. As millions around the world met him for the first time, they all collectively exalted, “Hello, gorgeous.”
5. Fight Club
Tyler Durden has become an iconic character in film annals, and that is largely due to Pitt’s ability in getting lost in a role that may or may not exist in the real world. Durden’s Fight Club quotes are legendary, as is Pitt’s off-the-wall harnessing of a character that in a weaker actor’s hands might have come off as more camp than courageous.
4. 12 Monkeys
Speaking of crazy, Pitt’s triumph on Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (also one of Bruce Willis' Top 10 movies) is what initially introduced him to the people who turn actors into award-winning performers. His Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe was so well deserved and his lack of an Oscar for the role is a crime. Pitt dove in and never came up for air as the radical son of a wealthy Philadelphia man who may or may not have been the cause of the end of the world as we know it.
Seven possesses one of the most shocking endings of all time and it only works because of Pitt’s face and emotional response to what he discovers in that box. With the film moments from being over, and the audience knowing we still have two sins to finish before our serial killer completes his seven deadly sins… through Pitt we get both in a matter of seconds.
Pitt showed his range (again) by tackling the world of Guy Ritchie in what Movie Fanatic still feels is the filmmaker’s best work. Snatch featured Pitt as an impossible-to-understand gypsy with an accent so thick, he probably needed subtitles. Never for one second do we not believe that the superstar isn’t knee deep in the role. Ritchie was pressured to cast a Brit in the role, but his faith in Pitt was rewarded with the second best work of the actor’s career.
1. Inglourious Basterds
Talk about letting yourself get lost in a role... Pitt’s explosive take as Lt. Aldo Raine is the stuff of pure genius. His Inglourious Basterds scenes opposite Oscar winner Christoph Waltz are some of the most electrifying of the decade. The actor is so Raine that the audience can imagine exactly where in America he comes from and what his motivations are -- all from Pitt’s feat of film talent. His match with Quentin Tarantino is a case of lightning in a bottle. The two may reunite some day, but it will hardly equal the power of Pitt’s turn as one of Tarantino’s Basterds.
Honorable mentions: True Romance, Kalifornia, Moneyball, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Babel, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, A River Runs Through It, Seven Years in Tibet