15 Best Ed Harris Movies Of All Time

POSTED BY Ali Raza, UPDATED ON February 20th, 2024
15 Best Ed Harris Movies of All Time

Ed Harris is a four-time Oscar nominee who has delivered outstanding performances in a career spanning four decades. But, besides having a dead-blue-eyed stare and a chiseled jaw, this actor is known for show-stealing performances. We’ll talk about 15 of them today, so let’s take a look at the 15 best Ed Harris films of all time:


15. Snowpiercer (2013)

Ed Harris in Snowpiercer (2013)

Image Source: IMDb

Snowpiercer is an outstanding post-apocalyptic and dystopian era movie. This film shows us a world where everything is frozen, and the temperatures are non-survivable -120C. So, humanity is bound to a non-stop train, which circulates the globe all year round.

The film surrounds the story of Curtis (Chris Evans), who leads a rebel group against the “higher” classes on the front side of the train. It isn’t until the third act that we meet the maker of this train, Wilford (Ed Harris), who continues his tradition of stealing the show in minimal screen time.


14. Appaloosa (2008)

Appaloosa (2008)

Appaloosa is the story of a small town that hires two crime fighters to fight a local tyrannical rancher, Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons). The two vigilantes, Virgil (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) have a 100% record and a trail of dead behind them.

However, things soon turn awry when one of them falls for a young widow, Allison French (Renee Zellweger). While the lead actors, Mortensen and Harris, deliver outstanding performances, this film leaves you wanting more.


13. Walker (1987)

Walker (1987)

Walker is a 1987 movie featuring Ed Harris as the lead character William Walker. Walker is an American lawyer and journalist who leads a battalion of mercenaries and rebels. It all begins when the American Filibuster invades Nicaragua and takes control of the place.

But, not just that, he proclaims himself the president of the country. Telling the true story of the same name, this film is a must-watch for any Ed Harris fan.


12. Enemy at The Gates (2001)

Enemy at the Gates 2001

Enemy at the Gates is the true story of the Battle of Stalingrad. It surrounds the narrative of Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), who stops the Nazi armed forces from entering the city. However, soon he becomes notorious, and the German Reich becomes obsessed with taking him down.

So, they send one of their best, Major König (Ed Harris), to take Zaitsev down and seek retribution. While the film tells a fictionalized account of true events, Ed Harris plays the role to perfection and owns every scene he’s in.


11. The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss (1989)

The Abyss is a cult classic and an outstanding horror film. Earning over 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, this film is loved for James Cameron’s direction, Alan Silvestri’s music, and an overall encapsulating story. But, the one thing that’ll catch your eye is Ed Harris as the lead.

It all begins when a civilian diving team led by Virgil Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) seeks out a lost nuclear submarine. Only to discover that they’re not alone in the darkest depths of our ocean, as an invasive alien species have adapted to the aquatic setting.


10. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone is one of the best missing person movies of all time. Casey Affleck delivers the performance of a lifetime as private detective Patrick Kenzie. Besides, Morgan Freeman plays a vital role as Jack Doyle, the police chief.

It all begins when a four-year-old girl Amanda goes missing, and her aunt hires a private detective. This Ben Affleck-directorial debut brings the best out of everyone in the cast, but as always, Ed Harris’ Remy Bressant stands out as a remarkable character.


9. The Hours (2002)

The Hours (2002)

The Hours is a tragic yet somewhat hopeful movie. This film thoroughly captures the unpredictable nature of life and how fickle things can be. So, if you’re of a philosophical mind and love an outstanding ensemble, including Ed Harris, then you’ll love this movie.

Nicole Kidman plays the famed author Virginia Woolf, who finishes her novel Mrs Dalloway right before she commits suicide. In the future, two women find this novel highly relatable and escape their dull lives.


8. The Right Stuff (1983)

The Right Stuff (1983)

The Right Stuff is widely hailed as the first leading role of Ed Harris. Playing one of the 7 astronauts alongside Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier. It is widely known as the most accurate film about the American space program, and it’s a must-watch for Astro-movie lovers.

However, the prime characters of this film are John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Al Shephard (Scott Glenn), who recount their experience during NASA’s early achievements. The film thoroughly depicts the turmoil of such technological evolution, and Ed Harris leads it incredibly.


7. The Rock (1996)

Ed Harris The Rock 1996

The Rock is a stellar film with an equally stellar cast. It all begins when a team of ex-convicts band together to stop a rogue general who has threatened to launch missile attacks on the city of San Francisco.

While the film features actors like Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris’s performance as the unhinged Brigadier General Frank Hummel captivates you for the entirety of this film.


6. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Image Source: IMDb

Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the few films where Ed Harris plays a mild character instead of some unhinged general or manipulative film director. The film surrounds the story of a sales rep team at Mitch and Murray. Their job is to sell most plots of land within a time frame.

The winner will get a new Cadillac, while the third place will be relieved of their job. This competition brings out the best of all the characters, played by an outstanding ensemble besides Ed Harris, such as Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, and Alec Baldwin.


5. A History of Violence (2005)

A History of Violence (2005)

A History of Violence is one of the most thrilling yet mild movies of the 2000s. On the surface, it seems like any other film about a family living in the remote suburbs, enjoying a quiet and peaceful life.

However, things turn a bit when a gangster named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) begins to harass the family of Tom and Edie Stall (Viggo Mortenson and Maria Bello). That’s when things turn upside down as secrets begin to unveil.


4. Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 is yet another historically accurate film depicting events surrounding the spacecraft of the same name. In 1970, NASA launched its third mission to the moon, led by Jim Hovel (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon).

But, just like in real life, things turn awry, and the mission crew faces the threat of being stranded around lunar space. However, the man on the ground is Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), who controls the mission, and it’s his job to bring the mission and crew back home safely.


3. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind is the telling of the true story of brilliant mathematician and Noble Prize winner John Nash (Russell Crowe). Another Ron Howard movie and another accurate depiction make it a must-watch for biography lovers.

It begins when Nash accepts an assignment from William Parcher (Ed Harris). He proves once again the wonders he can do when he’s on the wrong side of things in the movies. But, the state of Nash’s mind makes this movie’s lovers believe Parcher was just a Figment of Nash’s imagination.


2. The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show is a groundbreaking movie and truly something ahead of its time. While in the beginning, we see Jim Carrey playing his usual goofy and not-all-there type of character, Truman Burbank.

But, soon, he realizes that his life might not be his and that he’s stuck in a TV show. Soon, his suspicion comes true, and the man behind this show is nobody other than Ed Harris—who plays the role of the manipulative director of the show.


1. Pollock (2000)

Pollock (2000)

Image Source: IMDb

Pollock is widely hailed as Ed Harris’ best work, and even Harris admitted it in an interview. The film is about a painter, Jackson Pollock (Harris), who lives with his brother. While he spends most of his time painting and drinking, he’s got no direction.

That is until he meets his Muse and a fellow artist, Lee Krasner (Marcia Gray Harden). However, Pollock’s struggles as a self-doubting individual are thoroughly captured by Ed Harris, which makes it one of his most memorable performances.


Honorable Mentions

  • Field of Dreams (1989)
  • The Way Back (2010)
  • Winter Passing (2005)

What are your favorite movies of Ed Harris? Let us know in the comments!

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