Penelope Cruz is a Spanish actress known for her stunning beauty and impressive range as an actress. She has appeared in a variety of films, including dramas, comedies, and thrillers, and has received critical acclaim for her performances in many of them.
Cruz has been nominated for numerous awards, including Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards, and has won several, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
Best Penelope Cruz Movies
In this article, we will explore some of the best movies in which Penelope Cruz has starred, highlighting her talent and versatility as an actress.
1. All the Pretty Horses (2000)
“All the Pretty Horses” is a Western film released in 2000, directed by Billy Bob Thornton and based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy.
The movie stars Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz, and Henry Thomas, and follows the story of John Grady Cole, a young cowboy who sets out on a journey to Mexico with his best friend to seek a better life.
The film is known for its sweeping landscapes, beautiful cinematography, and powerful performances.
“All the Pretty Horses” explores themes of friendship, love, and the harsh realities of the American West, and has been praised for its faithfulness to the source material and its ability to capture the spirit of McCarthy’s writing.
Despite its critical acclaim, the film was a box office disappointment, but has since gained a cult following and is considered a hidden gem of the Western genre.
2. Blow (2001)
“Blow” is a 2001 biographical crime drama film directed by Ted Demme and starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, and Ray Liotta.
The film tells the true story of George Jung (played by Depp), a drug smuggler who rises to become one of the most notorious figures in the cocaine trade in the 1970s and 1980s.
The film follows Jung’s rise to power in the drug world, his complex relationship with his childhood friend and partner in crime (played by Liotta), and his romantic involvement with a fellow drug smuggler (played by Cruz).
Along the way, Jung becomes embroiled in a dangerous and violent world of drug trafficking, leading to his eventual downfall and imprisonment.
“Blow” received generally positive reviews upon its release, with many praising Depp’s nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of Jung, as well as the film’s stylish direction and evocative period setting.
The film was also noted for its strong supporting performances, particularly from Liotta and Cruz.
Overall, “Blow” is a gripping and intense film that explores the dark and destructive world of drug trafficking.
The film is notable for its powerful performances, memorable characters, and insightful commentary on the high cost of the drug trade.
3. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” is a romantic war drama film released in 2001, directed by John Madden and starring Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, and Christian Bale in leading roles.
“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” is based on the novel of the same name by Louis de Bernières, set during World War II on the Greek island of Cephallonia.
The film tells the story of a forbidden love affair between a local Greek woman named Pelagia (played by Penélope Cruz) and an Italian captain named Antonio Corelli (played by Nicolas Cage), who is stationed on the island as part of the Italian occupation force.
As the war rages on, Pelagia initially resents the presence of the Italian soldiers, including Captain Corelli, due to the historical animosity between Italians and Greeks.
However, she eventually falls in love with Corelli, and they begin a secret romance, despite the challenges and obstacles they face, including the disapproval of Pelagia’s fiancé, Mandras (played by Christian Bale), who has joined the Greek resistance.
Amidst the backdrop of the war and the cultural clashes between Italians and Greeks, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the human cost of war.
The film depicts the complexities of relationships in the midst of conflict, as well as the devastating impact of war on individuals and communities.
“Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” is known for its beautiful Mediterranean setting, lush cinematography, and its emphasis on music, particularly the mandolin, which plays a significant role in the story.
The performances of Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, and Christian Bale are widely praised, as well as the film’s production values and score.
While “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” received mixed reviews from critics, it has gained a following for its sweeping romance and wartime drama.
The film is appreciated for its depiction of the complexities of human relationships during times of conflict, and its exploration of love and sacrifice amidst the chaos of war.
4. Vanilla Sky (2001)
“Vanilla Sky” is a 2001 psychological thriller directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. The film is a remake of the Spanish film “Open Your Eyes” (1997) and explores themes of reality, identity, and perception.
The story follows David Aames (Tom Cruise), a wealthy and successful publisher who finds himself in a surreal and confusing situation after a car accident leaves him disfigured and his life in disarray.
As David tries to reconstruct his memories and understand what has happened to him, he grapples with the truth about his relationships with his former lover Julie (Cameron Diaz) and his current love interest, Sofia (Penélope Cruz).
“Vanilla Sky” is known for its mind-bending plot twists and its exploration of existential questions about the nature of reality and the self.
The film features an iconic soundtrack, including the hit song “Everything in Its Right Place” by Radiohead.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its ambitious storytelling and striking visuals, while others criticized its confusing plot and overreliance on style over substance. Nevertheless, “Vanilla Sky” has gained a cult following over the years and has become a favorite among fans of psychological thrillers.
5. Masked and Anonymous (2003)
“Masked and Anonymous” is a 2003 drama film directed by Larry Charles and written by Bob Dylan and Charles.
The film stars Bob Dylan, who also composed the soundtrack, as well as a diverse cast including John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Penélope Cruz, and many more.
The film is set in a dystopian future America where civil unrest and political turmoil are rampant. Dylan plays Jack Fate, a legendary musician who is released from prison to play a benefit concert in aid of a corrupt government.
Along the way, he reunites with old acquaintances and encounters a range of eccentric characters.
The film explores themes of politics, power, and the role of the artist in society. It is marked by its surrealist tone and dreamlike sequences, as well as its eclectic cast and soundtrack.
While “Masked and Anonymous” received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since gained a cult following and is often praised for its unique vision and Dylan’s enigmatic performance.
Fans of Dylan’s music and those interested in experimental filmmaking may find “Masked and Anonymous” to be an intriguing and thought-provoking watch.
6. Gothika (2003)
Gothika is a supernatural horror thriller film released in 2003, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.
The film stars Halle Berry in the lead role, with a supporting cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Penélope Cruz, and Charles S. Dutton. While Morgan Freeman is not in Gothika, the film is notable for its suspenseful storytelling and performances.
Gothika follows the story of Miranda Grey (played by Halle Berry), a psychiatrist who works at a mental institution. After a car accident, Miranda wakes up to find herself a patient in the very institution where she used to work, with no memory of how she got there.
As she tries to uncover the truth behind her situation, Miranda becomes entangled in a mystery involving a ghostly presence and a history of abuse and betrayal.
The film is known for its atmospheric tone, intense sequences, and supernatural elements. Berry’s performance as Miranda Grey is central to the film, as she portrays a character grappling with her own sanity and trying to unravel the mystery of her situation.
Downey Jr. and Cruz also deliver strong performances in their supporting roles, adding depth and complexity to the story.
Gothika received mixed reviews from critics but was commercially successful at the box office. The film’s suspenseful storytelling and performances, along with its supernatural elements, have made it a notable entry in the horror thriller genre.
While Morgan Freeman is not in Gothika, the film is still remembered for its intriguing plot and strong performances from its cast.
7. Noel (2004)
“Noel” is a 2004 drama film directed by Chazz Palminteri, in which Penelope Cruz plays Nina, a troubled young woman who works as a waitress in a diner on Christmas Eve.
The film tells the intertwining stories of five New Yorkers whose lives intersect on this special night, and deals with themes of loss, redemption, and forgiveness.
In “Noel,” Cruz delivers a poignant and nuanced performance as Nina, a woman who is struggling to come to terms with her past and find meaning in her present.
Her interactions with the other characters, including a lonely old man played by Alan Arkin and a bitter businessman played by Paul Walker, are both heartbreaking and hopeful.
The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but Penelope Cruz’s performance was widely praised. Her portrayal of Nina is both vulnerable and strong, and showcases her ability to bring depth and complexity to complex characters.
8. Head in the Clouds (2004)
“Head in the Clouds” is a romantic drama film released in 2004, directed by John Duigan and starring Charlize Theron, Stuart Townsend, and Penélope Cruz.
The movie tells the story of Gilda Bessé, a bohemian photographer living in Paris in the 1930s, and her tumultuous relationships with her lover and his friend against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and World War II.
The film is known for its beautiful cinematography, intricate costumes and set design, and passionate performances by its cast.
“Head in the Clouds” explores themes of love, loyalty, and political turmoil, and has been praised for its depiction of historical events and its ability to capture the spirit of the time period.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, the movie has gained a loyal following of fans who appreciate its unique blend of romance, drama, and historical context. “Head in the Clouds” is often cited as an underrated gem in Charlize Theron’s filmography.
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9. Sahara (2005)
“Sahara” is a 2005 action-adventure film directed by Breck Eisner and starring Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, and Steve Zahn.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Clive Cussler and follows the adventures of treasure hunter Dirk Pitt (played by McConaughey) and his team as they search for a lost Civil War battleship in the Sahara Desert.
The film takes the audience on a wild ride through exotic locations, high-speed chases, and thrilling action sequences. Along the way, Pitt and his team encounter dangerous enemies, unexpected allies, and uncover a sinister conspiracy that threatens the safety of the world.
“Sahara” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising the film’s sense of adventure and charismatic performances, while others criticized its convoluted plot and lack of depth.
However, the film was generally well-received by audiences and has since gained a cult following.
Overall, “Sahara” is a fun and entertaining adventure film that delivers on the thrills and excitement of the genre. The film is notable for its charismatic performances and exotic locations, and is a must-see for fans of action-adventure films.
10. The Good Night (2007)
“The Good Night” is a comedy-drama film released in 2007, directed by Jake Paltrow and starring Martin Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Penélope Cruz in leading roles.
“The Good Night” follows the story of Gary Sheller (played by Martin Freeman), a former pop music star who is now a struggling, disillusioned middle-aged man living in London. Gary is stuck in a mundane and unfulfilling life, both personally and professionally.
He is in a stagnant relationship with his longtime girlfriend Dora (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), who is distant and unresponsive to his needs.
Gary finds solace in his dreams, where he encounters a beautiful woman named Anna (played by Penélope Cruz) who seems to be his ideal fantasy.
As Gary becomes increasingly obsessed with his dream life and Anna, he starts to lose touch with reality and struggles to differentiate between his dreams and his waking life.
He becomes determined to find a way to be with Anna, leading him on a journey of self-discovery and reflection, as he grapples with the nature of dreams, desires, and the pursuit of happiness.
“The Good Night” is known for its introspective and surreal tone, exploring themes of longing, disillusionment, and the search for meaning in life.
The film delves into the complexities of human emotions and relationships, as well as the role of dreams and fantasies in shaping our perceptions of reality.
The performances in “The Good Night” are generally well-received, with Martin Freeman delivering a nuanced portrayal of a man in existential crisis, and Gwyneth Paltrow and Penélope Cruz providing strong supporting performances.
The film also features a notable indie-pop soundtrack, with music playing a significant role in the storytelling.
“The Good Night” received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its unique and thought-provoking premise, while others found it confusing or overly abstract.
Nevertheless, the film has gained a cult following among viewers who appreciate its introspective and unconventional approach to storytelling.
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11. Elegy (I) (2008)
“Elegy” is a 2008 romantic drama film directed by Isabel Coixet and starring Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Hopper. The film is based on the 2001 novel “The Dying Animal” by Philip Roth.
The story follows David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley), a renowned cultural critic and professor who is approaching old age and finds himself in a complicated relationship with one of his former students, Consuela Castillo (Penélope Cruz).
As David grapples with his feelings for Consuela and his fear of aging, he begins to question the nature of love, desire, and mortality.
“Elegy” is a poignant and introspective exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the human condition.
The film features strong performances from its lead actors, particularly Ben Kingsley, who delivers a powerful portrayal of a man struggling with his mortality and the limitations of his own intellect.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its intelligent script, nuanced performances, and sensitive direction.
“Elegy” is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film that delves deep into the human psyche and offers a profound meditation on life, love, and loss.
12. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a 2008 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem in the lead roles.
The film follows two American women, Vicky (played by Hall) and Cristina (played by Johansson), who spend a summer in Barcelona and become involved with an artist named Juan Antonio (played by Bardem) and his tempestuous ex-wife, Maria Elena (played by Cruz).
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” explores themes of love, passion, and creativity, as well as the complexities and contradictions of human relationships.
The film is marked by Allen’s signature wit and intellectualism, as well as the beautiful Spanish setting and the strong performances of the ensemble cast.
The film received critical acclaim upon its release, with particular praise for Cruz’s performance, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a must-watch for fans of Woody Allen’s films, romantic comedies, and those interested in exploring the intricacies of human relationships.
13. To Rome with Love (2012)
To Rome with Love is a romantic comedy film released in 2012, directed by Woody Allen. The film features an ensemble cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Penélope Cruz, and Roberto Benigni, among others. Morgan Freeman is not in To Rome with Love.
To Rome with Love is a series of vignettes that are set in Rome and interwoven together, exploring various storylines and characters.
The film depicts the romantic entanglements, comedic misadventures, and cultural clashes of a group of characters, including a young couple (played by Eisenberg and Page) caught in a love triangle, a retired opera director (played by Allen) trying to revive his career, an ordinary man (played by Benigni) who suddenly becomes famous for no apparent reason, and a couple visiting from the United States (played by Baldwin and Judy Davis).
To Rome with Love has a lighthearted and whimsical tone, with Allen’s signature wit and comedic sensibilities.
The film captures the charm and beauty of Rome as a backdrop for the various storylines, with its iconic landmarks and vibrant culture.
While Morgan Freeman is not in To Rome with Love, the film is still considered a notable entry in Woody Allen’s filmography, known for its ensemble cast, picturesque setting, and comedic storytelling.
It received mixed reviews from critics but has been appreciated by some for its humor and exploration of human relationships.
14. The Counselor (2013)
“The Counselor” is a 2013 crime thriller film directed by Ridley Scott, in which Penelope Cruz plays Laura, the fiancee of a lawyer known only as “the Counselor” (played by Michael Fassbender).
The film follows the Counselor as he becomes embroiled in a dangerous drug trafficking scheme, and features an ensemble cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, and Javier Bardem.
In “The Counselor,” Cruz delivers a compelling performance as Laura, a woman caught up in the dangerous and deadly world of the drug trade.
Her scenes with Fassbender are filled with tension and emotion, and showcase her ability to convey complex emotions with subtle gestures and expressions.
While “The Counselor” received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, Penelope Cruz’s performance was singled out for praise.
Her portrayal of Laura is both sensual and vulnerable, and adds a layer of depth to the film’s exploration of the consequences of greed and temptation.
15. The Brothers Grimsby (2016)
“The Brothers Grimsby” is a comedy film released in 2016, directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong.
The movie tells the story of Nobby Grimsby, a dimwitted but well-meaning football hooligan who reunites with his long-lost brother Sebastian, a highly skilled spy, and unwittingly puts him in danger.
The film is known for its outrageous humor, irreverent satire, and over-the-top action sequences.
“The Brothers Grimsby” was received with mixed reviews from critics, who praised the film’s willingness to push boundaries and its over-the-top humor, while criticizing its crude and juvenile gags.
Despite its mixed reception, the movie has developed a cult following among fans of Sacha Baron Cohen’s brand of humor, and is often cited as an example of his comedic genius.
“The Brothers Grimsby” is a film that is best enjoyed by those who appreciate irreverent and absurd humor.
3 Reasons To Watch Penelope Cruz Movies
Strong Performances: Penelope Cruz is a talented actress who has delivered strong performances in a wide variety of roles. She is known for her range and ability to bring depth and nuance to her characters, whether she is playing a passionate artist, a troubled drug addict, or a vengeful spy.
International Appeal: Penelope Cruz has appeared in films from a variety of countries, including Spain, the United States, Italy, and France. Her global appeal and international career have made her a popular figure among audiences around the world.
Beauty and Style: Penelope Cruz is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, known for her sultry looks and glamorous style. Her on-screen presence and fashion sense have made her a fashion icon and a role model for many young women.
Best Penelope Cruz Movies – Wrap Up
Penélope Cruz is a highly acclaimed actress known for her versatile talent and captivating performances.
Throughout her career, she has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films across different genres and languages, earning accolades and awards for her remarkable performances. Here is a wrap-up of some of the best Penélope Cruz movies:
“Volver” (2006) – Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, this Spanish-language film earned Cruz widespread acclaim for her performance as Raimunda.
She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a resilient woman dealing with family secrets and emotional complexities.
“All About My Mother” (1999) – Another collaboration with director Pedro Almodóvar, this Spanish-language film features Cruz in a supporting role as a transgender woman named Agrado. Her performance in the film earned critical acclaim and showcased her versatility as an actress.
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008) – Directed by Woody Allen, this romantic comedy-drama features Cruz as the fiery Maria Elena, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Her performance as a tempestuous and passionate artist in a complicated love triangle garnered critical acclaim.
“Nine” (2009) – In this musical drama film directed by Rob Marshall, Cruz plays Carla, a sultry and enigmatic character. Her performance earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, showcasing her singing and dancing skills.
“Blow” (2001) – In this biographical crime film, Cruz plays the role of Mirtha, the wife of notorious drug dealer George Jung, portrayed by Johnny Depp. Her portrayal of a troubled and volatile character garnered praise from critics.
“Broken Embraces” (2009) – Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, Cruz plays Lena, a mysterious femme fatale, in this Spanish-language film. Her performance in the film earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of a complex and alluring character.
“Talk to Her” (2002) – Another collaboration with director Pedro Almodóvar, this Spanish-language film features Cruz in a supporting role as a ballet dancer named Alicia.
Her performance earned her critical acclaim for her portrayal of a comatose patient, showcasing her depth and versatility as an actress.
“Don’t Move” (2004) – In this Italian-language drama film, Cruz plays Italia, a working-class woman who has an affair with a married surgeon. Her raw and powerful performance in the film earned her critical acclaim and several awards.
“Woman on Top” (2000) – In this romantic comedy, Cruz plays the lead role of Isabella, a talented chef who moves to San Francisco to pursue her culinary dreams. Her performance in the film showcases her comedic timing and charm.
“The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009) – In this Argentine-Spanish crime drama film, Cruz plays Irene, a judge’s assistant. Although in a supporting role, her performance in the film garnered critical acclaim for her subtle and nuanced portrayal.
These are just a few of the best Penélope Cruz movies, showcasing her versatility, talent, and range as an actress. She has made her mark in both English and foreign-language films, and continues to captivate audiences with her performances in a wide range of roles.