10 Best Glenn Close Movies, Ranked


Like many screen actors, Glenn Close‘s career began on stage. The actress made her theater debut in 1974 at 27 and received her first Tony Award nomination in 1980. In 1982, director George Roy Hill cast Close opposite Robin Williams in the movie The World According to Garp after seeing her on Broadway. Her debut film performance resulted in the first of eight Academy Award Nominations, though, inexplicably (and criminally), Close has yet to secure an Oscar. Gold statues be damned, Close’s legacy is not defined by wins or losses but rather by her honest approach to acting and magnetic screen presence.

Close has credited screen legend Katherine Hepburn with influencing her acting career, but the actress is a legend in her own right. She has amassed an embarrassment of accolades in her illustrious career, including scene-eating performances in the television seriesThe Shield and Damages, respectively. Time Magazine has named her one of the most influential people in the world, and film historian Cari Beauchamp included Close in the top 10 actresses in cinema history. Her film catalog is a delectable Whitman’s sampler with something for everyone, regardless of their tastes. Here are a few staples to devour.

10 ‘The Natural’ (1984)

Directed by Barry Levinson

image via Tri Star

Often considered one of the greatest sports movies ever made, The Natural follows the life of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), from baseball hopeful to MVP. Hobbs leaves his girlfriend, Iris (Close), in Nebraska to pursue his dream. However, Hobbs’ path to glory is littered with potholes, including a murder-suicide plot, multiple hospitalizations, and repeated pressure to cheat. After an extended absence, Hobbs returns to the sport despite limited faith in his ability. Familiar dark forces resurface, but so does Iris, backlit with an ethereal glow and armed with a big surprise.

The Natural was adapted from Bernard Malamud’s novel of the same name. Some critics praised the adaptation’s victorious ending, while others and fans of the text resented the movie’s departure from Malamud’s more realistic intent. The Academy thoroughly enjoyed the film, honoring it with four Oscar Nominations at the 1985 Academy Awards. Close earned a Best Supporting Actress nod, her third consecutive nomination since 1983, and she’s responsible for one of the movie’s most famous scenes: an angel rises up from the stands, sent to support a naturally talented athlete filled with doubt. In fact, Close deserves partial credit for the iconic scoreboard clock-shattering home run. Close fans should grab a hotdog and rent this one to cover their bases.

The Natural

Release Date
May 11, 1984


Main Genre

Bernard Malamud , Roger Towne , Phil Dusenberry

TriStar Pictures

The Natural can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

9 ‘Hamlet’ (1990)

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli

Glenn Close as Lady Gertrude in Hamlet
image via Warner Bros.

Franco Zeffirelli‘s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet stars Mel Gibson as the title character determined to avenge his father’s death. The spirit of Hamlet’s father, the former King, informs Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother, Hamlet’s uncle Claudius (Alan Bates). Claudius marries Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude (Close), and claims the throne. Though Hamlet has vowed to murder Claudius, he delays vengeance, overwhelmed by his own contemplation and planning. The King and Queen observe Hamlet’s increasingly erratic behavior and send spies to monitor him. However, Hamlet accidentally murders Polonius (Ian Holm) and is marked for death. Various inanimate objects are coated with poison; traps are set, and, in true Shakespearean fashion, everyone dies in the end.

Zeffirelli wanted to make a film adaptation of the classic tragic play without modernizing the dialogue. Instead, the director cast a big Hollywood star (at the time), Gibson, as Hamlet to generate buzz for the feature. Zeffirelli’s films notoriously contain award-winning art direction and loyalty to the text, but Hamlet was met with mixed reviews and an underperforming box office. The director’s ambitious translation didn’t resemble the youthful, accessible tone of Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo and Juliet, yet the film wasn’t without merit. Gibson’s rendition of Hamlet polarized critics, but Close’s portrayal of Gertrude was lauded by many for her barely contained Oedipal restraint and passionate transmission of dialogue. Come for Gibson’s frosted Caesar, and stay for cringeworthy mother and son scenes too hot for Norman Bates.


Hamlet can be streamed on Amazon in the U.S.

Watch on Amazon

8 ‘Albert Nobbs’ (2011)

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Glenn Close and Mia Wasikowska sit on a park bench in Albert Nobbs
image via Entertainment One

Albert Nobbs is a period drama set in a busy hotel in 19th-century Dublin, Ireland. Rodrigo Garcia‘s film is an adaptation based on a story believed to have factual roots, written by realist author George Moore in 1918. Albert (Close), born female, is a butler employed at the Morrison Hotel and has spent 30 years secretly living as a man. Albert, a quiet, dutifully efficient hotel staff member, maintained his secret until the arrival of house painter Hubert Page (Janet McTeer). Hubert knows Albert’s secret because it’s his secret, too. The pair bond over harrowing shared experiences; for the first time in Albert’s life, he isn’t alone.

Albert Nobbs, released in 2011, wasn’t for everyone; critics were split. Close, a co-writer and producer, who had been trying to make the movie for years, knew it was a hard sell. Though he referred to the movie as “one of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen,” Roger Ebert praised Close’s full embodiment of the character. McTeer was also heralded for her performance as the unflappable optimist Hubert to Albert’s Eyore, providing much-needed warmth. Close and McTeer were nominated for their efforts at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, further testament to the powerful film. An outspoken advocate for human rights and equality, Close understands the impact created by visibility and representation, and her diverse film roles prove there’s nothing she can’t do.

Albert Nobbs

Release Date
December 21, 2011


Main Genre

Albert Nobbs can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

7 ‘101 Dalmatians’ (1996)

Directed by Stephen Herek

Glenn Close as Cruella de VIl smiling while holding her cigarrette in 101 Dalmatians.
Image via Walt Disney Pictures 

The 1996 Disney classic 101 Dalmatians is a live-action remake of the 1961 animated film. Video game designer Roger Dearly (Jeff Daniels) lives in London with his pet dalmatian, Pongo. Pongo discovers Perdita, a female Dalmatian owned by fashion designer Anita Campbell-Green (Joely Richardson), and both couples fall in love. Anita, who works at House of de Vil, designs a Dalmatian-inspired coat, and her boss, Cruella de Vil (Close), decides to harvest the dog breed to make coats out of their fur. Meanwhile, Anita and Perdita become pregnant, and Cruella devises a plan to steal as many Dalmatian puppies as possible, including Perdita’s. Animals near and far band together to recover the pups in a showdown between good and evil.

The remarkable female villain of children’s movies is no easy feat: over-the-top, devoid of humanity, scary but not too scary, and most importantly, transcendent. Thus, the list of unforgettable live-action dispatches from darkness on the silver screen is short. Instant association with a shrill voice and green skin? Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West. Two-toned black and white wild mane and cigarette extension? Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil. Aided by a talented hair and makeup department and a dialect coach, Close spent a few months portraying the puppy-skinner in exchange for Disney icon permanence. Even the presence of 101 adorable puppies couldn’t upstage the captivating camp Close served. The movie wasn’t adored by critics, no, but it grossed a hefty $320 million, and Close was nominated for a Golden Globe. She has fun with this performance, and it’s contagious.

101 Dalmatians (1996)

Release Date
January 25, 1961

Clyde Geronimi , Hamilton Luske , Wolfgang Reitherman

Rod Taylor , J. Pat O’Malley , Betty Lou Gerson , Martha Wentworth , Ben Wright , Cate Bauer


Bill Peet , Dodie Smith

101 Dalmatians can be streamed on Disney+ in the U.S.

Watch on Disney+

6 ‘The Lion in Winter’ (2003)

Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky

Glenn Close adjusts her crown in The Lion in Winter
image via Showtime

The Lion in Winter is a television movie adapted from the 1966 play written by James Goldman. In the film, Henry II (Patrick Stewart), 50, must choose a successor to the throne among a nest of pit vipers—er, family members. The powerful king summons his three sons, Richard, Geoffrey, John, Phillip II of France (Johnathan Rhys Meyers), and his estranged and imprisoned wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Close), to Chinon Castle at Christmas. Henry’s task is daunting, as he doesn’t consider any of his sons a worthy candidate for the throne. To complicate matters, Henry considers John the least problematic of their sons, but Eleanor favors Richard (a lot). Numerous schemes fail to create any solutions (including sentencing his sons to death), and everyone goes their separate ways as a prize-winning dysfunctional family without resolution.

The film was shown in two parts on the Showtime network in 2003 and was the second film adaptation of the play. Katherine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, and Anthony Hopkins (in his film debut) starred in the 1968 version to commercial and critical acclaim. In the latest iteration, Close impressed critics and viewers alike with a rendition of Eleanor that was as good as Hepburn’s, though Close made it her own. Close was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her period piece prowess and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie. Though the 1968 version scored several Academy Awards, Close’s adaptation was on a smaller scale but by no means a smaller performance.

The Lion in Winter (2003)


Flying Freehold Productions

Run Time
167 Minutes

James Goldman

Release Date
December 26, 2003

Glenn Close, Patrick Stewart

The Lion in Winter can be purchased on DVD from Amazon in the U.S.

Buy on Amazon

5 ‘The Wife’ (2017)

Directed by Bjorn Runge

Glenn Close in 'The Wife' (2018)
Image via Picturehouse Entertainment

Based on the best-selling novel by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife is a story about a gifted ghostwriting spouse behind her husband’s literary success. The movie follows Joan (Close), Joseph Castleman’s (Johnathan Pryce) wife, as she considers her life through the years, leading up to her husband’s Nobel Prize win for Literature. The audience accompanies Joan through her memories in scenes woven into the present. Moments going back as far as 1958 illustrate how Joan has sacrificed her sense of self and hidden her talent from the world, instead bolstering her insecure husband. She grows increasingly incensed as the prize ceremony grows closer, the truth never leaving the confines of their marriage– or does it?

The Wife‘s release created a swarm of awards buzz for Close, including her eighth Academy Award Nomination and a Golden Globe win for Best Actress. The movie was considered a success with an average rating of 86% from Rotten Tomatoes and a box office gross of $20 million against a $7 million budget. Critics credited Close for carrying the film, often referring to her understated, simmering performance as a tour-de-force. Leading up to the Oscars ceremony, the murmurs and hopeful forecasts all pointed to a win for the cinema stalwart, but she was again denied. Close stated that she was drawn to the role because Joan reminded her of her mother, who was subservient to Close’s father for years. Through Joan, Close reinstated her mother’s power and that of women like her in a powerful tribute and must-see performance.

The Wife

Release Date
August 17, 2018

Björn Runge

105 Minutes

Main Genre

The Wife can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

4 ‘The Paper’ (1994)

Directed by Ron Howard

Glenn Close glares above her glasses in The Paper
image via Universal

In Ron Howard‘s dramedy The Paper, journalists working at (fictional) The New York Sun scramble to secure tomorrow’s story within 24 hours. Henry Hackett (Michael Keaton) is addicted to his job as the tabloid’s editor but neglects his pregnant wife Martha (Marissa Tomei), a Sun journalist on maternity leave. Meanwhile, a breaking story involving the slaying of two white businessmen has created a frenzy in the newsroom, and managing editor Alicia Clark (Close) has decided which headline the paper will run. Hackett and Sun columnist McDougal (Randy Quaid) become obsessed with disproving Alicia’s assertion that two teenage African American boys arrested for the crime are guilty. Editor-in-chief Bernie White (Robert Duvall) grants Hackett and a motley crew of investigators a short extension to substantiate their claims before the printing press begins at 8 pm.

In preparation for his frantic journalistic film foray, Howard visited The New York Post and The Daily News to accurately capture the essence of reporting at a newspaper. His research paid off. Critics and audiences loved the movie, which did well at the box office with a gross exceeding $48 million. The (star-studded) ensemble banded together in a synergetic hive to create a fast-paced drama with a thrilling undercurrent topped with comedy. The role of Alicia was originally named Alan, written for a male-dominant newsroom by Jurrasic Park author David Koepp. Luckily, Howard wanted Close for the role, and she turned in a scene-stealing, crow-eating, and ultimately, bloody performance to remember.


The Paper can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

3 ‘The Big Chill’ (1983)

Directed by Lawrence Kasdan

Movie still of the entire cast of The Big Chill
image via Columbia Pictures

A group of college friends assemble after the sudden death of their friend Alex and spend a couple of days together sorting through their collective lives. The ensemble comprises a married couple, Harold Cooper (Kevin Kline) and Dr. Sarah Cooper (Close), who seems to have reached a level of adulthood that has eluded others. Nick (William Hurt) is a Vietnam veteran with an addiction, and Meg (Mary Kay Place), an attorney, has sworn off relationships and is looking for someone to sire a child. Karen (JoBeth Williams) is unhappily married and has carried a torch for Sam (Tom Berenger), a TV actor. Meanwhile, magazine journalist Michael (Jeff Goldblum) openly flirts with Alex’s young, sort-of grieving girlfriend, Chloe (Meg Tilly). Together, the friends make discoveries, life-changing decisions, and a plan to keep in touch while one of the greatest movie soundtracks plays along.

While the critical response was lukewarm, The Big Chill became a classic contribution to cinema that continues to recruit new fans today. Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the screenplay based on his own group of college friends in the 60s, their communal way of living, and political and social disillusionment in the 70s. Despite earning only 2 out of 4 stars from Roger Ebert, the movie was honored with 3 Academy Award Nominations, with Close securing the only nod for acting. As Sarah, Close quietly waded through complex grief for Alex while maintaining her role as the matriarch with a subtlety known only to master thespians. For fans of the actress, this is a non-negotiable viewing requirement.

The Big Chill

Release Date
September 28, 1983

Lawrence Kasdan

105 Minutes

Main Genre

The Big Chill can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

2 ‘Fatal Attraction’ (1987)

Directed by Adrian Lyne

Michael Douglas and Glenn Close leaning close about to kiss in Fatal Attraction
Image via Paramount Pictures

Married attorney Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) meets an alluring editor named Alex Forrest (Close) and has an affair while his wife Beth (Anne Archer) and young daughter are away for the weekend. Dan informs Alex that their time together is temporary, but she needs more convincing. To lure Dan back, Alex dangles opera tickets, followed by repeated attempts to reach him at work to no avail. Her efforts increase in intensity and unpredictability as Dan desperately races to keep the affair hidden from his unsuspecting wife. Without proper mental health intervention, Alex spirals out of control with disturbing and unfortunate consequences.

Fatal Attraction spent eight weeks at number one at the box office in 1987, raking in an enormous $320 million worldwide. The movie obtained six Academy Award Nominations, including Best Picture and Director, andan additional Best Actress Nomination for Close. The thorough actress consulted with several psychologists about Alex’s theoretical motives and thought processes to understand the character. Most critics praised the film, while others, especially as time moved on with an updated DSM and broader knowledge of mental illness, criticized the film’s villainous portrayal of a woman in need of help. Close, who sustained a concussion during the filming of her death scene, has stated that she didn’t believe Alex would hurt others, and the film’s original ending was a better fit. Irrespective of these facts, Close will forever be synonymous with the film. For an alternative perspective, fans can find commentary by Close and the original ending on the re-released Fatal Attraction Special Edition DVD from 2002.


Fatal Attraction

Release Date
September 11, 1987


Main Genre

James Dearden

Paramount Pictures

Fatal Attraction can be streamed on Hulu in the U.S.

Watch on Hulu

1 ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (1988)

Directed by Stephen Frears

Glenn Close seated in a corseted gown as the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liasons
image via Warner Bros.

Adapted from the 1985 play by Christopher Hampton, Dangerous Liaisons centers around a scorned aristocrat, the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Close). Determined to exact revenge on her former lover, the Comte de Bastide, she plans to disgrace his new fiancée, the young and inexperienced Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman). Merteuil implores the equally bored aristocratic deviant Sebastian Valmont (John Malkovich) to execute her revenge plot, but he has another idea. If Valmont can seduce the profoundly religious Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) and obtain written proof of this encounter, Merteuil will sleep with him. However, Valmont’s ego leads him away from Tourvel and closer to Cécile, ultimately ending everyone’s participation in the game.

Dangerous Liaisons was a critically acclaimed period drama that garnered seven Academy Award Nominations, including Best Picture and, you guessed it, another Best Actress Nomination for Close. Rotten Tomatoes issued a 94% fresh score, and critics universally praised the talented cast and crew. For her performance as Merteuil, reviews mentioning Close were especially favorable. From her calculated machinations to exasperated eye rolls regarding inferior acquaintances, Close managed to insert moments of comedy sandwiched betwixt her barely contained contempt. Though it was her will to wage war with Valmont, audiences witnessed Merteuil’s descent through Close’s deft hand. The climactic animal release and eventual public defeat etched on her face is an enduring image succinctly captured by a legend.

Dangerous Liaisons

Release Date
December 21, 1988


Main Genre

Christopher Hampton , Choderlos de Laclos

Dangerous Liaisons can be rented for streaming on Amazon in the U.S.

Rent on Amazon

KEEP READING: ‘The Deliverance’: Plot, Cast, and Everything We Know So Far About Lee Daniels’ Horror Movie


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