Robert Englund's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

He's best known for playing Freddy Krueger, but horror legend Robert Englund has many other scary movies to discover.

Taylor Freitas

Robert Englund

Getty Images

Horror movie icon Robert Englund may be best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, but his acting talent reaches far beyond a single genre or movie series. Englund has been a professional film actor for nearly 50 years, starting with supporting roles in movies including Hustle, Stay Hungry, the 1976 A Star Is Born, and Bloodbrothers

By the time he landed the part of Krueger in 1984, he already had a decade's worth of film experience on his résumé. After the success of A Nightmare on Elm Street and its subsequent films, much of Englund's work fit into the horror genre, where he played both Krueger and other creepy characters. He's such a central figure in the genre that he even hosted the Horror Hall of Fame Awards for three years in the early 1990s.

In between his movie roles, the Southern California native also established himself as a successful TV actor, appearing on such well-known programs as Charlie's Angels, CHiPs, MacGyver, The Simpsons, Charmed, Criminal Minds, and more. In 1988, he hosted Freddy's Nightmares(as Krueger), an anthology show about the residents of Springwood and their nightmares. Recently, Englund re-entered the TV realm with a guest arc on Stranger Things and returned to his film roots in Choose or Die.

Although Englund's extensive catalog spans both movies and TV shows, we've chosen to focus on his top films for this list. While many fit into the horror genre, there are also dramas, comedies, and thrillers — a testament to his range and talent.

Here, Metacritic highlights the 10 best movies Englund has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

Hustle (1975)

Metascore: 77
Best for: Fans of neo-noir crime thrillers
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 120 minutes

Released in 1975, the Robert Aldrich-directed film Hustle depicts the aftermath of a young woman's death after her body is found on a Los Angeles beach. The film stars Burt Reynolds as Phil Gaines, a LAPD homicide detective who's assigned to the case with fellow detective Louis Belgrave (Paul Winfield). As the men investigate, they find a link between the woman and a wealthy man named Leo Sellers (Eddie Albert). Englund's brief performance in Hustle was one of his first movie roles; he appears in a robbery scene and is credited as "Hold-up Man."

"Hustle is a great modern love story disguised as a neo-noir police procedural." — Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Metascore: 76
Best for: Fans of classic horror movies with long-running stories
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu
Runtime: 91 minutes

A Nightmare on Elm Street is easily Englund's most well-known movie appearance, where he plays the character of Freddy Krueger, an evil spirit who terrorizes teenagers in their dreams. The 1984 film follows several suburban teens, including Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp in one of his earliest film roles), as they fight to ward off Krueger and stay alive. Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street was hugely popular after its release, inspiring several sequels and a TV series — all of which Englund appeared in — as well as a 2010 remake.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street is tailor made for those who like their gore leavened with thought-provoking ideas — something that is a rarity in this genre." — James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Dead & Buried

Metascore: 71
Best for: Fans of supernatural horror mysteries
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, Vudu
Runtime: 94 minutes

Dead & Buried chronicles a series of murders in the fictional seaside town of Potters Bluff — where the victims are all tourists and the killers are locals. When Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) and coroner William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson) start investigating the deaths, they find out that the murdered tourists are coming back to life — and they're ready to get revenge on the people of Potters Bluff. Other truths begin to unravel, too, as Dan's wife Janet (Melody Anderson) starts acting erratically. Englund has a minor role in Dead & Buried, appearing as Harry, a local townsperson. 

"Elegantly constructed, wittily executed, delightfully ruthless, and scary as hell." — Jason Bailey, The Playlist

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Metascore: 66
Best for: Fans of black comedy and mockumentaries
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes
Runtime: 92 minutes

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a mockumentary-style film that follows journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals), who's putting together a story about an up-and-coming serial killer named Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel). Together with her two cameramen, Taylor interviews Leslie to understand why he's attempting to become a serial killer and who he's planning to target. They also dive into Leslie's childhood, which he describes as violent and traumatic, as well as his fascination with historical slashers. Englund plays Doc Halloran, a psychiatrist who exposes the truth about Leslie and his past.

"An ingeniously twisted mockumentary." — Joe Leydon, Variety

Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Metascore: 64
Best for: Craven fans and those who want to break the fourth wall with their horror movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 112 minutes

Englund pulls double duty in 1994's meta New Nightmare, part of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, appearing as both himself and as Krueger. The movie also features Langenkamp as herself and follows her as she considers reprising her role of Nancy in a new installment of the franchise. In the process, she starts having nightmares about Krueger, in which he attacks her husband Chase (David Newsom) and their son Dylan (Miko Hughes). Several other actors appear in New Nightmare as themselves, including John Saxon, who originally played Nancy's father Donald Thompson in the original film. Craven also appears as himself.

"Genre thrills with a big dose of originality." — Kim Newman, Empire

Red (2008)

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of dramatic thrillers
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 93 minutes

Red is the story of Avery "Av" Ludlow (Brian Cox), a veteran and widower whose closest friend is his dog Red. One day, as the companions are fishing together, three boys interrupt them and demand money. When Av doesn't offer them enough, one of the boys shoots and kills Red, leaving Av devastated and alone. Looking for revenge, he sets out to find his dog's killers and hold them accountable for their crime. Englund plays Mr. Doust, the father of one of the boys. He appears in a few scenes, insisting that his son is innocent.

"Its earnest, always incomplete quest haunts us in ways stock imagery cannot." — Gabe Oppenheim, The Washington Post

Stay Hungry

Metascore: 60
Best for: Fans of sports-related comedies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu
Runtime: 102 minutes

In Stay Hungry, wealthy Alabama businessman Craig Blake (Jeff Bridges) is tasked with buying a local gym to demolish it and redevelop the area. But when he meets with the gym's employees (including Franklin, played by Englund), he begins to re-think the purchase. During his visits, he starts to fall for the gym's receptionist Mary Tate Farnsworth (Sally Field) and enjoys spending time with aspiring bodybuilder Joe Santo (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Stay Hungry, which was released in 1976, was an early film for both Englund and Schwarzenegger, the latter of whom won the Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut. 

"This shaggy sleeper's greatest strength: creating a slew of characters worth getting to know." — Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club

A Star Is Born (1976)

Metascore: 59
Best for: Music lovers, fans of romantic dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 139 minutes

A Star Is Born, a 1976 remake of the 1937 original, revolves on the love story between John Norman Howard (Kris Kristofferson), a successful musician, and Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand), an up-and-coming singer. Englund makes an uncredited appearance as Marty, a fan who gets into a fight with John at one of Estger's gigs. After its release, the Frank Pierson-directed A Star Is Born was the third-highest-grossing film of the year — despite being released in mid-December. The film was also recognized by multiple award organizations, winning an Academy Award, five Golden Globes, and a Grammy.

"The movie falls short of greatness, but it compares more than favorably not only with the usual concert film (good as a few of them are) but also with the current love stories on film." — Jean Hoelscher, The Hollywood Reporter


Metascore: 57
Best for: Fans of slasher films 
Where to watch:

iTunesTubi, Vudu
Runtime: 85 minutes

Directed by Adam Green, Hatchet pays homage to the classic slasher films in horror history — with a humorous twist. The story focuses on a group of friends who decide to check out a haunted swamp while visiting Louisiana. While there, they hear about the legend of Victor Crowley (played by Kane Hodder), an undead swamp-dweller who kills anybody that visits the area. One of his victims was Sampson Dunston (Englund), a father who was fishing in the swamp with his son Ainsley (Joshua Leonard). Several sequels followed Hatchet's 2006 release, including Hatchet IIand Hatchet III.

"No other film in recent memory has featured such a terrifically retro maniac or revisited the heyday of Eighties gore films with such gleeful, moist abandon." — Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Metascore: 56
Best for: Fans of fantasy horror movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 93 mins

Englund steps back into his iconic role as Krueger in 1988's A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Like in the previous film, he continues infiltrating dreams, here of Kristen Parker (Tuesday Knight), who has the power to pull others into her dreams. When Krueger is finally about to kill her, Kristen hands over her special powers to her friend Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox), who quickly becomes Krueger's next target. As the fourth installment in the franchise, The Dream Master grossed more than $49 million and preceded the series' fifth movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

"Elm Street 4 does have an endless onslaught of astonishing, often grotesque special effects. ... Freddy, who says I am eternal, seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, immune to directors and scripts." — Caryn James, The New York Times