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The Best Bradley Cooper Movies: From ‘The Hangover’ to ‘Maestro’

Find out who gave him the idea to play Jack in 'A Star is Born'!

If you enjoy hilarious comedies like The Hangover (2009) or classic rom coms like Valentine’s Day (2010), then you are definitely familiar with the name Bradley Cooper. Known well for his piercing blue eyes and incredible acting skills, the filmmaker and actor has made a name for himself with each of these Bradley Cooper movies.

Cooper got his start by partaking in the Master of Fine Arts program at the Actors Studio Drama School. While there, he refined his talent by performing in stage plays such as The Elephant Man, and before obtaining his masters, Cooper snagged a role in the 90s series Sex and the City (1998) opposite Sarah Jessica Parker.

Though he never won an Oscar during his lengthy career, Cooper has received 12 nominations for movies such as Maestro (2023) and A Star is Born (2018). The actor is also becoming known for bringing his mother, Gloria, as his date to attend the Oscars. The mother-son duo have gone together four times, including the most recent award show.

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Let’s take a look back at the fascinating career of the performer and delve into some of the best Bradley Cooper movies.

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009): Bradley Cooper Movies

As one of the first major Bradley Cooper movies, this 2009 film, which was adapted from the 2004 book of the same name, was a success. Its stellar cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson and Ben Affleck. Although the film paints Cooper’s character in a bad light, it’s hard not to love him and his roguish charm.

This movie explores the interconnected stories of multiple people dealing with the complexities of love and life. Cooper’s character, a married man, finds himself in a sticky situation and must deal with the repercussions of his actions.

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The Hangover (2009)

As one of the core four in this iconic film detailing a bachelor’s party gone wrong, Cooper plays the hilarious Phil. After a rough night in Las Vegas, three friends go in search of their missing buddy — the groom — before his wedding.

The Hangover was one of the first majorly successful Bradley Cooper movies, leading to two sequels in 2011 and 2013. When asked whether he would continue with the film series, Cooper had an exciting answer for fans: “I would probably do Hangover 4 in an instant, just because I love Todd [Phillips]. I love Zach [Galifianakis]. I love Ed [Helms] so much. I probably would, yeah.”

The film went on to win multiple awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical. The Hangover also won a Critics Choice award and an AFI award.

Valentine’s Day (2010): Bradley Cooper Movies

Similar to his earlier film, He’s Just Not That Into You, Cooper stars in this movie about intertwining love stories. Acting alongside Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and Patrick Dempsey, Cooper’s performance helped to make him a household name.

When interviewed during the filming of the movie, Cooper explained how exciting the first day of shooting was, saying, “It was surreal. I called my parents when I got home … I really can’t quite fathom having the day that I had.” Although Cooper is now a widely recognized name, he was thrilled to act alongside other major stars.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Starring Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro, this film was a major success. In it, Pat tries to get his life back on track after his stint in a mental institution, but when he meets the problematic Tiffany, things become much more challenging.

Although it was never discussed whether the film was supposed to be more of a drama or comedy, Cooper just made sure it felt real. Even though it involves a dramatic subject, he points out that comedy was sometimes intertwined. “If you have two characters that have no filter and are going to have a discussion about the medicines that they take, chances are, comedy could, you know, be a byproduct.”

Cooper and the film won multiple awards for its performances, including four Critics Choice Awards and one Academy Award. The movie’s success didn’t go unnoticed by the actor, telling NPR, “I hit the jackpot with this movie, because David O. Russell and I from the get-go connected in a huge way. And it really felt like he made me his partner through the filming of the movie.”

American Hustle (2013): Bradley Cooper Movies

Cooper, Lawrence and director David O. Russell reunited for this 2013 comedy crime film. It brought in over $250 million at the box office and has won dozens of awards, including a BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards.

Cooper plays F.B.I agent, Richie DiMaso, who forces a con man, Christian Bale, and his partner, Amy Adams, into a major sting operation. The film and its characters, while fictional themselves, were inspired by real people.

When creating his character, Cooper says he researched footage of the real sting operation the movie’s was based on. He said, “Richie is a child. Every move he makes, when he has the ability to make a choice, it is like out of eighth grade” — which is what he used to become the character.

American Sniper (2014)

Turning the tables of the usual Bradley Cooper movies and portraying a hero, the actor succeeded in this role. Chris Kyle, a Navy S.E.A.L sniper, saves countless lives on the battlefield, but struggles with his own life back home after the war. Cooper won a well-deserved Critics Choice Award and an MTV award, among others, for his performance.

Based on the real life of Chris Kyle, the actor was expecting to fully collaborate with him throughout production. Instead, Cooper recalled his only phone call with Kyle to NPR. “We went into the project thinking I would be doing it hand-in-hand with him,” he says. “… that was to hope to sort of soften any of the fears he had about what Hollywood would do to his story. And we had a great conversation, but little did I ever think that would be the last time I’d ever get to talk to him, and that I’d never get to meet him.”

Sadly, the real Chris Kyle was murdered by Marine Corps vet Eddie Ray Routh in 2013, preventing further conversation between the two men. But the actor did the real story justice and has called the role “life-changing.”

A Star Is Born (2018): Bradley Cooper Movies

As a part of the fourth remake of A Star is Born, Cooper portrays musician Jack Maine, a famous singer helping a young musician (Lady Gaga) find fame while his own career goes into a downward spiral.

Cooper showcased his vocal skills in the film as he and Gaga performed the song “Shallow,” which scored an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy. Though the actor wasn’t a formally trained singer prior to filming, he learned how to do so and how to play the guitar to portray an authentic country singer.

Additionally, the actor was assisting in the writing of the screenplay, explaining “We mapped out my entire schedule, day by day. I’d wake up and work out, followed by two hours of guitar practice and two hours of piano lessons … we’d write music for one and a half hours. I’d write the screenplay for the rest of the day.”

A Star Is Born was a major milestone for the multi-faceted Cooper, as he’d been thinking about the role for years. It was suggested by one of his heroes, Clint Eastwood, that he star in a remake of the film. Cooper’s reasoning for waiting: “Pretending I’d lived more than I had wouldn’t have worked,” he said. Lucky for audiences, Cooper gained that experience and came back to the role in 2018.

Maestro (2023)

Cooper is credited as not only the lead actor of this film, but also as director and writer. Maestro follows the real-life relationship between composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre.

The actor is no stranger to portraying a real-life story on the big screen, having done so in American Sniper and American Hustle, and becoming an expert in pulling truth into the parts he plays. Nominated for numerous accolades, Maestro and Cooper’s performance received rave reviews, including The Washington Post writing that “its honesty and tenderness are inescapable.”

Once again, Cooper had to learn an instrument to bring his character’s piano playing to life, saying, “We spent months learning that piece. And that’s us playing.” But he does explain that another “much better version” was played over his own in the final film.

If you are looking to sit down for one of the very many Bradley Cooper movies available, consider turning on Maestro.

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