Peter Fonda was an American actor, director, and writer, who was a part of the legendary Fonda acting family. He began his career in the 1960s, and quickly became known for his iconic roles in counterculture films such as “Easy Rider.”

Best Peter Fonda Movies

Fonda continued to act in a wide variety of films throughout his career, earning critical acclaim and cementing his status as a Hollywood legend. In this list, we will take a look at some of the best Peter Fonda movies that showcase his range and talent as an actor.

1. Easy Rider (1969)

“Easy Rider” is a 1969 counterculture road film directed by Dennis Hopper, and one of the most iconic films of the 1960s. Peter Fonda stars as Wyatt, a free-spirited biker who embarks on a cross-country journey with his friend Billy, played by Dennis Hopper.

The film explores themes of freedom, rebellion, and the search for meaning in a changing world.

Fonda delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as Wyatt, conveying the character’s sense of independence and individualism, as well as his inner turmoil and search for purpose.

He conveys the character’s complex relationship with his friend Billy, as well as his interactions with the people they meet on their journey.

“Easy Rider” is a groundbreaking and influential film that captured the spirit of the 1960s counterculture. Fonda’s performance as Wyatt is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, earning him critical acclaim and cementing his status as a Hollywood icon.

Sale
Easy Rider (Special Edition)
  • Fonda, Peter, Hopper, Dennis, Nicholson, Jack (Actors)
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

2. Ulee’s Gold (1997)

“Ulee’s Gold” is a 1997 drama film directed by Victor Nunez, and stars Peter Fonda as Ulysses Jackson, a beekeeper in rural Florida who becomes the unexpected guardian of his grandchildren after their parents are arrested for drug trafficking.

Fonda delivers a powerful and understated performance as Ulee, conveying the character’s sense of duty and responsibility, as well as his inner pain and regret.

He conveys the character’s struggle to connect with his family, as well as his growing sense of compassion and understanding.

“Ulee’s Gold” is a poignant and heartfelt film that explores themes of family, redemption, and forgiveness.

Fonda’s performance as Ulee is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, earning him critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Ulee's Gold [DVD]
  • Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson, Christine Dunford (Actors)
  • Victor Nunez (Director) - Victor Nunez (Writer)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. The Hired Hand (1971)

“The Hired Hand” is a 1971 western film directed by Peter Fonda, who also stars in the lead role as Harry Collings, a drifter who returns home to his wife and child after seven years of wandering.

   

The film explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the search for home and belonging.

Fonda delivers a subtle and introspective performance as Harry, conveying the character’s sense of detachment and longing, as well as his desire to make amends for his past mistakes.

He conveys the character’s inner conflicts and struggles, as well as his growing sense of connection and responsibility to his family.

“The Hired Hand” is a visually stunning and contemplative film that subverts traditional western tropes and explores the complexities of human relationships.

Fonda’s performance as Harry is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his talents not only as an actor, but also as a director and writer.

Sale
The Hired Hand (Standard Edition) [DVD]
  • Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Verna Bloom (Actors)
  • Peter Fonda (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

“3:10 to Yuma” is a 2007 western film directed by James Mangold, and stars Peter Fonda in a supporting role as Byron McElroy, a wealthy and ruthless rancher who opposes the efforts of a small-time rancher, Dan Evans, played by Christian Bale, to transport a notorious outlaw to justice.

Fonda delivers a powerful and intimidating performance as McElroy, conveying the character’s sense of entitlement and arrogance, as well as his willingness to resort to violence to protect his interests.

He conveys the character’s disdain for Evans and his sympathy for the outlaw, creating a complex and nuanced portrayal of a villain.

“3:10 to Yuma” is a tense and thrilling film that explores themes of morality, justice, and redemption. Fonda’s performance as McElroy is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his ability to bring depth and nuance to even the most unsympathetic of characters.

3:10 to Yuma (Widescreen Edition)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman (Actors)
  • James Mangold (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

5. The Limey (1999)

“The Limey” is a 1999 crime drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh, and stars Peter Fonda in a supporting role as Terry Valentine, a wealthy music producer who becomes the target of a revenge-seeking ex-convict, played by Terence Stamp.

Fonda delivers a charismatic and nuanced performance as Valentine, conveying the character’s slick and charming persona, as well as his darker and more sinister side.

He conveys the character’s sense of entitlement and arrogance, as well as his growing fear and desperation in the face of the ex-convict’s wrath.

   

“The Limey” is a stylish and visually stunning film that explores themes of justice, revenge, and redemption.

Fonda’s performance as Valentine is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, earning him critical acclaim and showcasing his ability to bring depth and complexity to a supporting role.

The Limey [DVD]
  • Terence Stamp, Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman (Actors)
  • English, English (Subtitles)

6. The Wild Angels (1966)

“The Wild Angels” is a 1966 biker exploitation film directed by Roger Corman, and stars Peter Fonda in the lead role as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a biker gang who goes on a wild and destructive rampage.

Fonda delivers a charismatic and intense performance as Heavenly Blues, conveying the character’s sense of rebellion and defiance, as well as his darker and more violent tendencies.

He conveys the character’s charisma and charm, as well as his growing sense of disillusionment and despair.

“The Wild Angels” is a gritty and controversial film that explores themes of youth culture, rebellion, and societal decay.

Fonda’s performance as Heavenly Blues is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his ability to bring depth and nuance to a character who is both charismatic and disturbing.

The Wild Angels 50th Anniversary Edition [DVD]
  • The Wild Angels (1966) ( All the Fallen Angels )
  • The Wild Angels (1966)
  • All the Fallen Angels
  • Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd (Actors)
  • Roger Corman (Director) - The Wild Angels (1966) ( All the Fallen Angels ) (Producer)

7. The Trip (II) (1967)

“The Trip” is a 1967 psychedelic film directed by Roger Corman, and stars Peter Fonda in the lead role as Paul Groves, a television commercial director who takes LSD in order to explore the depths of his consciousness.

Fonda delivers a mesmerizing and introspective performance as Paul, conveying the character’s sense of wonder and confusion as he experiences the hallucinogenic effects of the drug.

   

He conveys the character’s growing sense of enlightenment and self-discovery, as well as his inner demons and fears.

“The Trip” is a groundbreaking and influential film that explores themes of consciousness, spirituality, and the counterculture.

Fonda’s performance as Paul is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his ability to convey a wide range of emotions and experiences in a nuanced and authentic way.

The Trip
  • Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Susan Strasberg (Actors)
  • Roger Corman (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

8. The Cannonball Run (1981)

“The Cannonball Run” is a 1981 action-comedy film directed by Hal Needham, and stars Peter Fonda in a supporting role as the chief of police who attempts to stop a cross-country car race.

Fonda delivers a fun and lighthearted performance as the determined and somewhat bumbling police chief, conveying the character’s sense of duty and responsibility, as well as his humorous attempts to stop the car race.

He conveys the character’s growing respect and admiration for the racers, as well as his sense of humor and good-naturedness.

“The Cannonball Run” is a fun and entertaining film that explores themes of adventure, camaraderie, and competition.

Fonda’s performance as the police chief is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his versatility as an actor and his ability to bring humor and levity to a role.

Sale
The Cannonball Run
  • The Cannonball Run - DVD Brand New
  • Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore (Actors)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

9. The Last Full Measure (2019)

“The Last Full Measure” is a 2019 war drama film directed by Todd Robinson, and stars Peter Fonda in a supporting role as the father of a deceased soldier who fought in the Vietnam War.

Fonda delivers a moving and heartfelt performance as the grieving father, conveying the character’s sense of loss and longing, as well as his admiration and respect for his son’s sacrifice.

He conveys the character’s sense of duty and honor, as well as his growing sense of closure and acceptance.

“The Last Full Measure” is a poignant and powerful film that explores themes of sacrifice, heroism, and the enduring impact of war.

Fonda’s performance as the father is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his ability to bring depth and emotion to a supporting role.

Sale
The Last Full Measure
  • William Hurt, Samuel Jackson, Sebastian Stan (Actors)
  • Todd Robinson (Director) - John Watson (Producer)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

10. The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999 TV Movie)

“The Passion of Ayn Rand” is a 1999 biographical TV movie directed by Christopher Menaul, and stars Peter Fonda in a supporting role as Frank O’Connor, the husband of Ayn Rand, played by Helen Mirren.

Fonda delivers a subtle and nuanced performance as O’Connor, conveying the character’s sense of devotion and loyalty to Rand, as well as his inner conflicts and struggles.

He conveys the character’s growing disillusionment and frustration with Rand’s philosophies and behavior, creating a complex and authentic portrayal of a man caught in a difficult situation.

“The Passion of Ayn Rand” is a compelling and thought-provoking film that explores themes of love, betrayal, and intellectual freedom.

Fonda’s performance as O’Connor is a standout in an excellent ensemble cast, showcasing his ability to bring depth and complexity to a supporting role.

3 Reasons To Watch Peter Fonda Movies

Iconic performances: Peter Fonda was a versatile actor who delivered many iconic and memorable performances over the course of his career.

From his rebellious and free-spirited biker in “Easy Rider” to his complex and nuanced portrayal of Ulysses Jackson in “Ulee’s Gold,” Fonda’s performances showcase his range and talent as an actor.

Counterculture films: Fonda was an integral part of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s, and many of his films explore themes of rebellion, freedom, and societal change.

Films like “Easy Rider” and “The Wild Angels” capture the spirit of the era and provide a window into a time of cultural upheaval and transformation.

Auteur filmmaking: Fonda was not only an actor, but also a writer and director, and he was known for his collaborations with other independent filmmakers of the era.

Films like “The Hired Hand” showcase Fonda’s talents behind the camera, and provide a unique and intimate look at his artistic vision and sensibility.

Best Peter Fonda Movies – Wrap Up

Peter Fonda was a talented and versatile actor who made his mark in Hollywood with a series of iconic performances in a range of different genres.

From his rebellious and free-spirited biker in “Easy Rider” to his nuanced and heartfelt portrayal of Ulysses Jackson in “Ulee’s Gold,” Fonda was a master of his craft who brought depth and authenticity to every role he played.

Other standout performances include his charismatic and intense portrayal of Heavenly Blues in “The Wild Angels,” his mesmerizing and introspective turn as Paul in “The Trip,” and his moving and heartfelt performance as the father of a deceased soldier in “The Last Full Measure.”

Throughout his career, Fonda was known for his collaborations with independent and auteur filmmakers, and his films often explored themes of rebellion, counterculture, and societal change.

His legacy continues to inspire new generations of filmmakers and moviegoers, and his impact on the world of cinema will be felt for years to come.