Many Hollywood stars have emerged over the last several decades and established themselves as multi-genre threats. You could think of the great Robert Downey Jr., Harrison Ford, and even Scarlett Johansson. But today, we will be talking about another actor who has been in the industry for years: Tommy Lee Jones.
He's been all over the map, from action thrillers to sci-fi movies to dramas that show his ability to act. Now, we have this list of the best Tommy Lee Jones movies that you should check out, whether on a streaming platform or as a rental.
The Fugitive (1993)
The Fugitive is based on the 1960s TV show of the same name. Starring Harrison Ford in one of his best roles and Tommy Lee Jones, this action thriller follows a surgeon who is framed for murder and escapes from custody after a severe bus crash. He makes it his mission to find the person who actually killed his family while simultaneously being hunted down by the government.
Jones plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard, one of the people hunting Ford's character, Dr. Richard Kimble. This was the film that won Jones the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the film itself earned several nominations, including Best Picture. He offers a fantastic performance, and the movie is filled with action to keep you on the edge of your seat. Plus, the leads have some great chemistry.
Directed by Oliver Stone, JFK is a political thriller that looks deep into the real investigation of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, mainly following Jim Garrison, a lawyer who believes that the supposed killer had an accomplice and that it was was a two-person job.
Jones plays Clay Shaw/Clay Bertrand, again showing his impeccable acting talent and raw ability to draw eyes to the screen. Once again, he was nominated for an Academy Award, alongside seven other nominations, the movie winning two. It's a great political film for those who want a good drama.
Men In Black 1-3 (1997-2012)
Here come the men in black. For the first three movies, the Men in Black franchise mainly followed the adventures of Kevin Brown and James Darrell Edwards III, known as Agent K and Agent J, as they fought against a whole universe of aliens to keep humanity safe.
I could talk for hours about the first three Men in Black movies and why it's one of Jones' best films, but I think everyone already knows it. The chemistry between him and Smith is always killer, and they can pull laughs from the crowd no matter how gross the aliens they encounter might be.
Truthfully, I think the franchise peaked with the films where Jones played Agent K, and nothing can ever top his role. There have been attempts to revive the series and start with new actors, but I just can't get behind them. I will always want to see a continuation of these two and their extra-terrestrial adventures.
I don't think we'll be getting another movie from them anytime soon, but a girl can dream, alright?
In The Valley Of Elah (2007)
Directed by Paul Haggis and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, and Susan Sarandon, In the Valley of Elah is a crime drama that will captivate you. The film mainly follows the story of a military father looking for his child. When he discovers that his son has been killed, he makes it his mission to find the people responsible and take them down, settling on revenge rather than grief.
The movie was released during the Iraq War, and Jones was the perfect pick to portray that desperate fear and, later on, the rage that comes from losing a child. He was again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Directed by the incredible Steven Spielberg, Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the titular man and tells the story of President Lincoln during the last few months of his life as he works hard to end slavery and the Civil War, leading up to the events of the establishment of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Lincoln is packed to the brim with stars alongside Lewis, such as the incredible Sally Field, Adam Driver, Bill Camp, and more. Still, Tommy Lee Jones' Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens was undoubtedly one of the best. He delivered some of the film's best scenes, from his solo speeches to moments involving others. He was again nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his role.
No Country For Old Men (2007)
No Country For Old Men follows three stories: a man who stumbles upon money in the desert, a hitman trying to get to the cash for his nefarious deeds, and the sheriff looking into the crime and trying to solve it before anyone else gets hurt. Eventually, their lives intertwine, and tragedy strikes.
The film won Best Picture at the Academy Awards for a good reason, as the main three stars, Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem, killed it. There's something about seeing Jones as a good guy sheriff trying to save the day that makes the film that much better. Trust me; you'll be rooting for him as the movie progresses.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Witness the start of a hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: The First Avenger is the first film in that franchise, where we meet Steve Rogers, a young man with many health problems, who is given the chance to become a figure of hope for America through using a super-soldier serum that will change him forever.
The MCU has vastly expanded since this film, but I sometimes like to revisit the movies that began it all – and Jones is hilarious and fantastic here. He plays Chester Phillips, a colonel responsible for creating Captain America, and he's sarcastic, gruff, and all things great about a military officer in a movie. I would gladly watch a film just about him.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Directed by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers follows the story of two people who were traumatized in childhood, which bled into their adult years. But of course, these two end up meeting, twistedly falling in love, and taking their trauma to the next level – by killing people, and these acts gain media attention that turns them into stars.
Let me tell you, if you want to see a movie where Tommy Lee Jones acts maddening, this is the one. His scenes are genuinely some of the most enthralling of the movie. He plays the prison warden that the main characters are taken to, and seeing him angry is always a sight. The film itself is pretty bloody, so keep that in mind before watching.
Ad Astra (2019)
Ad Astra is a psychological sci-fi film that stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut who heads into space on the mission of a lifetime – to find his father and stop him from discovering aliens, which could ruin life as they know it on Earth, and quite possibly the galaxy around them.
The movie is one of those films that takes its time getting into the story and showing just how scary space travel can be, but Jones' performance is incredible. I love his scenes with Pitt, and it's always fun to see him back in a sci-fi film after MIB.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Last but not least, we have Jason Bourne. This Bourne franchise film follows the titular CIA assassin, but he finds out that there's a lot more to the government organization than he ever thought possible, which causes a target to be placed on his back. While he tries to outrun the CIA, the director sends others to finish Bourne off.
Tommy Lee Jones as a CIA director is everything you could ever want. His character, Robert Dewey, is powerful, intense, intelligent, and a perfect antagonist to Jason Bourne, and Jones’ scenes with Matt Damon are fantastic. I would watch this again.
There are so many other films that Jones has made, but these are the ones to highlight. Now if you don't mind me, I will go and watch Men in Black again and be freaked out by all those cockroaches. Gross.