10 Best Josh Brolin Movies, Ranked

You’re about to discover Josh Brolin’s top films that showcase his acting prowess. Get ready for the gripping drama of “No Country for Old Men,” feel the suspense in “Sicario,” and witness his Oscar-nominated performance in “Milk.” You can’t miss his compelling portrayal of Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame,” or his role in the critically acclaimed western “True Grit.” Other notables in the top 10 list include “The Goonies,” “American Gangster,” “W.,” and “Inherent Vice.” This is just the start of your journey into Brolin’s outstanding filmography, there’s plenty more cinematic gold to unearth.

Key Takeaways

  • “No Country for Old Men” and “Sicario” are top-ranked films featuring intense performances by Brolin.
  • In “Milk”, Brolin received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Dan White.
  • Brolin made a significant impact in the Marvel Universe with his role as Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame”.
  • His performance in “True Grit” and the hard-boiled detective story tribute showcase Brolin’s acting range.
  • Brolin’s roles have received critical acclaim, fan appreciation, and have had a significant impact on the film industry.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Diving right into Josh Brolin’s illustrious filmography, let’s kick off with the acclaimed ‘No Country for Old Men‘ (2007).

This gripping atmospheric drama showcases Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, who, alongside co-stars Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem, takes us on a tense, Coen brothers’ journey filled with stark realism and suspenseful storytelling.

Winning four Academy Awards, it’s a standout in Brolin’s best movies.

Sicario (2015)

Exploring further into the high-stakes realm of ‘Sicario’ (2015), a captivating thriller where Brolin embodies Matt Graver, a tough CIA officer leading a covert operation against a Mexican drug cartel.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this film delves into the moral ambiguities of the war on drugs, with Brolin’s intense performance adding to the suspense of the high-stakes mission.

Milk (2008)

Let’s shift our focus to ‘Milk’ (2008), a movie that not only earned Brolin his first Oscar nomination but also marked his foray into playing characters with complex dynamics. His portrayal of Dan White, a key figure in Harvey Milk’s life, showcased his ability to deliver nuanced performances.

This film, with its powerful narrative and Brolin’s impactful role, significantly contributed to LGBTQ+ cinema and received widespread critical acclaim and numerous awards.

Brolins Role in Milk

You’re in for a treat as we unpack Josh Brolin’s stunning performance as Dan White in the critically acclaimed film, ‘Milk’ (2008).

His portrayal of this morally ambiguous character, involved in the assassination of Harvey Milk, garnered Brolin critical acclaim and his first Oscar nomination.

It’s a proof to Brolin’s skill and versatility, adding significant depth to the narrative.

Impact on LGBTQ+ Cinema

With ‘Milk’ shining a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ rights movement, Brolin’s nuanced portrayal of Dan White, a conservative politician at odds with Milk, played an integral role in highlighting the community’s struggles for equality.

His performance:

  • Earned an Oscar nomination
  • Showcased the life of LGBTQ+ rights activist, Harvey Milk, in San Francisco
  • Displayed Brolin’s talent for morally ambiguous characters
  • Added depth to LGBTQ+ cinema.

Critical Reception and Awards

Diving into the critical reception and accolades, ‘Milk’ (2008) brought Brolin his first Oscar nomination, catapulting his career. This role, following performances in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘American Gangster’, showcased his versatility. He was recognized as Best Supporting Actor, proving his ability to portray complex characters, just as he did in ‘TRUE GRIT’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

‘Milk’ cemented Brolin’s reputation as a talented actor.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

In ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ you’ll see Josh Brolin’s compelling performance as Thanos, the villain you can’t help but admire for his complex motivations.

The impact his character has on the Marvel Universe is monumental, reshaping the narrative and leaving a lasting impression on both heroes and viewers alike.

This performance solidifies Brolin’s spot in the pantheon of memorable Marvel characters and deserves a closer look in our ranking.

Brolins Performance as Thanos

Imagine the challenge Josh Brolin faced, stepping into the extensive motion capture suit to infuse life into the intricate character of Thanos in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019).

  • Brolin’s performance added depth and humanity to Thanos’ ruthless demeanor.
  • His motion capture work was extensive.
  • The character Thanos showed unique moral complexity.
  • Brolin’s portrayal elevated Thanos to a memorable villain in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Impact on Marvel Universe

With his nuanced performance as Thanos in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019), Josh Brolin didn’t just play a villain; he breathed life into a character that would become a pivotal cornerstone in the expansive Marvel Universe. His portrayal garnered critical acclaim and led ‘Endgame’ to become the highest-grossing film ever.

Brolin’s pivotal role added depth, showcasing his range and etching Thanos into the annals of Marvel history.

True Grit (2010)

If you’re a fan of intense Western films, you’ll appreciate Josh Brolin’s brilliant performance as Tom Chaney in the critically acclaimed remake of ‘True Grit’ (2010). Directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, this film is a must-see.

  • Brolin’s portrayal of Tom Chaney is gripping.
  • Jeff Bridges delivers a stellar performance.
  • The Coen Brothers’ direction is flawless.
  • The Western setting is both authentic and enthralling.

Don’t miss this cinematic gem!

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Shifting focus to a different genre, you’ll find Josh Brolin taking on the frenzied world of 1950s Hollywood in the Coen Brothers’ comedy, ‘Hail, Caesar!’ (2016).

Brolin splendidly portrays Eddie Mannix, a studio fixer maneuvering Hollywood chaos. With its satirical look at the film industry’s inner workings during its golden age, Brolin’s performance showcases his skill at meshing humor and drama.

The Goonies (1985)

In the 1985 classic ‘The Goonies’, you see a young Josh Brolin portraying the character of Brand – the responsible older brother thrown into a wild adventure. This role not only showcased Brolin’s early acting chops but also paved the way for his future in Hollywood.

Let’s unpack how Brolin’s performance in ‘The Goonies’ contributed to his career trajectory and take a closer look at his character.

Brolins Character Analysis

Diving into the world of ‘The Goonies,’ we find Josh Brolin making his film debut as Brand, a character who’s as protective as he’s supportive, setting the tone for Brolin’s impressive acting career. Brand is Mikey’s older brother, and his traits include:

  • Loyalty to Mikey.
  • Courage in the face of danger.
  • Guiding the younger kids.
  • Showcasing a strong brotherly bond.

Brand’s character in ‘The Goonies’ truly highlights Brolin’s acting prowess.

Impact on Career

With the release of ‘The Goonies’ in 1985, Josh Brolin didn’t just make his film debut – he showcased a talent that promised a successful future in Hollywood.

His portrayal of Brandon Walsh stood out even in an ensemble cast, hinting at his potential as a versatile actor.

‘The Goonies’ was indeed a career milestone, setting the stage for his future success.

American Gangster (2007)

Stepping into the shoes of a corrupt detective in Ridley Scott’s ‘American Gangster’ (2007), Josh Brolin showcases his acting versatility against the gritty backdrop of 1970s New York City. He convincingly portrays Detective Trupo, maneuvering:

  • A city riddled with police corruption
  • The pursuit of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington)
  • A power struggle with Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe)
  • The dark underbelly of NYC

His performance adds a layer of complexity, enhancing the film’s tension.

W. (2008)

In the 2008 biographical drama ‘W.’, Josh Brolin takes on the challenging portrayal of the 43rd U.S. President, George W. Bush, demonstrating his ability to breathe depth and authenticity into complex historical figures.

His portrayal, also as Dan White, gained critical acclaim.

The biographical film traces Bush’s journey to presidency, showcasing Brolin’s versatility and contributing to the film’s success.

Inherent Vice (2014)

Fast forward to 2014, and you’ll find Josh Brolin stealing scenes in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’, where he skillfully embodies the role of Lieutenant Christian F. Bjornsen, adding another layer of complexity to this tribute to hard-boiled detective stories. His performance garnered critical acclaim and nominations.

With him:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm
  • The laudable Joaquin Phoenix
  • A tribute to hard-boiled detective stories
  • Nominations and critical acclaim for Brolin’s performance

It’s a must-watch!


Brolin’s bold, brilliant performances breathe life into every film. Whether he’s battling in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, brooding in ‘No Country for Old Men’, or bumbling about in ‘The Goonies’, Brolin brings a bit of brilliance to the big screen.

His acting agility is always apparent, from the somber ‘Sicario’ to the dramatic ‘Milk’. In every role, Brolin’s talent is truly tangible, making these top ten films an absolute must-watch for any Brolin buff.

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