If you’ve ever heard of the name John Malkovich, it’s probably because he has been in Hollywood for many, many years. From starring in Academy Award-winning films to having major parts in TV shows, Malkovich has continuously proven he is a master at his craft.
If you’re looking for the best John Malkovich movies and TV shows, here is where you can find them streaming, or available to rent, right now.
Places In The Heart (1984)
The Academy-Award winning film, Places in the Heart, tells the story of a widower who lives in Texas with her two children during the Great Depression, and how she fights to provide for her family despite not having her husband anymore, using her own determination and the help of others.
John Malkovich stars as Mr. Will, a blind veteran from World War 1, and for his performance he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. And, because of that, I can fully recommend this as one of his best films, as not only does he give a master class in acting, but his character is complex and amazing to follow. It’s also one of Sally Field’s best movies.
Ripley’s Game (2002)
Now this is a thriller that will surely, well, thrill you. Ripley’s Game, starring John Malkovich, follows the story of Tom Ripley, a criminal who offers a dying man the ultimate way to provide for his family after his death - assassinate a crime boss, and get paid blood money. And of course, he accepts for the sake of his family's lives.
This was one of the first films I ever saw where Malkovich starred, and it made me want to see him in so many other thrillers. Malkovich has had leading-man potential from his earliest roles, but seeing him in this film was like a completely different animal. I truly enjoyed it, as Ripley was a great character to watch.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
I mean, with a title like that, you know that John Malkovich is the star. Being John Malkovich is a fantasy comedy film that tells the story of Craig Schwartz, an unemployed puppeteer who takes a job as a file clerk. One day, he finds a strange, small hidden door that leads into the mind of John Malkovich, the actor.
This movie is hilarious. While John Malkovich plays a satirical version of himself, the way in which he does so just makes you want to re-watch this film over and over again. For many people, this was probably one of the first Malkovich films they saw, and it was one of my first, too, besides Ripley’s Game. The ending is crazy and makes you want to re-watch it immediately. Such a great film.
In this popular Showtime series, Billions mainly follows Bobby Axelrod, a hedge fund manager who deals in the world of finance, and gains power through his wealth one day at a time - even through illegal means. But, with his newfound wealth, there also are others who would do anything to take him down.
Malkovich was actually on the third season of Billions, where he played Grigor Andolov, a Russian oil oligarch who has no problem chopping off an arm to get what he wants. And, he is so great. Malkovich as a villain never disappoints, and he certainly didn’t portraying Grigor. Who doesn’t love a murderous monologue? Only Malkovich can do them so well. Definitely one of the best Showtime shows yet.
In The Line Of Fire (1993)
Moving on, we have the political thriller, In the Line of Fire. This film follows a former CIA agent who is planning to assassinate the president of the United States - and the agent from the Secret Service who is tracking his every move and trying to hunt him down before he succeeds.
In the Line of Fire was another film that nabbed Malkovich an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and for good reason. Him as Mitch Leary makes my skin crawl every time - in a good way, because his acting is just so good. His chemistry with Clint Eastwood is off the charts fantastic, and they create a great cat and mouse game that will capture your interest instantly.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005)
If you’re looking for an insane, fantasy adventure, check out The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This film follows humans, robots, and aliens alike as they set off on a quest across the galaxy in order to find the meaning of life, all while having intense adventures along the way.
John Malkovich doesn’t have a huge role in this film, but his part as Humma Kavula is one of the best of the film. The costuming? On point. The acting? Fantastic. Even just watching him eat is one of the most entertaining parts of this movie, as ridiculous as it is. He’s just so funny - as is the rest of the film, and it's certainly worth the time to watch.
Death Of A Salesman (1985)
Based on the play of the same name, Death of a Salesman tells the story of Willy Loman, a traveling salesman who is going through a crisis, and looks back on his life to figure out where it all went wrong, while the present continues to fall apart.
This version of the film was actually made for television, however I think it’s one of the best versions of this play there is and should have had a theatrical release, as it's so captivating. Both John Malkovich (who plays Biff) and Dustin Hoffman (who plays Willy) have some amazing chemistry and truly made this movie. This is one of those films where you only have to watch it once, but when you do, you’ll never forget it. Truly, one of Malkovich’s best.
The New Pope (2019)
In this dramatic miniseries, The New Pope, we follow Pope Pius XIII from The Young Pope, as well as Pope John Paul III, the titular pope, who has taken over the role from the young pope when he suffered a heart attack. However, after the young pope wakes up, and claims he is the rightful pope, it throws their lives for a loop and shakes up the entire Vatican.
Let me say this here - Jude Law and John Malkovich should be in more shows or movies together because they were the best part of this series. While it is a continuation of The Young Pope and you should watch that miniseries before this one, it’s so good and the story is one of the best. John Malkovich is perfect in his role, as is everyone else.
In this movie based on a true story, Eleni stars John Malkovich as Nick, an immigrant from Greece who is now a successful journalist, and travels back to his home to figure out the cause of his mother’s death years ago during the Greek Civil War - including who he has to take down in order to avenge her.
While this film isn’t one of John Malkovich’s most known roles, I knew I needed to list it here. Again, Malkovich is a leading man in every way, and he knows how to capture your attention, and that’s exactly what Eleni did. Paired with his acting, the story of a mother’s pure intentions for her child, and the revenge tale, it will have you intrigued from beginning to end.
The Killing Fields (1984)
In this drama, based on the stories of two journalists, The Killing Fields follows the story of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and the experiences of an American and a Cambodian reporting on the civil war.
John Malkovich really brings real-life photojournalist Al Rockoff (whose pictures from the Vietnam War, Cambodia, and other areas of conflict were made famous) to life. The film was also nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won in three other categories.
Of Mice And Men (1992)
Based on the novel of the same name, Of Mice and Men tells the story of George and Lennie, two workers from a farm who work every day trying to make ends meet and travel constantly, while also dreaming of the day when they get to live on their own land.
Of Mice and Men has is a great novel, and usually, the film adaptations are always great too, and this one is no different. John Malkovich portrays Lennie Small so well alongside Gary Sinise, and it tells a brilliant story of what it’s like to live during the Great Depression, and wanting to live the American Dream. If I could pick any adaptation of the novel, this would be the one.
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
While this is one of Glenn Close’s best movies, it’s also one of John Malkovich’s best films as well. Dangerous Liaisons stars Close and Malkovich as two high society members in France who come up with a plan to get back at everyone who has ever harmed them in the past, a scheme that not only will change their lives, but the ones of their enemies as well.
This film is just ridiculous - in all the right ways. Dangerous Liaisons features some of the worst people imaginable that would do anything to get their way, but you can’t help but enjoy it. John Malkovich and Glenn Close are perfect together, and create a dramatic tale that is perfect for your movie night.
Space Force (2020 - Present)
Last but not least, we have Space Force. This series on Netflix, starring Steve Carell and written by Greg Daniels (of The Office fame) is focused on a new division of America’s military, called Space Force, and its goal to get back on the moon - led by the four-star general, Mark R. Naird.
There are so many shows like Space Force out there, but the series itself is truly one of a kind and definitely for people who love a good political satire. This workplace comedy is so funny and John Malkovich’s character, Dr. Adrian Mallory, is unhinged in the best way and brings some truly hysterical moments of comedy that will have you wiping tears from your eyes. Certainly give this show a try.
With everything John Malkovich has done, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had upcoming movies out soon for all of us to enjoy. But, until then, here are some of the best, and no matter what you pick, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy your time, regardless.
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!
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