best geena davis movies
Lists, Movies

The 20 Best Geena Davis Movies of All Time

Most Geena Davis fans or connoisseurs will tell you the first movie they watched of hers is probably Thelma & Louise or A League of Their Own. Unlike them, my first introduction to the Geena Davis world was Stuart Little. I was probably five or six when my parents introduced me to the little mouse who gets adopted by humans. From that moment on, I always wanted to watch the movie for the mom.

As I got older, I took a dive into Davis’s filmography and came across the beloved and world-renowned Thelma & Louise. I was completely captivated by it and by Davis’s ability to bring Thelma to life. After that, it was an easy decision for me to keep watching her movies and explore all sorts of worlds she had been a part of.

From 1982 onward, Davis has brought many different characters to life. She was a ghost stuck in her own home, an incredible baseball player, a mouse’s mom, a pirate, and a fly’s girlfriend. There has definitely been a before and after Thelma & Louise in her filmography as Davis became more aware of the kind of women she chose to play.

Here are the 20 greatest Geena Davis movies of all time, in order of release.

1. Tootsie (1982)
Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie and Geena Davis.
Tootsie – Geena Davis

Knowing she wanted to be an actress since the age of 3, Davis moved to New York after college to pursue her dream. However, she started out her career as a live mannequin on window displays. That is what led to her first Hollywood role in the movie Tootsie alongside Dustin Hoffman.

Even though Davis played a small role, she showed up on set every single day and sat next to Sydney Pollack, learning as much as she could about the business. In the movie, Davis’s character shares a dressing room with Tootsie.

For those who have yet to watch the movie, Tootsie follows an actor whose career seems to have come to a stall. In order to reinvent himself, he begins to dress as a woman. As this new persona he has created, he lands a role in a soap opera. However, things get complicated when he falls for his castmate.

2. Fletch (1985)
Chevy Chase and Geena Davis on Fletch.
Fletch – Geena Davis

In 1985, Davis became Larry in the movie Fletch. This role was supposed to be portrayed by a man, but things changed after Davis’s audition, and the role was hers.

Larry worked in the same paper as Fletch (Chevy Chase), the investigative reporter who drove his editor insane but always delivered great stories. In the movie, Fletch decides to go undercover as a homeless man to write a piece.

However, as he is doing his job, a businessman offers him $50,000 to kill him. Instead of revealing his true identity, Fletch decides to see how far this businessman can go and how this will affect his story.

3. Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)
Geena Davis as a vampire.
Transylvania 6-5000 – Geena Davis

For the first few years of her career, Davis portrayed different professional women. However, things changed after Transylvania 6-5000 when she played the nymphomaniac vampire Odette in her first movie with Jeff Goldblum, whom she would later marry.

The movie follows two tabloid reporters who, in order to keep their jobs, must go to Transylvania to investigate the Frankenstein monster. At first, they’re laughed at by the people in town, but they soon discover there is more to their story.

As they dig deeper into what is going on, they come across several different creatures. They must deal with the nymphomaniac vampire, a semi-mad doctor, mummies, and werewolves.

4. The Fly (1986)
Geena Davis standing in front of the teleportation machine.
The Fly – Geena Davis

The Fly marks the beginning of what Geena Davis to this day calls her “bug era,” which was shortly followed by Beetlejuice. It was also the second movie she was in with her (at the time) husband, Jeff Goldblum.

This horror sci-fi movie, with Goldblum and Davis as the leads, follows a scientist who puts together a teleportation device. In order to find out if the machine works, he decides to test it on himself and see if he is able to teleport.

However, when he is trying the machine, a fly sneaks in, leading to a merge of man and insect after the teleportation. Even though at first it looks like everything went fine, the fly’s cells begin to take over, and he starts to transform into a monster. His girlfriend is the only one witnessing this change.

The movie delivers one of the most disgusting scenes as Davis’s character has a dream she gives birth to a maggot.

5. Beetlejuice (1988)
Alec Baldwin watching as Geena Davis starts a fire on her fingers.
Beetlejuice – Geena Davis

Continuing with her bug era, Davis portrayed Barbara Maitland in the movie Beetlejuice, where Alec Baldwin played her husband.

The Maitlands were a happily married couple who die in a car accident but seem stuck to their home as ghosts unable to leave the residence. As they navigate their new reality, the Deetzes move into their home and begin to renovate it.

Trying to get rid of them, Barbara and Adam do their best to scare them away. However, Lydia (Winona Ryder) is unphased by this and seems to befriend the two ghosts.

In the meantime, they must deal with Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), who tries to help them but ends up becoming a dangerous force for Lydia.

6. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
Geena Davis standing between two aliens.
Earth Girls Are Easy – Geena Davis

Earth Girls Are Easy was the third and last movie that Davis did alongside husband Jeff Goldblum. This time around, the two played two of the five leading characters in the musical comedy.

Valerie is engaged to Ted (Charles Rocket) when a spaceship crashes into her swimming pool. She soon finds three aliens inside, played by Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans. At first sight, the aliens are three hairy beings, but after visiting Valerie’s friend’s salon, they become three handsome men.

The movie follows the aliens as they immerse themselves in the dating scene of LA in the 1980s after learning everything from TV.

7. The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Geena Davis wearing a black hat and an animal print jacket.
The Accidental Tourist – Geena Davis

In 1989, Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Accidental Tourist, her first of two nominations and only win. She received this award for playing Muriel Pritchett, a dog trainer.

The movie is based on the novel of the same title by Anne Tyler and follows the story of Macon Leary (William Hurt). Macon and his wife (Kathleen Turner) go through a separation after the murder of their son. Shortly after, Macon is in an accident that puts him on crutches.

While recovering from his injury, Macon is forced to move in with his siblings, where he meets Muriel (Geena Davis). The two begin a friendship that later develops into a relationship in which Macon is also very close to Muriel’s son. Things get complicated when his ex-wife finds out.

8. Quick Change (1990)
Bill Murray and Geena Davis standing together.
Quick Change – Geena Davis

Quick Change is the story of a robbery. Grimm (Bill Murray) dresses up as a clown and, with the help of his girlfriend (Geena Davis) and his friend (Randy Quaid), is able to execute the robbery of the century.

After taking all the money, the trio needs to find a way to leave the city. However, things don’t go as planned, as mishap after mishap seem to prevent them from making it to the airport and avoiding jail time.

Decades after the film’s release, Davis opened up in her book Dying of Politeness: A Memoir about the harassment she received from Murray on set. She recalls Murray came into her trailer screaming at her, “Get the f**k out there! What the f**k are you doing? Move! Move!”

9. Thelma & Louise (1991)
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis standing in a car in the desert.
Thelma & Louise – Geena Davis

Thelma & Louise is one of the two most famous Geena Davis movies and the one that earned her the second Academy Award nomination. It is the kind of movie that most people (if not everyone) have seen. The kind of movie women feel empowered after watching, and some teachers play at film schools.

Davis played Thelma, the housewife, while Susan Sarandon played Louise, her waitress friend. Thelma leaves behind her toxic husband for what’s supposed to be a short fishing trip with her friend. The trip quickly takes a turn when Louise kills the man who attempted to rape Thelma outside a bar.

Shortly after committing murder, Louise realizes she must flee the country, and Thelma joins her in this decision. From that moment on, the movie follows the two women as they escape the law, get robbed by a young Brad Pitt, and deal with Detective Slocumb (Harvey Keitel).

10. A League of Their Own (1992)
Geena Davis playing baseball.
A League of Their Own – Geena Davis

Davis’s second most famous movie is A League of Their Own, which premiered only a year after Thelma & Louise. Not too long ago, the movie went through a renaissance as more people discovered it after watching the show of the same title.

The movie tells the story of the first all-female baseball league that was created while men were deployed during World War II. The league is created by candymaker Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) and helps audiences meet sisters Dottie Hinson (Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty).

While the competitive sisters end up playing on different teams, Hinson must figure out how to help her team deal with former player Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) as he becomes their coach. Quickly enough, Dugan discovers the potential and talent there is in Hinson.

11. Hero (1992)
Geena Davis sitting on a desk.
Hero – Geena Davis

In 1992, Davis went from portraying a baseball player to taking on the role of Gale Gayley, a reporter, in Hero. This became the second movie she was a part of alongside Dustin Hoffman, who played the role of Bernie Laplante, a serial swindler.

After a plane crash, Laplante begins to help pull passengers out of the wreck, saving their lives. One of the passengers was Gayley, who decided to offer a million-dollar prize if the person who saved them stepped forward.

John Bubber (Andy Garcia) is the first man to claim the prize by saying he had been the hero, taking credit for Bernie’s actions. It is then that Laplante struggles to prove he has actually been the hero.

12. Angie (1994)
Geena Davis with long hair, red lips, and hoop earrings.
Angie – Geena Davis

In the movie Angie, Davis played the title character based on the novel Angie, I Says by Avra Wing. Angie is from Brooklyn and has dreamed her entire life of creating something better for herself. In the process of doing so, she discovers she is pregnant.

Immediately after finding out, her boyfriend, Vinnie (James Gandolfini), asks her to marry him, but Angie is hesitant. Amidst this new chaos, she meets a new man at a museum and ends up falling in love with him and having an affair.

I recently heard Davis speak at Megacon Orlando, where a fan asked her what it was like being in a movie like Angie. Davis said that the hardest part was creating a character that the audience would resonate with and understand.

13. Speechless (1994)
Geena Davis sitting at a table with Michael Keaton.
Speechless – Geena Davis

Six years after their first movie together, Davis and Michael Keaton worked together again in Speechless, where they play political speech writers.

In the middle of election season, Julia writes speeches for the democratic party while Vallick writes for the republican party. Unaware of their professional careers, the two begin a romance. Even though they should be rivals, considering they write for rival candidates, they do their best to make the relationship work.

However, things take a turn when Julia’s ex shows up in town. It looks like their professional lives won’t interfere with their relationship, but their past might.

14. Cutthroat Island (1995)
Geena Davis screaming as a pirate.
Cutthroat Island – Geena Davis

Even though Renny Harlin, Davis’s ex-husband, had produced the movie Speechless, Cutthroat Island was the first movie he directed in which Davis was the leading actor. Davis portrayed Feisty Morgan Adams, a pirate who inherited her father’s buccaneer and one-third of the map to the treasure buried on Cutthroat Island.

The map to the treasure was found on her father’s scalp, and in order to complete the two missing thirds, she must scalp her two uncles. However, her uncle, Dawg Brown (Frank Langella), wanted to keep the treasure for himself and was willing to battle her for it.

Not only was this the first movie with her ex-husband, but it was also the first movie in which Davis did all of the stunts herself.

15. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Geena Davis with blonde hair holding a gun.
The Long Kiss Goodnight – Geena Davis

The Long Kiss Goodnight was the third project Davis worked on with Harlin and the second movie of hers that he directed. It also marked the second movie in which she did all of her stunts, including ice skating while shooting a gun.

This was also the first movie in which a woman said, “Suck my d**k.”

Davis played Samantha Caine, a schoolteacher and mother who seems to be living an average suburban life. However, one day, she begins to have memories of violence and discovers she has skills she didn’t know of.

In order to find out what’s going on, she hires a private detective (Samuel L. Jackson). Together, they discover Caine used to be a government assassin who went missing after suffering from amnesia.

16. Stuart Little (1999)
Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie holding Stuart Little.
Stuart Little – Geena Davis

Stuart Little will always hold a special place in my heart as the very first Geena Davis movie I ever watched. For a young kid, the movie was quite entertaining with the leading role belonging to a small mouse that could talk.

The first movie of the series follows the Little family as the parents (Davis and Hugh Laurie) decide to adopt a mouse. As is to be expected, their son (Jonathan Lipnicki) is very upset at first but, in time, begins to love his new brother.

As if having a talking mouse wasn’t enough, the movie includes a talking cat as well. Its sequel, Stuart Little 2, also includes a talking bird and a talking falcon.

17. Accidents Happen (2009)
Geena Davis holding a glass of wine.
Accidents Happen – Geena Davis

Accidents Happen is the story of an extremely dysfunctional family, the Conways. Geena Davis and
Joel Tobeck play the parents of the family that, one way or another, the audience comes to love by the end of the movie.

The Conways suffer a family tragedy that leads to the weight of the family relying on the shoulders of 15-year-old Billy. He seems to be the only one who can keep his mom (who has become bitter), his brother (who has become distant), and his dad (who has become stoic) together.

However, when Billy gets tired of being the family’s glue (or punching bag) and starts acting out, his family experiences a radical change.

18. Me Him Her (2015)
Scott Bakula sitting next to Geena Davis.
Me Him Her – Geena Davis

Davis has played the role of a mother more than once, and Me Him Her falls right under that category. In 2015, she played Mrs. Ehrlick, a popular TV cop, Brendan’s (Luke Bracey) mother.

When Brendan is at the height of his career, he decides he wants to come out to his parents. In order to do so, he first comes out to his friend Cory (Dustin Milligan) and asks for his help to tell his parents.

Cory shows up in Los Angeles to help his friend, but every time he tries to help, he ends up putting Brendan in awkward and career-threatening scenarios. As he falls in love with a lesbian, his perspective on how to help Brendan changes.

19. Marjorie Prime (2017)
Geena Davis sitting on a couch.
Marjorie Prime – Geena Davis

As AI becomes more popular, Marjorie Prime gives a look at what could happen if you could computerize your loved ones after their death. That is what Marjorie has done with her deceased husband.

Tess (Davis) struggles to accept the fact that her 86-year-old mother spends most of her days talking to a computer. But this is the only way in which her mother can connect with her father’s history and everything that happened between them.

As connected as Marjorie is to her deceased husband’s computer version, the further away she gets from her daughter and the rest of their family.

20. Ava (2020)
Geena Davis sitting on an armchair with her dog.
Ava – Geena Davis

Ava is the story of a woman of the same name (Jessica Chastain) who is a trained, efficient, cold-blooded assassin. As she has spent some years on this line of work, Ava begins to become conscious of the kind of job she has been doing.

After overcoming her alcohol and drug abuse, when she begins to close a deal, she becomes guilty of what she is doing and ends up breaking protocol. Instead, she decides to reunite with her estranged family, not knowing she has become the target of several other assassins.

Davis plays the role of Bobbi, Ava’s mom, with whom she reconnects after eight years.

Which ones are your favorite Geena Davis movies? Let us know in the comments below!

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Lara Rosales is a bilingual writer with a BA in Latin-American Literature. She works in PR, hosts a podcast (Cats, Milfs & Lesbian Things), and writes on the internet about TV and movies. Some of her articles can be found on Tell-Tale TV, Geek Girl Authority, Collider, USA Wire, Mentors Collective, Instelite, Noodle, Dear Movies, and Flip Screened.

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