Simon Pegg is an English actor, screenwriter, and comedian who made his name on British television in the 1990s. Having starred in some excellent, relatively low-budget movies in the late 90s and early 2000s, he's now a bona fide Hollywood star.
He will appear in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Part Two in the next couple of years, and there's no doubt more to come from him.
In this piece, we'll look at his film career and rank his finest 22 credits, ending with the best movie he's ever appeared in.
1. Guest House Paradiso(1999, directed by Adrian Edmondson)
Guest House Paradiso is a slapstick black comedy movie and a spin-off of the British BBC comedy television series Bottom. In the film, Richie and Eddie, two degenerates and the main characters from Bottom, run the eponymous hotel, unsurprisingly the worst in Britain.
Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson reprise their roles as Richie and Eddie, and they do their best to make the movie work with some hilarious sequences. However, the jokes struggle to hold up for the entirety of the feature-length format, and it gets a bit messy by the end. Guest House Paradiso was Pegg's second film credit, and he has a relatively minor role as Mr. Nice, a guest at the hotel, and he does just fine.
2. Paul (2011, directed by Greg Mottola)
Paul is a sci-fi comedy road movie about two nerds who meet an alien, the eponymous Paul and aid him in eluding the Secret Service agents pursuing him and returning to his home planet.
It's a fun parody of sci-fi fandom in general, particularly the sci-fi films of Steven Spielberg. Pegg and Nick Frost play Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings, the two nerds, and they're great as usual, but the whole thing, while intelligent and entertaining, isn't as brilliant as their best work together. Seth Rogen voices Paul in a typically hilarious style, and the supporting cast includes Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader, making it well worth watching.
3. Mission: Impossible III (2006, directed by J.J. Abrams)
Mission: Impossible III is an action spy movie, a sequel to 1996's Mission: Impossible and 2000's Mission: Impossible 2, and the third installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. In this one, retired Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt has to return to active duty to apprehend an elusive arms dealer.
Tom Cruise is his usual all-action self as Hunt, and the excellent supporting cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman as arms dealer Owen Davian, Ving Rhames, and Pegg as IMF agent and technician Benji Dunn (a role meant for Ricky Gervais). He must have done a decent job, as it became a permanent role in the franchise. Mission: Impossible III is fast-paced, action-packed with amazing stunts, and the cast is in top form.
4. Ready Player One (2018, directed by Steven Spielberg)
Ready Player One is a sci-fi movie based on Ernest Cline's 2011 novel. It takes place in 2045, where a virtual reality simulation called OASIS gets used to escape the world, and a young orphan hopes to win a contest that promises ownership of the facility to the winner before an evil corporation beats him to it.
Pegg plays Ogden Morrow, AKA the Curator, one of OASIS's co-creators, and he revels in the geeky role. Tye Sheridan brilliantly plays Wade Watts, the orphan, and main character. The terrific supporting cast includes Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, and T.J. Miller. Ready Player One is a nostalgic Easter egg-filled treat that's utterly fascinating, engaging, and visually intriguing.
5. Land of the Dead (2005, directed by George A. Romero)
Land of the Dead is a post-apocalyptic zombie horror movie and the fourth of Romero's six Living Dead films. It focuses on a zombie attack on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a feudal system of government exists, and survivors have fled to the Golden Triangle area of the city, all of which have the protection of rivers and electric barricades.
Along with Edgar Wright, Pegg has a mere cameo as a photo booth zombie (whereby visitors can pay to have their photos taken with them), thanks to Romero's appreciation of their work on Shaun of the Dead. The core cast includes Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, and Asia Argento. Land of the Dead is a dark social commentary on richness and poverty and a hard-edged, gore-filled nightmare that will thoroughly satisfy horror fans.
6. The Adventures of Tintin (2011, directed by Steven
The Adventures of Tintin is a computer-animated action-adventure movie based on Hergé's comic book series. In the film, Tintin and his friends search for the treasure of a ship called the Unicorn but face competition from a dangerous foe.
It has a great voice cast, including Jamie Bell as Tintin, Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, Daniel Craig as main antagonist Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, and Nick Frost and Pegg as Thompson and Thompson, and everyone performs superbly. The Adventures of Tintin is a beautifully animated swashbuckling adventure with plenty of charm, thrills, and timeless childlike wonder.
7. The Boxtrolls (2014, directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi)
The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion animated fantasy comedy movie loosely based on Alan Snow's 2005 novel Here Be Monsters! The story occurs in the late 19th century in the fictional European country of Norvenia. It follows a human boy raised by the trash-collecting “Boxtrolls” as he attempts to save them from a pest exterminator.
Isaac Hempstead Wright voices Eggs, the human boy, and the exceptional extended cast includes Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Pegg, who adeptly voices Herbert Trubshaw, an eccentric inventor who's also Egg's biological father. The Boxtrolls is visually stunning, unorthodox but amusing in its humor, fast-paced, and enjoyably quirky.
8. Man Up (2015, directed by Ben Palmer)
Man Up is a rom-com about a single 34-year-old unlucky-in-love woman who is mistaken for a stranger's blind date and finds that the 40-year-old divorcee is her ideal man.
Lake Bell plays Nancy, the woman (with an impressively convincing English accent), and Pegg plays Jack, the divorcee. They both give fine performances and have lovely chemistry. Their supporting cast includes Rory Kinnear, Ken Stott, Ophelia Lovibond, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Man Up finds that perfect balance between romance and comedy and is witty, fun, engaging, and refreshing.
9. The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (2005, directed by Steve Bendelack)
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse is a disaster horror comedy based on the British television series The League of Gentlemen. In the film, the series characters' fictional home, the town of Royston Vasey, endures an apocalypse, prompting said characters to head to the real world to meet their creators to avert it.
The show's regular cast of Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, and Reece Shearsmith up their games in this one and are joined by Peter Kay, Victoria Wood, Michael Sheen, and Pegg, who gamely plays Peter Cow in a small role. Surrealist humor is rampant in The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, a creative, somewhat twisted, and joyously funny movie.
10. Grindhouse (2007, directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino)
Grindhouse is a double-feature movie combining Planet Terror, an action horror about people facing the threat of zombie-like creatures, and Death Proof, a black comedy action thriller following a stuntman who used modified vehicles to murder young women. Rodriguez directed the former and Tarantino the latter.
Pegg has a small role as a cannibal in a fictitious trailer for the movie-within-a-movie, Don't, directed by Edgar Wright. It has no bearing on Grindhouse‘s plot at all. Grindhouse is a fun double-feature, with Planet Terror being the undoubted highlight. The whole thing is a lot of fun, with some massive stars playing entertaining, non-serious roles, including Kurt Russell, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Michael Biehn, and Freddy Rodriguez.
11. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, directed by J.J. Abrams)
Star Trek Into Darkness is a sci-fi action movie, the 12th installment in the Star Trek franchise, the sequel to 2009's Star Trek, and the second in the rebooted film series. This one follows Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise crew to the homeworld of the Klingons to pursue Khan, a former Starfleet member previously called John Harrison, who has become a terrorist.
Pegg reprises his role as the iconic Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the Enterprise's chief engineer, for the first time in this one, and he's perfect in the role. Star Trek Into Darkness‘s best quality is how aesthetically pleasing it is. But it's also brimming with action and superbly performed by its A-list cast, which includes Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Peter Weller, and Anton Yelchin. It will keep you interested until its tense and thrilling conclusion.
12. Star Trek Beyond (2016, directed by Justin Lin)
Star Trek Beyond is a sci-fi action movie, the 13th installment in the Star Trek franchise, the sequel to 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness, and the third installment in the rebooted series. It's about the USS Enterprise crew venturing to the most remote and unexplored areas of the cosmos to combat a new fearsome foe called Krall, the mutated former commander of the USS Franklin whose aim is to bring down the Federation.
Pegg is again excellent as Scotty, and Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslim, and Lydia Wilson join him and the regular cast in this one. Star Trek Beyond has loads of epic action and will thrill you from beginning to end. It's hugely entertaining and feels like an extended episode of the original series, which is a massive compliment. You can relate to the characters, many of whom get some brilliant development here, and Elba is superb as the villainous Krall.
13. 24 Hour Party People (2002, directed by Michael Winterbottom)
24 Hour Party People is a biographical comedy-drama movie about the popular music community and scene in Manchester, England, from 1976 to 1992, that focuses in great detail on independent record label Factory Records.
It has a great cast portraying prominent figures from the scene, including Steve Coogan, Paddy Considine, Andy Serkis, John Simm, and Ralf Little. Superstars depicted in their pomp include the likes of Joy Division's Ian Curtis and the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten. Pegg has a minor role as the then-Sounds magazine writer Mick Middles and does just fine. 24 Hour Party People is a chaotic and raucous movie that brilliantly realizes the feel of the iconic Manchester music scene. It's well-performed, playful, larger-than-life, and thoroughly entertaining.
14. The Sparks Brothers (2021, directed by Edgar Wright)
The Sparks Brothers is a feature-length documentary movie focusing on the lives of Ron and Russell Mael, members of the pop and rock duo Sparks. It features interviews with the pair and other prominent figures from the music and entertainment industries, including many who worked with the Maels.
Pegg voices John Lennon in this one, and his friend and regular collaborator Nick Frost does the same for Ringo Starr. They're both rather convincing. Other contributors include director Wright, Beck, Flea, Neil Gaiman, and Patton Oswalt. The Sparks Brothers is a brilliantly entertaining, thoughtful, funny, and visually inventive love letter to a band Wright undoubtedly adores.
15. The World's End (2013, directed by Edgar Wright)
The World's End is an apocalyptic sci-fi comedy movie and the third and final installment in Pegg and Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following 2004's Shaun of the Dead and 2006's Hot Fuzz. It follows a group of five friends who return to their hometown to reattempt a pub crawl they failed twenty-three years earlier, only to find an extraterrestrial invasion is occurring there.
The brilliant cast of friends includes Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Pegg, who superbly plays Gary King, the immature self-proclaimed head of the group. Other cast members include Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan, David Bradley, and Bill Night. The World's End accurately portrays over-the-hill men but in an unusual setting that makes for a funny movie. The ending is undoubtedly silly, but it's still a satisfying watch.
16. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011, directed by Brad Bird)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is an action spy movie, the sequel to 2006's Mission: Impossible III, and the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. In this one, the Impossible Missions Force gets disavowed and disbanded after being publicly implicated in a bombing of the Kremlin, resulting in their members having to clear their names in a life-threatening scenario without any significant resources.
Pegg reprises his role as Benji Dunn, now an IMF field agent, in this one, and he takes to the more all-action part like a duck to water. Tom Cruise is, as usual, excellent as Ethan Hunt. The terrific supporting cast includes Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, and Léa Seydoux. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is action-packed, fast-paced, brimming with great sequences, exciting, and explosive.
17. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, directed by J.J. Abrams)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an epic space opera, the sequel to 1983's Return of the Jedi and the seventh installment in the “Skywalker Saga.” In this one, three decades after Jedi, a group of heroes search for Luke Skywalker and fight in the Resistance against the First Order, the Galactic Empire's successor.
The likes of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew reprise their classic roles here, and an A-list cast of franchise newcomers join them, including Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, and Andy Serkis. Pegg plays Unkar Plutt, a junk parts dealer, and brings great enthusiasm to a relatively minor role. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a brilliant mix of old and new blood. It's energetic, exciting, sentimental, and flawlessly performed, with spectacular action, incredible special effects, and everything fans can want in a Star Wars film.
18. Star Trek (2009, directed by J.J. Abrams)
Star Trek is a sci-fi action movie, the eponymous franchise's eleventh installment, and the rebooted series' first film. The action occurs in an alternate reality, focusing predominantly on James T. Kirk and Spock as they and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew fight against Nero, a Romulan villain from their future, threatening the United Federation of Planets.
It was Pegg's debut as Scotty, and he immediately made the role his own. Star Trek gives the franchise a new lease of life and reimagines it with innovative, fresh ideas. It has a brilliant story, is visually stunning, has bags of epic action, loads of humor, heart, and suspense, and boasts excellent performances from its whole cast, which includes Chris Pine, John Cho, Zachary Quinto, Winona Ryder, Zoe Saldaña and Eric Bana. Whether you're an established fan or a newcomer to the franchise, you'll enjoy this film.
19. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015, directed by Christopher McQuarrie)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is an action spy movie, the sequel to 2011's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and the fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. In this one, Ethan Hunt and his team have to fight an international black ops terrorist group composed of rogue government agents from all over the globe.
Pegg plays Benji Dunn for the third time in this one and is excellent in the character's new role as a CIA cyber operative. Cruise nails his role as Hunt again, and the supporting cast includes Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is sleek, stylish, performed brilliantly, teeming with great old-school action, and breathlessly thrilling.
20. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018, directed by Christopher McQuarrie)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an action spy movie, the sequel to 2015's Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. This one concerns Ethan Hunt and his team having to prevent nuclear weapon technology from getting into the hands of a bioterrorist group.
It's the best film in the Mission: Impossible series to date. Tom Cruise is more epic than ever as Hunt, with some crazy stunts, and the whole cast is superb. Pegg gives another outstanding performance as Benji Dunn and Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, and Angela Bassett are just some of the massive stars in the rest of the cast. Mission: Impossible – Fallout plays out with a brisk pace and has a great plot. Its action scenes and stunts will have you gasping, with the stakes high and the danger almost constant. It should have everyone excited about the two upcoming films in the franchise.
21. Hot Fuzz (2007, directed by Edgar Wright)
Hot Fuzz is an action comedy movie and the second installment in Pegg and Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following 2004's Shaun of the Dead. It follows two police officers investigating a series of mysterious and bloody deaths in a small rural village in England's West Country.
Pegg plays a high-achieving Metropolitan Police officer who gets promoted to sergeant and transferred from London to rural Gloucestershire out of spite by his resentful colleagues. His friend Nick Frost plays Danny Butterman, a police officer he befriends and works with. The excellent supporting cast includes Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Edward Woodward, Olivia Coleman, Martin Freeman, Rafe Spall, and Rory McCann. Hot Fuzz is a brilliant parody of buddy cop action movies that's exciting, hilarious, has a great twist, and flawlessly showcases the brilliant chemistry of Pegg and Frost.
22. Shaun of the Dead (2004, directed by Edgar Wright)
Shaun of the Dead is a comedy horror zombie movie and the first installment in Pegg and Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. It follows the eponymous downtrodden electronics salesman and his friends as they venture to what they believe is the safety of the local pub in London during a zombie apocalypse.
It's Pegg's best movie, showcasing his vast love for classic zombie films and mixing it perfectly with his trademark brand of clever humor. He plays the eponymous Shaun Riley and is iconic, making viewers unequivocally want to root for him, despite his sometimes silly approach to the apocalypse. Nick Frost brilliantly plays his best friend Ed, and the superb supporting cast includes Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, and Penelope Wilton. Shaun of the Dead is among the best British movies ever made. It's intelligent, hilarious, gory, and flawless when mixing the best parts of comedy and horror. It's a film you should undoubtedly have on your must-watch list.
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.