Brad Pitt Movies list 2012

Brad Pitt Turns 50: His 10 Best Performances

Brad Pitt in 'A River Runs Through It'Columbia Pictures / Getty Images

What kind of birthday present do you get the man who has everything, including Angelina Jolie and a gaggle of kids? About the only thing Brad Pitt may lack, as he turns 50 today (December 18), is the full measure of critical respect he’s long deserved. As a ridiculously handsome leading man, consort to La Jolie, pal to George Clooney, Pitt has long seemed to get by on his looks, charisma, and connections, not his talent. That’s neither fair nor true, but it’s the perception.

In fact, he’s a crafty character actor trapped in the body of a leading man, an actor whose performances are full of unpredictable, offbeat, human choices. He’s a chameleon who’s worked with his looks or against them, depending on what’s advantageous at the time. And to prove it, he’s been nominated for four Oscars (three for acting, one for producing Moneyball). In 2013, he proved himself equally credible as a hero trying to save the world from zombies in the summer spectacle World War Z and in a small but pivotal role as a laborer forced to put his abolitionist ideals to the test in 12 Years a Slave. So, to give Pitt the credit he deserves as an actor, here are 10 of his best performances.

WATCH: Brad Pitt Is 50 And Cannot Age: This GIF Proves He’s Actually Benjamin Button

Happy birthday, Brad.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

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The then-unknown Pitt had only a few brief scenes as J.D., a slow-talking hitchhiker who knows how to fill out a pair of jeans, but he made them count. The grinning charmer didn’t just steal Thelma’s heart (and her cash), he also stole the movie. You can see him literally becoming a star before your eyes.

A River Runs Through It (1992)

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As golden-boy Paul Maclean, the idol of his bookish younger brother Norman (Craig Sheffer), Pitt resembles no one so much as the young, gleaming Robert Redford. So it’s no wonder the older Redford (who directed and narrated the picture) cast him. He’s a lovable bad boy, but he’s also an artist with a fishing pole, clearly touched by grace.

Seven (1995)

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Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection (Reservoir Dogs / True Romance / Pulp Fiction / Jackie Brown / Kill Bill: Vol. 1 / Kill Bill: Vol. 2 / Death Proof / Inglourious Basterds) [Blu-ray]
DVD (Lionsgate Miramax)
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