15 Most Memorable Aaron Paul Roles Ranked From Worst To Best

He's best known for his time on the critically acclaimed AMC series "Breaking Bad," but Aaron Paul has appeared in plenty of other roles since he arrived in Hollywood, both on the small screen and the big one. The Idaho-born actor won plaudits for his turn in the Bryan Cranston-led crime drama, but not everything he's done has been received so positively. In truth, his resume is a bit of a mixed bag: He's been in some downright terrible projects, a few truly great ones, and many that fall somewhere in between.

From petrolhead mechanics and mysterious nomads to sadistic horror movie protagonists, Paul has taken on a wide range of roles since making his debut in the 1998 TV Movie "Even the Losers." We've been through his entire back catalog and compiled a list of his most memorable roles to date. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.

15. A Long Way Down - JJ

Despite an intriguing premise and a capable ensemble cast, 2014's "A Long Way Down" was panned by critics and audiences alike. Based on Nick Hornby's novel of the same name, the film largely failed to capture the elements of the book that readers loved. The story follows a group of strangers who converge on a London rooftop one New Year's Eve with the shared goal of ending their lives. There's Maureen and Jess, who find themselves disillusioned with life, a talk show host named Martin, who's life and career have crumbled after a sex scandal, and finally Aaron Paul's JJ, a former musician who's been diagnosed with a terminal illness — or so he claims.

The unlikely meeting ends with all four leaving the building alive. They decide to pretend that divine intervention stopped them from jumping and make a quick profit from the media frenzy that follows, but things quickly start to fall apart when it's revealed that JJ doesn't have cancer like he claimed. Thanks in part to its borderline tasteless handling of the sensitive subject matter at hand, "A Long Way Down" is a long way from the number one spot on our list.

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14. Need for Speed - Tobey Marshall

One of Aaron Paul's first star roles coming off "Breaking Bad," 2014's "Need for Speed" underperformed at the box office and was derided by critics. Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the plot revolves around Tobey Marshall, a struggling auto mechanic and former professional racer who's forced to use his old skills to make ends meet on the underground street racing circuit. As he rapidly gains notoriety in the community, he ends up crossing the wrong man, with Tobey and his friend Pete being challenged to a race by Dino Brewster, their former employer.

Things go horribly wrong when Dino gets Pete killed during the race, speeding off and leaving Tobey to have the death of his best friend pinned on him by the police. From there, Tobey tries to avenge the death of his friend and bring his true killer to justice. Movie adaptations of video games are almost always dumpster fires, and this one is no different. With surprisingly dull performances given the cast (Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton, Rami Malek, and Dakota Johnson all feature), and logic-defying car stunts every few minutes, "Need for Speed" is probably one project that Aaron Paul wants to leave in the rearview mirror.

13. Fathers & Daughters - Cameron

A film that was trashed by just about every critic who saw it, the 2015 drama "Fathers & Daughters" wasn't able to make good use of Aaron Paul's newfound fame to save itself. Told between two time periods, the plot revolves around the life of a woman named Katie Davis (Amanda Seyfried) as she endures one tragedy after another within her family. As a coping mechanism and out of a fear of intimacy that she has developed, Katie adopts a promiscuous lifestyle that leaves her feeling unfulfilled.

Everything changes after she meets Aaron Paul's Cameron, and the two quickly fall in love. Even this relationship doesn't quite solve all of her problems, however, and she soon winds up sabotaging things for herself. Although the film has all the pieces it needs for a quality character drama, it ended up falling on its face with its over the top corny dialogue and clichéd plot points.

12. The Last House on the Left - Francis

While remakes of classic horror movies are almost always bound to be less successful than the original, every once in a while a concept is revisited in a fresh way that does justice to the source material. And when the thing you're remaking is an ultra-violent exploitation film that relies on its intense scenes being the main hook, there's plenty of room to innovate and bring something new to audiences. Unfortunately, this remake of Wes Craven's "The Last House on the Left" still somehow managed to fall flat. While Aaron Paul isn't the main character of this 2009 revenge slasher, he is a lead amongst an ensemble cast.

The film follows many of the same beats as the 1972 original, the story of a gang of killers who seek refuge from a storm in a secluded house, not knowing that their hosts are the parents of the girl they just tried to kill. Paul plays Francis, the sadistic leader of the gang. It doesn't pull any punches when it comes to using the same graphic violence that defined the first film, and the 2009 remake does shake things up with a surprising conclusion, but everything up until that point is utterly forgettable.

11. Decoding Annie Parker - Paul

Another drama featuring Aaron Paul, this one fell just short of success after its 2013 release. The film is primarily centered around the titular Annie Parker, whose life has been time and time again struck with tragedy: The female members of her family all succumb to breast cancer. She marries Aaron Paul's aptly-named character at a young age, and while he doesn't stay with us throughout the entirety of the film, he nonetheless plays a pivotal role in it, albeit not as a positive force in Annie's life. Paul becomes disillusioned with his relationship shortly after Annie herself is diagnosed with cancer. Turning his back on his marriage, he leaves her for another woman. In a cruel twist of fate, he ultimately succumbs to cancer himself shortly after they split.

Despite the sensitive subject matter and important story being told, "Decoding Annie Parker" failed to make good use of its supporting characters. As film reviewer Michael O'Sullivan wrote in The Washington Post, the film "could have shown much more effectively and deeply that the fight against an often ruthless disease can be won by women attacking it from multiple sides. Instead, it sticks mostly to one track, taking audience members on a journey that, sadly, via the movies or their own lives, they already may know a little too well." Its heart is in the right place, but this film doesn't bring anything new to the table.

10. Hellion - Hollis Wilson

The first entry on our list that we would say might be worth rewatching, the 2013 film "Hellion" saw Aaron Paul take on a star role. He plays Hollis Wilson, a man whose wife has tragically passed away, leaving him to pick up the pieces and navigate the challenges of being a single father. His two sons, Jacob and Wes, aren't making the situation any easier, as both are becoming increasingly involved with a local band of juvenile delinquents that call themselves "The Crew."

His eldest son's reckless behavior draws the attention of Child Protective Services, who deem it necessary to intervene and remove the younger son from the home until the situation improves. It proves to be a near impossible challenge for Hollis. The pain of his wife's death and his own failings as a father, combined with his growing alcoholism, threaten to completely unravel what's left of his family. It's far from a perfect movie, but Paul puts in a heartfelt performance as Hollis. We can't help but root for the grieving father, and that's down to Paul.

9. Come and Find Me - David

2016's "Come and Find Me" stars Aaron Paul as David Larraine, an average guy in a seemingly stable relationship with his girlfriend Claire. Everything changes when she goes missing one day. After her friends, family, and even the police fail to come up with any leads, he does his best to move on while trying to come to terms with her unexplained disappearance. The case becomes infinitely more complicated when an old friend of Claire reaches out to David a year later. The deeper David digs, the further down the rabbit hole he falls.

Despite being pretty far from the best work he's done to date, critics praised Paul's performance in the film. As writer Frank Scheck said in his review for The Hollywood Reporter, "Paul uses his everyman quality to make David an engagingly sympathetic figure, one whose being in over his head becomes all too apparent by the frequent physical punishment he's forced to endure."

8. The Parts You Lose - Man

Though Aaron Paul's character in the 2019 thriller "The Parts You Lose" goes unnamed for the duration of the film, he still had a huge impact on the events of the story. Set in rural North Dakota, a young boy named Wesley finds Paul's character alone in the snow. He helps him find refuge from the elements and sets off a growing bond between the two. Their relationship is initially tricky due to the fact that Wesley is deaf, and when the police begin to question people in town about the whereabouts of Wesley's newfound friend, things get even more complicated.

Because he has a troubled life at home, Wesley frequently confides in Paul's character, now in hiding from law enforcement. In turn, Paul's mysterious character advises Wesley on how to tackle the many obstacles he faces in his life. The true question, however, is whether he is helping Wesley out of sheer kindness, or because he has some hidden motives. It's a question that will keep you largely gripped, despite a few dull stretches.

7. Dual - Trent

2022's "Dual" is set in a world where the ability to clone humans has not just been created but perfected. Having yourself cloned is now an option for people who are likely to die young, a way to lessen the grief of those around them. After Karen Gillan's Sarah is diagnosed with a terminal illness, she decides to begin the cloning process. What she isn't told, however, is that in the unlikely event that the illness doesn't kill her, her newfound clone just might have to: In this bizarre near future, the law states that the two must engage in a duel to the death.

Despite the seemingly grim premise, "Dual" manages to blend its more disturbing concepts with moments of humor. Leading up to her fight with her clone, Sarah is trained by Aaron Paul's character Trent, which provides much of the film's comic relief. The dystopian world that the film takes place in seems totally alien in many ways but very similar in others, which is part of what makes "Dual" work. The film went down well with the critics, with Karen Gillan's dual performance widely praised.

6. The Path - Eddie Lane

"The Path" creator Jessica Goldberg conducted extensive research before putting pen to paper on "The Path," a Hulu series about a religious cult. Aaron Paul plays Eddie Lane, a loyal family man and a member of the fictional cult known as the Meyerist Movement. While the group has a relatively small following at the beginning of the series, it soon finds itself in a position to expand, both within the United States and abroad.

After making a surprising discovery in Peru, Eddie begins to question everything about Meyerism. This has profound consequences, taking a toll on his relationship with his fellow Meyerists and his family. His beliefs are further shaken after he begins having detailed visions, and he soon spirals into a crisis of faith. If you're looking for a compelling religious drama that puts one of Aaron Paul's best television performances to date front and center, give "The Path" a go.

5. Westworld - Caleb Nichols

One of the most compelling TV shows in recent history, "Westworld" blends science fiction and classic Westerns in a wholly unorthodox way. Set in a futuristic world, the premise revolves around the titular attraction, an Old West-themed playground where guests can live out their frontier fantasies, so long as they have the money. Most of the inhabitants of Westworld are highly advanced and intelligent androids, with the first two seasons fully fleshing out this premise.

Introduced during Season 3, Aaron Paul's character shows up just as the series undergoes a major tonal shift. He plays Caleb Nichols, a down-on-his-luck veteran. He's a full-time construction worker and part-time criminal with few reservations about doing whatever it takes to earn a dollar. His struggle to make it in a dystopian world with rampant wealth inequality is central to the story of "Westworld" Season 3, which has a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

4. Smashed - Charlie Hannah

"Smashed" is a touching film about addiction and co-dependency. Kate and her husband Charlie appear to have a more-or-less healthy relationship. Everything would be great if it weren't for the fact that both are functioning alcoholics. After a series of embarrassing and career-threatening moments for Kate, she decides that enough is enough and sets herself down a path to give up alcohol for good.

This 2012 drama takes an unapologetic look at the destructive effects alcohol can have on a person. "Smashed" doesn't go for the kind of cheap thrills and sordid scenes you might expect from a movie with such a title, instead opting to tell an intimate character story about the dangers of substance abuse. Aaron Paul turns in a nuanced performance as Kate's equally dependent husband. He does often act as an enabler to her bad habits, but he isn't an overt antagonist on her quest for sobriety.

3. BoJack Horseman - Todd Chavez

The only animated entry on our list and one of the longest-running roles of Aaron Paul's career, "BoJack Horseman" became a big fan favorite during its six years on the air. Despite most of the storylines focusing on the titular character (a washed up Hollywood actor trying to come to terms with his fading stardom and troubled past), BoJack's roommate and friend Todd provides some comedic relief while also having plenty of characterization of his own.

At times, Aaron Paul's Todd feels like a Jesse Pinkman who never turned to a life of crime. Todd is always coming up with one wacky idea after another, much to BoJack's dismay. And even though he's an undeniable deadbeat (he lives like a slob, mooches off BoJack's wealth, and crashes in his friend's Hollywood mansion), Todd still manages to be one of the only characters in the series that's truly lovable.

2. Eye in the Sky - Steve Watts

One of his best roles to date, Aaron Paul stars as Steve Watts in the 2015 war thriller "Eye in the Sky," a film that takes a unique look at the cost of warfare in the modern age. Watts is an Unmanned Aerial Systems Operator (aka a drone pilot) tasked with potentially pulling the trigger on a missile strike on the other side of the world. After locating a high value target in Kenya responsible for the death of a British special agent, an intelligence team orders a Reaper drone to fly overhead and provide surveillance. With Watts at the controls, he reveals that their targets are in the final preparations of carrying out a catastrophic bombing on civilians.

His drone is capable of carrying out a precision strike and preventing the attack from taking place, but things get complicated when Watts spots a civilian dangerously close to the target building. He has no choice but to stall as long as possible in the hopes she leaves the target area before it's too late, while the command staff is forced to ask themselves if the life of one innocent person is worth sacrificing to save untold more. The film raises some interesting moral questions, especially for the man with his finger on the trigger. Watts is in a terrible position, and Paul is brilliant to watch as he juggles with his dilemma.

1. Breaking Bad/El Camino - Jesse Pinkman

It almost goes without saying that this role would top the list. A landmark moment in Aaron Paul's career, "Breaking Bad" has earned itself a place in pop culture history. Paul's casting as Jesse Pinkman (one half of the famous meth-cooking duo that the series follows) helped pave the way for several roles afterward, both in film and television. Some were parody roles, serving as a testament to the cultural phenomenon that "Breaking Bad" was and still is. In 2019, the movie "El Camino" further explored the story of Jesse Pinkman, and the ongoing prequel series "Better Call Saul" is set to have a cameo by Paul's iconic character.

Despite the fact that he had been on the scene for around a decade before "Breaking Bad" came along, Paul was still a relative unknown at the time, with most roles he had beforehand being forgettable bit characters in less than successful projects. His budding relationship with Bryan Cranston's Walter White as the two became irreversibly trapped in the criminal underworld showed his true acting chops. He really grew as an actor over the course of the series and was involved in many memorable scenes over the years. According to fans of the show, nothing will ever beat the moment he bought his parents' house. Jesse Pinkman was a career-defining role for Paul, one that he will always be remembered for.