Susan Sarandon’s 10 Best Movies, Ranked

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Summary

  • Susan Sarandon has had a long and illustrious career in both film and television, earning multiple Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.
  • She is a versatile actor who has worked in various genres, including horror, crime thriller, drama, and comedy, showcasing her range and talent.
  • Some of her notable films include “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Little Women,” “Bull Durham,” and “Thelma & Louise,” where she delivered powerful performances and left a lasting impact on audiences.

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Susan Sarandon has amassed a celebrated filmography of prominent works in both film and television. After launching her decades-spanning career with a supporting role in the 1970 film Joe, Sarandon has since become one of the more notable female actors in modern cinematic history. Nominated for nine Golden Globe Awards and six Academy Awards including one win for Best Actress, the 77-year-old Sarandon continues to work in major Hollywood films and television series such as the recent Blue Beetle and even the popular animated series Rick & Morty.

Sarandon has proven to be an incredibly versatile actor, having performed in multiple genres such as horror (The Witches of Eastwick), crime thriller (The Lovely Bones), drama, (The Client), and even comedy (Tammy). Sarandon has worked with many remarkable filmmakers throughout her career including George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings), Louis Malle (Elevator to the Gallows), and Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). The accomplished actor has made more than 160 appearances in films and television series with several upcoming projects such as The Fabulous Four and the Stephen Chbosky comedy Nonnas.

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10 Light Sleeper (1992)

John and ANN looking atr each other

Light Sleeper is an often overlooked crime drama directed by Taxi Driver and Raging Bull screenwriter Paul Schrader. Sarandon stars alongside Willem Dafoe in this dark and gritty tale of a New York City drug dealer John Le Tour (Dafoe) begins to have moral apprehensions about his profession. Sarandon plays Ann, John’s upscale drug lord boss who also has a change of heart about the negative societal effects of her business. The film offers a modern and complex existential dilemma that makes for a compelling watch, highlighted by the cold allure of Sarandon’s character.

9 You Don’t Know Jack (2010)

HBO’s biographical dramaYou Don’t Know Jack features phenomenal performances from both Sarandon and Al Pacino. Pacino portrays the real-life Dr. Jack Kevorkian who made headlines during the 1990s for breaking Michigan state law by assisting in the suicides of patients suffering from terminal illnesses. The issue becomes a legal matter handled by the Supreme Court as Pacino’s Jack advocates for the legal practice of medically assisted suicide. Sarandon offers a powerful performance as Jack’s real-life accomplice and civil rights advocate Janet Good.

8 Enchanted (2007)

enchanted movie amy adams on her balcony in the sun wearing a white dress

Directed by longtime Disney creative Kevin Lima (Aladdin, Tarzan), Enchanted sees Sarandon as the evil Queen Narissa alongside Amy Adams’ youthful princess Giselle. The innovative Disney movie combines Disney’s classic animation style with live-action performances from an ensemble cast including Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel. Similar to Jon Favreau’s Elf, Enchanted has hilarious scenes that place real-life Disney characters within the context of the modern world such as Sarandon’s royally wicked character.

7 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Frank N. Furter catches Rocky and Janet together in Rocky Horror Picture Show

Sarandon truly rose to fame with the 1975 release of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which to this day remains one of the most prominent musical films in cinematic history. Sarandon stars as Janet Weiss in the cult classic, who alongside Barry Bostwick’s Brad Majors find themselves a Frankenstein-esque parody with the creation of an idealized male sex symbol. The film is celebrated for its playful tone and memorable musical numbers that have delighted audiences for decades.

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6 Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)

Image of two cast members from Lorenzo's Oil looking into the distance

From acclaimed Australian director George Miller, Lorenzo’s Oil is an inspirational yet distressingly heartbreaking medical drama that offers one of Sarandon’s most impassioned performances. The story follows a young boy named Lorenzo who has the terminal illness ALD, which is a genetic disease that results from a mutation of the X chromosome. Despite the tragic premise, Lorenzo’s Oil is still worth the watch for the incredible acting seen from Saradnon’s Michaela alongside Nick Notle’s Augusto, the parents of Lorenzo who try desperately to find a cure to save their son.

5 Little Women (1994)

Little Women 1994
Little Women 1994

Even compared to Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaption, Gillian Armstorng’s 1994 Little Women still holds its own weight. Sarandon plays Mrs. Marmee March, the mother of the three famed sisters from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Little Women has an incredible cast of Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, and Clare Danes, who each play Jo, Amy, and Beth March, respectively. The film also features an early onscreen appearance from Christian Bale as the charming next-door neighbor Laurie, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet in the most recent rendition.

4 Bull Durham (1988)

Kevin Costner in Bull Durham

Sarandon stars alongside the charismatic Kevin Costner in Bull Durham, often considered one of the greatest baseball films of all time. While presenting as a sports film, Bull Durham plays out much more like a romantic comedy, with Sarandon acting as the primary romantic interest Annie Savoy in a love triangle with Costner’s Crash Davis and Tim Robbins’s Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh. Even viewers who aren’t sports fans can appreciate the efforts of Sarandon’s captivating performance as the true star of the film.

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3 Dead Man Walking (1995)

Susan Sarandon talks to Sean Penn across a divider in Dead Man Walking

In one of Tim Robbins’s few directorial efforts, Sarandon stars alongside Sean Penn in the emotional crime drama Dead Man Walking. Sarandon went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress as a formidable nun who was determined to comfort and empathize with a convicted murderer on death row, opening up a societal conversation about capital punishment.

Robbins and Sarandon notably had a long-term relationship that formed on the set of Bull Durham. The Hollywood couple never married but share two children together despite officially breaking up in 2009.

2 Atlantic City (1980)

atlantic city susan sarandon

Atlantic City is one of the most prominent and entertaining films by French filmmaker Louis Malle, who was in a relationship with Sarandon during the time of filming. Sarandon plays Sally in the romantic crime drama, an estranged wife of a drug dealer who gets mixed up with a local gangster Lou (Burt Lancaster). The two dreamers face trouble in the corrupt city as they navigate an intense criminal scenario brought forth by Sally’s deadbeat husband, returning with her pregnant sister Chrissie. Atlantic City is full of interpersonal suspense and dramatic action that delivers a riveting display from Sarandon.

1 Thelma & Louise (1991)

Sarandon stars in Ridley Scott’s offbeat comedy with Geena Davis in 1991’s Thelma & Louise. Widely considered one of the greatest road movies ever made, Thelma & Louise is a classic adventure crime drama that is full of wild antics and hilarious scenes. Sarandon and Davis are captivating alongside an impressive cast of Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, and a young Brad Pitt. In one of Ridley Scott’s most atypical directorial efforts, Susan Sarandon’s engrossing onscreen presence made Thelma & Louise an instant classic.