While there are many people in Hollywood who can brag of having a better career than Tommy Lee Jones in regards to accolades won, not many people can measure up to him in regards to his charisma and swagger. The actor and filmmaker have enjoyed an over 5-decade long career in the film industry, a time during which he got to appear in everything from Broadway musicals to soap operas and blockbuster films building up an impressive list of some of what we have listed here as the best Tommy Lee Jones movies.
Jones enjoyed the highest point of his career in the mid-1990s when he was one of the best-paid and most in-demand actors in Hollywood. It was around this time that he managed to win his only Academy Award, with a total of four nominations to his name.
Below is a list of Tommy Lee Jones movies ranked from best to worst. It can be said that Jones never quite put in a bad performance in any of the movies he appeared in even though one or two of them might have gone ahead to perform badly in the box office or critically. With that, we have taken a look at these two factors in considering what might be the worst and best films he appeared in.
Tommy Lee Jones Movies Ranked From Best To Worst
No Country for Old men (2007)
Ratings – 8.1/10 IMDb, 93% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $25 million; Box office – $171.6 million
Unarguably one of the best Tommy Lee Jones movies, No Country for Old Men, which is based on Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel of the same name, is a neo-Western crime thriller film set in the desert landscape of 1980 West Texas. It follows a Texas welder and Vietnam War veteran who are embroiled in a cat and mouse game.
A huge success, the film received four Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), and two Golden Globes. Regarded as one of the best films of the 2000s, critics from all over the world in 2016 voted it the 10th best film of the 21st century.
The Fugitive (1993)
Ratings – 7.8/10 IMDb, 96% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $44 million; Box office – $368.9 million
One of many Tommy Lee Jones movies from the action-thriller genre, The Fugitive, which is based on a 1960s TV series of the same name, is about the journey of a man who tries to clear his name after he was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and then unjustly sentenced to death but manages to escape custody.
With a cast that included Jones and Harrison Ford, The Fugitive was a huge hit in the United States. It was the third-highest-grossing film of 1993 in the U.S. and it further received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor which Jones took home for his role as Deputy Samuel Gerard, the U.S. Marshal that led the pursuit of the fugitive.
Men in Black (1997)
Ratings – 7.3/10 IMDb, 92% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $90 million; Box office – $589.4 million
Loosely adapted from The Men in Black comic book series, Men in Black is a science-fiction action comedy film that follows the activities of two quasi-government agents (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith) who supervise extraterrestrial lifeforms that live on Earth.
Upon release, the first installment of the Men in Black film series received critical acclaim for the performances of the main cast and the witty, sophisticated humor that was used. It went on to be the third highest-grossing film in 1997 in the United States, garnering three Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, and Best Makeup.
Ratings – 8/10 IMDb, 84% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $40 million; Box office – $205.4 million
As the name suggests, this political thriller film is about the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. It examines his assassination and the alleged cover-up of the incident through the eyes of a former New Orleans district attorney named Jim Garrison who wrote the book; On the Trail of the Assassins (1988).
While there was a bit of controversy around the release of the film in regards to its relay of historical facts, the film was a critical and commercial success. It was the sixth highest-grossing film in the world in 1991 and it received eight Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Jones who played Clay Shaw, a New Orleans businessman alleged to have participated in a conspiracy to assassinate the President.
Ratings – 7.4/10 IMDb, 89% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $65 million; Box office – $275.3 million
Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones, the Steven Spielberg directed and produced historical drama film shines a light on the last four months of the life of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. During that time, he tries to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.
The film was a huge success in the box office and it received worldwide critical acclaim. On the award front, it garnered seven Golden Globe Awards and twelve Academy Awards nominations.
Under Siege (1992)
Ratings – 6.5/10 IMDb, 77% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $35 million; Box office – $156.6 million
With Steven Seagal starring in the film, you need not read further to know that Under Siege is an action-packed film. It is in fact the martial artist’s most successful film in critical and financial terms, a fact that many have attributed to the performance of Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the character of William “Bill” Strannix, a renegade ex-CIA operative.
In the film, Jones’ character leads a team of terrorists aboard the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri where ex-Navy Seal and Chief Petty Officer assigned as a cook, Casey Ryback, played by Seagal, singlehandedly fights to stop their mission.
Double Jeopardy (1999)
Ratings – 6.4/10 IMDb, 27% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $40 million; Box office – $177 million
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, and Bruce Greenwood, Double Jeopardy is an adventure crime thriller film that explores the Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It does so by telling the story of a woman who was wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of her husband only to find out that she was framed by him.
While the film proved to be somewhat educative, it received mixed to generally negative reviews. That, however, did not affect its commercial performance as it spent three weeks as the No. 1 film on box office.
Men in Black II (2002)
Ratings – 6.1/10 IMDb, 39% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $140 million; Box office – $441.8 million
A sequel to Men in Black (1997), Men in Black II starts off five years after the retirement of Jones’ character, Agent K. His old partner, Agent J, played by Smith, brings him back to the fold in order to help him investigate the murder of an alien named Ben, at his pizzeria.
Unlike the earlier version, Men in Black II was not a critical success as it received mixed reviews from critics. It further did not receive nods from any of the major award bodies, however, it enjoyed somewhat commercial success, staying up to five weeks as a top 10 film.
Space Cowboys (2000)
Ratings – 6.4/10 IMDb, 78% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $60 million; Box office – $128.9 million
Clint Eastwood has a stellar reputation as a director, producer, and actor, however, the adventure drama film Space Cowboys is not his best work. That can also be said for the acting of Jones, who stars alongside Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner in the movie that only received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing. The film tells the story of four, now-older, ex-test U.S Air Force pilots who are sent into space and tasked with repairing an old Soviet satellite.
Batman Forever (1995)
Ratings – 5.4/10 IMDb, 38% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $100 million; Box office – $336.5 million
Based on the DC Comics character Batman, Batman Forever is a superhero film that came as the sequel to the 1992 film, Batman Returns. The film shows Batman’s efforts in trying to stop villains; Two-Face and the Riddler from their plan of extracting confidential information from all the minds in Gotham City in order to learn Batman’s identity and take over the city.
While it received relatively poor reviews from critics, the film was a financial success, finishing as the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1995. It further garnered three Academy Award nominations.
U.S. Marshalls (1998)
Ratings – 6.5/10 IMDb, 26% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $45 million; Box office – $102.4 million
One of the lowest-rated of all Tommy Lee Jones movies despite featuring an ensemble that included Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., and Jones himself, this action thriller is a spin-off of The Fugitive (1993). It follows United States Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard’s pursuit of fugitive Mark Sheridan who attempts to escape government officials following an international conspiracy scandal.
The Missing (2003)
Ratings – 6.5/10 IMDb, 58% Rotten Tomatoes
Budget – $60 million; Box office – $38.4 million
Based on Thomas Eidson’s 1996 novel The Last Ride, The Missing is Revisionist Western thriller film set in the late 19th-century New Mexico about a father trying to reconcile with his daughter who he abandoned years ago to hardship with her mother. While his daughter is unable to forgive him, she ends up needing him in order to find her own daughter who was kidnapped to be sold into sex slavery.
The movie was well-received among native American populations due to the originality of the Apache language spoken in the film. While critics noted this and further lauded its expert directing by Ron Howard, they noted that it failed to raise interest. This was seen in its commercial failure as the film did not manage to recoup its somewhat big budget.