Mel is a brilliant actor as much as he’s creative in filmmaking. In fact, it would be blasphemous and a complete lack of respect for the craft if anyone suggests he isn’t one of the most precious talents in the industry. His filmography and list of awards are indicators that history would have a hard time forgetting this American’s contribution to the acting industry. Out of the three nominations that he has thus far received for the Academy Awards, he won two for 1995’s Braveheart. The man has a good number of other astounding films to his name but his true worshippers…ahem, fans, would agree that the following are the finest Mel Gibson movies.
Finest Mel Gibson Movies To See
15. Gallipoli (1981)
Mel Gibson always puts on a magnificent show whenever he appears in a Peter Weir movie and Gallipoli is no exception. The film revolves around the brutality of war and the terrible consequences it leaves in its wake. It follows Gibson and Mark Lee, who play two young Australian athletes who join the army and are sent to Turkey to fight in one of the most catastrophic battles of World War 1. Despite the breadth of devastation that the movie brings to life, it is impossible to not appreciate Gibson’s charisma and vulnerability as it seeps into every scene.
14. Chicken Run (2000)
Sure, Gibson has a reputation for playing serious and intense characters, but he has also been known to let down his guard from time to time. In Chicken Run, his sense of humor and playful nature shines through unmistakably. Although he only renders a voice performance in this stop motion animation, that is enough to make it to any list of finest Mel Gibson movies. It feels authentic and larger than life and its mostly thanks to the actor’s powerhouse of talent.
13. Ransom (1996)
The accomplished actor gives suspense a run for its money in this fast-paced action thriller about a millionaire whose son gets kidnapped and ransomed by his captor. However, in a sly and unexpected turn of events, Gibson’s character puts the target on the kidnapper by putting out the ransom money as a bounty on his head instead of paying it as demanded. If that does not convince you to see Ransom, just know that Gibson received a Golden Globe nod for his performance in the movie.
12. Conspiracy Theory (1997)
Honestly, in terms of storyline and execution, Conspiracy Theory cannot be considered a fine movie, but it doesn’t detract from Gibson’s electrifying performance. He plays a cab driver who deeply fascinated by conspiracy theories and a particular lawyer who loves writing about them. His character struggles to separate reality from make-believe, and this soon sends him into a desperate frenzy. It is his acting and nothing else that makes Conspiracy Theory one of the finest Mel Gibson movies there is.
11. The Road Warrior (1981)
Casting Gibson as a maniac in Mad Max was obviously not enough to satisfy audiences’ craving for depravity, lawlessness, and senseless mania, so The Road Warrior was made to quell that hunger. It is an adrenaline-fueled classic that features some of the best stunts and car chases that you will ever see on camera. Gibson is simply irresistible and thrilling from the beginning till the end and makes this movie the perfect blend of madness and beauty.
10. The Man Without a Face (1993)
With Mel as the lead character and director of this film, it is unsurprising that it is one of the finest movies Gibson has made. He plays a reclusive teacher with a disfigured face who develops a friendship with a young boy he is coaching in preparation for entrance exams into a military academy that the boy is eager to join. The movie is full of heart, with traces of devastation buried underneath.
9. What Women Want (2000)
This is one of those rare Mel Gibson movies where he displays the range of his comedic abilities. His character is a sexist man who is completely unable to relate with the women in his life until he survives an accident that bestows him with the power to hear the thoughts of every woman. Naturally, he is freaked out by this at first, but he soon learns to use his weird superpower to his advantage. It’s a fun movie to watch and comes highly recommended.
8. Payback (1999)
If there is one character that Mel Gibson is born to play, it is that of an arrogant, fearless, violent badass who is completely devoid of a moral compass, and he plays this role to perfection in Payback. Although there are two versions of this movie, the theatre release and the director’s cut, whichever one you end up seeing will be packed full of chaos, fun, adventure, and dark humor that cuts through the tension in all the right places. Gibson’s character is an absolute menace and he completely embraces the hardened depths and throws himself into portraying the bad guy in a way that makes this truly twisted movie a delight to watch from the start till the credits start to roll.
7. The Beaver (2011)
By the time this movie was released, Gibson was at a low and embarrassing point in his career, so it did not get the attention it would have otherwise. Although most people would be hard-pressed to admit it, The Beaver was one of Gibson’s finest movies to ever grace the screen. It tells the story of a man in the throes of raging depression who gives up on human interaction and turns to a puppet beaver, that becomes his confidante and mouthpiece. Gibson’s performance in this heart-wrenching movie about mental illness was brimming with honesty and aching vulnerability. An actor of lesser caliber would never have been able to pull off such a daring role as beautifully as Gibson manages to do.
6. Hamlet (1990)
To be honest, Shakespeare’s most iconic character, Hamlet, is really not the kind of role that you imagine an actor like Mel Gibson playing, but he bet on himself and surprised the entire movie industry with one of the most admirable portrayals of the famous fictional protagonist to ever grace the screen. If you have a play, you know the story is essentially about son’s plan to avenge his father’s wrongful death at the hands of his murderous uncle. Gibson empties himself into Hamlet. He abandons his trademark charm for an emotionally poignant and layered characterization that marked him as a phenomenal performer and not just an action hero.
5. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
This movie was one of Gibson’s earliest performances, but time has done nothing to undercut his sheer excellence in his role as Guy Hamilton, an Australian journalist who is sent to Indonesia to serve as a foreign correspondent and soon finds himself entangled in a dangerous web of politics, love, and history. Gibson’s talent is further accentuated by his fellow cast members: Linda Hunt and Sigourney Weaver. The excellently written script, combined with the audacious performance rendered by the cast makes The Year of Living Dangerously a must-see movie.
4. Lethal Weapon (1987)
As far as cop movies go, the only serious contender against Lethal Weapon is Die Hard. That’s how much of a masterpiece this movie is and it’s hugely because of Gibson’s role as a suicidal detective with the LAPD, struggling to find balance in his life and work. He goes from vibrant to melancholic, funny, violent, charming, reckless, and wonderfully insane seamlessly throughout the movie’s run. Lethal weapon is delightfully written and entertaining, with a real focus on the plot and not the unnecessary bloodshed that most crime thrillers tend to rely on to carry the story. It is without a doubt one of the finest Mel Gibson movies you will ever see.
3. Signs (2002)
What do you get when you bring a terrific actor like Mel Gibson and an exceptional director like M. Night Shyamalan together? Signs. This brilliant sci-fi movie manages to blend the fantastical with the mundane so gorgeously that it stays with you long after the film stops playing. Gibson’s acting was transformative here. He got to play a role that was refreshing, close to real-life, and unlike anything he had ever done before. His character is a priest who lost his wife and his faith in a tragic accident, so he abandons the church to lead a small life on a farm with his children. However, he is forced to confront the grief, loss, and crisis of faith that threatens to overcome him when aliens invade the earth. Gibson deserves all the accolades for the emotions he manages to pack into this movie and beg out of the audience.
2. Braveheart (1995)
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Braveheart is Gibson’s most iconic performance to date. He does not star in it; it is also his second directorial outing, which placed him firmly amongst one of the greats. He received an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture amongst others. The dazzling epic tells the story of William Wallace, a revolutionary who led armies to fight for the independence of Scotland from English rule. Gibson takes on the lead character and rendered a stunning display of violence, quest for freedom, sincerity, and love. Braveheart is not an easy movie to watch, but it will reward your attention with the stunning brilliance and execution that makes it one of the finest Mel Gibson movies ever made.
1. Mad Max (1979)
Before Tom Hardy stole our hearts with Fury Road, Mel Gibson had already made them his own with his portrayal of the eponymous Max in the very first movie in what has become a beloved franchise. The movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where the rule of law and order is being desecrated every which way. Gibson is a highway patrol cop who has to go up against one of the most ruthless biker gangs in the area and its psychopathic leader after his family is killed by them. It’s a classic tale of revenge and unbridled violence, and Gibson feels right at home in that mayhem. It is by far one of his most memorable performances.