Best Jamie Lee Curtis Movies: Top 5 Films Most Recommended By Fans

The best Jamie Lee Curtis movies range from hair-raising horror to feel-good flicks. In her breakout role in the classic horror film “Halloween,” her portrayal of Laurie Strode set the standard for the scream queen archetype. Curtis also showcased her comedic talents in movies like “A Fish Called Wanda,” earning critical acclaim and a well-deserved place in the annals of comedy. Her versatile acting skills and memorable performances in films like “True Lies” have solidified her status as a Hollywood icon across various genres.

Starting her career at 19 as the ultimate “final girl” in John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” it was clear Jamie Lee would be a star. With the immediate success of the independent horror film, she skyrocketed to fame. The film was so popular that, despite coming out in 1978, it remains the most iconic horror film to watch around the spookiest time of the year to this day. The film franchise was so popular that Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode just last year for “Halloween Ends.” 

While it could have been easy for Curtis’ success in “Halloween” to be a one-off, the actress defied the odds to become a success. There’s strong evidence of significant gender bias in the industry, with different employment and career patterns for actors and actresses. For example, an actress’s most productive year is more likely than an actor’s to be at the onset of their careers. While Curtis became a star at 19, arguably her most successful career in the industry was this past year, when she was awarded her first Oscar, showing the longevity of her work and its significance in the industry. Of course, being the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh helped a little bit too. 

But with such a long and illustrious career, where does one start on their Jamie Lee filmography journey? Luckily, we at StudyFinds have researched across multiple platforms to bring you the top five best Jamie Lee Curtis movies of all time! If we missed your favorite, no worries! We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Jamie Lee Curtis at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Halloween' in 2018
Jamie Lee Curtis at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Halloween’ in 2018 (Photo by Tinseltown on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Jamie Lee Curtis Movies, According to Experts

 

1. “Halloween” (1978)

Could number one be any other film than the one that made Jamie Lee a star? Starring in a total of seven films in the franchise, “Jamie’s breakout movie, ‘Halloween,’ follows the return of Michael Myers, a killer who once murdered his 17-year-old sister and has just recently escaped after finishing his 15-year psychiatric hospital sentence,” describes Women’sHealth.

“Halloween” (1978)

“‘Halloween‘ will probably go down as the career-defining role of Curtis’ career. Following in her mother Janet Leigh’s fright-filled footsteps, Curtis made a name for herself as Laurie, a babysitter who becomes the target of escaped killer Michael Myers. Her character is one of the most iconic of the genre—a powerful protagonist who, unlike many of the scream queens that followed, actually holds her own against the antagonist time after time,” raves EW.

“The movie that started it all, ‘Halloween,’ was appreciated when it was released and quickly became a cult classic that horror and cinema fans go back to regularly. From the shaking hand-held camera to the reveal of who Michael Meyers was, the first scene is enough to shock audiences today. The film was released at the end of one of the best decades of horror movies that still deeply influences productions today,” writes MovieWeb.

2. “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988)

As a legend herself, starring opposite other legends just makes for a good film right off the bat. Combine that with a genre that Curtis excels in, and you’ve got the genius movie that is “A Fish Called Wanda.” “Who doesn’t enjoy a good heist movie? ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ is a comedy with a great cast that includes John Cleese, Kevin Kline, and Jamie Lee Curtis, among many others. Curtis plays the swindler Wanda Gerwitz, who is hired to help a British gangster, George Thomason, on a diamond heist,” explains MovieWeb.

“A Fish Called Wanda” (1988)

“Considered by many to be Curtis’s finest performance, she plays the alluring and conniving Wanda perfectly, netting her first Golden Globe and second BAFTA nominations,” notes GoldDerby.

“Curtis wonderfully captures Wanda’s coldness when she double-crosses her heist partners and is even willing to betray her lover. Wanda is a seductive and provocative character who uses her appearance to manipulate others and get what she wants. ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ is one of the best movies about con artists and solidified Curtis as a true femme fatale,” adds CBR.

3. “Knives Out” (2019)

She’s tackled horror, comedies, and dramas, but it wasn’t until “Knives Out” that Curtis got to explore a good old-fashioned nail-biter mystery. Directed by Rian Johnson, “‘Knives Out’ is a hilarious murder mystery movie with a top-notch ensemble cast. Curtis is in good company with talented peers like Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and the late Christopher Plummer, but she still manages to stand out,” raves CBR.

“Knives Out” (2019)

“A box office hit based on Johnson’s original screenplay, the star-studded ‘Knives Out’ is credited by some as single-handedly rejuvenating the whodunit genre. While the film’s main character, Daniel Craig’s private detective Benoit Blanc, is undoubtedly the anchor for the film and burgeoning franchise, the movie’s jaw-dropping ensemble definitely steals the show, including Curtis’ Linda Drysdale, the eldest daughter of a deceased novelist at the center of the mystery, Harlan Thrombey,” notes WGTC.

“Jamie Lee Curtis has consistently released films throughout her career, but the actress produced very little of note between 2003’s ‘Freaky Friday’ and 2018’s ‘Halloween.’ The latter sparked something of a critical resurgence for Curtis, leading into 2019’s ‘Knives Out.’ An ensemble piece littered with recognizable faces, Rian Johnson’s Whodunnit serves as a sharp and highly enjoyable homage to classic murder mystery novels and films,” reports GameRant.

4. “True Lies” (1994)

The number four pick on the list comes in the form of 1994’s third-highest-grossing film of the year. It also garnered Curtis her second Golden Globe win for Best Actress. “Directed by James Cameron, ‘True Lies’ is a fantastic action/comedy that centers around the life of secret agent Harry Tasker, who is forced to save both the world and his own marriage when he learns that his wife has been having a secret extramarital affair,” describes ScreenRant.

“True Lies” (1994)

“Curtis mixes a wonderful sense of alluring sexuality with a self-determined courage that distinguishes her character—from a 9-to-5 housewife to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spy—as a woman capable of transcending any perceived boundaries encasing the American Dream’s idealistic sense of family. Curtis’s transformation from nervy, bookish office worker to seductress clad in alluring figure-hugging attire is testament to the actress’s range as well as her comedic ability,” comments Top10Films.

“Evolving from a buttoned-up housewife into a charmingly clumsy femme fatale, and finally, a partner equal to her musclebound (secret) superspy husband, Curtis shepherds Helen Tasker through a suitably outsized adventure while injecting humor and complexity—while also doing what at least looks like a considerable number of her own stunts,” notes AVClub.

5. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022)

I should think the idea that at one point Curtis sports hot dog fingers in this film should alone make you want to check it out, but if not, here are a couple more reasons to check out this year’s Best Picture winner. “After almost 50 years in show business, Curtis finally secured her first-ever Oscar nomination and won for her role as the cranky, cynical IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre in Daniels’ astounding film ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,'” writes EW.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” (2022)

“Curtis doesn’t hold back as sassy IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre in this mind-bending film. It’s also a transformative role, turning the very attractive actress into someone who is not very attractive (from the clothes to the hair to everything). And she steals virtually any scene from a cast of Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, and more,” observes GoldDerby.

“Decades after beloved roles in cult comedies like ‘Trading Places’ and ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, Curtis once again proved her chops when it comes to portraying absurdly over-the-top characters in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’ In the mind-bending film that is like a mixture of ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Kung-Fu Hustle,’ Curtis plays an uptight IRS auditor who starts out as the main antagonist opposite Michelle Yeoh’s laundromat owner Evelyn Wang. Soon enough, Curtis and Yeoh engage in Kung-Fu with each other and have hot dog hands at one point in the multiverse-traversing comedy,” writes WGTC.

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