- Chris Pine’s best movies showcase his versatility, naturalism, and ability to build compelling characters, bringing emotional depth to each role.
From high-budget sci-fi franchises to low-budget indies, Pine has excelled in lead roles since his breakout in the 2009
Pine’s standout performances are evident in films like
The Finest Hours
Star Trek Beyond
Hell or High Water
Chris Pine‘s best movies show the actor’s versatility, skill at building characters, naturalism, unmatched screen presence, and well of emotional depth. Despite Pine’s admitted lack of passion for acting initially, he has brought his well-trained and inherited talent to a range of films, from high-budget sci-fi franchises to low-budget indies and everything in between. While the actor is always in top form and has been a standout and a saving grace in a few less-than-stellar movies, some of his films are worth watching more than others.
Pine made his feature film debut in 2004 with The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement before truly breaking out as a movie star five years later by leading the 2009 Star Trek reboot cast as the new James T. Kirk. While some of his greatest performances can be seen in films released in the years between those two milestones, the actor has mostly shone in lead roles since 2009. Whether he’s playing the love interest of an iconic superhero, voicing a famous mythical being, or captaining a spaceship headed where no man has gone before, his mix of charm and genuine acting talent is especially evident in his best movies.
10 Smokin’ Aces (2006)
In Smokin’ Aces, Chris Pine co-stars as Darwin Tremor, one of a set of three psychotic neo-Nazi brothers. They’re among the many hitmen who seek the reward for capturing the film’s main character. Pine proves his knack for over-the-top character roles, speaking with an incredible Southern accent and managing to make the ridiculous and dimwitted Darwin feel believable. Smokin’ Aces is deliriously fast-paced, action-packed, and darkly funny, with an ensemble cast of wild characters, with Pine, then relatively unknown, standing out among the likes of Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Ray Liotta, and Andy Garcia.
9 The Finest Hours (2016)
Chris Pine stars in The Finest Hours as real-life Coast Guard crewman Bernie Webber, who along with four other men rescued the crew of the SS Pendleton after the ship split in half during a nor’easter. Pine phenomenally plays against type as a shy rule-follower and brings gravitas to the bravery and tension involved with navigating a small boat into treacherous stormy waters, as well as to his less action-heavy dramatic scenes. Pine also nails the character’s Boston accent. The Finest Hours is a moving film about community and courage with heart-racing scenes on the water.
8 Star Trek Beyond (2016)
With tense and exciting action, a few great laughs, and clever fan service in the form of retro references Star Trek Beyond earned both critical and commercial success. In the third film in the rebooted Star Trek series, Chris Pine has very much sunk into and become comfortable in the part of Captain James T. Kirk, effortlessly embodying the character’s charisma and sense of humor while also mining this entry’s stellar script for emotional depth and inner turmoil. Its stellar action sequences, slick pacing, and focus on the family dynamic of the crew make Star Trek Beyond a stellar return for the crew of the USS Enterprise.
7 Outlaw King (2018)
As part of the true story of Outlaw King, Chris Pine stars as Robert the Bruce, who led Scotland to its independence from England in the early 14th century. Pine disappears into his role, once again proving his skill with accents while brilliantly portraying the character’s arc from defeat to resilience, and showing an incredible emotional range. Stunning cinematography and an unbelievable historical tale, plus some phenomenally staged battle sequences and of course Pine’s lead performance make for an intense and moving watch.
6 Unstoppable (2010)
Unstoppable features Chris Pine as a fresh-faced train conductor opposite Denzel Washington as a veteran railroad engineer. Based on a true story, the disaster thriller is about two men who risk their lives to stop a runaway freight train filled with deadly chemicals before it crashes. Pine brings immense naturalism to his part and brilliantly portrays the character’s cynicism, and he brings intensity to the film’s action scenes through his reactions. Unstoppable is surprising and truly thrilling with excellent direction from Tony Scott on what would be his final film.
5 Rise Of The Guardians (2012)
Rise of the Guardians is a gorgeously animated movie that uses children’s mythology to craft an incredibly creative story with a smart and touching message. Chris Pine voices Jack Frost, the film’s main role, who helps the immortal Guardians defeat the evil Pitch Black, keeping him from changing the world permanently. Pine proves his ability to create an entire character with just his voice and inflections, proving his true range as an actor. Rise of the Guardians is a modern holiday classic, a fast-paced, exciting film for all ages with a surprising amount of great humor and a lot of heart.
4 Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)
A film adaptation of the enduringly popular fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves follows a charming thief, played by Chris Pine, and his strewn-together crew on an epic adventure to retrieve a lost relic. Pine flexes his brilliant comedic timing and natural charisma, with glimpses of a gentle and caring parental nature toward his daughter in the film. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is endlessly funny, with action scenes that are as wittily imaginative as they are excitingly epic.
3 Wonder Woman (2017)
In the first Wonder Woman, Chris Pine plays American pilot Steve Trevor and the eventual love interest of Gal Gadot’s titular superhero. Pine shines in the romantic role, generating an insane amount of chemistry with Gadot while bringing his skills as an action and dramatic star to the performances as needed. Wonder Woman is one of the DCEU’s best movies, a visual feast with thrilling action sequences and a lot of sincerity.
2 Star Trek (2009)
Chris Pine’s breakout role came in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek reboot, playing the rebellious, thrill-seeking James T. Kirk. As the young Starfleet captain, Pine relishes in his character’s self-obsession and rebellion, giving just enough vulnerability to keep him sympathetic, as well as bringing humor to his rivalry with Zachary Quinto’s Spock. Star Trek is as much action-packed fan service as it is the work of a uniquely original director, and it is as much rollicking fun as it is a wonderful setup for the characters and their development in future entries in the franchise.
1 Hell Or High Water (2016)
Hell or High Water is a Western thriller that follows two brothers who rob banks in order to save their family’s ranch. Chris Pine stars as one of the two brothers, a father trying to do better for his son, opposite Ben Foster as the other sibling. Hell or High Water is not just riveting and exciting but also dramatically complex, offering the audience well-drawn-out and multilayered characters and moving drama in addition to captivating and intense gunplay. An Oscar nominee for Best Picture and a modest box office success outside his blockbuster franchise work, Hell or High Water is far and away Chris Pine‘s best movie.