Julia Roberts' Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Discover the Oscar-winning 'Pretty Woman's' highest-rated movies, ranked by Metascore.
by Taylor Freitas — 

Julia Roberts

James Devaney / Getty Images

As one of the most high-profile leading ladies of her generation, Hollywood powerhouse Julia Roberts has captivated audiences for decades — with no signs of slowing down any time soon. 

After landing her first acting gig in the 1980s, Roberts attracted mainstream attention when she appeared in Mystic Pizza in 1988 and Steel Magnoliasa year later. She then cemented her superstar status with a series of '90s romantic comedies, including Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill, and Runaway Bride.

By the turn of the millennium, Roberts had a handful of iconic roles on her résumé and was a year away from winning an Oscar. Her most memorable characters include Vivian Ward, a sweet but straight-talking sex worker in Pretty Woman, and the real Erin Brockovich, a justice-seeking single mom in the eponymous 2000 film — a performance that made her the first actress to earn $20 million for a movie and won her that Oscar.

In the two decades since, Roberts has dabbled in a range of genres, appearing in heist films (Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve), children's movies (Charlotte's Web and Smurfs: The Lost Village), and serious dramas (The Normal Heart and Ben Is Back). She also returned to romantic titles with Ticket to Paradise opposite George Clooney in 2022.

But Roberts' award-winning career isn't just limited to film. Over the years, she's also appeared in a number of television shows, including Miami Vice, Friends, Murphy Brown, and Homecoming. Her most recent TV project is the Starz political limited series Gaslit, where she stars as the real-life Martha Mitchell opposite Sean Penn. However, for this best-of list, we're focusing specifically on her movies.

Here, Metacritic highlights the best Roberts movies has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

The Player

Metascore: 86
Best for: Black comedy fans
Where to watch: 

, n, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 124 minutes

Based on Michael Tolkin's 1988 book of the same title, The Player revolves on Hollywood studio executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), who kills a screenwriter in a case of mistaken identity. In the aftermath, Griffin is pursued by a stalker who claims to know about the murder and threatens to expose the truth. The Robert Altman-directed film,which offers a satirical look at Hollywood, features dozens of celebrity cameos, including Roberts, Bruce Willis, John Cusack, and Susan Sarandon. It won two Golden Globes (including Best Actor and Best Motion Picture in the Comedy or Musical category) and was nominated for three Oscars.

"Remarkable also for the uniform excellence of its cast, and for the pleasure [Altman's] actors take in the wide berth he allows them." — Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

The Normal Heart

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of heartfelt dramas
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes,
Runtime: 132 minutes

Released in 2014, The Normal Heart is an HBO drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. It stars Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks, a writer in New York who is disturbed to learn about a deadly new disease that is affecting gay men. He meets with Dr. Emma Brookner (Roberts), who shares her experience treating patients with the suspected disease. Together, they work to spread awareness about this mysterious illness before it kills more members of the community. The film was directed by Gleeand Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy and based on a play by Larry Kramer. It won two Emmys, including Outstanding Television Movie.

"A powerful modern history reminder for those too young to understand the all-too-recent past." — Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

Ocean's Eleven

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans of heist films and crime movies
Where to watch: 

, Google PlayHBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 116 minutes

Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film, follows parolee Danny Ocean (Clooney) as he attempts to plan and pull off an elaborate casino heist in Las Vegas. He's joined by Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), as well as several other criminals, including pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) and explosives professional Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle). Roberts plays Tess Ocean, Danny's ex-wife and the current girlfriend of heist target and casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Steven Soderbergh directed the film (which was the fifth-highest grossing movie of 2001), as well as its sequels, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen. 

"A scrumptious and dizzy-spirited lark." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Erin Brockovich

Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of biographical films and legal dramas
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 130 minutes

Inspired by true events, Erin Brokovich is the story of a single mother who's struggling to make ends meet until she convinces her lawyer to give her a job as a legal assistant. While there, she learns about a suspicious case involving Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a California-based utility company. Despite the many obstacles in her way, Brockovich sets out on a relentless pursuit of justice, ultimately winning a historic class-action settlement on behalf of the victims. Roberts earned several major awards for her performance, including an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe, and SAG Award.

"Takes the raw truth and makes it jubilantly, terrifically entertaining." — Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune


Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of thrillers and spy movies
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 125 minutes

Duplicity is a 2009 romantic thriller about two rival spies who try to outsmart each other while also trying to grapple with their attraction to one another. In the film, Roberts plays CIA officer Claire Stenwick, who meets MI6 agent Roy Koval (Clive Owen) during a chance encounter in Dubai. Years later, they're both employed in the private sector and cross paths again. They agree to collaborate on a profitable new venture — but neither is sure if they can fully trust the other. For her performance, Roberts received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

"Whip-smart, sexy and delightfully twisty romantic thriller." — Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Charlotte's Web (2006)

Metascore: 68
Best for: Kids and families
Where to watch: 

, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 97 minutes

Charlotte's Web, a 2006 adaptation of the classic E.B. White book, features an ensemble cast of live-action and voice actors. Dakota Fanning plays Fern Arable, a farmer's daughter who saves a runt piglet named Wilbur (voiced by Dominic Scott Kay). Though he's close with Fern, Wilbur feels isolated from the rest of the barnyard animals, including Templeton the rat (Steve Buscemi) and Samuel the sheep (John Cleese). Eventually, Wilbur becomes close with a spider named Charlotte (played by Roberts). The unconventional duo works together to help save Wilbur from slaughter, but it comes at the ultimate cost to Charlotte.

"A beautifully rendered motion picture that's full of warmth, wit and wonder." — Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

Notting Hill

Metascore: 68
Best for: Anglophiles, fans of romance stories
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, , Vudu
Runtime: 124 minutes

This Roger Michell-directed film follows William Thacker (Hugh Grant), a divorced bookstore owner in London's Notting Hill district. One day, Anna Scott (Roberts), the world's biggest movie star, visits his store — much to his surprise. After a series of mishaps, the pair end up in a cat-and-mouse romance that they try to keep out of the public eye. The moviewon a BAFTA Award and received three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actress for Roberts and Best Actor for Grant. For a period after its 1999 release, Notting Hill was the highest-grossing British movie of all time.

"Blithe and exhilarating romantic comedy." — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

Charlie Wilson's War

Metascore: 67
Best for: Fans of historical and biographical films
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

Written by Aaron Sorkinand based on a book by George Crile, Charlie Wilson's War is a biographical film about U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson. The movie is set in 1980, when the Congressman's (Tom Hanks) hard-partying ways have attracted the attention of the authorities. To encourage him to use his power for good, Wilson's friend Joanne Herring (Roberts) convinces him to help the people of Afghanistan, who are suffering under Soviet rule. Wilson enlists the help of CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and together, the men head up the U.S. efforts to support the Afghan people — and help end the Cold War.

"More of a hoot than any picture dealing with the bloody, protracted fight between the Soviet Army and the Afghan mujahedeen has any right to be." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Metascore: 67
Best for: Fans of crime comedies
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunesVudu
Runtime: 113 minutes

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by Clooney, tells the story of real-life game show host and producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). The film touches on his rise to TV success, but it mainly focuses on Chuck's claims that he was also an undercover CIA assassin — which the CIA denied. Roberts appears as Patricia Watson, a fellow CIA operative who goes up against Chuck, marking her second collaboration with Clooney (after Ocean's Eleven). Clooney also has an acting role in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, appearing as CIA operative Jim Byrd, who recruits Chuck into the agency.

"A powerful and creative film." — Robert Koehler, Variety

Ben Is Back

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of family-focused dramas
Where to watch: 

Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 103 minutes

Ben Is Back is a 2018 drama that showcases the tragic ways in which drug addiction can affect a family. It revolves around Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), a 19-year-old who returns home after a stint in rehab. Although his surprise appearance is welcomed by his mother, Holly (Roberts), she soon begins to worry about his sobriety and insists that he stay by her side during his visit. In the 24 hours that follow, Ben struggles to manage his addiction and falls back into his old ways, leaving Holly searching for ways to keep him safe.

"An impactful film, one that's made for the season of giving, if giving means never giving up." — Danielle White, The Austin Chronicle

Wonder (2017)

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of feel-good family movies
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 113 minutes

Wonder chronicles the story of Brooklyn fifth-grader Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), who was born with facial deformities that forced him to be home-schooled. When he transitions to a mainstream school, he's shunned by most of the other students, except for a boy named Jack Will (Noah Jupe). However, Auggie's journey to be accepted is hampered when he overhears his new friend making fun of his appearance behind his back. He's supported by his parents, Isabel and Nate Pullman (played by Roberts and Owen Wilson), who help him build up his courage and take pride in his differences.

"Wonder ends up being a much better and wiser film than its trailers or premise let on." — Alex Welch, IGN