Brad Pitt’s new intergalactic space film “Ad Astra” just hit cinemas and everyone’s talking about it. This along with the recently released film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood reminds today’s film fans that the Brad Pitt we know and love has undeniably still got it. While it may not seem like it now, there was a time where Pitt was having a hard time making it on the big screen. How then did the most famous man in Hollywood come to be? This article will look at six films that have made Brad Pitt who he is today.
“Thelma & Louise” (1991)
Brad Pitt’s screen time on Thelma and Louise was brief, but it was enough to launch him to stardom. In the film, Pitt plays a sexy grafter named J.D. who hitchhikes with Thelma and Louise as they make their way down to Mexico. The young Brad’s enigmatic charm shines throughout the movie, which helped him land bigger films in the years to come. While other roles eventually sealed the deal for him as a critically-acclaimed actor, there’s no doubt that Thelma and Louise acted as the spark.
“A River Runs Through It” (1992)
Business Insider remarks how Pitt first earned Hollywood’s respect for his dramatic acting in Robert Redford’s film A River Runs Through It. In this coming-of-age drama, Pitt plays Paul Maclean, the fun-loving and wild fly-fisherman. He supposedly had to audition twice to land the role, as he thought his first audition was terrible and insisted on sending a taped performance to convince the director he was the best choice. The film saw Brad Pitt moving past being just a pretty face and seen as a diverse and talented young actor.
“Fight Club” (1999)
Pitt’s portrayal of Tyder Durden was him at the height of his powers. It was an iconic role in Brad Pitt’s first leading-man decade. Playing an impossibly cool and good-looking soap salesman, he embodied the anarchic masculine persona with such appeal. While there are several iconic scenes of his from the film, one of the most notable ones is when he is goading Edward Norton to hit him in a parking lot. The scene showed him playing the perfect opposite to Norton’s wimpy ego with such convincing rebelliousness that it made everyone watching want to join a Fight Club too.
“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
The Guardian’s best films of the 21st century included Ocean’s Eleven. Aside from that, it cemented Brad Pitt as the biggest star in Hollywood in the early 2000s. Brad Pitt’s most famous scene in the film is coaching celebrities on how to play poker. This reflected the allure of the growing poker scene in the world at the time, with more people being inspired by the film to study and play the card game. The poker training scene was a hit with film fans, as many had also started to join in with the rising popularity of the game. This, in turn, led to an increasing number of resources where the world’s very best professionals could teach new players.
PartyPoker’s extensive guide to playing the card gameshows how new players can quickly progress to multi-table tournaments and cash games after learning the ropes. Players who used online guides were able to become competitive and not make the simple mistakes that Pitt’s celebrity poker playing friends did in the movie. Brad Pitt’s performance as the calm and cool poker master Robert “Rusty” Ryan showed the world just what he’s capable of, and set him up for the 21st century.
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007)
Known for playing the rebellious, macho roles, his performance in this film shows that he can act sincerely volatile and vulnerable as well. This hauntingly beautiful film was a result of Pitt’s delicate portrayal of Jesse James’ inner struggle. He shows the character’s detached yet desperate loneliness while also portraying him as the mythic celebrity of the American West. The prism of emotions that Pitt is able to convey through this character is impressive, and it shows his impressive range as an actor.
“Inglorious Basterds” (2009)
Tarantino had Pitt in mind for the character of Lieutenant Tennessee Aldo Raine before he’d even finished writing the screenplay. The World War II-inspired film was a massive success both critically and commercially, and landed eight Academy Award nominations. Many consider it Tarantino’s best film. However, Pitt’s performance as the foul-mouthed officer was left out of much of the critics’ circles. Transcending awards season, his portrayal of Aldo might still be one of his most famous and most memorable performances of all time.
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Featured image credit: Francois Duhamel/Twentieth Century Fox