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The Best Willem Dafoe Movies

Updated February 21, 2020 5.4k votes 620 voters 49.3k views88 items

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

List of the best Willem Dafoe movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. Willem Dafoe'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 Willem Dafoe movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated Willem Dafoe movies will be at the top of the list. Willem Dafoe has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest Willem Dafoe movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining Willem Dafoe films to end the squabble once and for all.

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

Everything from Pacific Rim to The Walker is included on this list.

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

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    Platoon

    Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen

    Released1986

    Directed byOliver Stone

    Platoon is a 1986 American war film written and directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and Charlie Sheen. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films by Stone....  more

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    #26 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#9 of 376 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked

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    The Hunter

    Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill

    Released2011

    Directed byDaniel Nettheim

    The Hunter is a 2011 drama film written by Alice Addison and directed by Daniel Nettheim based on the novel by Julia Leigh....  more

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    #4 of 33 The Best Movies About Hunting#58 of 85 The Best Movies About Redemption

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    Mississippi Burning

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman

    Released1988

    Directed byAlan Parker

    Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the incidents involving of three civil...  more

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    #521 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#283 of 375 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

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    101
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    The Boondock Saints

    Willem Dafoe, Norman Reedus

    Released1999

    Directed byTroy Duffy

    The Boondock Saints is a 1999 American film written and directed by Troy Duffy. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as fraternal twins, Connor and Murphy MacManus, who become...  more

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    #98 of 103 The Very Best Movie Franchises#372 of 440 The Best Movies Of The 1990s

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    Born on the Fourth of July

    Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe

    Released1989

    Directed byOliver Stone

    Born on the Fourth of July is a 1989 American drama film adaptation of the best-selling autobiography of the same name by Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. Tom Cruise plays Ron Kovic, in a performance that...  more

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    #40 of 55 The Best Memorial Day Movies#26 of 50 The Best Oscar-Nominated Movies of the '80s

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    Adam Resurrected

    Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum

    Released2008

    Directed byPaul Schrader

    Adam Resurrected is a 2008 American-German-Israeli film, directed by Paul Schrader and adapted from Yoram Kaniuk's novel of the same name published in Israel in 1968. Jeff Goldblum stars as the...  more
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    70
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    White Sands

    Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byRoger Donaldson

    White Sands is a 1992 crime film directed by Roger Donaldson and written by Daniel Pyne for Warner Bros. Starring Willem Dafoe, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Samuel L. Jackson and Mickey Rourke, the...  more

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    #110 of 118 The Best Samuel L. Jackson Movies, Ranked List#20 of 60 The Best Mickey Rourke Movies

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    Tom & Viv

    Willem Dafoe, Miranda Richardson

    Released1994

    Directed byBrian Gilbert

  • 9
    75
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    Animal Factory

    Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe

    Released2000

    Directed bySteve Buscemi

    Animal Factory is a 2000 drama film about life in prison, set in San Quentin. The film was directed by Steve Buscemi, and stars Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo, John Heard, Mickey Rourke,...  more
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    75
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    Edges of the Lord

    Willem Dafoe, Haley Joel Osment

    Released2001

    Directed byYurek Bogayevicz

    Edges of the Lord is an award-winning 2001 film, written and directed by Yurek Bogayevicz, set in Poland during World War II, starring Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment....  more

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    #63 of 68 The Best Movies About the Holocaust#14 of 29 The Best R-Rated Historical Drama Movies

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    Streets of Fire

    Willem Dafoe, Diane Lane

    Released1984

    Directed byWalter Hill

    Streets of Fire is a 1984 film directed by Walter Hill and co-written by Hill and Larry Gross. It was described in previews, trailers, and posters as "A Rock & Roll Fable". It is an unusual mix of...  more
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    62
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    Faraway, So Close!

    Willem Dafoe, Lou Reed

    Released1993

    Directed byWim Wenders

    Faraway, So Close! is a 1993 film by German director Wim Wenders. The screenplay is by Wenders, Richard Reitinger and Ulrich Zieger. The film is a sequel to Wenders' 1987 film Wings of Desire. Actors...  more
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    66
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    Manderlay

    Willem Dafoe, Bryce Dallas Howard

    Released2005

    Directed byLars von Trier

    Manderlay is a 2005 Danish drama film written and directed by Lars von Trier and the second part of von Trier's projected USA – Land of Opportunities trilogy. It stars Bryce Dallas Howard, who...  more
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    53
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    The Dust of Time

    Willem Dafoe, Irène Jacob

    Released2008

    Directed byTheo Angelopoulos

    The Dust of Time is a 2008 Greek drama film written and directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos, starring Willem Dafoe, Irène Jacob, Bruno Ganz, Michel Piccoli, and Christiane Paul. The film is the second...  more
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    Miral

    Willem Dafoe, Freida Pinto

    Released2010

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    Miral is a 2010 biographical political film directed by Julian Schnabel. The screenplay was written by Rula Jebreal, based on her novel. The film was released on 3 September at the 2010 Venice Film...  more

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    #59 of 72 The Best Movies About Orphans#37 of 125 The Best Movies From Pathé, Ranked

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    Cry-Baby

    Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe

    Released1990

    Directed byJohn Waters

    Cry-Baby is a 1990 American teen musical romantic comedy film written and directed by John Waters. It stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel "Cry-Baby" Wade Walker, and also features a large ensemble...  more

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    #166 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#345 of 783 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

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    My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

    Willem Dafoe, Dave Bautista

    Released2009

    Directed byWerner Herzog

    My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? is a 2009 film directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, inspired by the story of murderer Mark Yavorsky. Herzog describes the film as "a horror film...  more
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    Pavilion of Women

    Willem Dafoe, John Cho

    Released2001

    Directed byYim Ho

    Pavilion of Women is a 2001 adventure drama romance war film written by Yan Luo an d Paul Collins and directed by Ho Yim...  more
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    Spider-Man

    Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe

    Released2002

    Directed bySam Raimi

    Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film directed by Sam Raimi, based on the Marvel Comics character. When bitten by a genetically modified spider, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), a nerdy, shy, and...  more

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    Lulu on the Bridge

    Willem Dafoe, Mira Sorvino

    Released1998

    Directed byPaul Auster

    Lulu on the Bridge is a 1998 American romantic-mystery drama film written and directed by author Paul Auster and starring Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, and Willem Dafoe. The film is about a jazz...  more
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    Odd Thomas

    50 Cent, Willem Dafoe

    Released2013

    Directed byStephen Sommers

    Odd Thomas is a 2013 American mystery thriller film based on Dean Koontz's novel of the same name. It is directed, written and co-produced by Stephen Sommers and stars Anton Yelchin as Odd Thomas,...  more

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    #564 of 727 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#14 of 35 The Best Suspense Movies On Amazon Prime

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    Heaven's Gate

    Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe

    Released1980

    Directed byMichael Cimino

    Heaven's Gate is a 1980 American epic Western film written and directed by Michael Cimino. It portrays a fictional dispute between land barons and European immigrants in Wyoming in the 1890s. The...  more

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    #195 of 401 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#12 of 40 The Best '80s Western Movies

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    Affliction

    Willem Dafoe, Nick Nolte

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul Schrader

    Affliction is an American drama film produced in 1997, written and directed by Paul Schrader from the novel by Russell Banks. It stars Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn and Willem...  more

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    #186 of 248 The Best Whodunit Movies#30 of 36 Great Movies About a Mental Breakdown

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    The Last Temptation of Christ

    David Bowie, Willem Dafoe

    Released1988

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 American-Canadian epic drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is a film adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis' controversial 1953 novel of the same name....  more

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    #404 of 512 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked#321 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

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    Shadow of the Vampire

    Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich

    Released2000

    Directed byE. Elias Merhige

    Shadow of the Vampire is a 2000 horror film directed by E. Elias Merhige and written by Steven Katz, and starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. The film is a fictionalised account of the making of...  more