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Best Julia Roberts Movies

Updated on October 22, 2014

Julia Roberts has earned the nickname, America's Sweetheart, with her onscreen charm, wholesome girl-next-door good looks and of course her dazzling smile. Both men and women are charmed by her onscreen persona which helps to explain her string of hit romantic comedy movies from Pretty Woman in 1990 to Notting Hill in 1999 to Larry Crowne in 2011. While Julia Roberts is best known for her romantic comedies, it is her serious roles that have won her the most critical acclaim.

In 2001 she won a Best Actress Oscar for her brilliant portrayal of Erin Brockovich in the drama of the same. Some of her other critically acclaimed dramatic roles include Katherine Watson, the free thinking Art Professor from Mona Lisa Smile, Joanne Herring, a major conservative activist in Charlie Wilson's War and Kitty Kiernan from the biopic Michael Collins.

She has been nominated for three Academy Awards and one the Best Actress Oscar as previously mentioned. But I don't think we have seen the last of Roberts on the Oscar podium. While she will continue to make us laugh with her charming wit in romantic comedies, she continues to expand her serious dramatic roles to stretch herself as an actress.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2012 Rankography

10. Dying Young (1991)

A Tearjerker Love Story Featuring Julia Roberts

Dying Young is the film adaptation of a novel of the same name by Marti Leimbach that falls under the romantic drama genre. After her boyfriend cheats on her, Hilary O'Neil (Julia Roberts) decides to make major changes in her life. She starts a new job as a private nurse for a young man, Victor Geddes (Campbell Scott), suffering from blood cancer.

They start out not liking each other much but over time they fall in love. But under the circumstances it is a bittersweet love because Victor's illness is not getting better. Once again, Roberts is superb in a romantic film. The roles just seem perfectly suited to her "girl next door" personality. Scott's role was challenging but he managed to convey the grueling emotional toll of a cancer victim while maintaining a resolve for love.

The film would definitely fall into the tearjerker category and If a good cry is your cup of tea, then you should enjoy this film.

If you enjoyed Dying Young... - You may also want to check out The Notebook

The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook (2004)
A beautiful love story that keeps you guessing throughout the film. Beautiful story and wonderfully acted.

9. Ocean's Twelve (2004)

The Ocean Gang is Back Together after their Nemesis Track Them Down

Ocean's Twelve was the much anticipated sequel to Ocean's Eleven. Director Steven Soderbergh is back with another blockbuster heist film. While sequels rarely live up to the original, Ocean's Twelve is one of the few sequels that comes close. Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his band of thieves from the original are all back in the sequel, but they have scattered across the globe with their millions. However, fate brings them back together, or more specifically Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who has tracked them all down and is demanding his money back.

As they gather to figure out what to do about Benedict, they find out that almost all of them have spent most of their money and have little to return to Benedict. Given that death is the option if they do not find the cash, they decide to begin a series of high end heists in Europe to raise the cash to repay Benedict. However, things are not always as they appear in a Soderbergh film and there are many plot twists along the way.

Julia Roberts reprises her witty role as Tess, now remarried to Ocean and the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones is a welcome addition to the cast as Isabel Lahiri, a Europol detective and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) love interest.

Once again, you will not go wrong investing two hours into this fun crime caper film.

If you liked Ocean's Twelve... - You might also like Get Shorty

Get Shorty
Get Shorty
A very funny hollywood, gangster, heist movie. It almost can't be categorized as it falls across so many genres. Outstanding film.

8. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Could be the Greatest Heist Film of All Time

Julia Roberts gets a chance to work with Steven Soderbergh a year after she won the Best Actress Oscar in his Erin Brockovich. Of course this was a very different film. Probably one of the best heist films ever, Ocean's Eleven brought together a dream team cast including Roberts, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould and on and on.

Danny Ocean (Clooney) has just gotten out of prison for a previous heist and he has his sights set on the biggest heist ever. He wants to take down three casinos on a "fight night", when they are loaded with cash. He sets out assembling his posse for the heist starting with partner, Rusty Ryan (Pitt). What the team doesn't know is that Ocean has an ulterior motive with the casino he chooses and it involves his ex-wife Tess (Roberts).

Critically acclaimed and loved by fans too, Ocean's grossed over $450 million worldwide. It is just good old fashion fun from beginning to end. Packed with humorous anecdotes and witty one-liners, the camaraderie of the group really draws you in. It is a group of characters that would be riot to hang out with. While not a deeply complex plot, it is intriguing enough to keep us interested in how they are going to pull it off.

This is definitely a film anyone can embrace and a must see if you like action, suspense and comedy all rolled into one two hour movie.

If you enjoyed Ocean's Eleven... - You might also like The Italian Job

The Italian Job
The Italian Job
A great heist thriller with interesting twists and turns and an outstanding cast including Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Donald Sutherland and Charlize Theron.

7. Eat Pray Love (2010)

One Woman's Quest to Find Herself after a Nasty Divorce

Julia Roberts movies have a fair share of reality-based stories. Eat Pray Love was adapted from the Elizabeth Gilbert novel of the same name. After a nasty divorce, Liz Gilbert (Roberts) is on a quest to find herself. Despite a promising career she is unhappy and needs a change so she decides to go on what the Australians call a "walkabout" and traveling the world. This beautifully shot film was filmed in various cities of the world including New York, Rome, Naples, Delhi and Bali.

Because of the popularity of the book, the movie earned over $200 million worldwide which a surprisingly high return for a "finding yourself" film. Some critics gave the movie a negative review, although they did have good things to say about Julia Roberts and her performance. Despite the lukewarm critical response, Eat Pray Love was a popular film among Roberts fans, especially women. It instantly jumped into many women's top ten chick flick rankings.

Fans of the book appreciated that the screenplay remained true to the book. But that may have limited its entertainment value, though. However, if you can identify with Liz Gilberts, or have gone through a similar divorce, then you most certainly can relate to Eat Pray Love. If you are looking for action, suspense or big entertainment value, this is probably not the film for you.

6. My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

Roberts Plays the Lovable Villain Trying to Break-up a Wedding

Immediately following the action thriller, Conspiracy Theory, Julia Roberts returned to her roots in romantic comedies with My Best Friend's Wedding. The film, directed by P. J. Hogan, was the follow-up effort to his critically acclaimed, independent Australian film, i>.

The film is about two college friends, Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney), who had a brief romantic tryst and made a silly promise to marry each other if neither is married by 28. After years apart, O'Neal calls Julianne to tell her he has met the love of his life and invites her to the wedding. Potter brings her gay friend, George (Rupert Everett), as her date. At the wedding, Julianne decides she will stop at nothing to win Michael back from his fiancée, Kimberly (Cameron Diaz).

As you can imagine, the story revolves around all the comical turns associated with Julianne's efforts to sabotage the wedding. Something about Julia Roberts just makes romantic comedies special with her onscreen likability and wonderful comedic timing. She conjures up visions of another absolute in the romantic comedy genre, Katherine Hepburn.

5. The Pelican Brief (1993)

A Legal Thriller based on the Grisham Novel

Julia Roberts stretches her range a bit in this film adaptation of John Grisham's novel, The Pelican Brief. In this legal crime thriller, Darby Shaw (Roberts) is a law student who closely studies the murder of two Supreme Court Justices and writes a legal brief about what likely happened to the Justices. However, the brief ends up in a few of the wrong hands and now someone wants her and everyone around her dead.

The Pelican Brief features a great cast including Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard and Stanley Tucci. Because of the success of Grisham's novels, the film was an instant commercial success and grossed nearly $200 million worldwide -- in 1993!

This is a non-stop thrill ride for viewers with many interesting twists and turns. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat. Julia Roberts has been in a couple of action thrillers during her career and this is one of her best.

4. Notting Hill (1999)

One of the Most Charming Julia Roberts Romantic Comedy

No one plays the "damsel in distress" in romantic comedies better than Julia Roberts does and she once again pulls it off in Notting Hill. I am quite sure, many romcom fans would include this charming film in their top five for the genre.

Notting Hill is a British romantic comedy about a Hollywood film starlet, Anna Scott (Roberts), who happens to wander into a Notting Hill bookstore and meets owner, William Thacker (Hugh Grant). Thacker is overwhelmed by this chance meeting but even more so when he runs into her again and accidentally spills orange juice on her. He offers her the opportunity to change in his nearby apartment. From these chance encounters, first a friendship ensues and then later romance.

Not only did the film put this small London suburb on the map, but it also received wide acclaim from critics for its charming story and onscreen chemistry between Roberts and Grant. And the film has endured and continues to garner new romcom fans each year. While there are a lot of great Julia Roberts films, this is certainly one of the best and most memorable.

3. Steel Magnolias (1989)

A Star Studded Cast for this Classic Chick Flick

Steel Magnolias may have the greatest collection of actresses ever assembled in one production. It is the story of a close-knit circle of friends in a Louisiana Parish and features Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Daryl Hannah. The film is based on a play of the same name, from playwright Robert Harling, about how he dealt with the death of his sister.

Steel Magnolias is a story about these friends bond, life's cruel twists of fate and their enduring sense of humor. The film has a unique combination of sweet and sour and shares some interesting plot twists along the way. The story is engaging with a diverse group of characters from the grouchy, two-time widower Ouiser Boudreaux (MacLaine), the cheerful, wise-cracking Clairee Belcher (Dukakis) and of course bossy, but caring M'Lynn (Field).

Roberts was nominated for an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress) for her role as Shelby.

If you enjoyed Steel Magnolias... - You might also like Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Fried Green Tomatoes (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
Fried Green Tomatoes features a charming story with unexpected twists and turns. You can't help but enjoy this movie

2. Pretty Woman (1990)

Julia Roberts Best Known Romantic Comedy

Pretty Woman is definitely one of the most famous romantic comedies of all time and Julia Roberts is certainly the most popular romcom actress. Any true fan knows that Pretty Woman is Julia Roberts and Julia Roberts is Pretty Woman. But that's not saying Richard Gere and the rest of the cast did nothing for the movie. The full cast is both talented witty in this legendary romantic comedy.

Even though released more than 22 years ago, Pretty Woman is still one of the highest-earning romantic comedies ever. Edward Lewis is a wealthy businessman traveling in Los Angeles when he breaks up with his high maintenance girlfriend. On a whim, he decides to hire a prostitue, Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts), for the night. The next day, Edward asks Vivian to stay with him for the week as he needs an escort for several important business functions and parties. And of course, a lot of laughs and love eventually ensues.

While a very funny and entertaining movie, the film is simplistic and really glosses over the fact that most illegal prostitutes are addicted to drugs and caught in hopelessly abusive relationships with a domineering male. I am not sure the same film could be made today without receiving a much different reaction, but even most women find this film charming.

Pretty Woman and Julia Roberts (Best Actress) were nominated for an Academy Award in this romantic comedy.

1. Erin Brockovich (2000)

A Poignant Julia Roberts Film that is both Touching and Dramatic

Erin Brockovich is one of the most memorable of Julia Roberts movies. Based on the true story of Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts), a law clerk without formal legal training was able bring a class action case against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for the death and illness of several residents of a California. PG&E had used hexavalent chromium to clean its cooling towers and dumped it into the local water supply for years.

Because the local residents were largely uneducated and relied on PG&E for jobs, most were willing to accept what the Company was telling them -- that they were not responsible for the rapid increase in cancer cases in the area. However, Brockovich and her consultants knew better and while most lawyers could not convince townspeople to bring a suit against PG&E, it was Brockovich's down to earth, blue collar background that made the breakthrough. After a long battle, PG&E finally settled with the 1,200 claimants for over $330 million, the largest class action judgement at the time.

Roberts definitely made this outstanding true story film and was applauded by critics for her portrayal and ultimately won the Best Actress Oscar for the role. The film was nominated for a total of 5 Academy Awards and won the one for Best Actress.

While many of Julia Roberts movies are fun and entertaining, this is probably the one must see Roberts film. It is a touching film that will also keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow the process of bringing suit and getting the plaintiffs to the ultimate settlement.

If you enjoyed Erin Brockovich... - You might also like Norma Rae

Norma Rae
Norma Rae
A fascinating true story about Norma Rae (Sally Field), a poor textile worker, who empowers her fellow workers to rise up against their oppressive plant management.

Which is the best Julia Roberts film?

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Any thoughts about Julia Roberts films?

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    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 

      5 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your hub about Julia Roberts's movies. She is an excellent actress. She is a talent in the movies industry. I watched a few of her movies. I have a few left to watch in the future. I am looking forward seeing those movies. Thank you for writing and telling us what you know. You are fabulous.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      she's so good

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      7 years ago

      Good Actress

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I loved Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman", she is amazing.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Happy Halloween blessings to you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i love her. she the best

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I really liked Mystic Pizza a lot. It's probably less known because it was before she became quite famous I believe. That movie deserves a lot of credit. To be honest, it was hard to pick just one favorite.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      although Erin paved the way for her Oscar win (dramatic role)..I think Pretty Woman is her most memorable role ever had.

      Thanks for the share.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Julia Roberts and a wonderful actress, and person. :)

    • Camden1 profile image


      8 years ago

      I will almost always go see a movie if Julie Roberts is in it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Have a soft corner for the Pretty woman! :)

    • Rangoon House profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      I recently enjoyed Snow White, but it is hard to go past Pretty Woman.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ocean's Eleven is my favorite of the films, but of the films where she was really front and center, definitely Erin Brockovich - nice lens!


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