“I’m one of those people you hate because of genetics. It’s the truth.” -Brad Pitt
How much Brad is too much Brad? Well, seemingly, one can never get enough. Handsome, suave, charming and funny, at 56, Brad Pitt still happens to be one of the most sought-after bachelors in town. And boy, he is talented! As an actor and producer, Brad Pitt has received accolades for his brilliant performances as well as the various humanitarian projects undertaken by him as he continues to exert his international influence.
Pitt first gained public attention as a cowboy hitchhiker in Ridley Scott’s 1991 film Thelma & Lousie. He credits his first lead roles to drama films like Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It back in 1992 and Neil Jordan’s gothic horror Interview with the Vampire two years later in 1994. Building his solid career foundations, he received critical acclaim for his performance in films like Fincher’s crime thriller Seven (1995) and Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi film 12 Monkeys (1995), which earned him a Golden Globe Award, and then an Academy nomination.
One of the most influential men in Hollywood today, Pitt has had a wonderful acting career and an equally rocky personal life. Despite his incredible performances, it was not until Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood that he won an Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor. Tarantino’s highest-grossing film, however, is not available on Netflix which is why we have a bone to pick with them.
Pitt’s upcoming films include Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, starring Tobey Maguire and Emma Stone, as well as David Leitch’s Bullet Train, scheduled for release in 2021.
If you are an ardent fan of Brad and cannot get enough of his killer smile and smouldering gaze, rewatch some of his films, available on Netflix, that we have ranked for you in the ascending order of brilliance.
Let’s get started.
The best Brad Pitt movies on Netflix:
11. War Machine (David Michod, 2017)
In this 2017 Netflix original, Brad Pitt starred as Glenn McMahon, a successful US Army General, who heads the NATO forces in rebuilding Afghanistan. However, his arrogance and lack of public empathy incur the displeasure of a journalist, Sean Cullen, who writes an article exposing his insubordination and abuse of power.
The film aimed at being a satire but ended up being misfired melodramatically. Michod is seemingly confused about his stand; while it is a harsh critique of yet another “unwinnable quagmire” the United State willingly stepped into, it is also sympathetic to the servicemen. Brad Pitt is a mere eye candy on-screen; he is sloppy and forgets his gruff demeanour. Even Ben Kingsley and Tilda Swinton are not able to salvage the movie with their respective cameos. There are certain poignant scenes in the movie that would make one think about the actions of bureaucracy; however, the film cannot be taken seriously due to the unnecessary caricature.
10. The Devil’s Own (Alan J. Pakula, 1997)
This 1997 action thriller starts with a young eight-year-old Frankie McGuire, who witnesses his father being murdered for being an Irish republican sympathiser. Twenty years later, Frankie travels to New York under an alias name, ‘Rory Devaney’, and moves into Sergeant Tom O’Meara’s house. The situation takes a turn for the worse when he Tom realises that he has sheltered a dangerous IRA terrorist.
While Roger Ebert severely criticised the film for its blatant “ignorance of the history of Northern Ireland” and never mentions “the issues involved between the two sides”, Brad Pitt admitted: “I really like The Devil’s Own. It was good schooling for me. Still, I think the movie could have been better. Literally, the script got thrown out.” Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt were splendid on-screen as always, and that is the only tolerable factor in the film. Scenes comprising the conversations between Tom and Frankie or the quiet moments Tom spends with his family are some of the best scenes.
9. By The Sea (Angelina Jolie, 2015)
In 1960s France, a young couple, Vanessa and Roland, has reached the rock-bottom in their marriage. They are barely on speaking terms, with a withdrawn and grieving Vanessa refusing to let her husband touch her. In a final attempt to salvage their relationship, they travel to a coastal hotel where Roland can also work on his book; the couple finally addresses issues that were suppressed for long.
Given Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s current status, the film exists as an ominous foreboding. Shot during their honeymoon in Gozo, Malta, in 2014, the film “may intrigue celebrity voyeurs or fans of a certain type of arthouse cinema, but for most viewers, its beauty won’t be enough to offset its narrative inertia”. As Jolie had previously stated, the film “at its core, is about grief”. Vanessa’s misery is rooted in her reproductive barrenness. She is an embodiment of misery and succeeds in making Roland feel bad about himself. Jolie’s Vanessa attempts to tear apart a loving couple which makes her unbearable till the audience is told of the reason for her selfishness. The film ends on a nearly positive note of self-reflection and reconciliation when they drive away from the hotel.
8. Troy (Wolfgang Petersen, 2004)
Troy retells the legend of the Trojan War and is loosely based on Homer’s Iliad, with its ending taken from Smyrnaeus’s Posthomerica. The lusty Trojan Prince, Paris, during a peace mission to Sparta, seduces Helen and takes her back with him to Troy. this leads to the Greeks laying a massive siege to the impenetrable city, headed by Achilles.
The film is a visual delight with the wonderful costume and ensuing grandiose. However, the characters are not very convincing and seem too human, which is in direct conflict with the larger-than-life portrayal in the epic. This makes it seem flat; while the fighting sequences are engrossing, the film is unable to keep up the tempo. Brad Pitt is handsome and buff but not quite what the audience would envision Achilles to be. He tries hard to fit into his character but invariably fails. The rest of the ensemble does a fairly good job, but the viewers are left wondering if Achilles would have suited Eric Bana better with his rough and rugged disposition.
7. World War Z (Marc Forster, 2013)
In the wake of an apocalypse, Gerry Lane, a former Un employee, rushes against the clock to try and find a cure for the virus that threatens humanity, by turning them into zombies. With his family’s future at risk, Gerry travels the world to find a way to curb the zombie pandemic.
Thrilling and nerve-wracking, this apocalyptic film deals with a typical white family being caught up in a zombie pandemic where the father is the hero without a cape who shall save the day. Brad Pitt is brilliant as Gerry Lane. However, the rest of the cast is quite bland and fails to evoke a reaction out of the audience at their pitiable condition. “For all its effectiveness at portraying the horror of possible human extinction, the film’s actual humans are so soulless that this could just as well be the movie version of the video game Plants vs. Zombies”, said a critic.
6. Seven Years in Tibet (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1997)
Adapted from the eponymous novel by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, the film chronicles the story of Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter who are imprisoned during World War II in 1939, while they were mountaineering in India. They successfully flee the prisoner-of-war camp in Dehradun and travel to Lhasa. Harrer meets the young 14th Dalai Lama and becomes his tutor and close confidante.
The journey of soul-searching and the transformation of an egomaniac into a man of peace and values is heartwarming. Despite the tumultuous political climate, the beautiful hills in the forgotten country, as well as the pervasive happiness, forms a lovely peaceful contrast. Due to the “malicious portrayal of local people”, actors Brad Pitt and David Thewlis, as well as the director were banned from entering China. While the focus should have been directed at their experience, the film is a “fascinating true-life story” that comprises a certain calm and grace which leads the viewers to engage in introspection as well.
5. Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik, 2012)
In this neo-noir crime film, Markie Trattman’s poker game is robbed by three crooks Squirrel, Frankie and Russell. Enraged, Markie enlists the help of hitmen Jackie and Mickey to investigate the case and exact revenge. Dominik almost aims at infusing Scorsese’s plotline with Tarantino-esque dialogue, violence and adrenaline.
The film takes a cynical approach of the world it exists in. With the 2008 US economic recession as the backdrop financial crisis and pessimistic take on the future. Unsettling and violent, the film boasts of phenomenal performances. Brad Pitt, with his slicked-back hair and powerful dialogues, is a vision of perfection. Amidst the gratuitous violence of the organised crime that takes place in America, Brad Pitt’s closing statement, referencing to Obama’s Presidential speech, sends shivers down the viewers’ spine due to the eerie truth value of his words:
“ This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America is not a country; it’s just a business. Now fucking pay me.”
4. Babel (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2006)
The third installment of Inarritu’s Death Trilogy series, Babel is a work of art in itself when it manages to connect groups of people across three continents over how their lives are affected by one gunshot. Vacationing Americans, Richard and Susan are travelling on a bus when Susa gets fatally shot. Richard tries to get her desperately to the hospital amidst the rising tension with other annoyed passengers who are forced to wait with him.
Rightfully named Babel, it refers to the Biblical story where God punishes men by causing a rift based on the language they speak. The film, too, focuses on how cultural differences are almost unbridgeable, and how that adversely affects survival. Intense and riveting, it is a fantastic and cathartic end to the trilogy. Brad Pitt’s helplessness and desperation in unchartered environments add to the heightened anxiety in the film. Adrianna Brazza’s soundtrack won him the Academy Award for Best Original Score. A woeful multi-narrative, Inarritu’s Babel has “no villains, only victims of fate and circumstance”.
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008)
With thirteen Academy Award nominations, Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name. It is the story of Benjamin whose age-clock functions in reverse fashion. His relationship with Daisy stands test to time and various other problems as she grows older but Benjamin, younger.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics; from being praised for portraying “a magical and moving account of a man living his life resoundingly in reverse” to being criticised for being “166 minutes of twee tedium”. It is, however, an extremely moving story in which embedded are the elements of love, loss and the fleeting nature of time. Needless to say, Brad Pitt thrives as Benjamin.
From being a haggard-like newborn to a debonair young man in his ’60s, Pitt creates magic on screen with his spectacular performance. Fincher’s calibre helps him deal with the subject in an overly sensitive manner. Scenes where Benjamin meets Daisy, her daughter, or when he comes to know what his father did at the time of his birth, are poignant; the ending is heart-wrenching yet beautiful.
“You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.“
2. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
Good old Tarantino boasts of a stellar ensemble in this “masterpiece”, that includes stars like Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger and Melanie Laurent. Lt. Aldo Raine heads a commando unit named ‘Basterds’ where he expects each of his men to bring 100 Nazi scalps. Having massacred Nazis for years now, in France, Raine plans to bring the Nazi government once and for all and end the war; he enlists the help of Shoshanna a young woman who wanted to avenge the murder of her family, witnessed by her, at the hands of a German officer.
“A Tarantino film resists categorization”. Bloody and bold, bizarre and belligerent, the war film lacks a war which is balanced by immense menace and cruelty. Christoph Waltz stands out in his role of a narcissistic and callous German general; so does Brad Pitt, as the ruthless, Allied soldier who despises Nazis enough to carve the swastika into the forehead of one of them. In his gruesome and grotesque depiction of the terror and brutality unleashed by the Nazis which led to the eventual fall of Hitler, Tarantino adds in intriguing dialogues and wonderful cinematography which keeps the audience glued to their seats. Having received plenty of prestigious awards and eight Academy nominations (Christoph Waltz, well-deservedly, brought home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), this film is testament to Tarantino’s insatiable thirst for violence, notoriety and captivating, non-linear narratives.
“Y’know what, Uttvich? I think this might just be my masterpiece.”
1. Se7en (David Fincher, 1995)
Two detectives, David Mills and Lt. William Somerset, are assigned duties together: David is new to the city while William is about to retire. A deadly serial killer is on the loose who seeks to punish people for being the embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins. With a shocking and mind-bending climax, this film is inarguably Fincher’s darkest and most horrifying creations.
Seven is dark, disturbing and gory, with graphic glimpses of the murders. Morgan Freeman as William delivers an incredible performance; he is intuitive and insightful and exists as a perfect foil to the hot-headed and impulsive David, played by the handsome Brad Pitt. this is arguably one of Freeman’s finest performances, and he and Brad share a brilliant camaraderie together on-screen. In the beginning, David’s wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), exists as a mere female character, until the very end which catches the viewers off-guard. As Fincher said, “It’s psychologically violent. It implies so much, not about why you did but how you did it”.
“Ernest Hemingway once wrote ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for’; I agree with the second part.”