The Disney Channel experiment has been going on for many years, taking relative nobodies, giving them a platform to show their stuff in lower-budget family sitcoms, and then helping them to rise to stardom. If there is a poster child for this, it is likely Selena Gomez.
The Texan-born actor rose to fame as the star of Wizards of Waverly Place but did not stop there, as you’ll see in the 22 best Selena Gomez movies and TV shows below. She quickly created a masterful and commanding musical career while starring in and even creating some brilliant films and TV shows.
1 – Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)
This is where it all began for Selena Gomez. Much of her career is thanks to this long-running Disney Channel show, one of the best to come out of the company.
Telling the story of Gomez’s instantly likable Alex Russo and her family of wizards who must keep their magic a secret. Though most episodes are pretty similar to the rest, they never fail to delight, entertain, and show the greatest magic in this series is Selena Gomez herself at her best.
2 – Only Murders in the Building (2021-2023)
Both a leading character and a producer on the show, this is Selena Gomez returning to her television roots triumphantly. Together with Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gomez matches these outstanding actors beat for beat as they hilariously uncover the murder in their apartment building.
3 – Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me (2022)
Emotional, riveting, and raw, this is Selena Gomez in her most authentic nature and beauty. This documentary follows six years of her life and the tragedy that has pulled at her. You get to see the highest of her peaks, the lowest of her lows, and everything in between to know why she truly is a generational talent.
4 – The Muppets (2011)
Even if you aren’t a fan of these lovable Disney puppets, this is perhaps the movie to watch to convert you. Anchored by performances by the puppets themselves, Jason Siegel, and Amy Adams, it is a colorful and heartfelt adventure about saving their studio.
5 – The Big Short (2015)
This dramatized and often hilarious take on the story of con artists who take advantage of the 2008 Wall Street Market crash is unbelievably entertaining. It is helped by an undeniably talented all-star cast of Gomez, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, and so many more.
6 – Ramona and Beezus (2010)
Selena Gomez and her character’s younger sister, played by Joey King, are remarkable in this underrated family classic. While you could argue it isn’t entirely on the level of its source material, the two leads are incredible and carry this movie about saving their family's home.
7 – Hotel Transylvania (2012)
This is where it all started for Count Dracula’s monster hotel when a human wanders in and falls for Selena Gomez’s lovable Mavis. Well-animated and full of intriguing monster characters, anyone can watch this memorable family flick.
8 – Dolittle (2020)
Selena Gomez plays a smaller role in this movie as one of the voices of the animals owned by the lovable Dr. Dolittle, played brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr. While this adaptation isn’t too different from the originals, it still offers an enjoyable family fun time.
9 – Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (2009)
One of the best cinematic adaptations of a Disney Channel TV series, it fulfills what it was supposed to do. It acts as a solid climax for the core series while elevating its core three Russo family members to new heights.
10 – Another Cinderella Story (2008)
This modern adaptation of the classic fairy tale wears its inspiration on its sleeve. That said, there’s no denying the unbelievable chemistry between the two leads, as Gomez plays a dancer being chased after a man she met at a masked dance.
11 – Girl Rising (2013)
Unlike other documentaries, this documentary takes a unique and welcoming approach that helps it stay constantly interesting and engaging. Telling the stories of nine girls from developing countries who overcome their hardships, it is helped along by smooth narration from the likes of Gomez and other stars.
12 – The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020)
Another production that Gomez helped out with, this basic rom-com, will feel familiar to anyone—telling the story of a girl who gets dumped by her boyfriend and decides to create an art gallery filled with momentums from past relationships.
Its two leads are memorable and fun, including a charming and very different performance from Stranger Things star Dacre Montgomery.
13 – 13 Reasons Why (2018-2020)
Selena Gomez showed she could be so much more than an actor and singer, taking on the executive producer role and creating this heavily controversial (rightfully so) Netflix TV series about the aftermath of a girl’s passing.
Its subject matter is too intense at times and too emotionally distressing, but it at least goes into the darkest possible realm of teens with fantastic acting in a way that has never been done before.
14 – The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez are an unstoppable duo in this impactful and emotional drama about a retired writer who becomes the caregiver for a disabled teen. Their road trip together is powerful, outpacing its otherwise predictable road trip plot.
15 – Rudderless (2014)
This musically-focused drama follows a father who lost his son and found his demo tapes, leading him to create a band to help him grieve and move on. Its script doesn’t always rise to the occasion, but its talented and incredible cast makes up for it.
16 – Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
This sequel to the messy comedy film about college students versus a family isn’t as impressive as the original. Even still, it is helped by a fantastic cast that you don’t often see battle against each other, including Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Selena Gomez, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, and more.
17 – Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
While you could argue that this sequel has an overall better storyline with the hotel’s doors now open to the public, it is let down by a severe lack of Gomez’s Mavis. Even still, this is an hour and a half of fun, goofs, and surprisingly friendly monsters.
18 – Princess Protection Program (2009)
Set in the Bayous of Louisiana, this follows a princess, played by Demi Lovato, taken in by an agent and his daughter, played by Selena Gomez.
It isn’t often that these real-life friends can act together, leading to two stars with equally impressive chemistry and acting, even if the movie is as predictable as they come.
19 – The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex (2013)
Nowhere on the level of what came before it, this grand finale to the Russo family sees Gomez’s Alex accidentally create an evil alter ego of herself. While it is excellent to see Gomez try out a darker side of her acting, there isn’t much to be found in this otherwise filler content.
20 – Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)
The third entry in this series about a monstrous family is far from what the franchise started as. The family’s exhilarating cruise is colorful and fun, but it lacks some of the humor and storytelling that helped the first two movies along.
21 – This Is the Year (2020)
As an executive producer on this movie, it follows a fairly typical rom-com about a nerdy kid who also goes on a road trip to a music festival to get the girl he loves. While it doesn’t add anything new to the genre, it is at least entertaining enough.
22 – Spring Breakers (2012)
This isn’t quite the Selena Gomez you might remember. This adult-oriented film follows four girls who steal money to party it up as much as they want, only to be sent to jail and bailed out by a drug dealer who forces them into a life of crime. Ridiculous and flashy in all the wrong ways, this is a lower point in Gomez’s career.