10 Best Dustin Hoffman Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

10 Best Dustin Hoffman Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes: Is One Of The Best Actors of the 20th century. He has two Academy Awards and has been nominated another five times, and every time he appears in a film, he makes it better. Here are the actor’s 10 best movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

10. Chef (2014) – 87%

Chef - Dustin Hoffman
Open Road Films

Chef tells the story of Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), a chef who has seen better days, and feels his creativity and food are being compromised by the restaurant he works at. He decides to quit, buys a food truck, and takes a road trip across America with his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), and his best friend and sous-chef, Martin (John Leguizamo). The 10 Best Dustin Hoffman Movies.

This might be Jon Favreau’s best movie, and it wouldn’t work without Hoffman’s performance as Casper’s boss in the first scenes of the film. The actor is able to play the frustration, temperament, and tiredness of someone who has a business and has given everything to his chef, who still behaves like a prima donna, and is getting very tired of dealing with him.

9. Rain Man (1988) – 89%

Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man

Charlie Bobbit (Tom Cruise) is a cocky businessman, who needs some money. When he learns his father has died and left his fortune to an older brother he didn’t know he had, he goes to meet him. The brother in question, Raymond (Hoffman), is autistic, and Charlie decides to take him on a road trip together. The 10 Best Dustin Hoffman Movies.

Hoffman has always been great at two-hander films, where he and another actor spend the most time together and make each other’s acting even better. That’s what happened in Rain Man, where he has a great performance, but also makes Cruise better, as without his more subdued style, the film wouldn’t work. Hoffman has always been a method actor, but never more than here, where he plays a person on the spectrum; a performance that earned him his second Academy Award win.

8. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – 89%

First X Rated Best Picture Oscar Winner Midnight Cowboy
United Artists

Midnight Cowboy had Hoffman play Ratso Rizzo, a con artist and street-smart slime ball, who establishes a friendship with just-arrived-to-the-city cowboy Joe Buck (Jon Voight). Hoffman had just done The Graduate and took the role, so he could avoid being typecast, and it might’ve been the best decision of his career, as he not only proved how good of an actor he was, but also showed how this, until then-maligned kind of character, could be played with empathy, love, and some fun. The 10 Best Dustin Hoffman Movies.

About the film, Hoffman told Entertainment Weekly: “It’s a love story, and maybe a love story we hadn’t seen before. People just sat there [crying] when it was over. It worked on a narrative level, on the cinematography level, and it had music that was [its] soul. It’s a surprise when something hits you that strongly.”

7. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – 89%

Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Columbia Pictures

Kramer vs. Kramer is a story about divorce, getting to know your kids, and being a good parent. It’s a very dramatic tale, one that breaks the heart of every audience member watching, thanks to the performances by Hoffman and Meryl Streep (both won Academy Awards for their work in the film).

The movie was released at the right time, being one of the first at showing the effects of divorce and a custody battle on any normal family, and giving both actors great character arcs to play. Hoffman starts the movie as a workaholic man who loves his son, but who doesn’t see him that much, and ends it as a doting, loving dad for whom his kid is his number one priority, and the actor is able to sell the whole transformation.

6. Tootsie (1982) – 90%

Columbia Pictures

Tootsie has a weird starting point; an out-of-work actor named Michael Dorsey (Hoffman), dresses himself as an older woman to get a role on a soap opera. The actor is great in both roles, as the difference between the cold, bitter Michael, and the lovely, warm, empathic Dorothy shows how much of a range he has.

This Sydney Pollack film is able to poke fun at Hollywood and what is expected of women in the industry, while also tackling the themes of genre, and sexuality with a surprising inside for the times. Hoffman earned his fifth Oscar nomination for his role as Michael/Dorothy in a movie where Jessica Lange is also great, and Bill Murray has one of his scene-stealing supporting roles as Jeff Slater, Hoffman’s character’s best friend and roommate.

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5. Lenny (1974) – 90%

United Artists

Lenny is about the real-life story of the groundbreaking comic Lenny Bruce. Hoffman gave his all in this black-and-white, Bob Fosse film, where he heard some of Bruce’s monologues, so he could do them exactly like him. The comedian had a very interesting life, which appears on screen, allowing Hoffman to show some of his most inspired acting ever. The film’s shooting wasn’t the easiest, but it was worth it, as the film earned six Academy Award nominations, including the third one in Hoffman’s career.

4. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) – 92%

Dustin Hoffman

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is one of the best Noah Baumbach films, and tells the story of the Meyerowitz family, both the Pater familias Harold (Hoffman), and his three kids, Danny (Adam Sandler), Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), and Matthew (Ben Stiller). Hoffman’s role is not easy, as his Harold is an egocentric, moody, man who has greatly affected all his kids, while he still believes he is the best at his work as a sculptor.

It would be very easy to hate the character, but Hoffman is able to give him some depth and make audiences understand why he is the way he is, even if every one of his actions makes the adult kids feel worse about themselves. Baumbach has always known how to show the prickliness of an artist father with desires of grandeur (like Jeff Daniels’ character in The Squid and the Whale), but Harold Meyerowitz might be his best version yet, making for Hoffman’s best performance of the 21st century.

3. All the President’s Men (1976) – 94%

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All the President's Men
Warner Bros.

All the President’s Men is the adaptation of the book by Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Hoffman), telling the story of how they investigated and published the Watergate story, that made President Nixon resign. Hoffman and Redford both have one of the best performances of their respective careers, as they elevate each other’s game, in this thrilling ride where they play the two journalists who wouldn’t take no for an answer, even if that put their lives at risk.

It’s surprising how, although made almost 50 years ago, it still is one of the best movies about politics from the 20th century, one where Hoffman’s performance is more subdued than in most, so his character and Redford’s can be more of a yin and yang, complementing each other, in two roles that, strangely, didn’t get Oscar nominations for either of them.

2. Little Big Man (1970) – 96%

Little Big Man
National General Pictures

Little Big Man tells the story of Jack Crabb (Hoffman), a white man taken in by the Cheyenne Native Americans. The story has some unique storytelling ideas for a Western, starting with the fact that the whole film is told in flashback from Crabb’s perspective as a 121-year-old man (Hoffman had a lot of makeup for his scenes as the old version of the character).

The story covers many years of the character’s life, allowing Hoffman to play many shades of the same character, as it evolves with age, while touching on themes like life, death, colonialism, or cultural identity, making this Arthur Penn film one of a kind.

1. Death of a Salesman (1985) – 100%

Death of a Salesman

Although it was made for TV, this version of Death of a Salesman is worth a watch, as it has two great performances by Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich. Hoffman plays Willy Loman, the salesman in the title, who looks back on his life, and feels he has failed. The actor gives Loman much regret, but also some empathy, with many layers to his performance as the sad, failed salesman.

For many, this version directed by Volker Schlöndorff is the best film adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play, so much so that, the TV film earned many Emmy nominations, including a Best Actor Performance for Hoffman, and a deserved one, as he’s the heart and soul of the film, and has a spectacular acting match with Malkovich in their scenes together.

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