Julia Roberts' Best Movies, Ranked

A definitive ranking of the best Julia Roberts movies over the years.

Suit, Event, White-collar worker, Formal wear, Conversation,
Suit, Event, White-collar worker, Formal wear, Conversation,
(Image credit: Columbia Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures)

Julia Roberts is one of the most iconic actresses alive today. In the course of Roberts' more than three decade-long career, she's done just about everything you could imagine, from romantic comedies to award-darling dramas to whimsical children's movies. Some of these movies have earned their place in pop culture history (looking at you, Pretty Woman) and others...haven't (remember Mirror, Mirror?).

Here's a look back at the most important entries in Julia Roberts' extensive filmography, which we've ranked from "big mistake, huge" to legitimately amazing.

1. 'Mother's Day'

Release date: April 29, 2016

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Shay Mitchell, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson, Héctor Elizondo, Timothy Olyphant, and Jack Whitehall.

Julia's part: A woman who makes the worst possible decisions about bangs.

2. 'Mary Reilly'

Release date: February 23, 1996

Starring: Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, George Cole, and/ Michael Gambon.

Julia's part: It earned her a Razzie nomination, if that tells you anything. 

3. 'I Love Trouble'

Release date: June 29, 1994

Starring: Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte, Saul Rubinek, Robert Loggia, and James Rebhorn.

Julia's part: The heroine in a Nancy Meyers movie you don't need to see, ever. 

4. 'Dying Young'

Release date: June 21, 1991

Starring: Julia Roberts, Campbell Scott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Colleen Dewhurst, and David Selby.

Julia's part: Have you seen Me Before You? Basically the Emilia Clarke character, but in the early '90s. 

5. 'Something to Talk About'

Release date: August 4, 1995

Starring: Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall, Gena Rowlands, Kyra Sedgwick, and Dennis Quaid.

Julia's part: A woman who escapes to her family farm after her husband has an affair and all of her friends are like, "Meh, NBD. Just let it go." 

6. 'Valentine's Day'

Release date: February 12, 2010. 

Starring: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Héctor Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, and...Taylor Swift.

Julia's part: One of the many, many tenuously connected characters. IDK and also IDC.

7. 'Smurfs: The Lost Village'

Release date: April 7, 2017

Starring: Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Meghan Trainor, Mandy Patinkin, and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: Smurfwillow. Papa Smurf's love interest. Yup.

8. 'Sleeping with the Enemy'

Release date: February 8, 1991

Starring: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, and Kevin Anderson.

Julia's part: A woman who escapes an abusive relationship with her husband...or DOES SHE? This thriller is very Lifetime movie, except it was released in theaters.

9. 'Larry Crowne'

Release date: July 1, 2011

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, and Pam Grier.

Julia's part: A Manic Pixie Dream Girl lite to Tom Hanks' going-through-a-midlife-crisis hero.

10. 'Runaway Bride'

Release date: July 30, 1999

Starring: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Joan Cusack, Héctor Elizondo, Rita Wilson, and Paul Dooley.

Julia's part: A perpetual runaway bride who charms the pants off Richard Gere (for a second time, cinematically).

11. 'The Mexican'

Release date: March 2, 2001

Starring: Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, and J. K. Simmons.

Julia's part: The girlfriend of a mob bagman (played by Brad Pitt) who would really like her boyfriend to stop working for the mob, but who ends up on a mob job road trip adventure with him instead.

12. 'Mona Lisa Smile'

Release date: December 19, 2003

Starring: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Topher Grace.

Julia's part: Wellesley College art history teacher Katherine Watson, who sets out to inspire all your early aughts faves. It wasn't as good as you wanted it to be when it came out and it still isn't. Sorry.

13. 'Secret in Their Eyes'

Release date: November 20, 2015

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Dean Norris, Michael Kelly, Joe Cole, and Alfred Molina.

Julia's part: An LA district attorney's office investigator whose daughter is brutally murdered. The movie focuses on the search for her killer.

14. 'Mirror Mirror'

Release date: March 30, 2012

Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts ,Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, and Sean Bean.

Julia's part: The wicked stepmother, a.k.a. the best part of the whole movie.

15. 'Notting Hill'

Release date: May 21, 1999

Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Emma Chambers, James Dreyfus, Rhys Ifans, Tim McInnerny, and Gina McKee.

Julia's part: A wishy-washy flake actress who is "just a girl, standing in front of boy, asking him to love her" (in spite of her consistently horrific treatment of him over the course of months and months).

16. 'Michael Collins'

Release date: October 11, 1996

Starring: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: Kitty Kiernan, a real Irish woman (this one is a biopic), who was the fiancée of assassinated Irish revolutionary leader and Chairman of the Provisional Government, Michael Collins.

17. 'Closer'

Release date: December 3, 2004

Starring: Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen.

Julia's part: A photographer who Jude Law's character flirts with online, has an affair with, and then pretends to be to catfish Clive Owen's character. It's a complicated movie.

18. 'The Ant Bully'

Release date: July 28, 2006

Starring: Zach Tyler Eisen, Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Paul Giamatti, Regina King, Bruce Campbell, and Lilly Tomlin.

Julia's part: She's the voice of an ant, like you might expect, since this is an animated movie with mostly ant characters. The ants shrink a brat kid who keeps destroying their hills and Meryl Streep is one of the voices too.

19. 'America's Sweethearts'

Release date: July 20, 2001

Starring: Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack, and Hank Azaria.

Julia's part: The "homely" sister/personal assistant of a mega-famous movie star, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Frankly, if you want to watch a meta showbiz rom-com featuring Julia Roberts at a press junket, I'd take this over Notting Hill any day of the week.

20. 'Eat Pray Love'

Release date: August 13, 2010

Starring: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, and Javier Bardem.

Julia's part: She plays author Elizabeth Gilbert, who goes on a quest for self-discovery after her divorce.

21. 'August: Osage County'

Release date: December 27, 2013

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and Misty Upham.

Julia's part: The oldest daughter of Meryl Streep's character, and yes, their performances are the best thing about this movie.

22. 'Ocean's Twelve'

Release date: December 10, 2004

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy García, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: Tess Ocean again, but in this movie Tess poses as Julia Roberts when people point out that they kind of, sort of look exactly alike. It's probably the best thing about this sequel.

23. 'Duplicity'

Release date: March 20, 2009

Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson, and Paul Giamatti.

Julia's part: A former real spy who becomes a corporate spy in retirement and battles wits with another former-spy-turned-corporate spy/love interest.

24. 'Money Monster'

Release date: May 13, 2016

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Julia's part: The producer on a TV finance show who has to try to help save the day when a disgruntled viewer storms the set with a bomb strapped to himself and takes the entire show hostage. It's actually not bad.

25. 'Charlotte's Web'

Release date: December 15, 2006

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dakota Fanning, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, Thomas Haden Church, and Andre Benjamin.

Julia's part: The voice of none other than Charlotte and she nails it/doesn't ruin your childhood in the process, which is impressive, TBH.

26. 'Conspiracy Theory'

Release date: August 8, 1997

Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Patrick Stewart.

Julia's part: A lawyer at the Justice Department who also happens to be an object of obsession for a possibly-insane conspiracy theorist (Mel Gibson, obviously). She gets sucked into a twisty plot, as you'd expect.

27. 'Stepmom'

Release date: December 25, 1998

Starring: Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, and Jena Malone.

Julia's part: The titular stepmom, who butts heads with bio mom Susan Sarandon and has to learn to lead the family when the latter is diagnosed with cancer. If you want a lot of sentiment and some tears, this will do the job.

28. 'Flatliners'

Release date: July 27, 1990 

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon.

Julia's part: Rachel Manus, a medical student who, along with some of her fellow medical students, decides to try "flatlining" — becoming legally dead for just a little while and then being resuscitated so they can know what happens after you die. Bonus points for being a bonkers concept that spawned a remake and one of the best jokes in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

29. 'The Pelican Brief'

Release date: December 17, 1993

Starring: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Tony Goldwyn, James B. Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, Hume Cronyn, and John Lithgow.

Julia's part: A young law student who writes a legal brief detailing her own theory of a conspiracy surrounding the assassinations of two Supreme Court justices, who has to go on the run because (SPOILER ALERT) she's on to something. If you like thrillers (and also Denzel), it's worth a watch.

30. 'Steel Magnolias'

Release date: November 15, 1989

Starring: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Tom Skerritt, Dylan McDermott, Kevin J. O'Connor, and Sam Shepard.

Julia's part: This movie is a quintessential feels flick, the kind of movie that you go into expecting to have a good cry. Julia plays Shelby, the character who will probably make you cry most of us. 

31. 'My Best Friend's Wedding'

Release date: June 20, 1997

Starring: Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett.

Julia's part: A woman who inconveniently fails to realize she's secretly in love with her best friend until he's getting married to an adorably perky young Cameron Diaz. 

32.'Charlie Wilson's War'

Release date: December 21, 2007

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Ned Beatty.

Julia's part: Texas socialite Joanne Herring, who is the friend/romantic interest of Congressman Charlie Wilson, played by Tom Hanks. Herring works with Wilson to increase funding for Afghan freedom fighters, which contributes to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. NBD.

33. 'Wonder'

Release date: November 17, 2017

Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, and Daveed Diggs.

Julia's part: The mother of Auggie, a little boy with a facial deformity (played by the always amazing Jacob Tremblay). Is it sentimental? Yeah, but Wonder does sentimental family film right

34. 'Mystic Pizza'

Release date: October 21, 1988

Starring: Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, Vincent D'Onofrio, William R. Moses, Adam Storke, and Conchata Ferrell.

Julia's part: Daisy, the "fun" sister who is determined to get out of her small town. The movie focuses on three young women (two sisters and a friend) who work as waitresses at a place called Mystic Pizza. The coming-of-age movie is a classic. 

35. 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'

Release date: January 24, 2003

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: A female operative who game show producer/secret CIA assassin Chuck Barris has to work with on a mission.

36. 'Hook'

Release date: December 11, 1991

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Amber Scott, and Charlie Korsmo.

Julia's part: Tinkerbell, duh. Julia is great in the part, but she was reportedly not a blast to have on set (there were rumors that she was temperamental, and that her nickname while filming the movie was TinkerHell).

37. 'Ocean's Eleven'

Release date: December 7, 2001

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy García, and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: Danny Ocean's ex-wife and the lone lady on the OG remake's team.

38. 'Erin Brockovich'

Release date: March 17, 2000

Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, and Aaron Eckhart.

Julia's part: Real-life legal hero Erin Brockovich, whose investigative skills revealed a cover-up about contaminated water that leads to a landmark case. 

39. 'Pretty Woman'

Release date: March 23, 1990

Starring: Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

Julia's part: The quintessential hooker with a heart of gold.

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.