Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

The Best Ellen Burstyn Movies 

Updated June 11, 2019 1.3k votes 293 voters 25k views

List Rules Vote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best Ellen Burstyn movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. Ellen Burstyn's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top Ellen Burstyn movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated Ellen Burstyn movies will be at the top of the list. Ellen Burstyn has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest Ellen Burstyn movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining Ellen Burstyn films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best Ellen Burstyn role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest Ellen Burstyn performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

Items on this list include The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond and Within These Walls.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best Ellen Burstyn movies?" and "What are the greatest Ellen Burstyn roles of all time?"

Brett Ratner and Joel Schumacher have both worked with Ellen Burstyn over the years, as have plenty of other well-known directors. Is Ellen Burstyn your favorite person to watch on the big screen? You might also want to vote on our best Brian Dennehy and Gena Rowlands films lists too.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
Ranker Video
Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2000

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on ...more

More Requiem for a Dream 

#32 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #172 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

Ranker Video
Jodie Foster, Kris Kristofferson, Laura Dern

Released: 1974

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a 1974 American comedy-drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Robert Getchell. It stars Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels with her preteen ...more

More Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 

#197 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #364 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

Ranker Video
Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth

Released: 1980

Directed by: Daniel Petrie

Resurrection is a 1980 film which tells the story of a woman who survives the car accident which kills her husband, but discovers that she has the power to heal other people. She becomes an ...more

More Resurrection 

#338 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #55 of 64 The Best Sam Shepard Movies

Ranker Video
Alan Alda, Ellen Burstyn, Ivan Bonar

Released: 1978

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

Same Time, Next Year is a 1978 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Bernard Slade is based on his 1975 play of the same title. The film stars Alan ...more

More Same Time, Next Year 

#260 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #98 of 201 The Best Comedy Movies of the 1970s #41 of 47 The Best Movies About Infidelity

Ranker Video
Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman

Released: 1971

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich

The Last Picture Show is a 1971 American drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from a semi-autobiographical 1966 novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. Set in a small town in ...more

More The Last Picture Show 

#923 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #57 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

Ranker Video
Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

Released: 1973

Directed by: William Friedkin

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more

More The Exorcist 

Did A Malevolent Spirit Actually Curse 'The Exorcist' From The Get-Go? #15 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

Ranker Video
Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith

Released: 2002

Directed by: Callie Khouri

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a 2002 American comedy-drama film starring an ensemble cast headed by Sandra Bullock, directed and written by Callie Khouri. It is based on Rebecca ...more

More Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 

#191 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #15 of 33 The Best Mother-Daughter Movies Ever Made #10 of 26 Great Movies About Old Ladies

Ranker Video
Ellen Burstyn, Larry Hagman, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Released: 1974

Directed by: Paul Mazursky

Harry and Tonto is a 1974 road movie written by Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfeld and directed by Mazursky. It features Art Carney as Harry in an Academy Award-winning performance. Tonto is his ...more

More Harry and Tonto 

#255 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #120 of 201 The Best Comedy Movies of the 1970slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

Ranker Video
Bryce Dallas Howard, Ann-Margret, Chris Evans

Released: 2009

Directed by: Jodie Markell

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is a 2008 independent film by director Jodie Markell. The film is based on Tennessee Williams' long-forgotten 1957 screenplay. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard ...more
Ranker Video
Ellen Burstyn, Marcia Gay Harden, Will Patton

Released: 1996

Directed by: Lee David Zlotoff

The Spitfire Grill is a 1996 American motion picture that tells a story of a woman who was just released from prison and goes to work in a small-town café known as The Spitfire Grill. A ...more
Ranker Video
Rock Hudson, Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 1984

Directed by: J. Lee Thompson

The Ambassador is a 1984 American thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson and stars Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn and Rock Hudson. The political thriller was based on the 1974 crime novel 52 ...more
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Ellen Burstyn, Bruce Dern

Released: 1972

Directed by: Bob Rafelson

The King of Marvin Gardens is a 1972 American drama film. It stars Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Scatman Crothers. It is one of several collaborations between Nicholson and ...more
Ranker Video
Ellen Page, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Zegers

Released: 2008

Directed by: Kari Skogland

The Stone Angel is a 2007 Canadian drama film written and directed by Kari Skogland. The screenplay is based on the 1964 novel of the same title by Margaret Laurence.
Ranker Video
Claire Danes, Winona Ryder, Jared Leto

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jocelyn Moorhouse

How to Make an American Quilt is a 1995 movie which was directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and stars Winona Ryder, Maya Angelou, Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft. It is based on a novel of the same ...more
Ranker Video
Louise Fletcher, Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn

Directed by: William Friedkin, John Boorman, William Peter Blatty, Paul Schrader, Renny Harlin

The Exorcist is an American horror film series consisting of five installments based on the fictional story from the novel The Exorcist, created by William Blatty. The films have been ...more
Ranker Video
Ellen Burstyn, Tom Skerritt, Gordon Pinsent

Released: 1981

Directed by: Allan King

Silence of the North is a 1981 semi-autobiographical Canadian film of author Olive Frederickson, taken from the book of the same name. The film stars Tom Skerritt as her first husband Walter ...more
Ranker Video
Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2006

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

The Fountain is a 2006 American drama film that blends elements of fantasy, history, spirituality, and science fiction. It is directed by Darren Aronofsky, and stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel ...more

More The Fountain 

Everything That Went Wrong With Darren Aronofsky's 'The Fountain' #1,466 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #478 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

Ranker Video
Angelina Jolie, Hilary Duff, Sean Connery

Released: 1998

Directed by: Willard Carroll

Playing by Heart is a 1998 American comedy-drama film, which tells the story of several seemingly unconnected characters. It was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.
Ranker Video
Meg Ryan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Andy Garcia

Released: 1994

Directed by: Luis Mandoki

When a Man Loves a Woman is a 1994 American romantic drama film written by Al Franken and Ronald Bass, starring Andy García, Meg Ryan, Tina Majorino, Mae Whitman, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren ...more
Ranker Video
Renée Zellweger, Tim Roth, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 1997

Directed by: Josh Pate, Jonas Pate

Deceiver is a 1997 murder mystery film. It won Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay at the 1997 Stockholm Film Festival, and the Special Jury Prize at the 1998 Cognac Police Film Festival.
Ranker Video
Nicolas Cage, James Franco, Leelee Sobieski

Released: 2006

Directed by: Neil LaBute

The Wicker Man is a 2006 American horror thriller film written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage. The film primarily is a remake of the 1973 British cult classic The Wicker ...more

More The Wicker Man 

#7 of 33 Horror Movie Reboots No One Ever Asked For #10 of 15 The Best Movies Below 20% On Rotten Tomatoes #6 of 15 Horrible Horror Films That Are Fun As Heck To Watch

Ranker Video
Jon Voight, Jeff Daniels, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2004

Directed by: Lloyd Kramer

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a 2004 film directed by Lloyd Kramer.
Ranker Video
Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix

Released: 2000

Directed by: James Gray

The Yards is a 2000 American crime film directed by James Gray. It was written by Gray and Matt Reeves, and stars Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron and James Caan. The setting is ...more

More The Yards 

#5 of 7 The Best Movies Directed By James Gray #150 of 174 The Best Family Drama Movies of All Time #31 of 45 The Best Charlize Theron Movies of All Time, Ranked

Ranker Video
Ellen Burstyn, John Gielgud, Dirk Bogarde

Released: 1977

Directed by: Alain Resnais

Providence is a 1977 French/Swiss film directed by Alain Resnais from a screenplay by David Mercer. It explores the processes of creativity through a portrayal of an ageing novelist, played by ...more
Ranker Video
Julia Roberts, Ellen Burstyn, Vincent D'Onofrio

Released: 1991

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Dying Young is a 1991 American romance film, directed by Joel Schumacher. It is based on a novel of the same name by Marti Leimbach, and stars Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott with Vincent ...more

More Dying Young 

#287 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtracks #298 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #19 of 48 The Best Julia Roberts Movies of All Time