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Giancarlo Esposito's Best Movies And TV Shows And How To Watch Them

Gus Fring in a suit on Better Call Saul
(Image credit: AMC)

You want to know who I think of when someone asks me who the best television villain of all time is? I think of Gus Fring, from Breaking Bad. You want to know who plays that man? Giancarlo Esposito. 

While Giancarlo Esposito has been around for decades with plenty of movies and TV shows, there are certain roles that stand out among the rest, from villains who are off in space to those in a dystopian world. Esposito has done it all. If you’re looking for the best Giancarlo Esposito movies and TV shows, here is where you can find them streaming, or available to rent. 

Giancarlo Esposito in Breaking Bad.

(Image credit: AMC)

Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul (2009 - Present)

As mentioned in the intro, I was introduced to Giancarlo Esposito through Breaking Bad. In this famous AMC series, we primarily follow Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who's diagnosed with cancer, and turns to drug dealing (primarily making meth) in order to provide for his family after his death. 

From Season 2, up until the end of Season 4, Giancarlo Esposito played Gus Fring, and man does he know how to act. Gus Fring was the first TV villain I saw where I was genuinely interested as hell in his character, because he was so terrifyingly normal, but could kill you in seconds. Giancarlo Esposito was killer (pun intended) in his role, and honestly, he made me want to try Los Pollos Hermanos more than once. 

He’s also reprised his character in Better Call Saul, the spinoff of Breaking Bad, which is coming back for its sixth and final season in 2022, so if you want to see the brilliance that is Gus Fring, please, watch these shows. 

Stream Breaking Bad on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Stream Better Call Saul on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials/Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2015/2018) 

Next up, we have The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials and The Maze Runner: The Death Cure. These two films in the Maze Runner trilogy follow the same group from the first movie on more dangerous life or death trials, trying to survive while also exposing secrets about why they are in The Maze. 

While there are many reasons to watch The Maze Runner series, from its stunning visuals to the entertaining story, another great reason to watch is because Giancarlo Esposito actually has a role in two of them, playing Jorge, a berg pilot for WICKED in the film. While his part is relatively small, I’ve always loved his character and the twists that follow, but I won’t reveal them here. You’ll just have to watch the trilogy to find out. 

Rent Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Rent Maze Runner: The Death Cure on Amazon. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in The Mandalorian.

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Mandalorian (2019 - Present)

I’m sure you’ve at least heard of The Mandalorian. This popular Disney+ show follows Din Djarin, a lone Mandalorian who acts as a bounty hunter, until one of his assignments leads him down a very different path. 

Giancarlo Esposito plays Moff Gideon, another villain in his repertoire who was on the hunt for Mando's latest target. I’ve always seen Esposito as a brilliant character actor. He truly becomes the character and portrays them in a way that really makes me believe that they’re real, and that’s the same with Moff Gideon. While he’s only appeared in seven episodes of the two seasons, he’s made a prominent mark and is a worthy adversary for Din Djarin. 

Stream The Mandalorian on Disney+. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in Okja.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Okja (2017)

In this Netflix original film, Okja tells the story about a modified pig of the same name, who's raised by a young girl. But, when this animal is suddenly kidnapped and taken for testing, it’s up to her and some allies to try and get her pig back. 

This movie has a ton of stars in it, and Giancarlo Esposito is one of them. He plays Frank Dawson, one of the executives of the Mirando Corporation - the main corporation that was experimenting on the pig in the first place. Even with so many big stars in this movie, Esposito stood out with his great performance. 

Stream Okja on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in Once Upon a Time.

(Image credit: ABC)

Once Upon A Time (2011 - 2017)

In this popular fantasy show, Once Upon a Time tells the story of a young woman who ends up moving to a small town, but as she learns very quickly, the fairytales she always thought were fake as a child are very real, and throw her life for a loop.

Giancarlo Esoposito is one of those names from a show like this you wouldn’t expect, just because it feels like such a different role from what he normally does, but in Once Upon a Time, he plays the Magic Mirror - while in the real world, he’s known as Sydney Glass, a journalist. His story is interesting and his acting is great and I really wish we had gotten to see more of him before the show had to come to an end. 

Stream Once Upon A Time on Disney+. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito as Akelah (middle) in The Jungle Book.

(Image credit: Disney)

The Jungle Book (2016)

Of all the Disney live-action remakes, this has to be one of my favorites. The Jungle Book is a retelling of the original Disney story of Mowgli, a child who was raised in the jungle by wolves and has to face serious threats as he grows older.  

The Jungle Book voice cast was stacked, with so many talented actors who signed on, and Giancarlo Esposito voiced Akela, the alpha of the pack that Mowgli is in. And, man, his voice gives me chills every time I watch this film. He has such a presence even just through voice-acting and you know instantly who it is. He was the perfect choice to play a leader like this. 

Stream The Jungle Book on Disney+. (opens in new tab)
Rent The Jungle Book on Amazon. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in Godfather of Harlem.

(Image credit: Epix)

Godfather Of Harlem (2019 - Present)

In this TV series, Godfather of Harlem captures the story of the real-life Bumpy Johnson, a man who served several years in prison and emerged from his time only to find his home, Harlem, now run by Italian mobsters. And now, he has to try and get control again. 

This show is so good; it's one of the best crime dramas I have seen in years and it's so entertaining from beginning to end. Starring Forest Whitaker, it’s brilliantly acted, wonderfully told, and has some amazing performances - including Giancarlo Esposito as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a local Baptist pastor who was actually the first African American ever to be elected to Congress from New York. Truly, one of his best acting performances yet that deserves much more credit. 

Stream Godfather of Harlem on Hulu. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in School Daze.

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

School Daze (1988)

You can’t have a Giancarlo Esposito list without mentioning School Daze. This socially relevant Spike Lee movie follows undergraduates in college that are in Greek life, and how one homecoming weekend where the groups clash ends up turning their lives upside down at a historically black college. 

This was hands down one of Esposito’s biggest roles that really boosted him into the spotlight. School Daze was where he really got to shine as Julian Eaves, otherwise known as “Dean Big Brother Almighty,” showing just how amazing of an actor he is. The movie also touches on several serious issues, such as class, racism, and more, and is thought-provoking in the best ways. 

Stream School Daze on Showtime.
Rent School Daze on Amazon. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in Dear White People.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Dear White People (2017 - 2019)

This popular Netflix series, Dear White People, based on the film of the same name, follows several Black students at a prestigious, fictional Ivy League university, and touches on topics that affect their everyday lives, from typical coursework and personal relationships to racism and discrimination in the classroom. 

Giancarlo Esposito was on the show for the first three seasons, primarily as the narrator - which is perfect because his voice is smooth like butter. But, he also played Dr. Edward Ruskins, a former professor who worked at the university and played an important role in the kids' lives, further showing his skill as an actor. The show ended in 2021 after four seasons, but it’s certainly worth the time to binge if you haven’t seen it yet. 

Stream Dear White People on Netflix. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in Stargirl.

(Image credit: Disney+)

Stargirl (2020)

You want a fun movie jukebox musical? Check out Stargirl, a Disney+ original movie, which follows a coming of age story about jumping into high school and learning about love, life, and everything in between. 

Stargirl is one of those films where it’s hard to explain exactly what goes on in it except for the fact that it’s a great movie musical, and you have to watch it for yourself. Giancarlo Esposito plays Archie Brubaker, mentor to Leo, one of the main characters of the film, and what I love the most about his performance in this is his charisma, and chemistry with Graham Verchere (who plays Leo). Their moments are truly some of the best in the movie. 

Stream Stargirl on Disney+. (opens in new tab)

Giancarlo Esposito in The Boys.

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

The Boys (2019 - Present)

Last but not least, we have the amazing Amazon original series, The Boys. This superhero series turns quite diabolical as we get an inside look into what life is really like for these supposed morally-good superheroes, and what goes on behind the scenes when saving people is turned into a business by mega-company, Vought International.

Giancarlo Esposito plays Stan Edgar who is - you guessed it - the CEO of Vought International and the big baddie - or one of the many big baddies, in this show. And let me tell you - I love Esposito in regular dramatic roles or playing a good guy, but man does he play a villain so well. His role as Edgar is just so good and has me pumped for summer 2022 and The Boys Season 3, because I can’t wait to see him return as a villain once more. If superheroes - or just pure chaos, as this show tends to be sometimes - are your thing, this is the series for you. 

Stream The Boys on Amazon Prime. (opens in new tab)

With a career that has spanned decades, it’s not surprising that Giancarlo Esposito has so much wonderful stuff to watch. And, I’m sure that in the next couple of years, we’ll only continue to see what more he has to bring in terms of his amazing acting talent. Now, if The Mandalorian Season 3 could just get here already, that would be great.  

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!