Ranking George Clooney's films from worst to first – Dothan Eagle

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Stacker ranked all feature films—excluding cameos and documentaries—starring George Clooney, from the start of his career to his most recent picture, “Ticket to Paradise.” Movies were ranked by IMDb user rating, with ties broken by votes.  
Actor, producer, director, and geopolitical activist, George Clooney is a veritable elder statesman of modern culture. With his handsome looks and profound worldview, one might forget he occasionally delivers a downright comic performance. That’s not to mention his former reputation as the ultimate prankster on movie sets. It all paints a portrait of both a personality and a career that are more versatile than they might first appear.
Here’s a fun fact: Before he broke out as a quick-tempered doctor on the drama series “ER,” Clooney starred in a short-lived sitcom called, well, “E/R.” The single-season show helped pave the way for Clooney to land guest appearances on “The Golden Girls” and “Roseanne” while simultaneously pursuing a movie career and taking acting classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
With Clooney’s defining role in “ER”—the drama series, that is—came a new chapter in his career and a broad spectrum of tentpole movie performances. One might argue movies like “Out of Sight” and “Ocean’s Eleven” channeled his charisma most effectively, but there’s also something to be said about the pure zaniness he brought to films such as “Burn After Reading.” He’s often behind the camera nowadays, with a directing and producing career that similarly swings across various genres. Aside from Walt Disney, he’s also the only person nominated in six different Oscar categories (winning twice).
So what were some hits and misses from Clooney’s four decades in show business? Stacker ranked the feature films Clooney’s starred in from the start of his career to his most recent picture, “Ticket to Paradise.” Movies were ranked by IMDb user rating, with ties broken by votes. Brief cameos and documentaries were not included.
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– Director: André Szöts
– IMDb user rating: 2.8
– Metascore: 7
– Runtime: 74 minutes
This obscure B-movie sequel had a surprising talent pedigree among its cast. Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen, and Clooney make brief, early-career appearances in a campout scene in which a mutated killer bear terrorizes a group of teenage victims. The strange part, however, is that the footage of the bear itself was never completed due to problems with the special effects. As such, the movie never released.
– Director: Joel Schumacher
– IMDb user rating: 3.7
– Metascore: 28
– Runtime: 125 minutes
Although his performance as Bruce Wayne is serviceable, Clooney surely wishes he could remove this dud from his filmography. Almost universally reviled, “Batman & Robin” was a total misfire, eschewing the darkness of previous entries for corny humor and cartoony set pieces. Director Joel Schumacher—whose most infamous contribution to the franchise was his addition of nipples to the batsuit—faced a lot of backlash at the time of the film’s release and has since publicly apologized to Batman fans for his mishandling of the movie.
– Director: H. Gordon Boos
– IMDb user rating: 3.9
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 104 minutes
Even Clooney’s staunchest fans might not know about this violent crime drama from 1989. Here, he plays a drug-smuggling surfer named Remar, whose final deal goes awry. Look for a brief supporting role from rocker Gene Simmons of Kiss.
– Director: Bill Froehlich
– IMDb user rating: 4.3
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 95 minutes
This ’80s slasher parody follows the making of a low-budget horror movie set at an abandoned high school that was once the site of a series of murders. Things take a turn for the meta when the production itself devolves into a grisly massacre. Clooney, in a small role, plays the killer’s first victim. The movie never found a wide audience, grossing only $1.2 million at the domestic box office, though it has its admirers among die-hard fans of the genre.
– Director: Robert Rodriguez
– IMDb user rating: 4.3
– Metascore: 57
– Runtime: 84 minutes
Clooney reprises his role of Diego Devlin from the first “Spy Kids” movie in this third installment, though this time his character has been promoted from a spy agency director to the president of the United States. At this point in its run, Robert Rodriguez’s “Spy Kids” franchise was offering up severely diminishing returns, and this movie was poorly reviewed compared to its predecessors. Audiences apparently didn’t heed critics’ warnings, though the movie made a pile of money and paved the way for a fourth (even worse) entry in the series.
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– Directors: Alfredo Ringel, Deborah Ringel
– IMDb user rating: 4.4
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 92 minutes
This low-budget, high-concept indie rom-com tells the story of a woman entering her 40s who, through her discovery of a bottle of enchanted soap bubbles, dials back her mental age to her younger, more carefree days. This was an early feature role for Clooney, who at that time was best known for his TV work (including a turn on a short-lived hospital sitcom titled “E/R,” not to be confused with “ER,” the hit drama he’d co-star in a decade later). Critics and audiences derided the half-baked premise, and the movie came and went without much fanfare.
– Director: John De Bello
– IMDb user rating: 5.2
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 98 minutes
This sequel to the cult horror comedy “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!” was one of Clooney’s first film roles. He plays Matt, a suave ladies’ man who’s part of the pizzeria-based crew opposing Dr. Gangrene and his tomato invasion. Despite sitting at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie maintains a cult following among fans of cheap horror.
– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: 58
– Runtime: 118 minutes
This post-apocalyptic drama follows a solitary scientist (Clooney) across an Arctic landscape on a life-saving mission. Critics and audiences were generally underwhelmed, citing glacial pacing and a sappy tonality. It arrived on Netflix approximately two weeks after a limited theatrical release.
– Director: Robert Rodriguez
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: 71
– Runtime: 88 minutes
The first entry in the “Spy Kids” franchise is the most highly rated by critics, who praised its inventiveness and fun factor. Carmen and Juni, the daughter and son of retired spies, find themselves caught up in their parents’ world of intrigue and espionage when they’re kidnapped by the evil Fegan Floop. Clooney, assuming the head of the Organization of Super Spies, makes a brief appearance to offer the kids a new mission in the final scene. It was a smashing success at the box office, earning $112 domestically on a $35 million production budget and spawning a hit franchise.
– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 6.0
– Metascore: 49
– Runtime: 105 minutes
Director Steven Soderbergh, who’d previously worked with Clooney on “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Ocean’s Twelve,” directed this adaptation of the novel by the same name. Clooney stars as an American military journalist caught up in a murder mystery in postwar Berlin. Some critics admired the black-and-white cinematography, but beyond its noirish visuals, the film didn’t have much to offer in the way of a compelling story or fleshed-out characters. It was an expensive flop, grossing only a small fraction of its budget at the box office.
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– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 6.0
– Metascore: 56
– Runtime: 114 minutes
Clooney’s had some bad luck directing and starring in movies with historical settings. This rom-com set during the early days of professional American football failed to connect with audiences, despite its strong cast (with John Krasinski and Renée Zellweger supporting Clooney’s lead performance) and a solid premise, grossing only $31 million domestically on a reported $58 million production budget. Critics’ consensus was that the screwball comedy misfired and its romantic elements were too dull to carry the picture.
– Director: Mimi Leder
– IMDb user rating: 6.0
– Metascore: 43
– Runtime: 124 minutes
A U.S. Army colonel (Clooney) must team up with a civilian weapons expert (Nicole Kidman) to stop a terrorist from nuking Manhattan in this 1997 flick. It was the first feature for director Mimi Leder, who had previously directed Clooney on several “ER” episodes. Critics were lukewarm on the film’s too-familiar premise, and it failed to earn back its reported $50 million production budget at the box office, grossing only $41 million domestically.
– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 6.1
– Metascore: 52
– Runtime: 118 minutes
Clooney directed and produced this WWII caper about a group of art experts tasked with saving museum-worthy pieces from Nazi Germany prior to the fall of the Reich. The concept (based loosely on real events) was intriguing, and the ensemble cast—including Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett, among others—was top-notch, but the film struggled to balance its comedic and dramatic elements. In spite of poor reviews, audiences were drawn by the picture’s star power, and it ultimately took in a $78 million domestic box-office haul that narrowly exceeded its huge $70 million production budget.
– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 6.2
– Metascore: 65
– Runtime: 99 minutes
In a role that director Steven Soderbergh had originally intended for Daniel Day-Lewis, Clooney plays a psychologist sent to evaluate the crew of a distant space station. Despite being sold to audiences as a space thriller, the film itself is cerebral and quite ponderous at times. Both Clooney and Soderbergh would go on to publically lament the disconnect between the marketing materials and the actual movie, which did not perform well with confused moviegoers.
– Director: Grant Heslov
– IMDb user rating: 6.2
– Metascore: 54
– Runtime: 94 minutes
This 2009 film was directed by Grant Heslov, a frequent writing and producing collaborator of Clooney’s; the two co-founded the production company Smokehouse Pictures in 2006. Supposedly based on a true story, it follows a group of warrior monks determined to revolutionize modern warfare with psychic weaponry. Clooney stars as the monk in search of his group’s vanished leader (Jeff Bridges) while a journalist (Ewan McGregor) tags along. Critics and audiences were split, with some finding the film too comedically tame to live up to its bizarre premise.
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– Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 61
– Runtime: 86 minutes
In “Welcome to Collinwood,” Clooney, co-producing alongside Soderbergh, plays a wheelchair-bound safecracker serving on a somewhat inept heist crew. The film marked the feature directorial debut of the Russo brothers, who later went on to direct multiple big-budget Marvel movies. Some critics enjoyed the lighthearted comedy, but with only a limited release, it was unable to make back more than a small fraction of its budget.
– Director: Anton Corbijn
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 61
– Runtime: 105 minutes
In 2010’s “The American,” Clooney plays an assassin and gunsmith whose attempts to retreat to a quiet mountain town in Italy turn bloody when his past catches up with him. Critics were somewhat divided on the film’s lethargic pace and its star’s subdued performance, but overall the movie was a critical and commercial success.
– Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 71
– Runtime: 100 minutes
Clooney plays sought-after divorce attorney Miles Massey, inventor of the ironclad “Massey prenup,” in this acerbic rom-com from the Coen brothers (with whom he’s collaborated several times in his career). The twisty storyline, full of reversals of fortune and affection, kept audiences guessing, and Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones played off each other with crackling chemistry. Nevertheless, some critics saw the film as disappointingly “mainstream” for the Coens, while mainstream audiences ironically weren’t prepared for its quirkiness.
– Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
– IMDb user rating: 6.3
– Metascore: 72
– Runtime: 106 minutes
The most recent entry in Clooney’s long line of collaborations with the Coen brothers, “Hail, Caesar!” is a love letter to Hollywood’s golden age. Clooney plays a movie star who imbibes a drugged goblet of wine during the filming of a biblical epic and wakes up to find himself in the custody of a group of Communist screenwriters. Clooney’s ageless charm is a perfect fit for the time period, and critics praised his performance. Audiences, as is often the case with movies whose subject is Hollywood itself, were more divided.
– Director: Ol Parker
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: 50
– Runtime: 104 minutes
Clooney reunited with frequent co-star Julia Roberts for this vacation-themed romantic comedy. Still bitter about their failed marriage, a divorced couple (Clooney and Roberts) heads to Bali to prevent their daughter’s wedding. Rolled out early overseas, it crossed the $100 million mark at the global box office after its first week in domestic theaters.
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– Director: Wolfgang Petersen
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: 59
– Runtime: 130 minutes
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, whose big break came with 1981’s German submarine movie “Das Boot,” this small-scale disaster movie sees Clooney captaining a fishing boat through a historically destructive storm. Critics and audiences were wowed by the 100-foot CGI waves but found the character development comparatively shallow.
– Director: Brad Bird
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: 60
– Runtime: 130 minutes
This 2015 big-budget, retro-futuristic adventure from director Brad Bird sees Clooney playing an inventor who mentors a teenager on how to access an alternate dimension dubbed Tomorrowland. While the film garnered praise for its visuals, score, and acting, critics found the screenplay uneven. Audiences were disappointed with the relatively short amount of screen time set in a sci-fi reality, and the movie ended up as an expensive commercial flop for Disney.
– Director: Michael Hoffman
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 56
– Runtime: 108 minutes
An architect and a journalist, both divorcées with their kids in town, fall for each other on a hectic day in New York City. Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer’s charming performances elevate this otherwise paint-by-numbers rom-com, firmly securing Clooney’s role as a bankable heartthrob on the silver screen.
– Director: Jodie Foster
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 55
– Runtime: 98 minutes
In this Jodie Foster-directed thriller, Clooney plays the host of a popular finance TV show whose cast and crew is taken hostage by an irate viewer whose investments have tanked. Although critics found the script weighed down by a mixed message and muddy themes, many reviewers singled out Clooney’s charismatic performance as a highlight.
– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 6.5
– Metascore: 58
– Runtime: 125 minutes
Steven Soderbergh returned to direct this sequel to “Ocean’s Eleven,” his wildly successful remake of the 1960 Rat Pack heist movie of the same name. Clooney, as Danny Ocean, leads the same crew from the first movie, but while everyone on the cast seems to be enjoying the reunion, their second caper lacks the ingenuity of their first.
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– Director: Stephen Gaghan
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Metascore: 76
– Runtime: 128 minutes
A true geopolitical thriller that spans countries in America, Europe, and the Middle East, “Syriana” reunited Clooney with “Ocean’s Eleven” co-star and friend Matt Damon. Critics cautioned that the film was too complex for most audiences, an assessment that seemed to play out in the break-even box office receipts. Even so, Clooney’s performance earned him a Best Supporting Actor win at the 2006 Academy Awards.
– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Metascore: 62
– Runtime: 122 minutes
The third film in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s franchise improved upon the second. The addition of Al Pacino to the already all-star cast provided a worthy nemesis for Clooney, and although the script plays it safe by reverting to the formula of the original—Ocean planning a revenge heist against a casino owner—critics and audiences were game for more heist hijinks. The film grossed more than $117 million at the domestic box office.
– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 67
– Runtime: 113 minutes
Clooney directed this 2002 movie based on a script by Charlie Kaufman. It’s a loose adaptation of a controversial memoir by “Gong Show” host and “Dating Game” creator Chuck Barris that assumes the far-fetched premise that Barris, in addition to his showbiz exploits, was an undercover CIA operative. Clooney plays the agent who recruits Barris (Sam Rockwell) and starts him down the path of his new double life. Critics mostly praised the film, but it underperformed commercially.
– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 85
– Runtime: 123 minutes
This iconic Steven Soderbergh adaptation of an Elmore Leonard crime caper (which predated “Ocean’s Eleven” by a few years) stars Clooney in a role that helped propel him to movie star status. The cat-and-mouse plot revolves around an escaped bank robber and a U.S. marshal with whom he shares a mutual attraction. Clooney and co-star Jennifer Lopez nailed the onscreen romance, establishing palpable chemistry in an early scene that takes place entirely in the trunk of a Ford that never lets up until the movie’s finale.
– Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 63
– Runtime: 96 minutes
Another Coen brothers-directed picture, this cloak-and-dagger 2008 comedy assigned Clooney top billing in a cast of heavy hitters that included Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, and Brad Pitt (in one of his goofiest, most hilarious roles ever). Coming on the heels of the Coens’ “No Country for Old Men” hurt the reception of the film, rather than judging it on its own merits, audiences and critics tended to weigh it against the previous year’s Best Picture winner and found it somewhat frivolous by comparison.
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– Director: David O. Russell
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Metascore: 82
– Runtime: 114 minutes
This black comedy sees Clooney heading up a team of four U.S. soldiers attempting a gold heist in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. Critics cheered its indictment of American foreign policy, but many audiences either snubbed the film’s liberal messaging or missed the satire entirely.
– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 7.1
– Metascore: 67
– Runtime: 101 minutes
Clooney wrote, directed, and co-starred alongside Ryan Gosling in this 2011 political thriller, where he plays a Pennsylvania governor who finds his presidential run complicated by the possibility of a sex scandal. Reviews were mostly positive, with critics praising Clooney for his triple-duty involvement.
– Director: Tony Gilroy
– IMDb user rating: 7.2
– Metascore: 82
– Runtime: 119 minutes
Clooney plays a fixer who handles the dirty work for a New York City law firm. When he becomes embroiled in a conspiracy surrounding toxic agrochemicals, he finds himself in over his head. Critics praised the tense plotting of this throwback corporate thriller.
– Director: Robert Rodriguez
– IMDb user rating: 7.2
– Metascore: 48
– Runtime: 108 minutes
This pulpy 1996 Robert Rodriguez movie starts out as a crime drama about two bank-robbing brothers (Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote the screenplay). The story takes a hard left turn when the brothers, on the run from the law, take refuge at a trucker bar full of vampires. It’s a campy gorefest, but Clooney’s straight-faced performance helps keep things somewhat grounded. The film was too trashy for some critics, but a warm reception from horror fans gave it a long and lucrative life on video.
– Director: Alexander Payne
– IMDb user rating: 7.3
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 115 minutes
Alexander Payne’s 2011 follow-up to the surprise hit “Sideways” sees Clooney playing a father and husband facing the difficult decision of whether to sell his family’s Hawaiian land after his wife falls into a coma following a boating accident. Clooney’s attempts to reconnect with his two daughters in the aftermath of his wife’s injury make for poignant emotional stakes, and the film was lauded by critics for its nuance and humaneness. The film earned Clooney a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars the following year.
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– Director: George Clooney
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Metascore: 80
– Runtime: 93 minutes
Clooney wrote, directed, and starred in this low-budget 2005 biopic about legendary CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow taking on Joseph McCarthy and his blacklist. Murrow was played by David Strathairn, with Clooney taking on the role of his producer. The film, shot in black and white, was critically well-received for its timely (though historical) subject matter and earned Clooney Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
– Director: Jason Reitman
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 109 minutes
Jason Reitman followed up his hit dramedy “Juno” with this edgy rom-com about a traveling hatchet man (Clooney) who falls for a fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga) at an inopportune time in his life. Critics praised the smart, sophisticated script and the chemistry of the leads, and audiences took note.
– Director: Terrence Malick
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Metascore: 78
– Runtime: 170 minutes
Terrence Malick’s war epic follows a company of soldiers through Guadalcanal during WWII, providing a philosophical but unflinching look at the ravages of war. Clooney makes a brief appearance at the end of the film as the new commander of the surviving members of the company. The film was too dark for most audiences and did only a fraction of the business of “Saving Private Ryan,” released the same year.
– Director: Trey Parker
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 73
– Runtime: 81 minutes
Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 1999 big-screen adaptation of their long-running Comedy Central show set a new standard for crass, foul-mouthed humor at the time of its release. Clooney provides the voice for the town’s doctor, Dr. Gouache, who unsuccessfully attempts to save the life of the character Kenny by replacing his heart with a baked potato.
– Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 69
– Runtime: 107 minutes
Clooney’s first collaboration with the Coens was his best-received performance in one of their films. As the arrogant Everett Ulysses McGill, he heads up a trio of escaped convicts (still shackled together) on an adventure based on Homer’s epic “Odyssey.” Along the way, they form a band, the Soggy Bottom Boys, whose onscreen performances are mostly lip-synched renditions of old folk and bluegrass tunes. The soundtrack was so popular it had a lasting effect on raising modern audiences’ appreciation for traditional American music.
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– Director: Steven Soderbergh
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 74
– Runtime: 116 minutes
The first film of the Ocean’s franchise established a winning formula with a star-studded lineup and plenty of visual panache. Clooney plays Danny Ocean, a suave ex-con who, upon release from prison, immediately sets about putting together a star-studded heist team. His target is not one but four casinos, all owned by the guy who’s dating his ex-wife (Julia Roberts). Slick, funny, and satisfying, the film was a hit with critics and audiences alike, grossing more than $183 million at the domestic box office.
– Director: Alfonso Cuarón
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 96
– Runtime: 91 minutes
This 2013 big-budget science fiction thriller, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, was a career highlight for its star, Sandra Bullock, who plays an astronaut whose first shuttle mission goes horribly awry when her space station is wrecked by debris. Bullock spends most of her screen time alone, but in the early scenes—and in one hallucination brought on by oxygen deprivation—she’s joined by Clooney playing a veteran astronaut who supplies warmth, charm, and hard-earned expertise to help her navigate some very dire straits. Critics praised the performances and incredible (though sometimes nauseating) realism of the special effects, and the film was a huge box office success, grossing more than $274 million domestically.
– Director: Wes Anderson
– IMDb user rating: 7.9
– Metascore: 83
– Runtime: 87 minutes
Clooney provided the voice of the titular character in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children’s classic. The animated format was a good fit for Anderson’s meticulous filmmaking approach, and critics praised the film’s lovingly handcrafted visuals. To round out the package, Clooney was joined by a terrific cast of voice actors (including Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray) who imbued their animal counterparts with warmth and humor. Nevertheless, audiences, perhaps wary of the film’s old-fashioned visual style, failed to line up at the box office.
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