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In the early 21st Century, Catherine Zeta-Jones burst onto the Hollywood scene, and made quite a name for herself in a number of high profile roles. If you can only seem to remember the Welsh actress (and wife of fellow Oscar-winner and Ant-Man star Michael Douglas) from her Academy Award-winning role in Chicago, then allow us to help jog your memory of the most notable highlights from her filmography. The following are our picks of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies and TV shows on streaming, available for digital rental, or even on physical media for purchase, starting with the lavish, modern musical classic that made her an Oscar darling.
Two women (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellwegger) accused of murdering their lovers strike up a rivalry over the spotlight in the hope that fame will save them from death row in the 1920s.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for star Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago would help bring movie musicals back to the mainstream with this big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical inspired by the sensational true crime story of “Murderresses Row” in the 1920s Chicago.
America’s Sweethearts (2001)
A studio publicist (Julia Roberts) hired to keep the press at bay following the split of a Hollywood power couple - a charming actor (John Cusack) and her own sister (Catherine Zeta-Jones) - finds herself falling for her sister’s ex.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: A year before becoming an Oscar darling with Chicago, you could say Catherine Zeta-Jones became America’s sweetheart with… America’s Sweethearts - one of the best romantic comedies from the turn of the century, that was actually co-written by star Billy Crystal.
High Fidelity (2000)
A record store owner with a compulsive habit of making lists recounts the most notable break-ups of his life after his most recent relationship comes to an end.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: A year before playing John Cusack’s ex-lover in America’s Sweethearts, Catherine Zeta-Jones took on a similar role in Stephen Fears’ adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel, High Fidelity - an influential comedy for lovers of classic music and classic romantic comedy films that was recently rebooted as a Hulu original series starring Zoë Kravitz.
Feud: Bette And Joan (2017)
Acclaimed actresses Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (American Horror Story cast alum Jessica Lange) strike up a rivalry over the spotlight while filming Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? together in the early 1960s.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones TV shows: More than a decade after Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones returned to the lavish world of fact-based sensationalism by playing actress Olivia de Havilland in Feud: Bette and Joan, which would become the sole season of Ryan Murphy’s proposed anthology of the dark true stories behind pop culture icons.
An elusive, aging art thief (the late Sean Connery) and an insurance agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) engage in a complex game of cat and mouse as a romantic attraction begins to blossom between them.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: A couple years before entering the world of true crime with Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones proved she could hold her own against (basically) James Bond in a sexy, stylish, fictional crime thriller like Entrapment.
The Terminal (2004)
A man is forced to make himself at home at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York when an invalid visa makes him unable to enter the United States as a war breaks out in his European country.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: A unique romantic attraction begins to blossom between Catherine Zeta-Jones’ American flight attendant character and Tom Hanks’ trapped immigrant in The Terminal - one of the most criminally underrated and endearingly funny Steven Spielberg movies, in my opinion.
Side Effects (2013)
A young woman (Rooney Mara) undergoes a disturbing, life-changing experience after her psychiatrist (Jude Law) prescribes her a new medication.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: Another famous, Oscar-winning “Steven” whom Catherine Zeta-Jones has collaborated with is Steven Soderbergh, and most recently for Side Effects - an intense, star-studded psychological thriller also featuring Channing Tatum.
Shortly after he is made the President’s new drug czar, a conservative judge discovers his daughter’s addiction while two DEA agents struggle to protect an informant, and a woman takes over her imprisoned husband’s business.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: Catherine Zeta-Jones’ first collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh (and her then-fiancé Michael Douglas) was Traffic - a poignant exploration of America’s war on drugs from the point of view of various, loosely-connected personalities.
Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
Daniel Ocean (George Clooney) is forced to round up his gang of 10 master thieves and recruit a new unexpected team member when his nemesis, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), returns asking for his money back.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: For Catherine Zeta-Jones’ second film with director Steven Soderbergh, she plays a Europol Detective and former flame of Brad Pitt’s character, Rusty Ryan, in Ocean’s Twelve - the globetrotting sequel to 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven that is also quite funny and criminally underrated if you ask me.
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
A successful divorce attorney (George Clooney) takes on a woman (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who is notorious for only marrying wealthy men and quickly leaving them, only to find he may be falling for her, too.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: For Catherine Zeta-Jones’ first collaboration with George Clooney, she plays his rivalrous love interest in Intolerable Cruelty - another funny and slightly underrated comedy, written and directed by the Coen Brothers.
Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas (2003)
An adventurous sailor must retrieve a sacred book he has been framed for stealing by a wicked goddess in order to save his royal childhood friend.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: Catherine Zeta-Jones’ first collaboration with Brad Pitt (and first time playing his love interest) was in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas - a fun animated adventure featuring Pitt as the voice of the character of Persian legend.
The Phantom (1996)
A 1930s vigilante in a purple suit (future Titanic cast alum Billy Zane) takes on a wealthy criminal searching for a trio of mystical skulls that promise unlimited power to whomever finds them.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: In one of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ earlier adventurous period pieces, she plays the antagonistic Sala in The Phantom - a cheesy, but still enjoyable, piece of '90s superhero movies nostalgia based on the old comic strip by Lee Falk.
The Mask Of Zorro (1998)
An aging prison escapee who once fought under the name Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) appoints a young, vengeful thief (Antonio Banderas) to be his successor in 1820s California.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: For Catherine Zeta-Jones’ next adventurous period piece, she plays the unsuspecting daughter of a disgraced vigilante and the love interest of his apprentice in The Mask of Zorro - a thrilling, Oscar-nominated new take on the legendary hero, from Casino Royale director Martin Campbell.
The Legend Of Zorro (2005)
The man who has reigned as Zorro for years considers retirement when his wife leaves him, only to be called back into action by political unrest threatening California in the mid-19th Century.
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones movies: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas reprise their roles from The Mask of Zorro in The Legend of Zorro - a more family-friendly, but still relentlessly action-packed, sequel which Martin Campbell also returned to direct.
Prodigal Son (2019-2021)
A former FBI profiler (Tom Payne) is called back into action to help investigate a murder that appears to be the work of a copycat inspired by the consultant’s own serial killer father (Michael Sheen).
Why it is one of the best Catherine Zeta-Jones TV shows: Catherine Zeta-Jones joined the Prodigal Son cast as forensic scientist Dr. Vivian Capshaw in what would become the intense psychological drama’s second and last season on Fox, much to the dismay of its die-hard fans, in 2021.
As you can see, Catherine Zeta-Jones has quite the impressive resume. Is there a title you prefer more than the others, or even one that did not make our list?
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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