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From ‘Goonies’ Heartthrob to ‘Avengers’ Villain, Check Out the 10 Best Josh Brolin Movies, Ranked

You'll never guess his early 2000s career shift!

Despite being the son of famed actor James Brolin, 56-year-old movie star Josh Brolin didn’t have much interest in acting right away — Instead, he could be found surfing, stealing car radios, drinking and doing drugs throughout his youth — a far cry from the movies.

However, things changed for the rebellious California native when he took his first improv class and got bit by the acting bug. By 1985, he was cast in the adventure film The Goonies.

Josh Brolin and Sean Astin, 'The Goonies', 1985
Josh Brolin and Sean Astin, The Goonies, 1985Getty

After The Goonies came Thrashin’, a 1968 film, before he turned to television for a bit, with roles in shows including Highway to Heaven, Private Eye, The Young Riders and Winnetka Road. He continued acting in various films in the wake of these series, but by 2002, frustrated with the state of his career, he began trading stocks full time.

Josh Brolin, 2000
Josh Brolin, 2000Getty

He continued acting in the subsequent years, and in 2007, his role in No Country for Old Men gave his career the jolt he had been looking for. Since then, he’s continued acting consistently across various genres, earning awards and accolades for the characters he brings to life.

Here, take a look at the most iconic Josh Brolin movies he’s starred in over his career.

10 best Josh Brolin movies, ranked

10. W. (2008)

W. puts Brolin in the spotlight as he brings to life the story of George W. Bush. From the mistakes of his youth to his earliest entrance into politics to the aftermath of some of his most significant decisions made in office, Brolin tells this story with precision and skill, with a clear attention to detail regarding the man he was portraying.

9. Inherent Vice (2014)

Joaquin Phoenix stars as private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello, who is enlisted by his former girlfriend Shasta to help her when she learns her lover’s wife is attempting to have him committed to a mental hospital.

Before long, Shasta and her companion disappear, and Doc is pulled into a situation he didn’t anticipate. Along the way he meets LAPD detective Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen, played masterfully by Josh Brolin.

8. Deadpool 2 (2018)

In the second installment of the Deadpool film series, the foul-mouthed hero joins forces with a group of mutants to protect Russell, another young mutant that is being targeted by the villainous Cable (Josh Brolin).

7. American Gangster (2007)

Denzel Washington brings to life the character of Frank Lucas, a drug dealer who over time, rises in power in New York City. He becomes the primary target of police officer Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe. Josh Brolin plays the part of Detective Trupo, a corrupt NYPD detective.

6. True Grit (2010)

When Tom Chaney (Brolin) murders her father, 14-year-old Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a US marshal willing to aid in her her cause. Along the way, they come across Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who is also pursuing Chaney for different reasons — the murder of a senator.

5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

In this epic installment of the famed superhero saga, The Avengers set out to face one of their most significant threats yet: Thanos (Brolin). Thanos is on a quest to collect all six infinity stones in existence so he can carry out his plan of destroying half the universe.

4. Milk (2008) Josh Brolin movies

Milk chronicles the life of gay activist and politician Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn). When he and his then-partner make the move to a gay community in San Francisco, he grows is popularity as an activist and eventually becomes the first gay man elected to political office in the US.

The film also depicts his conflict with conservative city supervisor Dan White, played by Josh Brolin, who ultimately assassinates him.

3. Goonies (1985) Josh Brolin movies

The Goonies tells the story of a group of kids living in Oregon, whose homes are facing foreclosure when the local country club is expanding. When they discover a treasure map in Mikey’s (Sean Astin) attic, it reveals treasure hidden nearby.

As they set out to find it in the hopes of using it to save their homes, they are met with numerous obstacles, traps and menacing characters that will try and stop them from meeting their end goal.

A young Josh Brolin played the role of Brandon, Mikey’s athletic older brother who aids in the cause.

2. Sicario (2015) Josh Brolin movies

In this epic crime thriller by Denis Villeneuve, Brolin stars alongside Emily Blunt as Matt Graver, a CIA agent, and the two work together on a special force working against the brutality of the Mexican drug cartel.

The longer Blunt’s character of Kate is apart of the team, she comes to terms with the fact that the operation is far from what she thought it was, and the methods being used to address the problems go against all standards she had come to know.

This gripping thriller will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and Brolin embodies his character to perfection.

1. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Josh Brolin is Llewelyn Moss, a man who discovers a hefty amount of cash when he comes across a drug deal gone wrong. Soon enough, he’s being pursued by hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). Simultaneously, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is on his trail as well, hoping to find him before someone else does.


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