Counting the career attainments of John Travolta would make you suffer a panic attack if you want to contend that he isn’t one of the finest actors in Hollywood. In a career that has spanned through five decades, John has almost always proved that he’s worth every bit of the admiration he’s getting. The actor has abundant awards to his name and millions of fans scattered across the globe. If you are one of them, then you must have watched the following films, they are the best John Travolta movies and hardly would anyone suggest otherwise.
Best John Travolta Movies
15. She’s So Lovely (1997)
The reason She’s So Lovely is so memorable is because even though Travolta only played a supporting role, but he brought so much to the character that he ended up being the glue that holds the movie together. It is one of the finest and best John Travolta movies to jumpstart your watching experience. He stared alongside Sean Penn as the second husband to Robin Wright’s character, and his performance is a show stopper. He draws the attention away from the center and towards himself, helping to balance out the whirl of emotions on screen at all times.
14. Broken Arrow (1996)
It’s not surprising to find Travolta thrust in roles where he gets to play a badass action star. This time he plays a ruthless Air Force pilot who abandons his orders and takes control of two nuclear weapons which he intends to use, making him a terrorist. Travolta is an absolute pleasure to behold in this role. His character is suave, smart, confident, and full of rugged charm. Somehow you find yourself rooting for him even though he’s supposed to be the bad guy, that’s how refreshing his performance is.
13. Urban Cowboy (1980)
Although this is one of Travolta’s lesser-remembered performances, it is still one of his best movies. He portrays Bud Davis, a Texas cowboy trying to find work but develops feelings for a pretty young woman and he soon learns how passion is never enough to sustain anything. She wants him to be a real cowboy, the kind that rides mechanical bulls and is great at it, and Travolta tries to be all that for her because he’s terrified of what life without her would mean. It’s one of his more serious roles and he plays it to perfection.
12. A Civil Action (1998)
We very rarely admit to ourselves that we only do good sometimes because it makes us seem better than we really are to ourselves and other people, and it is this complex emotion that Travolta tries to capture in A Civil Action. He plays a lawyer who takes on a class action case against a company for contaminating the community’s water supply, which leads to people getting cancer. His decision to fight the case and win justice could ruin his career and destroy his law firm. His character is full of compassion and divided emotions, and his eyes invite us to drown in them. This is one of the best movies John Travolta has ever featured in.
11. Primary Colours (1998)
It’s a little difficult to imagine John Travolta playing Bill Clinton in the live-action adaptation of the eponymously titled book by Mike Nichols, but that is exactly what he does. He manages to bring so much flair and charm to the presidential aspirant while showcasing the brilliance and depth of the politician without eroding his flaws. The movie is funny, revealing, and a wonderful expose on the complicated realities of politics. You’re absolutely going to love watching all the action unfold.
10. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
This was one of Travolta’s earliest roles. He played a teenage Italian-American boy who wants to escape the suffocating realities of his life by becoming a dancing star. It was a brilliant and culturally significant movie that was a critical and commercial success. Travolta’s character is honest, compelling, and very relatable. Who doesn’t see a little bit of themselves in a character who had to hold a dead end job to earn a living when the only time he feels anything like himself is doing what he loves – dancing? He struggles with daring to go after his dreams or remaining in his bleak and painfully sturdy life. This is the role that proved Travolta was destined for greater things and it’s one of his best movies to date.
9. Get Shorty (1995)
This crime comedy movie became an instant hit when it was released. It followed John Travolta’s character, Chili Palmer, a loan shark who goes to reclaim a debt owed him in Hollywood, only to learn that the movie industry is kind of like his profession. The legendary actor is fearsome, intimidating incredibly cool, smooth talking, and he owns every scene he is in. It is one of his most exceptional performances ever, and it earned him a Golden Globe Award. If you’re looking for a movie where Travolta is exceptionally himself, he doesn’t get more comfortable in a character than this.
8. Blow Out (1981)
Things take a dangerous turn when Travolta’s character, a movie sound technician accidentally records a murder disguised as a car accident, thereby putting himself in harm’s way. It was the actor’s first role as an adult and it turned out to be one of the best John Travolta movies of his career. His performance is visceral, poignant, and full of tension. He is divided between making sense of the crime and saving his own skin and he pulls off this dilemma in a spectacular way. A political conspiracy is great movie material on its own, but with Travolta in the mix, it becomes an epic narrative. Too bad he didn’t earn an Academy Award nomination for the role.
7. The Thing Red Line (1998)
Although Travolta only plays a supporting role in this movie, every scene he appears in is worth remembering. He plays Brigadier General David Quintard, a grouch superior officer whose driving force is belittling a junior officer played by Nick Nolte. The movie is based on the 1962 novel of the same name about the Guadalcanal conflict of World War II. The narrative unfolds beautifully and forces us to contend with the difficulties of war and how often it leaves us open to unintended consequences. The Thin Red Line has rightfully earned its place as one of the best John Travolta movies you should definitely see this year.
6. The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
How can we not love when our favorite actor takes on a very very bad role? Travolta plays one of his worst characters in movie history, he portrays a crazy guy who hijacks a subway train and appears to be having a great time doing so. He stars alongside the incredible Denzel Washington and their brilliance balances out the movie. Travolta’s character is a devout Catholic who goes down the wrong path and takes control of a subway train for reasons best known to him.
5. Hairspray (2007)
This was the movie that proved Travolta could pull off any role that he sets his mind to. He plays the plus-sized mother of a teenage girl and he’s an absolute joy to behold. The movie is set in the 1960s, but Travolta’s feels weirdly at home in his lady skin. His character is hilarious and full of wide-eyed joy. There’s nothing that can chip her confidence and she tries to pass on that tenacity to her daughter. This musical comedy is definitely one of Travolta’s most iconic role to date. It was a moment in pop culture that is not going to be forgotten in a hurry.
Travolta is a triple threat – dancer, singer, and actor – in this phenomenal live adaptation of the hit Broadway musical comedy Grease. He plays a cool and talented performer and actually delivers big time with his singing. Whenever he swivels his hips, everything becomes electric and you can’t help being charmed by his leather wearing high school bad boy character. He falls in love with a really pretty girl, and they try to make their relationship withstand the turbulence of high school and teenagehood.
Carrie thrust Travolta in a horror movie role based on the Estrogen King novel of the same name. It is about the titular character, a daughter of a religious fanatic who gets her first period while she’s in the school shower, leading to her having to use her supernatural powers to reign terror on her schoolmates. It’s a lovely movie from start to finish and Travolta’s performance is the cream on the cake. The movie has gained cult status and is considered a classic.
2. Face/Off (1997)
Face/Off is a sci-fi movie centered around Travolta and Nicholas Cage characters. They are rivals, sworn enemies thanks to Travolta being an FBI agent and Cage being a terrorist. The movie earned an Academy Award nomination for Sound Editing, but beyond that, it is Travolta’s character and his rivalry with Cage that holds the film together from start to finish. It’s one of the best pairings in movie history. The acting is exceptional and will leave you hooked from beginning to end.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
This is arguably Travolta’s finest performance ever. He plays a hitman addicted to heroin, Vincent Vega in this epic Quentin Tarantino movie. It’s no surprise that the movie became an instant classic the moment it was released. It was a cinematic masterpiece, a brilliant work of art, that reignited the love viewers had for Travolta. This riveting tale of redemption and violence is made better thanks to his performance. The dialogue is one of the best in movie history and the actor’s performance made Pulp Fiction one of the greatest John Travolta movies ever.