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25 Greatest Jennifer Connelly Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Known to three generations of moviegoing audiences, each for a different iconic role, actor Jennifer Connelly has starred in unforgettable films across five decades. Coming into stardom off her lead role opposite David Bowie in "Labyrinth," and her eye-popping performance in "Career Opportunities," Connelly became a Gen X dream girl. Continuing success through the 1990s saw her career continue to blossom with roles in "The Rocketeer,"  "Higher Learning," and "Dark City," as she began to move from family films and high-flying adventures to serious and even disturbing dramas.

Across her lengthy career, Connelly has worked with celebrated directors such as John Singleton, Ron Howard, Darren Aronofsky, and Ang Lee. While we're only going to count down her 25 best films, there are plenty that didn't make the list that are still worth noting. From her role as Betty Ross in a pre-MCU "Hulk," to the big budget sci-fi remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still," some of her most memorable roles unfortunately just missed the cutoff.

But fret not, her best are all here, though the film that comes out on top may surprise you. Scroll on to find out if your favorite Jennifer Connelly movie ranks as her best.

25. The Heart of Justice

Despite its status as a television movie, this early '90s thriller has an all-star cast headlined by Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Connelly, Dennis Hopper, and Dermot Mulroney, with appearances by William H. Macy and even horror icon Vincent Price in his final role before his death. A neo-noir crime drama, it begins with the stunning death of a celebrated novelist named Austin Blair (Hopper). But no lengthy murder investigation is necessary, as the apparent killer, Elliot Burgess, turns up dead himself, seemingly by his own hand. The product of a well-known and wealthy New York City family, the young Burgess had a history of problems, and a possible motive for Blair's murder as well.

But reporter David Leader (Stoltz) wants to cover the case and get to the bottom of the gory details. He soon learns that Blair may have been giving away all the sordid details of the Burgess family through the various characters in his novels, perhaps setting Elliot on a quest to silence him. It's not long before Leader himself is drawn into the sordid Burgess family web, becoming mesmerized by Elliot's alluring and enigmatic sister Emma (Connelly).

An effective mystery, it aired on cable in 1992 and has sadly been mostly forgotten. But if you can track down a copy, it might be one of Connelly's most underrated early performances.

24. American Pastoral

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Philip Roth, "American Pastoral" is the story of a husband and wife and their search for their wayward daughter. Opposite Connelly is "Obi-Wan Kenobi" star Ewan McGregor — who also directed in his debut as a filmmaker — as Seymour "Swede" Levov, a New Jersey factory worker who marries the state's former beauty queen, Dawn Dwyer. After their daughter is born — played as an adult by Dakota Fanning — their marriage grows increasingly troubled, particularly as social and political turmoil encroach on their quiet life. 

The young but affected Merry, who suffers a stutter, finds meaning and belonging in political activism and is drawn into the anti-war protests of the 1960s. She eventually starts traveling far and wide to take part in violent demonstrations, much to her parents' dismay. But when their hometown post office is bombed, Merry is the FBI's lead suspect and disappears from her parents' lives. Swede then begins a determined quest to track her down, while Dawn comes to accept that their daughter is gone and they should build new lives without her.

While the film couldn't live up to the brilliance of the prize-winning book, Connelly delivers a powerful performance as the haunted mother of suspected bomber Merry.

23. Seven Minutes in Heaven

You might not be surprised to learn that Jennifer Connelly is the only young actor in the romantic drama "Seven Minutes in Heaven" who went on to fame. In just her third feature film, Connelly gets the lead role of Natalie, a high school teenager whose father goes out of town on an extended business trip. While he's away, she allows her school friend Jeff to live with her after he's thrown out by his stepfather. But with no supervision, the house become the part-time home to more than just Natalie and Jeff, as their other friends spend most of their time with them.

In between high school antics, Natalie begins a relationship with Jeff's friend James, which causes all sorts of emotional teenage turmoil. Meanwhile her best friend Polly falls head over heels for a much older local baseball player and part-time model, who gets her into trouble by encouraging her to come to New York to see him play. By today's standards, "Seven Minutes in Heaven" may seem downright quaint, as there's much less salaciousness than you'd expect from a teen drama of its type today. But that's part of its charm, as an earnest, solemn look at life, love, and lust among a group of teen friends in the mid-1980s. 

22. He's Just Not That Into You

Along with a broad ensemble cast, Jennifer Connelly starred in the 2009 romantic comedy "He's Just Not That Into You," which chronicled the love and sex lives of a variety of couples, all loosely connected by friendly associations. The film also stars Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Wilson Cruz, and Justin Long. Aniston and Affleck star as Beth and Neil, a couple struggling with commitment issues, with Beth looking for marriage after seven years together and Neil resistant to the idea.

Meanwhile Connelly and Cooper are Janine and Ben, a longtime married couple undergoing home renovations. When Janine discovers cigarette butts in their backyard, it leads to revelations that Ben has been sleeping with his yoga instructor, the aspiring singer Anna (Johansson). A heartfelt exploration of love and relationships, the film features four interconnected stories, some focused on deeply troubling drama while others are played for lighthearted laughs.

A classic date movie of the highest order, it succeeds where other fluffier fare has failed, thanks in no small part to its impressive roster of stars.

21. Shelter

Starring Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie, the 2014 drama "Shelter" centers on a pair of unhoused people living on the streets of New York City. Tahir (Mackie) is a Nigerian refugee who becomes a drifter after his visa has expired. He's a principled and devout Muslim whose kindness and generosity help guide his spirit, getting by on the streets by performing music in the park. By contrast, the troubled Hannah (Connelly) struggles with drug addiction and sells herself to survive while collecting spare change on street corners. A chance encounter, as Tahir saves Hannah when she's at her lowest, leads to an unlikely but unshakable bond.

Leaning on each other, the friendship between Hannah and Tahir blossoms into love. The film follows their ups and downs, from a terrible winter storm to a terrifying medical diagnosis, as their relationship eventually helps them grow and finally face the ghosts that have long haunted them both. A film that reviewer Susan Wloszczyna called an "urban fairy tale," it was helmed by Connelly's real-life husband Paul Bettany ("WandaVision") in his directorial debut.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

20. Mulholland Falls

Jennifer Connelly appeared as part of the star-studded cast of the 1996 period noir crime drama "Mulholland Falls," alongside Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Treat Williams, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, and John Malkovich. Set in 1950s Los Angeles, the film follows a group of detectives who have been using a cliff on Mulholland Drive to mete out their own brand of vigilante justice to criminals that the law says they can't touch. But the squad of dirty detectives find themselves in hot water after a young woman turns up dead at a construction site.

The victim, a promiscuous woman named Allison Pond (Connelly, seen in flashbacks) has had a series of recorded dalliances with a number of different people. With her surviving recordings threatening several important city figures, her death becomes a bigger case than expected. But finding the killer threatens to embroil the hard-nosed but loose lawmen in a broader conspiracy involving atomic weapons and a secretive government project. An engrossing thriller and throwback to classic 1950s crime dramas, "Mulholland Drive" delivered action, romance, and suspense in a film that more than lived up to its classic Hollywood inspiration.

19. Inventing the Abbotts

Future Hollywood A-listers Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Crudup, and Liv Tyler starred alongside Jennifer Connelly in the 1997 romantic drama "Inventing the Abbotts." The film centers on three sisters living in a small Midwestern town in the 1950s: Alice, Eleanor, and Pam Abbott, played by Joanna Going, Connelly, and Tyler. Daughters of the wealthy magnate Lloyd Abbott, they are chased after by a pair of brothers, J.C. and Doug Holt (Crudup and Phoenix). The piggish J.C., whose father was swindled by Lloyd, sees the three young women as a chance to dish out his own revenge, hoping to bed them one by one and break their hearts.

J.C.'s treatment of the promiscuous Eleanor soon gets her sent away, and his courtship of the married Alice ruins a family. But the kind and gentler Doug, who looks up to his older brother for his brashness and success with women, begins to develop real feelings for the tender-hearted Pam, the youngest and somewhat more naive Abbott. 

Describing the film as an "emotionally powerful but extremely old-fashioned coming-of-age saga," Variety's review also had plenty of praise for the film's young and talented cast, giving Crudup, Phoenix, Tyler, and Connelly all high marks for their sensitive and moving performances.

18. The Hot Spot

Another neo-noir tale, the 1990 film "The Hot Spot" put Jennifer Connelly in the role of alluring "other" woman Gloria Harper, who is eyed by her co-worker, used car salesman Harry Maddox (Don Johnson). But Harry is involved with the dealership's owner Dolly (Virginia Madsen), a very much married woman with no love for her aging husband. The conniving Maddox, who is engaged in two affairs — with both Gloria and Dolly — robs a local bank in a scheme that goes horribly wrong. Matters are complicated when he's blackmailed by Dolly, after scorning her plans to kill her husband and forced into continuing a relationship with her. 

But all the while Maddox is lovelorn over Gloria, the young woman who is in trouble herself and who wants to be with him. Though the plot is confusing and a tad overwrought, "The Hot Spot" is a satisfying tale with a slick, atmospheric tone, an enjoyably campy story, and delightful cast of eccentric characters. Roger Ebert in his review noted that "movie lovers who have marinated their imaginations in the great B-movies from RKO and Republic will recognize 'The Hot Spot' as a superior work in an old tradition," while awarding the film a solid three stars.

17. Waking the Dead

Unrelated to the BBC police procedural of the same name that happened to arrive the same year, this 2000 mystery reunited Jennifer Connelly with her "Inventing the Abbotts" costar Billy Crudup. The two play Fielding Pierce and Sarah Williams, a complicated couple dealing with some serious problems. The film tells two parallel stories about the pair: the first is set in 1982, when Sarah has recently been killed in a deadly car bombing. Pierce is shaken, having once been romantically linked to her even if they each had competing life goals.

Flashing back to 1972, we learn that Pierce was once a young, hungry, aspiring politician who wanted to use the system to help his community. Meanwhile Sarah was a missionary worker and relief provider who disliked Pierce's ambitions, seeing the political machine as getting in the way of helping the under-privileged in impoverished foreign nations. A dark and tragic story of a love that could never be, we see how Pierce's loss slowly drives him to madness, threatening everything and everyone around him.

16. Creation

Connelly starred in 2009 alongside her real-life husband Paul Bettany in "Creation," with the Hollywood power couple played groundbreaking evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin and his wife Emma. Somewhat loosely based on a popular biography of the famed researcher by Randall Keynes, Darwin's great-great-grandson, it follows Darwin during his most intense period as he discovers natural links in his evolutionary theory and struggles to document them in his magnum opus, "On the Origin of Species."

More than just his fight to find evidence of his scientific beliefs, the film focuses on the relationship between Charles, a man of science, and Emma, a Catholic woman of great faith. As Charles is challenged by nature, so too is he challenged by his own wife, who believes first and foremost in the hand of God, not the "blasphemous" theories her husband is trying to prove: that man was descended from primates. But the tragic loss of their daughter, who continues to haunt them in visions and dreams, casts a pall over their relationship as well.

With Bettany and Connelly in the main roles, the chemistry between the husband and wife onscreen is believable, as is the trouble between them as his work begins to crystallize and tragedy threatens to unravel them both. A rare historical biopic for Connelly and an understated drama, it flew under the radar on its release.

15. Phenomena

A classic Italian giallo film (a genre of stylish, suspenseful slasher films defined by mysterious killers and striking visuals), 1985's "Phenomena," also known stateside as "Creepers," was Jennifer Connelly's first leading role. Directed by Italian horror legend and visionary filmmaker Dario Argente ("Suspiria"), the film follows a young girl named Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famous American celebrity, who has come to attend a Swiss boarding school for girls where she begins suffering from sleepwalking spells. But far more disturbing is that during her spells, Jennifer receives visions of horrific murders that have been occurring around the region.

Jennifer is studied by forensic researcher John MacGregor and local police inspector Rudolph Geiger, who come to believe that she may have a supernatural connection to insects and is able to communicate with the creatures over large distances. With this psychic ability and her troubling visions of murder, Jennifer is able to help lead investigators to a diabolical serial killer who is targeting young girls at schools.

While reviews at the time were mixed, modern reappraisals have been more favorable. Slant magazine called the film the director's "battiest and most spiritual landscape," acknowledging that while "the whole of 'Phenomena' is less than the sum of its parts ... the parts are often terrifying and exhilarating."

14. Alita: Battle Angel

Produced by "Avatar" helmer and visionary sci-fi filmmaker James Cameron, "Alita: Battle Angel" was a big budget adaptation of an off-the-wall anime and manga franchise, "Battle Angel Alita." Directed by Robert Rodriguez ("Machete"), it stars newcomer Rosa Salazar in the title role, with Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Christoph Waltz, and Jackie Earle Haley rounding out the principal cast. Some of the characters are augmented with impressive CGI motion capture that gives them unique stylized looks, but Connelly is able to eschew the enhancements in her role as Dr. Chiren, the former wife of Alita's mentor, Dr. Ido (Waltz).

The film follows the mysterious Alita, a young orphaned girl taken in by cyborg scientist Ido, who tries to give her a new life. But as new dangers emerge around her, Alita sets out to discover who — or what — she really is, and why she possesses lethal skills. Her quest puts her on a collision course with a diabolical criminal syndicate and its leader, the villainous Vector (Ali). An over-the-top dystopian adventure, what "Alita" lacks in soulful drama it more than makes up for in sheer spectacle.

13. Higher Learning

Working with yet another acclaimed director and an all-star cast, Jennifer Connelly starred in the 1995 drama "Higher Learning," written and directed by John Singleton, whose work has ranged from Best Picture nominees like "Boyz N The Hood," to big-budget popcorn flicks like "2 Fast 2 Furious." Alongside Connelly, the film stars Omar Epps, Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Michael Rappaport, Kirsty Swanson, Regina King, and Tyra Banks. Set on a college campus, Connelly plays Taryn, a fellow student and best friend to Kristen (Swanson), the victim of a violent assault who struggles to deal with the emotional aftermath.

More broadly, the film chronicles the troubles faced by a diverse group of students at the fictional Columbus University. This includes Remy, a reserved young white man who is frustrated by some of his Black classmates, stirring up racial tension with the likes of Fudge White (Ice Cube) and Malik (Epps). Meanwhile a group of antagonistic neo-Nazis on campus attempt to recruit Remy, which does little to ease the situation. 

Though it's not without its flaws (including some dated LGBTQ stereotyping), "Higher Learning" was a rare and deep exploration of race relations among Generation X.

12. Stuck in Love

Before Josh Boone directed "The Fault In Our Stars," he helmed the 2012 romantic comedy "Stuck in Love," starring Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman and Kristen Bell. Kinnear plays successful author and teacher Bill Borgens, whose marriage to Erica (Connelly) has collapsed some time earlier. Though Erica is with a new man, Bill still loves her dearly, while he struggles to help his two children: his daughter Sam, whose own first work is soon to be published, and his son Rusty, who is working towards a career as a novelist himself. 

While Bill has tried to move on, he still carries a torch for Erica and hopes to reconcile, which his two children view as an unhealthy obsession because it is interfering with his writing. But the trouble between Bill and Erica has lasting effects on their children in different ways, including Sam, who channels her anger towards her mother into unhealthy relationships of her own. Rusty, meanwhile, pines for a troubled young woman at his school, which gets in the way of his own writing ambitions. Critical consensus on "Stuck in Love" was mixed, with reviewers applauding its cast while calling out its erratic, formulaic script. 

11. Reservation Road

Another "Inventing the Abbotts" reunion, the 2007 drama "Revolution Road" has Jennifer Connelly starring opposite her "Abbotts" castmate Joaquin Phoenix, with Mark Ruffalo, Mira Sorvino, and Elle Fanning alongside them. The film follows Dwight Arno (Ruffalo), who kills a young boy standing on the side of the road while driving home late one night. Terrified that the accident might affect what little rights he still gets from his bitter ex-wife (Connelly) to see his son, he speeds away from the scene. Learning that the boy he struck has died, Arno doubles down and begins to destroy or hide any evidence that he was involved.

Meanwhile, the boy's father, Ethan Learner (Phoenix), becomes upset that police investigators have been unable to find the man who killed his son. Eager for answers, Learner hires a lawyer: Dwight Arno. Confronted with the man whose son he killed, Arno has a sudden crisis of conscience. But when Learner discovers that Arno was responsible, and grows increasingly concerned that he won't face justice, he looks to take his own revenge in this tense crime drama and psychological thriller.

10. The Rocketeer

A classic pulp-inspired superhero movie, "The Rocketeer" was based on a retro comic book series of the same name by artist and writer Dave Stevens. Paying homage to its 1940s setting and the classic serials that inspired it, the film is a throwback, an "Indiana Jones"-style romp and loving tribute to adventures of days gone by. Directed by Joe Johnston ("Captain America: The First Avenger"), the film stars Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord, a disillusioned stunt pilot who's dating the beautiful aspiring actress Jenny Blake, who dreams of leaving their small town and having a grander life.

Just as Secord claims he's happy with life the way it is, he stumbles upon a top secret government project: a jet-powered rocket pack, stolen by mobsters on the run from the FBI. With the help of his friend Peevy, Secord uses the jetpack to become a local hero, inadvertently putting mobsters and G-Men hot on his tail. When Jenny lands a role with Hollywood star Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton), she soon discovers that he's part of a sinister Nazi plot to use the rocket pack to build an army of super-soldiers and take over the world.

A rip-roaring adventure from start to finish, "The Rocketeer" may not have had big box office success, but it's since gone on to become one of the most beloved adventure classics of its era.

9. Labyrinth

One of the most celebrated fantasy films of the 1980s, the musical adventure "Labyrinth" made a young Jennifer Connelly an icon of the genre at just 16 years old. The movie begins with bratty teenager Sarah ordered by her stepmother to babysit her infant brother Toby. Annoyed with the child, she wishes him away to the goblins at the center of the storybook "The Labyrinth." The child actually vanishes, claimed by the sinister Goblin King Jareth (music legend David Bowie), lord of an otherworldly realm. 

Jareth gives Sarah less than a day to find him at the center of his maze, as he sets out putting challenges in her path. Along the way, she meets a number of new friends, including a dwarf named Hoggle, a lovable worm, and a frightening beast called Ludo. Directed by "Muppets" creator Jim Henson, from a screenplay by "Monty Python" member Terry Jones, with creatures designed by fantasy illustrator Brian Froud and with songs by Bowie, "Labyrinth" had the ingredients to become an instant classic, catapulting Connelly to stardom in the process.

8. House of Sand and Fog

The 2003 psychological drama "House of Sand and Fog" stars Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly, and Shohreh Aghdashloo in the story of Kathy Nicolo, who battles an Iranian family for ownership of the home she'd shared with her husband in the wake of his death and her subsequent eviction. Forcibly removed from the home by a sheriff's deputy, Nicolo hires an attorney, determined to win back the rights to her house.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Iranian immigrant and former military officer Massoud Amir Behrani and his wife Nadi Behrani (Kingsley and Aghdashloo) struggle in America after escaping their homeland. Discovering Nicolo's home for sale for a fraction of its actual value, they scoop it up, and it becomes the salvation they so desperately need. But with both Nicolo and Behrani refusing to leave the house to the other, this clash of downtrodden souls becomes a battle of wills.

Though Shohreh Aghdashloo and Ben Kingsley were both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances in the film, Connelly is not to be overlooked here either. Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert awarded the film the coveted perfect score of four stars, saying, "Here is a film that seizes us with its first scene and never lets go ... it stands with integrity and breaks our hearts."

7. Little Children

Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly star as dueling lovers of the good-natured Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson) in the 2006 dark romantic drama "Little Children." While convicted child predator Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) is roaming free and the community fears for their young ones, disaffected Sarah Pierce (WInslet) leaves her husband and begins a flirtation with the married Brad, who she meets at a park where both their children play. Back home, Brad deals with his manipulative wife Kathy (Connelly), who begins to have suspicions that Brad and Sarah are involved.

When Brad's friend Larry (Noah Emmerich), a former cop, antagonizes Ronnie and accidentally injures his mother, it sets off a disastrous chain of events. With their romance eventually exposed, Brad and Sarah plan to leave everything behind and run away together. But a terrifying confrontation and an unexpected accident in the film's final scenes threaten their romance and perhaps even one of their lives. Packed with brilliant performances from Connelly on down, "Little Children" is a stunning drama with deeply disturbing themes and a shocking, unpredictable ending.

6. Blood Diamond

Detailing the atrocities of the Sierra Leone Civil War, which raged for more than a decade through the 1990s and early 2000s, the 2006 war drama "Blood Diamond" starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Sheen, and Arnold Vosloo. In the devastated nation, rebel warlords enslave local citizens to mine for diamonds that are sold to pay for the conflicts, creating a vicious and perpetuating cycle of death. An enslaved family man, Solomon Vandy (Hounsou), discovers a rare pink diamond and is determined to steal it for himself. 

After finding himself imprisoned alongside smuggler and mercenary Danny Archer (DiCaprio), the two decide to work together to get the prized gem and change their fortunes forever. With the help of an intrepid American reporter named Maddy (Connelly), who is in the region to expose the horrors of the diamond industry, they will brave their way through enemy territory and face down brutal rebel armies to get what they're after.

A thrilling, gut-wrenching, and emotional journey of survival and retribution, "Blood Diamond" puts a microscope to the terrifying realities of war and the jewel trade.

5. Dark City

A dark, visionary tale of a twisted future, the noir sci-fi thriller "Dark City" mesmerized audiences in 1998, with a cast that included Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland, and William Hurt. Directed by Alex Proyas ("The Crow"), the dystopian drama begins when John Murdoch (Sewell) awakens alone in a bathtub suffering from serious amnesia. After discovering a mutilated corpse, Murdoch finds himself being stalked by sinister henchmen in black trench coats. A mysterious phone call from a phantom friend alerts him to the danger, and now Murdoch must get to the bottom of who he is, what he's done, and why he's being hunted.

On the run, Murdoch meets his wife Emma (Connelly), a lounge singer who he does not remember, and learns that the dark forces he is up against have the ability to alter the landscape around them at their whim. But as he continues collecting clues and getting closer to the truth, he uncovers a disturbing truth that strikes at the very heart of reality itself. 

A nightmarish sci-fi thriller that borders on horror, it has the distinction of being Roger Ebert's pick for best film of that year, beating out the likes of "Saving Private Ryan" and seven-time Oscar-winner "Shakespeare in Love," which took home Best Picture. Sometimes confused with "The Matrix," due to its strikingly similar future noir tone, "Dark City" actually predates the Wachowskis' trend-setting classic.

4. Only the Brave

Based on a true story, "Only the Brave" recounts the harrowing events of the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013, as a group of highly trained firefighters in Arizona battle a deadly fire that claims 19 members of their 20-man team. Called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, they're led by Eric Marsh, played in the film by Josh Brolin ("Avengers: Endgame"). Jennifer Connelly playing his steely-eyed wife Amanda, who doesn't like his dangerous occupation. But Eric's pride in his team overrules all, as their brotherhood is connected by a deep commitment, unrivaled courage, and a boundless dedication to saving lives.

Together, the Hotshots leap from wildfire to wildfire, doing more than their jobs, making personal sacrifices and endangering their lives to snuff out the most dangerous blazes. But when a massive fire erupts on Yarnell Hill, threatening thousands, Eric and his team's skill and resolve will be put to the ultimate test. All the while, Amanda waits at home, pregnant and praying that her husband will make it back alive.

Featuring an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Andie MacDowell, and Taylor Kitsch, the film impressed critics and audiences as a fierce and terrifying look at the best firefighters in the nation, and one of the most tragic incidents in the history of the profession.

3. A Beautiful Mind

A movie based on the live of mathematician John Nash, "A Beautiful Mind" was directed by Ron Howard ("Apollo 13"), and written by Akiva Goldsman ("Star Trek: Strange New Worlds"). The film, released in 2001, stars Russell Crowe as Nash, the troubled genius who becomes a giant in his field after a breakthrough discovery, but begins to suffer from delusions and is ultimately diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Jennifer Connelly stars as his wife Alicia, a young woman studying under Nash at MIT, a position he secures in the wake of his first groundbreaking theories on governing dynamics. 

Following his recruitment by the U.S. government to assist in decoding potential Soviet messages, Nash and Alicia become romantically linked, falling in love and eventually marrying. But after believing he's being hunted by enemy agents, Nash receives a disturbing diagnosis that changes their lives forever. As Nash deteriorates, exacerbated by the enormous pressures he faces to live up to his new reputation, his condition begins to affect his family and friends. It exacts an especially heavy toll on his relationship with Alicia.

"A Beautiful Mind" tells Nash's story from his early days as a young researcher, up to his 1994 Nobel Prize, and was one of the most celebrated films of 2001. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, while earning Connelly her first and only Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

2. Requiem for a Dream

A dark and disturbing psychological drama, Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" put the director on the map and turned him from an emerging talent into a bona fide in-demand filmmaker. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, and Marlon Wayans, "Requiem" tells the story of three individuals and their progressive descent into drug addiction, Connelly and Leto star as Marion and Harry, a young couple who sell and use heroin with their friend Tyrone (Wayans), all while hoping to one day achieve a bigger dream and more prosperous life together. 

Meanwhile, Harry's mother Sarah (Burstyn) has dreams of her own, and has been prescribed amphetamines to lose weight so she can look good for a planned television appearance. But while losing weight, she becomes increasingly dependent on the pills, and upping her dosage leads to paranoid delusions. As Harry, Marion, and Tyrone face problems with their supplier, leading to Marion's descent into dark depths of depravity, Sarah faces her own downward spiral.

Deeply haunting, "Requiem for a Dream" is a raw and uncompromising look at the effects of drug use on three people whose lives are lost to the prison of their addiction.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

1. Top Gun: Maverick

More than 35 years after the original, "Top Gun: Maverick" debuted in 2022 with superstar Tom Cruise reprising his role as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. Jennifer Connelly co-stars in the sequel as Penny Benjamin, Mitchell's on-again-off-again lover. Mentioned briefly in the first film as the daughter of a prominent admiral, Penny is more than just a token love interest, acting as Mitchell's counsel and conscience.

Cruise steps back into the cockpit as the hotshot ace pilot who's called back to the Navy's TOPGUN school, when a critical mission requires his services to train a new group of pilots for the daring maneuvers it will require. But when he arrives for duty, Mitchell discovers that Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (Miles Teller), a top cadet, is the son of his late friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw, who was killed in a mile-high encounter that he has always felt responsible for. Now, to complete his mission, he'll need Penny's help to overcome three decades of demons that he's never been able to get past.  

Though the original is a classic of its era, "Top Gun: Maverick" was lauded by critics as even better, and Connelly was a big reason why, adding much-needed pathos and vulnerability to Mitchell's personal journey. Rave reviews led to a billion-dollar box office smash, and the best movie in both Cruise and Connelly's career.