Ellen Barkin is an acclaimed American actress known for her distinctive performances and strong on-screen presence.

Throughout her career, she has delivered memorable performances in a wide range of films across various genres. From intense dramas to gritty crime thrillers, Barkin’s talent and versatility have made her a respected figure in the world of cinema.

In this introduction, we will explore some of the best Ellen Barkin movies that highlight her exceptional acting skills and showcase the diversity of her roles.

Best Ellen Barkin Movies

Whether it’s her ability to portray complex characters or her commanding screen presence, Barkin consistently captivates audiences with her performances.

Join us as we delve into the world of Ellen Barkin and discover some of her most noteworthy films.

1. The Big Easy (1986)

“The Big Easy” is a 1986 crime thriller directed by Jim McBride. It stars Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin in the lead roles, with Lauren Bacall in a supporting role.

In “The Big Easy,” Dennis Quaid portrays Remy McSwain, a charismatic and easygoing police detective in New Orleans.

He becomes involved in a murder investigation and finds himself attracted to Assistant District Attorney Anne Osborne, played by Ellen Barkin.

As they work together to solve the case, their personal and professional lives become intertwined in the vibrant and steamy backdrop of New Orleans.

Lauren Bacall plays the role of Lanie, Remy’s older and influential family friend. Although her role is not extensive, Bacall brings her distinctive presence and adds a touch of gravitas to the film.

“The Big Easy” is known for its atmospheric portrayal of New Orleans and its blend of crime, romance, and Louisiana culture.

The film received positive reviews for its engaging story, strong performances, and the sizzling chemistry between Quaid and Barkin.

While Lauren Bacall’s role in “The Big Easy” may be a supporting one, her inclusion adds to the overall quality and star power of the film.

It remains a notable entry in her filmography and showcases her ability to make an impact even in a smaller role.

If you have any more questions or if there’s another topic you’d like to explore, please let me know.

The Big Easy
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman (Actors)
  • Jim McBride (Director) - Daniel Petrie Jr. (Writer) - Stephen J. Friedman (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. Sea of Love (1989)

“Sea of Love” is a 1989 thriller film directed by Harold Becker and starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin. The movie follows detective Frank Keller (Pacino) as he investigates a series of murders in New York City that are linked to a personal ad placed in a newspaper.

As Keller delves deeper into the case, he becomes involved with the prime suspect, a woman named Helen (Barkin), and must confront his own feelings and vulnerabilities as he tries to solve the crime.


The film is noted for its suspenseful plot and strong performances from Pacino and Barkin, who have great chemistry on screen. The movie also features a memorable soundtrack by Trevor Jones, including the hit song “Sea of Love” by Phil Phillips.

“Sea of Love” was a critical and commercial success, and has since become regarded as a classic of 1980s cinema.

The movie is notable for its exploration of themes such as loneliness, desire, and the complexities of relationships, as well as its stylish direction and strong script. It is a gripping and intense thriller that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Sea of Love
  • Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman (Actors)
  • Harold Becker (Director) - Richard Price (Writer) - Martin Bregman (Producer)
  • Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. Switch (1991)

“Switch” is a 1991 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and starring Ellen Barkin, Jimmy Smits, and JoBeth Williams.

The film follows the story of a chauvinistic man named Steve Brooks (played by Perry King), who is killed by one of his ex-girlfriends and then reincarnated as a woman named Amanda Brooks (played by Ellen Barkin) in order to learn a lesson about women’s experiences.

Amanda, still possessing Steve’s memories and personality, struggles to adjust to life as a woman and comes to understand the challenges that women face.

Along the way, she meets and befriends several women, including a single mother played by Lorraine Bracco and a streetwise prostitute played by Victoria Mahoney.

“Switch” received mixed reviews from critics and was a modest box office success. It is known for its controversial premise and portrayal of gender roles and sexuality.

Switch [DVD]
  • Tea Leoni, Jimmy Smits, Bruce Payne (Actors)
  • Blake Edwards (Director) - Blake Edwards (Writer) - Tony Adams (Producer)
  • French, English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. Man Trouble (1992)

“Man Trouble” is a romantic comedy film released in 1992. Directed by Bob Rafelson, the movie stars Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, and Harry Dean Stanton.

In the film, Jack Nicholson portrays Harry Bliss, a down-on-his-luck private detective who is hired by a wealthy woman named Joan Spruance (played by Ellen Barkin).

Joan believes that her dog is communicating with her and warns her about a potential threat. As Harry investigates the situation, he becomes entangled in a web of misunderstandings, eccentric characters, and romantic complications.

“Man Trouble” combines elements of comedy, romance, and mystery. The film explores themes of trust, love, and the complexities of human relationships. It offers a quirky and offbeat take on the detective genre, incorporating comedic moments and unexpected twists.

The performances in the film, particularly by Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin, received mixed reviews.

While the film has its moments of charm and humor, it did not achieve significant commercial success and is generally considered a lesser-known entry in both Nicholson’s and Barkin’s filmographies.

“Man Trouble” may appeal to fans of romantic comedies looking for a slightly unconventional take on the genre, but it is not as widely remembered or celebrated as some of the other films featuring its talented cast.

Man Trouble [DVD]
  • Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, Harry Dean Stanton (Actors)
  • Bob Rafelson (Director) - Carole Eastman (Writer)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

5. This Boy’s Life (1993)

“This Boy’s Life” is a coming-of-age drama film released in 1993, directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, and a young Leonardo DiCaprio.

The film is based on the memoir of the same name by Tobias Wolff, which chronicles his turbulent childhood and teenage years with his abusive stepfather in the 1950s.

One reason to watch “This Boy’s Life” is for the outstanding performances by the cast. DiCaprio delivers a powerful performance as Toby, capturing the struggles and emotions of a young boy trying to survive in a difficult environment.

De Niro is equally impressive as Dwight, the abusive and controlling stepfather who terrorizes Toby and his mother (played by Barkin).

Another reason to watch “This Boy’s Life” is for its honest and raw portrayal of family dynamics and the impact of abuse on a child’s development.

The film explores themes of identity, masculinity, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world. The story is both heartbreaking and hopeful, as Toby learns to stand up for himself and finds the strength to break free from the cycle of abuse.

Finally, “This Boy’s Life” is a reminder of the power of storytelling to inspire empathy and understanding. The film shines a light on the reality of domestic abuse and its lasting effects, while also celebrating the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

Overall, “This Boy’s Life” is a powerful and emotionally resonant film that is well worth watching. The outstanding performances, honest storytelling, and powerful themes make it a standout film that continues to resonate with audiences today.

This Boy's Life
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, Leonardo DiCaprio (Actors)
  • Michael Caton-Jones (Director) - Robert Getchell (Writer) - Art Linson (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

6. Wild Bill (1995)

“Wild Bill” is a 1995 Western film directed by Walter Hill. While Lauren Bacall is not part of the cast of “Wild Bill,” the film features Jeff Bridges in the titular role, delivering a compelling portrayal of the legendary gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok.

“Wild Bill” depicts the later years of Wild Bill Hickok’s life, exploring his relationships, his struggles, and the violent nature of the Old West.

The film offers a character study of a complex and enigmatic figure, delving into the themes of redemption, regret, and the fleeting nature of fame.

Here are a few reasons to watch “Wild Bill”:

Jeff Bridges’ Performance: Jeff Bridges delivers a mesmerizing performance as Wild Bill Hickok, capturing both the hardened exterior and the vulnerability beneath.

His portrayal brings depth and humanity to the character, showcasing his range as an actor and his ability to inhabit complex roles.

Western Atmosphere and Cinematography: “Wild Bill” effectively creates an authentic Western atmosphere, immersing viewers in the rugged and unforgiving landscape of the Old West.

The film’s cinematography and production design capture the essence of the era, offering a visually striking backdrop for the story.

Exploration of a Legendary Figure: “Wild Bill” offers a nuanced exploration of Wild Bill Hickok, delving into his personal demons and the impact of his reputation.

The film goes beyond the mythical image of the gunslinger and delves into the human struggles and complexities that shaped his life, offering a more intimate and introspective portrait of the legendary figure.

“Wild Bill” is a Western film that presents a character-driven narrative and offers a fresh perspective on the legendary gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok.

While Lauren Bacall is not involved in this particular film, the captivating performance by Jeff Bridges, the authentic Western atmosphere, and the exploration of a complex historical figure make it a notable entry in the genre.

It’s a film that will appeal to fans of Westerns and those interested in exploring the complexities of iconic figures from the Old West.

Wild Bill [DVD]
  • Jeff Bridges, Ellen Barkin, John Hurt (Actors)
  • Walter Hill (Director) - Peter Dexter (Writer)
  • Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

7. The Fan (1996)

“The Fan” is a psychological thriller film released in 1996, directed by Tony Scott. While Ellen Barkin does not appear in the film, I can provide information about it.

“The Fan” stars Robert De Niro as Gil Renard, an obsessive fan of baseball player Bobby Rayburn, portrayed by Wesley Snipes. Ellen Barkin’s absence notwithstanding, the film explores themes of obsession, celebrity, and the dark side of fandom.

Gil becomes increasingly unhinged as he fixates on Bobby’s success and starts to believe that his own actions can influence the player’s performance.

As Gil’s obsession intensifies, he takes increasingly dangerous and erratic measures to ensure Bobby’s success, leading to a chilling cat-and-mouse game between the two.

“The Fan” showcases the psychological toll of obsession and the blurred lines between admiration and dangerous fixation. The film builds tension through its suspenseful narrative and explores themes of identity, power, and the impact of fame on both celebrities and their fans.

While “The Fan” received mixed reviews upon its release, it is notable for its intense performances, particularly from Robert De Niro, who effectively portrays the disturbed and desperate Gil Renard.

The film offers a cautionary tale that delves into the darker aspects of fandom and the lengths some individuals might go to in their pursuit of an idol.

“The Fan” serves as a gripping psychological thriller that will appeal to those interested in exploring the psychological complexities of obsession and the consequences that can arise from unchecked fanaticism.

While Ellen Barkin does not feature in the film, the performances and the tension-filled narrative make it worth watching for fans of the thriller genre.

The Fan
  • The Fan - DVD Used Like New
  • Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin (Actors)
  • Tony Scott (Director) - Wendy Finerman (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is a 1998 psychedelic dark comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. While Lauren Bacall is an iconic actress, she does not appear in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson and stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro in the lead roles.

In “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Johnny Depp portrays Raoul Duke, a journalist who embarks on a drug-fueled road trip to Las Vegas with his eccentric attorney, Dr. Gonzo, played by Benicio Del Toro.

The film explores their wild and surreal experiences as they dive deep into the excesses of the Las Vegas lifestyle, covering a motorcycle race and encountering bizarre characters along the way.

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is known for its unconventional narrative style, vibrant visuals, and its portrayal of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It delves into themes of the American Dream, drug use, and the societal and political landscape of the time.

Although Lauren Bacall does not appear in the film, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” remains a significant entry in the filmography of Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro.

It is revered by fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s work and has gained a cult following for its unique and trippy depiction of a drug-induced journey through the heart of American excess.

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Craig Bierko (Actors)
  • Terry Gilliam (Director) - Terry Gilliam (Writer) - Laila Nabulsi (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)

9. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” is a 1999 dark comedy film directed by Michael Patrick Jann and starring Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, and Kirstie Alley.

The movie is a mockumentary that follows the contestants of a beauty pageant in a small Minnesota town, as they compete for the title of “American Teen Princess.”

As the competition heats up, the girls and their families resort to increasingly outrageous and cutthroat tactics to win the crown.

The film is noted for its biting satire and sharp humor, as well as its strong performances from the ensemble cast.

Dunst delivers a standout performance as the ambitious and determined pageant contestant, while Richards and Alley both bring their own unique brand of comedic talent to their roles.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” was a commercial disappointment upon its initial release, but has since gained a cult following and become regarded as a cult classic.

The movie is a darkly funny satire of the beauty pageant industry and small town America, and skewers the shallow values and absurdity of the pageant world with a wickedly clever sense of humor. It is a must-watch for fans of offbeat and subversive comedies.

Drop Dead Gorgeous [DVD]
  • A mockumentary about a vicious competition between two contestants in a rural Minnesota beauty...
  • Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Ellen Barkin (Actors)
  • Michael Patrick Jann (Director) - Lona Williams (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

10. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

“Ocean’s Thirteen” is a 2007 heist film and the third installment in the “Ocean’s” trilogy, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

The film features an ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, and many others.

The story follows Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his team of skilled thieves as they plan and execute a complex heist at a Las Vegas casino in order to avenge their friend Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), who was swindled by the casino’s ruthless owner Willy Bank (Pacino).

The team devises an elaborate scheme to rig the casino’s games and steal millions of dollars, all while dealing with internal conflicts and unexpected obstacles.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success, grossing over $311 million worldwide.

The film is known for its stylish direction, witty dialogue, and charismatic performances by the ensemble cast.

Ocean's Thirteen (2007) (Widescreen Edition)
  • George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon (Actors)
  • Steven Soderbergh (Director)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

11. Brooklyn’s Finest (2009)

“Brooklyn’s Finest” is a crime drama film released in 2009. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the movie stars Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes.

The story takes place in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York, and follows the lives of three police officers who work in different capacities within the Brooklyn Police Department.

Each officer is faced with moral dilemmas and personal struggles as they navigate the challenges of their job.

Eddie Dugan (played by Richard Gere) is a worn-out veteran cop who is just days away from retirement.

Tango (played by Don Cheadle) is an undercover detective struggling to maintain his true identity while infiltrating a drug ring.

And Sal Procida (played by Ethan Hawke) is a desperate family man and cop facing financial difficulties who resorts to unethical means to provide for his growing family.

As the paths of these three officers intersect, tensions rise, and their actions lead to a series of consequences that test their loyalties and sense of duty.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” delves into themes of corruption, redemption, and the blurred lines between right and wrong.

It offers a gritty and intense portrayal of the complexities of law enforcement and the impact it has on the individuals involved.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the performances of the ensemble cast and the raw depiction of urban life, but criticism for its familiar storyline and pacing.

Despite the mixed reception, “Brooklyn’s Finest” remains an intriguing crime drama that explores the darker aspects of human nature and the choices individuals make when faced with difficult circumstances.

Brooklyn's Finest
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere (Actors)
  • Antoine Fuqua (Director) - Michael C. Martin (Writer) - Elie Cohn (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

12. Very Good Girls (2013)

“Very Good Girls” is a coming-of-age drama film released in 2013, directed by Naomi Foner and starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen in the lead roles.

The film follows the story of two best friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before they go off to college and the romantic complications that arise between them and a boy they both fall for.

One reason to watch “Very Good Girls” is for the strong performances by the two lead actresses.

Fanning and Olsen bring a depth and authenticity to their roles as two young women trying to navigate the complexities of adolescence and adulthood. Their chemistry is palpable, and their friendship is the heart of the film.

Another reason to watch “Very Good Girls” is for its sensitive portrayal of female sexuality and desire.

The film offers a refreshing take on teenage sexuality that is both honest and respectful, exploring the emotional and psychological nuances of first love and sexual awakening.

Finally, “Very Good Girls” is a beautifully shot and well-directed film that captures the energy and excitement of youth, as well as the bittersweet nostalgia of growing up.

The film also boasts a talented supporting cast, including Peter Sarsgaard and Richard Dreyfuss, who add depth and complexity to the story.

Overall, “Very Good Girls” is a poignant and well-crafted film that is well worth watching. Its strong performances, sensitive storytelling, and beautiful visuals make it a standout coming-of-age drama that is sure to resonate with audiences of all ages.

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13. The Cobbler (2014)

“The Cobbler” is a 2014 fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Tom McCarthy. The film stars Adam Sandler in the lead role, with a supporting cast that includes Method Man, Steve Buscemi, and Ellen Barkin.

While Lauren Bacall is not part of the cast of “The Cobbler,” the film explores themes of identity, empathy, and personal transformation.

In “The Cobbler,” Adam Sandler plays Max Simkin, a disillusioned cobbler who discovers a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers by wearing their shoes.

Through this newfound ability, Max gains a deeper understanding of others and embarks on a transformative journey of self-discovery.

Here are a few reasons to watch “The Cobbler”:

Unique Concept: “The Cobbler” offers a fresh and imaginative concept, blending fantasy elements with comedy and drama.

The idea of walking in someone else’s shoes, both literally and metaphorically, adds an intriguing layer to the narrative and provides opportunities for exploration of themes such as empathy and understanding.

Adam Sandler’s Performance: While known primarily for his comedy roles, Adam Sandler showcases a more dramatic side in “The Cobbler.”

His portrayal of Max Simkin allows him to tap into the character’s emotional journey, bringing depth and vulnerability to the role.

Exploration of Identity and Transformation: “The Cobbler” delves into themes of identity, as Max grapples with the power he possesses and the impact it has on his own sense of self.

The film raises thought-provoking questions about personal growth and the consequences of stepping into someone else’s life.

“The Cobbler” offers a unique blend of fantasy, comedy, and drama, providing an unconventional take on personal transformation and empathy.

While Lauren Bacall is not involved in this particular film, the intriguing concept, Adam Sandler’s performance, and the exploration of identity make it an interesting watch for those seeking a film that combines elements of fantasy and introspection.

The Cobbler (2014)
  • Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Melonie Diaz (Actors)
  • Tom McCarthy (Director)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

3 Reasons To Watch Ellen Barkin Movies

Exceptional Acting Talent: Ellen Barkin is widely regarded as a talented actress with a strong on-screen presence. Her performances are marked by a raw intensity and an ability to fully immerse herself in her characters.

Whether it’s a gritty crime drama or a complex character study, Barkin brings depth and authenticity to her roles, captivating viewers with her nuanced portrayals.

Versatility and Range: Barkin has showcased her versatility by taking on diverse roles across different genres.

From intense dramas to dark comedies, she has demonstrated her ability to tackle a wide range of characters. Watching Ellen Barkin movies allows you to witness her adaptability and witness her transformative abilities as she brings unique dimensions to each role she takes on.

Memorable Characters: Barkin has portrayed numerous memorable characters throughout her career, leaving a lasting impression on audiences.

From tough and resilient women to vulnerable and complex individuals, her characters often possess layers of depth and complexity that make them intriguing to watch.

Whether she’s playing a femme fatale or a strong-willed protagonist, Barkin’s performances bring these characters to life and make them memorable.

In summary, watching Ellen Barkin movies provides an opportunity to witness exceptional acting talent, explore her versatility and range as an actress, and experience the memorable characters she brings to the screen.

Whether you’re a fan of intense dramas, thrilling crime films, or character-driven narratives, Barkin’s performances are sure to leave a lasting impact.

Best Ellen Barkin Movies – Wrap Up

Ellen Barkin is a talented American actress known for her memorable performances and strong on-screen presence. Throughout her career, she has showcased her versatility and ability to portray complex characters with depth and intensity.

In this wrap-up of Ellen Barkin’s best movies, we have explored some of the notable films that have highlighted her exceptional talent and contributed to her success in the industry.

One of Barkin’s standout films is “The Big Easy” (1986), where she starred alongside Dennis Quaid in a crime thriller set in New Orleans.

Her portrayal of Assistant District Attorney Anne Osborne garnered critical acclaim and showcased her ability to bring both vulnerability and strength to her characters.

Another noteworthy film in Barkin’s filmography is “Sea of Love” (1989), where she starred opposite Al Pacino as a woman involved in a murder investigation.


Her performance as the mysterious and alluring Helen Cruger earned her widespread recognition and solidified her status as a leading actress.

Barkin’s role as a lawyer defending a man accused of murder in “The Accused” (1988) is another standout performance. The film, which starred Jodie Foster in the lead, tackled important social issues and earned Barkin critical acclaim for her portrayal of a tenacious and passionate advocate.

Additionally, Barkin’s role as the tough and resourceful Jewel Valentine in the crime thriller “Animal Kingdom” (2010) showcased her ability to command the screen and bring complexity to her characters.

Throughout her career, Ellen Barkin has demonstrated her talent for taking on challenging roles and delivering powerful performances. Her ability to inhabit characters with depth and authenticity has made her a respected figure in the world of acting.

While this wrap-up focuses on some of Barkin’s best movies, it is worth noting that her filmography is rich with diverse roles and memorable performances that have left an indelible impact on audiences.

If you have any more questions or if there’s another topic you’d like to explore, please let me know.