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The 25+ Best Kurt Russell Movies of All Time, Ranked

Updated November 26, 2019 8.7k votes 1.5k voters 71.2k views67 items

List RulesThe best Kurt Russell movie roles, regardless of box office success or critic reviews.

The best Kurt Russell movies of all time prove that he is one of the most versatile actors currently working. Since he started as a child actor in the late ‘50s, Russell has appeared in plenty of blockbusters and critically-acclaimed movies, earning awards and accolades along the way. His highest grossing movies have been well-received at the box office and his lifetime box office total exceeds $1.5 billion.

Kurt Russell started his acting career at the age of 11 with an uncredited role in Elvis Presley’s It Happened at the World's Fair followed by a series of small credited roles in TV and film in the ‘60s. In the 1970s, Kurt Russell starred in a series of films for Disney and several TV series for ABC and NBC.

In the 1980s, Kurt Russell’s career started taking off with high profile roles in movies—often partnering with director John Carpenter. It was with Carpenter that he became well-known as the anti-hero Snake Plissken. From the ‘80s onwards, Kurt Russell has starred in a variety of action, comedy, and even dramatic movies. Some of the best Kurt Russell movies from his era include Backdraft, Stargate, and Tango & Cash.

Kurt Russell is no stranger to working with popular directors, including Ron HowardQuentin Tarantino and Garry Marshall. Kurt Russell has been in plenty of blockbusters and has surpassed many of his contemporary peers such as David Caruso and Steven Seagal in terms of fame and success.

So what are the best Kurt Russell movies of all time? Is it Escape From L.A. or Tombstone? See what fans have ranked as their favorites in the Kurt Russell filmography below. Movie trailers have been included below if you want a preview of the film. If you think the best Kurt Russell role isn't at the top, then vote it up. Don’t see it listed? Add it so that others may vote for it. After all, this list of the best Kurt Russell movies should be as comprehensive as possible. 

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  • 1
    Tombstone
    433
    97

    Tombstone

    Val Kilmer, Kurt Russell

    Released1993

    Directed byKevin Jarre, George P. Cosmatos

    Tombstone is a 1993 American western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Big Trouble in Little China
    355
    84

    Big Trouble in Little China

    Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 American action film directed by John Carpenter, and... more on Wikipedia

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    #117 of 366 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#97 of 149 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

  • 3
    The Thing
    357
    98

    The Thing

    Kurt Russell, Keith David

    Released1982

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Escape from New York
    306
    76

    Escape from New York

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell

    Released1981

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Overboard
    291
    97

    Overboard

    Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell

    Released1987

    Directed byGarry Marshall

    Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Backdraft
    260
    72

    Backdraft

    Robert De Niro, Kurt Russell

    Released1991

    Directed byRon Howard

    Backdraft is a 1991 action thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen.... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Miracle
    202
    60

    Miracle

    Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson

    Released2004

    Directed byGavin O'Connor

    Miracle is a 2004 American sports docudrama about the United States men's hockey team, led by... more on Wikipedia

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    #156 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#27 of 236 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • 8
    Stargate
    209
    75

    Stargate

    Kurt Russell, James Spader

    Released1994

    Directed byRoland Emmerich

    Stargate is a 1994 French-American adventure science fiction film released through... more on Wikipedia

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    #14 of 186 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made#137 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • 9
    Captain Ron
    203
    67

    Captain Ron

    Kurt Russell, Roselyn Sánchez

    Released1992

    Directed byThom Eberhardt

    Captain Ron is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Thom Eberhardt, produced by David... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Tango & Cash
    209
    90

    Tango & Cash

    Sylvester Stallone, Teri Hatcher

    Released1989

    Directed byAndrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli

    Tango & Cash is a 1989 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Andrei Konchalovsky,... more on Wikipedia

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    #221 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#148 of 554 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

  • 11
    Soldier
    182
    59

    Soldier

    Kurt Russell, Gary Busey

    Released1998

    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Soldier is a 1998 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Anderson, written by... more on Wikipedia

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    #187 of 502 The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time#56 of 91 The Best Apocalyptic And Post-Apocalyptic Movies

  • 12
    Death Proof
    156
    60

    Death Proof

    Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson

    Released2007

    Directed byQuentin Tarantino

    This film is a 2007 American action-exploitation film written and directed by Quentin... more on Wikipedia

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    #28 of 85 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge#48 of 49 35+ Great Movies That Blur the Lines Between Horror and Drama

  • 13
    Breakdown
    155
    62

    Breakdown

    Kurt Russell, Kathleen Quinlan

    Released1997

    Directed byJonathan Mostow

    Breakdown is a 1997 American thriller film, written and directed by Jonathan Mostow. The film... more on Wikipedia

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    #38 of 89 The Best Kidnapping & Hostage Movies Of All Time, Ranked#123 of 155 The Greatest Car Movies Ever Made

  • 14
    Executive Decision
    159
    73

    Executive Decision

    Halle Berry, Steven Seagal

    Released1996

    Directed byStuart Baird

    Executive Decision is a 1996 American action film directed by Stuart Baird in his directorial... more on Wikipedia

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    #21 of 53 The Most Unrealistic Action Films#350 of 723 The Greatest Action Movies Of All Time

  • 15
    The Hateful Eight
    130
    29

    The Hateful Eight

    Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell

    Released2015

    Directed byQuentin Tarantino

    The Hateful Eight is a 2015 American Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino. In a Wyoming... more on Wikipedia

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    #1169 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#552 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

  • 16
    Used Cars
    138
    52

    Used Cars

    Kurt Russell, Michael McKean

    Released1980

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Used Cars is a 1980 comedy satire film. It stars Kurt Russell, Jack Warden, Deborah Harmon,... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    3000 Miles to Graceland
    135
    61

    3000 Miles to Graceland

    Courteney Cox, Kevin Costner

    Released2001

    Directed byDemian Lichtenstein

    3000 Miles to Graceland is a 2001 action film., starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner,... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Escape from L.A.
    149
    72

    Escape from L.A.

    Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi

    Released1996

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Escape from L.A. is a 1996 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and... more on Wikipedia

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    #145 of 164 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies#53 of 94 The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

  • 19
    Bone Tomahawk
    85
    23

    Bone Tomahawk

    Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson

    Released2015

    Directed byS. Craig Zahler

    Bone Tomahawk is a 2015 American Western horror film directed by S. Craig Zahler. Four men set... more on Wikipedia

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    #148 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#97 of 121 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time

  • 20
    Unlawful Entry
    89
    42

    Unlawful Entry

    Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe

    Released1992

    Directed byJonathan Kaplan

    Unlawful Entry is a 1992 American thriller film directed by Jonathan Kaplan starring Kurt... more on Wikipedia

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    #28 of 34 The Best Movies About Corrupt Cops#12 of 16 The Most Powerful Movies About Police Brutality

  • 21
    Elvis
    103
    47

    Elvis

    Kurt Russell, Shelley Winters

    Released1979

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    Elvis is a 1979 American television biographical film directed by John Carpenter. It is based... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Grindhouse
    88
    52

    Grindhouse

    Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis

    Released2007

    Directed byEdgar Wright, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Rob Zombie

    Grindhouse is a 2007 American horror film double feature co-written, produced, and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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    #15 of 16 Quentin Tarantino Movies, Ranked Best to Worst#45 of 101 The Best Nicolas Cage Movies

  • 23
    Tequila Sunrise
    108
    42

    Tequila Sunrise

    Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer

    Released1988

    Directed byRobert Towne

    Tequila Sunrise is a 1988 American crime thriller film written and directed by Robert Towne.... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    The Best of Times
    82
    39

    The Best of Times

    Robin Williams, Kurt Russell

    Released1986

    Directed byRoger Spottiswoode

    The Best of Times is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Roger Spottiswoode and written by... more on Wikipedia

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    #30 of 51 The Best Football Movies Ever#127 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

  • 25
    Sky High
    87
    36

    Sky High

    Kurt Russell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Released2005

    Directed byMike Mitchell

    Sky High is a 2005 American superhero family comedy film about an airborne school for teenage... more on Wikipedia

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    #928 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies#115 of 167 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made