18 December 2022 marked the 59th Birth Anniversary of Brad Pitt, and even though many people know Pitt the actor, less light and focus has been given to the fact that other than being a dedicated performer, he has also backed some really great films which have garnered both critical and commercial success. In order to celebrate his birthday month, a listicle ranking his films by his performances is already available. However, this one shed light on the films he has backed, either serving as the producer or executive producer and also producing under the banner of his production house Plan B Entertainment, even acting in some of these films. So, here are the top 10 Brad Pitt-produced films, ranked.
10. Okja (2017)
This film marks a major collaboration between the streaming giant Netflix and Brad Pitt, who backed this film that further showcases what a marvelous director Bong Joon-ho is. Even though “Okja” (2017) is probably his weakest film, mainly due to his near-perfect filmography, it is way better than the average Hollywood flick. The film is the perfect blend of Bong’s style of visual grammar and cinematic aesthetic that manages to constantly play with the tone of the film, making the film at moments quite funny, sometimes in a very dark sort of way, and also making one emotional along with being a very hard-hitting portrayal of the exploitative nature of capitalism and consumerism.
9. The Big Short (2015)
“The Big Short” (2015) contains some of the most popular and recognized faces of Hollywood in its massive ensemble cast comprising Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, who is also one of the film’s producers. Director Adam McKay perfectly brings out the chaos and madness of the capitalistic world set against the real-life backdrop of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis through a lens of tragic humor. McKay takes a very impressive approach to explain and make the viewers understand the market situation and its various jargon through an interesting use of cameos from well-known celebrities and through the technique of breaking the fourth wall. Even though the film is quite hilarious, it manages to be a very poignant social commentary on the greedy nature of capitalism.
8. Moneyball (2011)
With a brilliant collaboration that includes the names of acclaimed writers Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, filmmaker Bennett Miller and Brad Pitt, who helms the role of lead actor along with being one of the producers, the film itself is a perfect reflection of this talented bunch. Miller, who previously directed “Capote” (2005), makes a very one-of-a-kind sports drama that focuses more on the brain side than the glamourous field or on-ground side. It further tends to balance the two areas from the personal lives of the characters to the professional ones, and the excellence on display, stretching from the acting to the directing to the writing, ticks all the boxes that make for an engaging sports drama film. A special mention should also be given to the Late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who perfectly encapsulates his role and plays a massive fulcrum, supporting the brilliantly written dialogues and monologues.
7. Minari (2020)
Pitt, through his production company Plan B Entertainment, backed Lee Isaac Chung’s fabulously heart-warming film “Minari” (2020), which perfectly manages to hit the viewers on a very emotional level. The plot revolves around a Korean American family who tries to sustain a farm in rural Arkansas. The film boasts terrific performances from its entire cast of actors, especially that of Steven Yeun and Youn Yuh-Jung, the latter even winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The beauty of this film lies majorly in its simplicity, and it has an unadulterated quality attached to it making it the perfect portrayal of perseverance and innocence, while being a very authentic and touching portrayal of childhood, perfectly capturing its essence. Furthermore, the film also sheds light on the concept of the American Dream from an immigrant’s perspective and acts as a critique of it.
6. The Departed (2006)
This is one of those rare films that marks the collaboration between major cinematic legends from director Martin Scorsese helming the film along with an acting ensemble of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, along with the great Jack Nicholson. Further, one of the people who backed the film is none other than Brad Pitt. Even though it is a remake of the classic Hong-Kong action thriller “Infernal Affairs” (2002), Scorsese perfectly adapts it to his filmmaking sensibilities and presents his take on the subject matter containing some memorable sequences, making “The Departed” (2006) one of the most intense and nail-biting films to come out from Hollywood in the 21st Century.
5. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018), the second producer-director collaboration between Brad Pitt and Barry Jenkins, again showcased a masterclass on filmmaking on the big screen with the adaptation of the 1974 novel by acclaimed American writer James Baldwin of the same name. The film sheds light on the racism against and suppression of black people and acts as a very strong statement against it through a very poignant and delicate love story between Tish and Fonny, who gets falsely accused of rape. The film is visualized through a very intimate and personal lens and has a sense of melancholy attached to it, along with being one where emotions are conveyed perfectly and impactfully even with very less dependency on dialogues and contain the signature style of Barry Jenkins close-up shots that even made auteur filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson jealous.
4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
This Andrew Dominick directorial is a perfect example of exploring the Western myth through a revisionist approach in the current times with a touch of cinematic brilliance which also sees Brad Pitt as both the actor and producer. The film has a very detailed and meditative quality, and each frame seems to be from a brilliantly made renaissance painting. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007) excels in all the cinematic departments, from some of the finest cinematography and use of lighting by Roger Deakins, highly meticulous direction, and a career-best performance from Brad Pitt along with an equally challenging one by Casey Affleck.
3. 12 Years A Slave (2013)
Another Oscar winner sheds light on the gruesome and shameful history of slavery in America. Here, Brad Pitt also played a minor acting role, along with being one of the producers. After making back-to-back brilliant films, “Hunger” (2008) and “Shame” (2011), filmmaker Steve McQueen made his most recognizable and commercially successful film, which showcased the core topic of slavery in a very different way in comparison to previous films of the same subject matter. The film talks about a man, Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and is based on an autobiography of the same name. “12 Years A Slave” (2013) does not shy away from showcasing the brutality and inhumane torture that these people went through without a tinge of sugar coating or trying to make the film palatable; rather, it is much more interested in depicting the gritty and grim reality. The film further boasts a splendid performance from the cast, especially that of Lupita Nyong’o.
2. Moonlight (2016)
This Oscar-winning film backed by Pitt is not only one of the best films post-2000s, but it also marks the discovery of directorial excellence with the advent of Barry Jenkins and is the second film on this list by the same director. The film, although quite limited in its budget, possesses some of the finest technical qualities, from great cinematography and sound design to production design, etc. “Moonlight” (2016) perfectly captures the journey of its main protagonist Chiron through a very character-centric journey revolving around various stages of his life. The use of various colors, such as violet and blue, particularly evokes various themes and meanings in the film. Director Barry Jenkins also showcases his prowess through how he manages to weave such an intimate narrative that is at the same time very powerful with brilliantly written characters, which even with minute screen time manage to be impactful.
1. The Tree of Life (2011)
It was one of the odd collaborations that no one saw coming, as it marked the duo of visionary filmmaker Terrence Mallick tagging with Brad Pitt, who was both an actor as well as the producer of the film. Like any other of Mallick’s works, this film is also a lyrical masterpiece that is just a sensory experience for the viewers and unlike any other film. “The Tree of Life” (2011) is a film that manages to raise various questions and that too showcased in a very grand and ambitious manner, which can only emerge from the magnificent mind of Mallick and is definitely among the greats such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968). The visual and aural aspect of the film is something that one cannot describe merely in words and definitely leaves one with a cinematic experience of a lifetime. Furthermore, the film was also awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
So, with this above-mentioned list, it can be seen that Brad Pitt has also backed some of the most interesting films in the past, and even in recent times, along with giving platforms to various emerging filmmaking voices such as Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen and many more and further have also been a part of various critically and commercially acclaimed films, garnering major awards from various shows and international film festivals. Other than these films, here is a list of special mentions: “Kick-Ass” (2010), “Killing Them Softly” (2012), “Selma” (2014), “The Lost City of Z” (2016), “Ad Astra” (2019), and “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019).
See more: Top Ten Steven Spielberg Films Of All Time, Ranked