Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the world's most beloved actresses, and she's appeared in around 50 movies as of 2023.
She made her on-screen acting debut in several television shows in 1977, and the iconic 1978 horror Halloween was her first movie credit. She hasn't looked back since, and this year, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the brilliant Everything Everywhere All at Once.
In this piece, we'll rank her 22 finest movies, ending with the best one.
1. Halloween Ends (2018, directed by David Gordon Green)
Halloween Ends is a slasher horror movie, the thirteenth installment in the Halloween franchise, the sequel to 2021's Halloween Kills, and the final part in the trilogy of sequels that started with 2018's Halloween, which directly follows the original 1978 film of the same name. In this one, a young man falls for Laurie Strode's granddaughter, while several events, including encounters with Michael Myers, turn him into a homicidal outsider.
Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode in this one, presumably for the final time, and she's a pleasure to watch. Halloween Ends is a deep-layered horror film that's more than meets the eye. It's received a mixed reception but will undoubtedly get more appreciation with time. It's intimate, surprising, clever, and a gripping study of evil, and, of course, there's plenty of brutality and gore.
2. My Girl (1991, directed by Howard Zieff)
My Girl is a coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama movie about an 11-year-old girl living in Madison, Pennsylvania, who meets a boy the same age as her during the summer of 1972. The film's title refers to The Temptations' classic 1964 song of the same name.
Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin star as the two young children, while Dan Aykroyd plays the girl's father. Curtis plays Shelly DeVoto, a makeup artist, the father's love interest, and the girl's future stepmother. She's lovely in the role, as are the rest of the delightful cast. My Girl is a beautiful, touching, funny, and sad movie that will move you in many ways.
3. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998, directed by Steve Miner)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a slasher horror movie, the seventh installment in the Halloween franchise, and a direct sequel to 1981's Halloween II. In the film, a post-traumatic Laurie Strode faked her death to hide from Michael Myers. However, while she's working as the headmistress at a private boarding school in California, Michael finds her.
It's arguably the most underrated film in the Halloween franchise, and people are coming to appreciate it more in recent years. Curtis plays Strode brilliantly again, as she tends to do. The excellent supporting cast includes Adam Arkin, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, and Michelle Williams. It also features a cameo from Curtis' mother, Janet Leigh. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is suspenseful, thrilling, and appropriately scary.
4. Queens Logic (1991, directed by Steve Rash)
Queens Logic is a coming-of-age comedy-drama movie about a group of lifelong friends who reunite in Queens for the bachelor party and wedding of one of them.
The outstanding ensemble cast includes Kevin Bacon, Linda Fiorentino, John Malkovich, Joe Mantegna, Ken Olin, Tony Spiridakis, and Tom Waits. Curtis plays the strange and wealthy Grace, who turns up at the party, and she does so in an exuberant fashion. Queens Logic is incredibly watchable, brilliantly performed, and funny, but also a bit too loaded with stereotypes.
5. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, directed by Tommy Lee Wallace)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a sci-fi horror movie, the third installment in the Halloween franchise, and the only one not to feature or involve the iconic killer Michael Myers. In this one, a company called Silver Shamrock sells highly sought-after Halloween masks that kill the children who wear them with intentions to resurrect a bygone age of witchcraft.
It stars Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, and Dan O'Herlihy. Curtis' role in this one is minimal and uncredited, as she briefly voices a telephone operator. It's a highly original film with blatant anti-capitalist and anti-corporate themes. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a bit messy, but it's creative, creepy, fun, and gratifying.
6. True Lies (1994, directed by James Cameron)
True Lies is an action comedy based on the 1991 French comedy movie La Totale!. It's about a U.S. government agent who finds balancing his double life as a spy with his familial duties tricky.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, the spy leading a double life, and Curtis plays his wife, Helen. They have great chemistry and give excellent performances. The fabulous supporting cast includes Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Art Malik, Tia Carrere, Charlton Heston, and Eliza Dushku. True Lies is a laugh-out-loud action-packed romp with violence on the more cartoonish side.
7. The Tailor of Panama (2001, directed by John Boorman)
The Tailor of Panama is a spy thriller based on John le Carré's 1996 novel. It follows the eponymous former convict turned tailor forced by an unscrupulous MI6 agent into spying on the Panamanian government.
Pierce Brosnan plays MI6 agent Andrew “Andy” Osnard, and Geoffrey Rush plays the tailor Harold “Harry” Pendel. Curtis plays Louisa, Pendel's wife and the assistant to the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority. They're all terrific and ably supported by Brendan Gleeson, Harold Pinter, Catherine McCormack, and Daniel Radcliffe. The Tailor of Panama is intelligent, dark, brilliantly satirical, and performed with buoyant energy and enthusiasm.
8. Blue Steel (1990, directed by Kathryn Bigelow)
Blue Steel is an action thriller about a female police officer who shoots and kills a robbery suspect on her first day of duty, then engages in a cat-and-mouse game with a murderer who becomes obsessed with her and whom she dates without realizing his nature.
Curtis plays Megan Turner, the officer who shoots the suspect on her first day. Blue Steel‘s story is pretty implausible, but the whole thing is incredibly watchable due to the appealing performances of Curtis and the excellent supporting cast, which includes Ron Silver, Elizabeth Peña, Louise Fletcher, Richard Jenkins, Tom Sizemore, and Clancy Brown. It's stylishly directed and expertly combines elements that don't usually go together.
9. The Fog (1980, directed by Joh Carpenter)
The Fog is a supernatural horror movie about a mysterious glowing fog that engulfs a small coastal town in Northern California. It contains the vengeful spirits of the leprous crew of a ship that crashed against the rocks there a century before.
The iconic cast includes Tom Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook, Nancy Loomis, and Curtis' mother, Janet Leigh. Curtis adeptly plays Elizabeth Solley, a young hitchhiker caught up in the town's spooky events. The Fog is slow-building, chilling, suspenseful, and elegantly made, though the low production costs are sometimes evident in the special effects.
10. Dominick and Eugene (1988, directed by Robert M. Young)
Dominick and Eugene is a drama movie that follows the eponymous twin brothers, one of whom cares for the other due to an accident he suffered as a child rendering him intellectually disabled.
Dominick “Nicky” Luciano, the twin with the learning disability, is played by Tom Hulce, and his caring brother Eugene “Gino” Luciano is played by Ray Liotta. They're both superb. Curtis plays Jennifer Reston, Gino's love interest, and she's also brilliant. Dominick and Eugene is a well-acted film that's sentimental, wholesome, and impactful. It also deserves credit for compassionately dealing with its sensitive material.
11. Halloween (2018, directed by David Gordon Green)
Halloween is a slasher movie, the eleventh installment in the Halloween franchise, and the first part in a sequel trilogy that directly follows the 1978 film of the same name. In this one, a post-traumatic Laurie Strode prepares to face an escaped Michael Myers in a climactic battle on Halloween night, four decades after she survived his first murder spree.
It's the best Halloween film since the original, as Curtis plays Strode for the first time since 2002's terrible Halloween: Resurrection. She gives a formidable performance in a movie that's a brilliant act of fan service. Judy Greer joins the cast, Will Patton plays the sheriff's deputy and Strode's love interest, and everyone acts brilliantly. Halloween is gruesome, suspenseful, and full of creative kills.
12. Veronica Mars (2014, directed by Rob Thomas)
Veronica Mars is a neo-noir mystery comedy-drama movie and a continuation of the eponymous television series aired from 2004 until 2007. It follows the title character back to her hometown of Neptune, California, to investigate the murder of a former classmate allegedly at the hands of Mars' ex-boyfriend.
Curtis has a minor role as Gayle Buckley, a woman who interviewed Veronica for a job, and she plays it well. Kristen Bell reprises her role as Veronica from the television show and is excellent. The terrific supporting cast includes Krysten Ritter, Jerry O'Connell, and Martin Starr. Veronica Mars is sharp, thrilling, character-driven, and sure to delight both fans of the series and those unfamiliar with it.
13. Daddy and Them (2001, directed by Billy Bob Thornton)
Daddy and Them is a comedy-drama movie about a jealous and insecure married couple who go to the aid of one of their uncles when he gets jailed for attempted murder.
As well as directing, Thornton also stars in this one as Claude Montgomery, alongside Laura Dern as the other half of the above-mentioned married couple. Both stars perform well, as does the supporting cast, which includes Brenda Blethyn, Ben Affleck, Kelly Preston, Andy Griffin, and Curtis in a minor role as lawyer Elaine Bowen. At its heart, Daddy and Them is a lighthearted movie about family, and it features brilliant deadpan humor and is exceptionally well-written and directed.
14. From Up on Poppy Hill (2011, directed by Gorō Miyazaki)
From Up on Poppy Hill is a Japanese animated drama movie set in 1963 about a group of teenagers in Yokohama who attempt to save their school's beloved clubhouse from being knocked down in preparation for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
In the English-language version of the film, Curtis ably voices Ryoko Matsuzaki, the mother of the main character Umi and a medical professor studying in the United States. The rest of the excellent English voice cast includes Anton Yelchin, Gillian Anderson, and Bruce Dern. From Up on Poppy Hill is a nostalgic, sweet, easy-going movie with great characters and gorgeous animation. It's one of Studio Ghibli's finest, which is quite the compliment.
15. Escape from New York (1981, directed by John Carpenter)
Escape from New York is a sci-fi action movie set in a then-near-future United States in which New York has become the country's only maximum security prison. The plot follows an ex-soldier who, now a prisoner, is given 24 hours to rescue the president from the city after Air Force One got hijacked in exchange for a pardon.
Kurt Russell stars as Lieutenant S.D. “Snake” Plissken, the man tasked with saving the president, in one of his most iconic roles. The terrific supporting cast includes Donald Pleasance, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, and Tom Atkins. Curtis goes uncredited in competently voicing the computerized narrator. Escape from New York is an action-packed, thrilling, fast-moving, and highly influential film.
16. Freaky Friday (2003, directed by Mark Waters)
Freaky Friday is a fantasy comedy movie based on Mary Rodgers's 1972 novel and the second live-action feature-length remake of that story. The plot concerns a mother and daughter who wake up one morning with their minds swapped into each others' bodies, having received mysterious magical fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant.
Curtis and Lindsay Lohan play the mother-and-daughter duo in this one, and they're both excellent. Curtis exceptionally portrays a teenager in an adult's body and throws herself into the role. Freaky Friday is funny, charming, and brilliantly acted, and the chemistry between Curtis and Lohan is glorious.
17. Trading Places (1983, directed by John Landis)
Trading Places is a festive comedy movie about an elaborate wager between two wealthy brothers putting an upper-class commodities broker and a poor street hustler to the test by forcibly swapping their lives after they inadvertently cross paths on the street.
With Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy playing the broker and hustler, respectively, Trading Places has some top-tier talent in their performing prime headlining. Curtis brilliantly plays Ophelia, a prostitute who helps the broker when he finds himself homeless, and it's seen her breakthrough role as a serious actress. This movie has some controversial material that some may deem offensive in 2023, but Trading Places is undoubtedly a brilliant, expertly written, performed, and directed comedy.
18. Roadgames (1981, directed by Richard Franklin)
Roadgames is a slasher thriller about a trucker driving across Australia who, with the assistance of a hitchhiker, tries to track down a serial killer dumping the dismembered bodies of women along desolate highways after murdering them.
Curtis is on top form playing Pamela, AKA “Hitch,” the hitchhiker who helps the truck driver, Pat Quid, played by Stacy Keach, to track the murderer. Roadgames is terrifically suspenseful, almost in the mold of Alfred Hitchcock's best thrillers, and has lots of moments that succeed in shocking viewers. It's a tragically underrated slasher flick.
19. A Fish Called Wanda (1988, directed by Charles Chrichton)
A Fish Called Wanda is a heist comedy movie about a gang of diamond thieves who double-cross each other trying to locate stolen diamonds hidden by the group's leader, resulting in shenanigans and carnage galore.
Its fantastic cast includes Monty Python legends John Cleese and Michael Palin, Kevin Cline, and the sultry Curtis as Wanda Gershwitz, a femme fatale who wants to locate the loot. A Fish Called Wanda received three Academy Award nominations, with Kline winning the gong for Best Supporting Actor. It's intelligent, eccentric, frantic, hilarious, and British comedy at its best.
20. Knives Out (2019, directed by Rian Johnson)
Knives Out is a mystery movie that follows master detective Benoit Blanc as he investigates the suspicious death of a wealthy, dysfunctional family patriarch at his Massachusetts mansion.
It has one of the most impressive ensembles in recent years, with Daniel Craig playing Blanc, Christopher Plummer playing the deceased patriarch, and Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Don Johnson playing other family and household members. Curtis superbly plays Linda Drysdale, the oldest daughter of the dead man. Knives Out is clever, compelling, suspenseful, twisty, and expertly performed and directed.
21. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a sci-fi action comedy-drama movie about a Chinese-American immigrant who, under audit by the IRS, learns that she must save the multiverse by connecting with different versions of herself from parallel universes.
Despite its incredibly complex-sounding plot, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an immensely watchable film. It received a whopping eleven Academy Award nominations. It won an impressive seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, and Best Supporting Actress for Curtis, who is phenomenal as IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre and various alternative universe versions of the character. Other fabulous cast members include James Hong, Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, and Harry Shum Jr. This movie is a fantastic assault on the senses. It's funny, looks great, has perfect martial arts choreography, and is a blast from start to finish.
22. Halloween (1978, directed by John Carpenter)
Halloween is an independent slasher horror movie that follows Michael Myers, a psychopath committed to an asylum for murdering his teenage sister on Halloween night when he was six, as he escapes 15 years later, returns to his hometown, and hunts a female babysitter and her friends while his concerned psychiatrist pursues him.
Curtis plays the now-iconic Laurie Strode for the first time in this one, the babysitter Myers stalks. It was her film debut, and she was fantastic beyond her years. The supporting cast includes Donald Pleasance, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, and Nick Castle as Myers.
Halloween is a masterpiece and one of the finest horror movies ever made. It's deeply atmospheric, suspenseful, and genuinely scary, and it introduced us to one of the most memorable scores in cinematic history. It's a must-watch on October 31st.
Writer and editor with ten years of experience working full-time in this capacity. I've written over 2000 pieces of published work and managed teams of 50+ writers. I've produced content for some of the world's most prominent entertainment and sports platforms. My published work includes feature articles, news and opinion pieces, listicles, quizzes, voice-over scripts, viral content, and more. I'm a British 80s kid who loves movies (horror, superhero stuff, and all things 80s are my favorites), boxing, and football (soccer), a former business owner and executive headhunter, and a Tottenham Hotspur FC fan for my sins.