Best known for her role as Laurie Strode from John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise, Jamie Lee Curtis has actually held quite an impressive filmography over the years. Bursting onto the acting scene back in the late 1970s, Curtis has since made her mark as a bona fide movie star. Her wide acting range has spanned from horror legend to suburban housewife and has taken her through slasher flicks, comedies, drama, and action — all the while turning in memorable performances, having worked with directors like James Cameron, The Daniels, and Rian Johnson.
Curtis has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to her roles in Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021), and Halloween Ends (2022), as well as films like Knives Out and Everything Everywhere All At Once. In 2023, she played Madame Leota in Haunted Mansion and had a great guest appearance on the hit FX series The Bear. She will next be seen in Eli Roth’s video game adaptation Borderlands and is preparing her directorial debut Mother Nature, which will be adapted from a graphic novel that she is also co-writing. While we anxiously await these upcoming films, let’s revisit Jamie Lee Curtis’ best movies, ranked.
Update January 7, 2024. This article has been updated with even more great Jamie Lee Curtis films and where each title is streaming.
12 Blue Steel (1989)
Blue Steel was one of the first films directed by Kathryn Bigelow. In this police thriller, Curtis plays rookie cop Megan Turner who shoots someone on her first day on the job and is accused of messing up after her gun disappears. The reality is a crazy man, Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver), stole the gun and is killing people with it.
Why Is Blue Steel on the List
This was one of the first times Curtis was the lead in a non-horror film, and she’s great. The whole film is shot through her point of view, and the actress conveys every moment of her character’s day, making audiences empathize with this tough-as-nails cop, who is being underestimated by everyone: the crazy man who took her gun, her colleagues on the NYPD, and even her parents. Stream on The Roku Channel and Tubi TV
11 My Girl (1991)
My Girl tells the story of Vada (Anna Chlumsky) and her friendship with Thomas (Macaulay Culkin), which ends tragically. Curtis plays Shelly, the funeral homeowner’s new cosmetologist and a new female friend to Vada. That’s until she starts dating Vada’s father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd).
Why My Girl One of Curtis’s Best Performances
Curtis is able to play her character in a naturalistic way that helps the young actor, Chlumsky, and makes their lovely and later antagonistic relationship feel real and possible. The actress also gives the character a very warm and decent way of being that might help blossom Vada, and her father, and create a new family for the three of them. Stream on Paramount+.
10 Prom Night (1980)
In this 1980s classic, prom night is ruined for four teenagers after a masked man stalks them for the death of a classmate six years prior. As the film aged, its disco soundtrack became the most notable part of the film. Prom Night was cashing in on the wave of success brought on by Halloween, and so it made sense to bring on that film star, Jamie Lee Curtis, and solidify her as a scream queen.
Why Prom Night Is One of Curtis’s Best Films
The storyline, attempt at disco dancing, and cheesy dialogue mark this film as pretty low on the totem pole as far as slasher films go, but if you look past the typical convictions of slasher movies today, you can see this is a classic in itself. Curtis continued her reign as slasher queen with this film, proving she had become one of the greatest stars in the genre. After all, it took Jamie Lee Curtis joining the cast to help green light this screenplay to begin with. Stream on FuboTV and Peacock
9 You Again (2010)
When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in school, she sets out to end the relationship. To spice things up, it’s discovered that another feud is present between the mother of the groom and the bride’s aunt. To shake things up even more, it seems both grandmothers are also enemies.
Why You Again Deserves a Spot on the List
This quirky comedy does not have the highest rating, yet You Again is still worth watching for a good laugh. A few big-name actresses team up to give us a humor-filled, easy-to-watch film. Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Annabelle, and Betty White play the feuding characters in this light-hearted comedy. Honestly, the pairing of Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, two titans of genre films in the 1970s and 1980s, is enough to make You Again worthy of being on this list. The fact that it was the same year as The Expendables, which saw Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis share the screen, shows there was something in 2010 about finally seeing titans of genres share the screen together. Stream on Disney+ and Hulu
8 Halloween (2018)
Halloween (2018) tosses out all the continuity of the previous Halloween sequels and picks up four decades after Michael Myers returned to Haddonfield Illinois, and faced off against Laurie Strode in 1978. This time, it seems as if Michael has his sights set on Strode’s granddaughter Alyson (Andi Matichak). Estranged from her daughter Karen (Judy Greer), Laurie must find a way to save her family from Michael, who has once again escaped.
Why Halloween (2018) Is a Great Curtis Movie
There was a lot of anticipation around the release of Halloween (2018). The film not only saw Curtis reprise her character but also got rid of the years of continuity from the sequels, including Halloween II, which established Laurie Strode and Michael Myers as siblings. The new film was looking to bring things back to basics. While the film certainly had issues, ones the sequels would only double down on, it is hard to deny that the thrill of seeing Strode go face to face with Michael Myers as well as transforming into a Sarah Conner-type action hero was worth the price of admission. Halloween (2018) made an impressive opening weekend with $76 million and went on to gross $159.3 million domestically and $259.9 million, making it the highest-grossing film in the franchise unadjusted for inflation. Stream on FuboTV
7 Trading Places (1983)
- Release Date
- June 7, 1983
- Denholm Elliott , Dan Aykroyd , Maurice Woods , Richard D. Fisher Jr. , Jim Gallagher , Anthony DiSabatino
Trading Places revolves around two rich brothers make a bet that they can take a street criminal and make him a success in their company and also do the opposite with one of their employees. That’s how Billy Ray (Eddie Murphy), the criminal, and Louis (Dan Aykroyd), the employee, meet and decide to get revenge on the brothers’ and their fortunes. Curtis plays the third angle in this story, as Ophelia, the sex worker with a heart of gold, who helps Billy Ray and Louis and dates the latter.
Why is Trading Places a Great Curtis Movie
This was one of the first times Curtis was cast in a comedy, and she showed effortlessly how good she could also be in that genre, as she’s the heart of the film and even earned a BAFTA for her performance. The comedy directed by Jon Landis is a comedy classic (although some parts have not aged well at all) and helped launch Eddie Murphy into movie stardom while also reshaping Curtis’ career path from moving beyond horror and genre fair to other work. Many of the films on this list might not have had Curtis in them if not for Trading Places. Rent on Apple TV and Prime Video.
6 Freaky Friday (2003)
Freaky Friday is a classic for millennials, which is funny considering it is a remake of a Disney movie from 1972. When a fortune cookie swaps mother and daughter, the two have to find a way to work through their differences and love each other again to switch back. This is a body-switching movie, like many that were made in the eighties, and it revitalized the genre for a bit, adding new ideas to that world, as this time, the switching happens between mother and daughter, a new wrinkle to the idea.
Why We’ve Added Freaky Friday to the List
Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan have to pull double duty here, firmly establishing what their characters are like early on and then having to swap personas with Curtis needing to embody the youthful energy of a teenager and Lohan needing to play stern, serious mom and both excel in part. The movie was a hit at the box office, grossing $160.8 million, while also being a hit with critics. It even landed Curtis a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Even after all these years, the movie remains a beloved classic. Stream on Disney+
5 A Fish Called Wanda (1987)
In A Fish Called Wanda, Jamie Lee Curtis has to seduce a lawyer, played by John Cleese, to find out where the hidden diamonds have gone. The film is set in London and follows four people who team up for a jewel heist and then try to double-cross each other. The actress proves once again she can play comedy with the best of them, as she’s able to hold her scenes with Cleese, but also Michael Palin, and Kevin Kline, almost stealing the movie from under all of them.
Why A Fish Called Wanda Is a Great Curtis Movie
This comedic love story is full of deceit, laughter, and essentially is a “concoction of nonsense.” that’s much funnier than it deserves to be. Written by John Cleese, whom you may know from Monty Python, this film is a classic example of brainy comedy that has stood the test of time. Curtis was nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Globes and the BAFTA’s for her role in the iconic comedy. Stream on Prime Video and FuboTV
4 True Lies (1994)
- Release Date
- July 15, 1994
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Arnold, and Jamie Lee Curtis in a film directed by James Cameron make True Lies unique. This is an action comedy where Schwarzenegger plays a secret agent, but at home, his wife (Curtis) and daughter think he’s just a boring computer sales representative. While trying to spice up her life, she ends up discovering who her husband really is. The film might look like a typical Schwarzenegger action film, but it is as much a romantic comedy about a married couple finding the spark in their relationship once more.
Why True Lies Deserves a Place on the List
Curtis has never been sexier, funnier, and more action-ready than in this film, where she and Schwarzenegger have great chemistry and almost make you believe the crazy premise of the movie. Once her character knows what’s really going on, Curtis finally can leave behind the bored housewife and prove how game she can be, creating a surprising character that’s half clumsy femme fatale, half clumsy action hero. Stream on Peacock
3 Knives Out (2019)
- Release Date
- November 27, 2019
With a star-studded cast, Chris Evan’s famous white sweater, and comedic moments, Knives Out is one of the most well-known movies on this list. Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) investigates the unexpected death of a famous mystery writer. He looks to the crazy family and sweet maid to aid him in his investigation. This part comedy, part mystery film is similar to a plot out of an Agatha Christie novel as it takes an intelligent detective to piece together a seemingly simple case of suicide. However, in this film, everything is not as it seems.
Why We’ve Put Knives Out on the List
In the film, Jamie Lee Curtis plays the daughter of the recently deceased writer. To portray this heartbroken but strong woman, Curtis does a stellar job of seeming vulnerable while still taking charge of what comes next, being progressive yet entitled to create a great character. While Curtis was always a big-name star, this film was coming right on the heels of Halloween’s (2018) massive box office returns, and in a few years, she would eventually be an Oscar winner, making this part of the Curtis Renaissance era. Stream on DIRECTV
2 Everything Everywhere All At Once (2023)
Everything Everywhere All at Once
A Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world.
- Release Date
- March 25, 2022
- Dan Kwan , Daniel Scheinert
- 2hr 12min
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a surreal, sci-fi multiverse tale about Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), who is trying to save her laundromat and her family from the multiple variables she encounters in each universe. Curtis plays the IRS auditor who opposes Wang in her reality, but through the vast multiverse, Wang gets a better understanding of her.
Why Everything Everywhere All At Once Is one of Curtis’s Best Movies Ever
Everything Everywhere All At Once was the film that finally won Jamie Lee Curtis an Academy Award. Part of this was the fact that she had to play the many variations of Deirdre, which shows how versatile she is. She effectively plays a cruel persona, a sweet romantic version, and finally, a version who lets her guard down and reveals her own struggles. It speaks to how great Curtis and the entire film are that she can be said to be the fourth-best performance in it, and it is still great. Stream on Prime Video
1 Halloween (1978)
What else could it be? Of course, it was going to be the original Halloween. Fifteen years after killing his sister on Halloween night, Michael Myers is back killing again. After escaping from the mental hospital, Michael Myers returns to his hometown, Haddonfield, Illinois, and resumes his killing spree from years prior and eventually crosses paths with a babysitter, Laurie Strode, in an encounter that will change her life forever.
Why Halloween Is Jamie Lee Curtis’ Best Movie Ever
In perhaps her most iconic and breakout role, Jamie Lee Curtis earned herself the title of horror legend in this original Halloween film. Curtis effectively plays the “girl next door” and cements herself not only as a scream queen but also establishes many of the rules and conventions associated with the final girl in a horror film. John Carpenter’s classic film spanned a franchise that is still running today. The Halloween franchise has made its mark as one of the top slasher film franchises. With this role, Curtis won our hearts and set the tone for generations to come. There is no role in Curtis career that is more iconic or beloved than Laurie Strode in the original Halloween. Stream on FuboTV