The Top Ten George Clooney Big Screen Movie Roles

It’s hard to believe that George Clooney is now 56 years old.

In honour of his birthday, we will take a look at his career. While his big break was on ER, Clooney did branch out into films but didn’t become a major star until he was nearly 40. Here’s a look back at his biggest roles.

10. Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

George Clooney O Brother Where Art Thou


This marks Clooney’s first work with the Coen Brothers. Ulysses Everett McGill escapes from a chain gang in an attempt to return home. However, he’s chained alongside two inmates, both of whom have mixed feelings about their predicament. Along the way, they encounter an odd cast of characters, including beautiful women, the Ku Klux Klan, and a one-eyed bible salesman.

9. Gravity

George Clooney Gravity

While Sandra Bullock is the star, Clooney has a major role as astronaut Matt Kowalski. His wry sense of humour makes the film a little less depressing. Clooney’s final moments are heartbreaking, but he keeps Bullock focused on her mission.

8. From Dusk till Dawn

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) - Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney

From Dusk till Dawn is one of Clooney’s first major movies. He holds his own as the anti-hero Seth Gecko, who’s just pulled off a bank job. Together with his brother Richard, they continue their crime spree on the way to Mexico. Neither of them expect having to face off against a swarm of vampires. Clooney’s banter with Quentin Tarantino is funny to watch.

7. Out Of Sight

George Clooney Out Of Sight

While breaking out of jail, criminal Jack Foley and his friend (Ving Rhames) kidnap U.S Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) in the process. The plan is to pull off one final score in Detroit, but they can’t afford to let their captive go. As the trip progresses, Sisco grows closer to Foley- or is this part of her plan to arrest him?

6. Good Night And Good Luck

George Clooney Good Night And Good Luck

Clooney’s first directorial success concerns the McCarthy Hearings of the 1950s. As Fred Friendly, he acts as confidant and sounding board for Edward Murrow. The film boasts an all-star cast and excellent production values. Indeed, it feels like an old-school character drama.

5. Ocean’s Eleven

George Clooney Ocean's Eleven

As Danny Ocean, Clooney oozes charm, swagger and down-to-earth likability. Upon getting out of jail, Ocean quickly breaks his parole in plotting to rob three casinos in one night. Things get complicated when he encounters ex-wife Tess, who’s dating their target Terry Benedict. One of the film’s main highlights is his banter with Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan. Watching them scheme and debate how to pull a heist is a joy.

4. Syriana

George Clooney Syriana

This is Clooney’s Oscar-winning role. As CIA officer Bob Barnes, he is trying to thwart illegal arms trafficking in the Middle East. During a routine assignment, Barnes gets caught up in an assassination attempt, kidnapped and tortured for information. The scene of Clooney being subject to beatings is difficult to watch.

3. The Ides Of March

George Clooney Ides Of March

Governor Mike Norris is one of Clooney’s most complex roles. Cool and charismatic, he’s preparing a run for the White House. Ryan Gosling learns he is not all he seems to be when a young intern is pregnant with Norris’ baby. The climatic confrontation shows Clooney can be intense when he needs to, which shows the dark side of a politician’s character.

2. Up In The Air

George Clooney Up In The Air

Up In The Air offers a more vulnerable side to Clooney. Ryan Bingham travels the U.S to give motivational speeches and conduct layoffs. He has no permanent abode or meaningful relationships. His only goal is to reach the ten million frequent flyer miles. Ryan’s life takes an unexpected turn when he meets a new hire (Anna Kendrick) and strikes up a relationship with another frequent flyer (Vera Farmiga).

1. The Descendants

George Clooney the descendants

The Descendants is Clooney’s finest turn as an actor. After his wife Elizabeth gets hurt in an accident, Matt King is forced to be a hands-on parent to two daughters. Having left the child rearing to his wife, Matt struggles at being a Mr. Mom while working on a real estate deal. In addition, he must come to terms with his wife’s condition as he learns she had an affair behind his back. His final moments with her are very difficult to watch.


Jonathan Bruce
Jonathan Bruce
I am an English teacher by day and a freelance writer at night. Specialities include news, reviews, opinion and commentary articles. When I'm not teaching, I participate in theatre, building sets and working stage crew as a hobby. I also enjoy reading and having an occasional glass of Scotch.