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Our 12 Favorite Henry Winkler TV Shows and Movies, Ranked

From 'Happy Days' to 'Arrested Development', we adored Winkler in these roles. 


Henry Winkler, an iconic figure in the entertainment industry, has graced both TV and movie screens for decades with his unparalleled talent and charisma. From his breakthrough role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in the hit sitcom Happy Days to his charisma in movies such as Lords of Flatbush, Winkler has left a strong mark on both television and film. Reflecting back on his career, Winkler told the New York Times,  “I love my work. I love the jigsaw puzzle of putting a human life together — from the description a screenwriter gives you, to what the other characters say about you, to the miracle of what happens in the moment. From the Fonz to Gene Cousineau in Barry, my overall journey as an actor is such a blessing.”

While we love him whether he’s delivering laughs in comedies or depth in dramas, Henry Winkler is more than just an actor. He’s also written children’s books as well as his memoir, Being Henry. He’s open about his severe dyslexia and he initially dismissed the idea of writing a book. He told the Guardian, ‘Look, I write children’s books. I never thought I could do that. But a memoir? There’s no way I can do that.’” But Winkler’s son Max and his agent encouraged him to do it, and with a ghost writer, he was able to craft an entertaining, candid and open-hearted account of his life and career.

Here, we look back at our favorite Henry Winkler movies and TV shows and ranked them in order of our favorites. See if you agree.

Did you know? After years of playing the Fonz, Winkler was offered the part of Danny Zuko in Grease but turned it down.

12. Parks and Recreation (2013-2015)

This hit sitcom, which starred Amy Poehler, centered around the humorous yet heartfelt relationship between the government employees of the parks and recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Winkler was signed to appear in an episode or two of the beloved comedy and ended up appearing in many more. His character, Dr. Lu Saperstein is a successful obstetrician and gynecologist living in Pawnee. Dr. Saperstein is Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstein’s father and he appears in season six and seven of the show. Of his role, Winkler said, “I delivered every star’s baby.”  We loved Winkler’s wit and deliver in this show!

MUST READ: Amy Poehler’s Best Roles, Ranked — From ‘Mean Girls’ to ‘Parks and Recreation’

11. The Waterboy (1998): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

This sports comedy film follows Bobby Boucher, a socially inept waterboy for a college football team who discovers he has a talent for tackling. Winkler plays Coach Klein, the coach of the team. The Waterboy also stars Adam Sandler and Kathy Bates. The movie was a hit with both audiences and critics. Winkler’s portrayal of Coach Klein adds heart and humor to the film, contributing to its commercial success.

MUST READ: 13 Best Adam Sandler Movies, Ranked—Sure to Leave You Laughing Out Loud!

10. Night Shift (1982)

The Night Shift is a comedy that follows the misadventures of two morgue workers who decide to turn their workplace into a brothel at night. Winkler stars as Chuck Lumle, one of the morgue attendants. The film also stars Michael Keaton and Shelley Long. The trio made this movie a comedic hit.

9. Arrested Development (2003-2019): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

This critically acclaimed sitcom follows the dysfunctional Bluth family and their various misadventures. Winkler appears in recurring roles throughout the series as Barry Zuckerkorn, the Bluth family’s bumbling lawyer. The series also stars Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi,. Arrested Development was produced by former Happy Days star Ron Howard. Winkler was originally booked for just one episode but was so loved by the cast and fans that he ended up appearing as a regular. Winkler’s portrayal of Barry Zuckerkorn earned him widespread praise for his comedic timing and delivery.

MUST READ: Jason Bateman — From Michael Bluth to Marty Byrde, Check Out the Actor’s Most Iconic Roles

8. Scream (1996)

This horror film revitalized the slasher genre, following a group of teenagers who are targeted by a masked killer known as Ghostface. Winkler has a brief but memorable role as Arthur Himbry, the ill-fated principal in Scream. The movie also starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette.

MUST READ: 10 Must See Photos of Courteney Cox Young 

7. Barry (2018-2023): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

This dark comedy-drama series follows Barry Berkman, a disillusioned hitman who decides to pursue acting while on a job in Los Angeles. Winkler plays Gene Cousineau, Barry’s eccentric acting coach. The series also starred Bill Hader and Stephen Root. Winkler won critical acclaim and an Emmy Award for his role, showcasing his range as a dramatic actor.

 Discussing Barry, Winkler said, “I mourn that that show is over. I remember the first reading. The head of HBO was at one end of the table and I’m sitting next to Sarah Goldberg, who plays this aspiring actor Sally, who I had to berate. So I yelled, ‘Bullshit! You just make me nauseous’ and I slapped that table, and the man at the end of the table jumped. Afterwards everyone said: ‘I had no idea that was in Henry Winkler.’”

6. Here Comes the Boom (2012)

In this sports comedy film, a high school biology teacher (played by Kevin James) becomes a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his school’s extracurricular activities. Winkler appears as Marty Streb, the school’s music teacher. The movie also starred Kevin James and Salma Hayek. Winkler’s performance adds heart and humor to Here Comes the Boom, contributing to its feel-good vibe.

5. Children’s Hospital (2010-2016): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

This satirical comedy series parodies medical dramas, following the absurd and surreal events at the Childrens Hospital. Winkler appears in a recurring role as Sy Mittleman, the hospital’s administrator. The series also starred Rob Corddry and Ken Marino. Winkler’s comedic timing shines in Childrens Hospital, adding to the show’s offbeat humor.

4. The One and Only (1978)

While not very well known, we adore Henry Winkler in The One and Only, in which he portrays a self-confident but out-of-work actor, who dreams of stardom. He leaves college to pursue fame and fortune and ends up in wrestling. He co-stars with Kim Darby and Gene Saks.

3. Out of Practice (2005-2006): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

This sitcom only lasted one season, but we found Winkler (starring as Stewart Barnes, the patriarch of the family), deeply amusing. The witty and fast-paced banter of the show, which follows a family of doctors with very different personalities and approaches to medicine, made it memorable. The show also starred Christopher Gorham, Paula Marshall and Ty Burrell.

2. The Lords of Flatbush (1974)

Set in the 1950s, this coming-of-age drama follows a group of teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. Winkler stars as Butchey Weinstein, one of the main characters. The show also starred Sylvester Stallone and Perry King.

The Lords of Flatbush marked one of Winkler’s early film roles, showcasing his talent before his breakout in Happy Days.

MUST READ: ‘The Lords of Flatbush’: A Gritty Snapshot of 1950s Brooklyn

1. Happy Days (1974-1984): Henry Winkler movies and TV shows

Arguably the best of Winkler’s shows is also his first. Winkler landed Happy Days when he was only 28.

The show, set in the 1950s and 1960s, follows the lives of the Cunningham family and their friends, particularly focusing on the cool and charismatic Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, played by Winkler. The show also starred  Ron Howard and Marion Ross and was produced by Garry Marshall. Winkler’s portrayal of Fonzie skyrocketed him to stardom and earned him critical acclaim, becoming one of the most iconic characters in television history.

Winkler was arguably the most loved actor on the show and was getting fan letters—up to 50,000—from people around the world. Of his fan mail, he told the Guardian, ““Box after box, and I read them all. Some of them were just a sentence in crayon, others were so dear and thoughtful. And get this: I pulled out one and it said ‘I sink zat Fonzie eez very good and ABC should give him more to do on ze show.’ I looked at it and thought: ‘I know that handwriting. That’s my fucking mother.’”

MUST READ: See the ‘Happy Days’ Cast Then and Now — And Find Out What They’re Doing Today!

Did you know? Even though Winkler was considered a star when he played Fonzie, he had low self-esteem. “I never believed what everyone was saying about me. I was the guy who had failed geometry four times, so it just didn’t make sense.” When he was 31, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which came as a relief but it also left him bitter and angry. “Yes, I had something with a name. But all that time I had been put down, yelled at and made to feel less than, for something that was genetic. Dyslexia diminishes your self-image. People tell you you’re stupid and you believe it.”

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