Beloved Hollywood actor Brad Pitt is ready to mesmerize the fans once again as he returns on-screen in Damien Chazelle’s Babylon. After landing several minor roles in his first movies in the late eighties, Pitt started to draw everyone’s attention with an unforgettable performance in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise, which also presented him as the charming actor he would become. In Babylon, Pitt portrays the “hard-partying uber-movie star” Jack Conrad in 1920s Los Angeles, a character inspired by Hollywood stars John Gilbert and Clark Gable. For the occasion, he will work with Margot Robbie, Olivia Wilde, Tobey Maguire, and Spike Jonze, among many others.
Here is the list of the best Brad Pitt drama movies.
Jeffrey Goines in 12 Monkeys (1996)
In the late nineties and early 2000s, Pitt topped many lists of the sexiest men alive, especially after he grew in popularity following 1994’s Interview with the Vampire. At the same time, Pitt proved he was quite a skillful and versatile actor, not just a sex symbol. One of his most critically acclaimed performances went down in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, a sci-fi story set in a (not-so-distant-anymore) future where humanity deals with the aftermath of a deadly virus outbreak. Goines is a peculiar mental patient who becomes friends with the protagonist, James Cole (Bruce Willis), a man sent back from the future to prevent the virus release. At the time, 12 Monkeys was considered a box office success after grossing $168.8 million. Thanks to his efforts, Pitt received his first-ever Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Tyler Durden in Fight Club (1999)
The first collaboration between Pitt and David Fincher resulted in Seven, an appreciated — yet more traditional — thriller. The second time they joined forces was for the cult movie by definition, Fight Club. The live-action adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel by the same name also starred Edward Norton in an oneiric take on society in the new millennium’s beginning. It’s hard to say who Durden is without spoiling too much about his backstory, although Fight Club should be on every movie fan’s must-watch list. Let’s just say Durden is not that charming, jacked soap salesman he appears to be. If you have never seen this story, consider that you might need to watch it twice to understand some details better. Fans and critics were divided about this movie when it premiered, yet it aged like fine wine. Fight Club also featured Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, and the unforgettable Meat Loaf, among others. Fincher and Pitt would also work again for 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Actor.
Billy Beane in Moneyball (2011)
Put Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman on the same set, and the result cannot help but be memorable. The Bennett Miller-directed film adapts the real-life story told in Michael Lewis’ 2003 book about Oakland Athletics’ attempt to assemble a competitive team with a minimal budget. Ultimately, the team ended up winning the 2002 American League West. Moneyball isn’t really about baseball since there is so much more going on. Pitt was perfect in the role of the quietly angry man fighting against all odds to change the system. Critics simply loved Pitt’s job on Moneyball, but Pitt only took home an Oscar nomination as Best Actor that year.
Gerry Lane in World War Z (2013)
It may raise some eyebrows to see this film on the best Brad Pitt drama movies list, considering World War Z had some production-related issues that translated into a weak third act, criticized for diverging from the sourcebook by Max Brooks. However, it has nothing to do with Pitt’s solid performance in his first foray into zombie movies. Plus, it’s hard to ignore World War Z‘s success. To date, the Marc Forster-directed action horror is the highest-grossing movie in Pitt’s filmography, with more than $540 million at the box office. Briefly, the story follows Lane’s attempt to survive amidst a zombie apocalypse with his family. The cast included Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, and Matthew Fox, among others. A sequel to World War Z has been teased for many years but was canceled in 2019 while going into production.
Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
There are a few recurring themes throughout Pitt’s career, and working with a few directors he really appreciated is one of them. Pitt first collaborated with Quentin Tarantino for 2009’s Inglorious Basterds, where he smashed it as Lieutenant Aldo Raine. 10 years later, Pitt was in a different spot in his career, yet he took a challenge as the war veteran and stunt double Booth. Many iconic moments and lines involve Pitt in the ultimate homage paid by Tarantino to Hollywood, but Booth’s clash with Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) stands above all. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the best Brad Pitt drama movies, at least in recent years. After many years of being due, the Academy rewarded Pitt with the Best Supporting Actor award.