Every Single Adam Sandler Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best

See how Sandman's new basketball joint, Hustle, stacks up.
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

Really, it’s a proverb at this point: Sandman does what only Sandman can do. Adam Sandler turns in an Oscar-worthy performance (we’ll never let this snub go) in 2019’s Uncut Gems, dazzling as the rambling, gambling jeweler Howard Ratner. A year later? Hubie Halloween—a toilet-humored rehashing of the crude-humored romps the comedian made his name on. But it works. Yeah, he got some help from Steve Buscemi going all-out as a rabid werewolf, but it works.

That’s the range Sandler will give you. You have The Meyerowitz Stories and Punch-Drunk Loves of his filmography, smashed right up against Grown Ups and Little Nicky. (Don’t forget: DEEDS!) It’s a trip to sort out. Now, with the release of a new Sandler basketball joint, Hustle, we opted for some law and order, taking the liberty of ranking Sandler’s films from worst to best.

48. The Ridiculous 6

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Role: Tommy "White Knife" Stockburn

If you're a fan of westerns but wish they had more casual racism, then here's a movie for you. The rest of us will pass.

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47. Jack and Jill

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Role: Jack Sadelstein / Jill Sadelstein

What is Jack and Jill? Why is Jack and Jill?

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46. Zookeeper

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Role: Donald the Capuchin Monkey

Night at the Museum, but with a zoo and Adam Sandler is a monkey.

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45. The Do-Over

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Role: Max Kessler

They need a do-over on The Do-Over to try to make a better movie.

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44. Mixed Nuts

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Role: Louie

This deserves to be on here mostly because Adam Sandler is also in the worst Steve Martin movie and the worst Nora Ephron movie.

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43. Going Overboard

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Role: Schecky Moskowitz

Adam Sandler's first starring role in a movie! What happens when you get trapped on a cruise ship with Adam Sandler? Rent this and find out.

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42. Shakes the Clown

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Role: Dink the Clown

This is obviously not "an Adam Sandler film" but rather "a Bobcat Goldthwait film," which is perhaps an equally dubious description

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41. Grown Ups 2

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Role: Leonard "Lenny" Feder

Sometimes, Adam Sandler just wants to take a long vacation with a few old comedy friends and get paid millions for it. Which is fine! This was one of those times.

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40. The Animal

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Role: Townie

Adam Sandlerite Rob Schneider fronts this pretty questionable movie in which he receives animal organ transplants after a car accident. He brought along his buddy Sandler for the ride, giving him a tiny (but credited!) cameo.

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39. Coneheads

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Role: Carmine Weiner

Even though he just gets a bit part in this SNL movie, you can't deny that "Carmine Weiner" is a very Adam Sandler Character Name.

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38. Pixels

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Role: Sam Brenner

Why make a movie about video game nostalgia but make all the beloved video game characters bad guys? Also, Peter Dinklage's wig is a sin.

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37. Blended

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Role: Jim Friedman

Here's 50 First Dates in Africa.

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36. Bulletproof

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Role: Archie Moses

There's actually a pretty great quote from director Ernest Dickerson about this movie: "There's a movie I did a couple years ago called Bulletproof. I'd like to just erase that whole experience."

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35. The Cobbler

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Role: Max Simkin

This is not, in fact, about the popular dessert, but rather about a shoe maker who magically transforms into people when he puts on their footwear. This allows Sandler to get into a number of problematic situations, including becoming one of his neighbors so he can creep on the man's attractive girlfriend.

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34. Grown Ups

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Role: Leonard "Lenny" Feder

Another evergreen reminder that, sometimes, Adam Sandler just wants to take a long vacation with a few old comedy friends and get paid millions for it. This was another one of those times.

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33. Bedtime Stories

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Role: Skeeter Bronson

Sandler takes a swing at a family comedy, in a Happy Madison/Disney co-production. Despite bad reviews, the film went on to make a fortune.

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32. The Week Of

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Role: Kenny Lustig

If you've ever been in wedding, you know that the long week or planning before the ceremony is only worth it because there will be an open bar at the end of the whole thing. You can drink while you watch this one, but you'll have to pay for your own booze.

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31. Just Go With It

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Role: Dr. Daniel Leroy "Danny" Maccabee III

Another in the long line of rom-coms Sandler made (this time with Jennifer Aniston), but this one has the added bonus of...Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman? (Seriously.)

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30. That's My Boy

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Role: Donald "Donny" Berger

Sandler pairs with Andy Samberg for this mutli-generational comic mess.

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29. Little Nicky

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Role: Nicky

The first of Sandler's box office failures, this one features him as the son of the Devil, with a speech impediment and Kris Jenner's haircut.

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28. You Don't Mess With the Zohan

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Role: Zohan Dvir / Scrappy Coco

The most interesting thing about this movie is that Sandler actually got sued by a writer who said Zohan ripped off the idea to have "a Navy SEAL-turned-hairdresser-turned-crime-fighter-with-a-blow-dryer." Sandler was found to have not infringed on any copyright!

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27. Men, Women, and Children

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Role: Don Truby

Men, Women, and Children shows flashes of the dramatic greatness we'd associate with Adam Sandler later in the 2010s, but doesn't quite get there.

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26. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

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Role: Charles "Chuck" Levine

If you're the kind of person who learned about tolerance and accepting the concept of gay marriage from an Adam Sandler joint, well...bless your heart.

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25. Hotel Transylvania

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Role: Count Dracula

Basically Cartoon Grown Ups in Transylvania.

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24. Hotel Transylvania 3

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Role: Count Dracula

Adam Sandler returns as Dracula, head of a ragtag family of monsters, but this time, it's on a cruise. Like much of the best of the Sandler oeuvre, it's Tex Avery style slapstick mixed with a touch of heart: even monsters and those that are supposed to hate them, can get along.

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23. Hotel Transylvania 2

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Role: Count Dracula

This is truly The Godfather Part II of animated Transylvanian monster movies starring Adam Sandler.

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22. Sandy Wexler

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Role: Sandy Wexler

This is basically one entire inside joke about Sandler's real-life manager Sandy Wernick that approximately .0000000000000000000000001 percent of the world's population would be in on. But, it sort of works!

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21. Murder Mystery

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Role: Nick Spitz

Netflix has been pretty good to Adam Sandler, with his excellent stand-up special, 100% Fresh, and his stunning performance in The Meyerowitz Stories. And though this film has its problems, Netflix did pull off a pretty enjoyable Sandler rom-com with a whodunnit twist. Plus, Jennifer Aniston is always a joy to watch.

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20. Spanglish

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Role: John Clasky

Sandler meets James L. Brooks. There is a time and a place for this rewatch, and you find it more often than you think.

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19. Hubie Halloween

Role: Hubie Dubois

Hubie Halloween hits just about every Sandler pleasure center. The swapping of Hubie with Pubie, Steve Buscemi as a werewolf, Rob Schneider pissing his pants. Hubie Halloween sees Sandler at the beginning of a new act, too: Playing the wise elder/guardian role, a fixture of young Sandman’s work. (See: Happy Gilmore’s Chubbs). It’s honestly… kind of beautiful to watch. What? Too earnest?

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18. Eight Crazy Nights

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Role: Davey Stone, Whitey Duvall, Eleanor Duvall, and Deer

Not even the best Hanukkah movie.

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17. The Longest Yard

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Role: Paul Crewe

Another remake, this time of the 1974 Burt Reynolds comedy. The sports-movie-ing of this one is just fun enough to work.

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16. Mr. Deeds

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Role: Mr. Longfellow Deeds

This is a "remake" of a 1936 Frank Capra film that was twice-nominated for AFI's Top 100 list, where John Turturro delivers a not-cited-nearly-enough performance.

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15. Click

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Role: Michael Newman

This is probably one of Sandler's most depressing movies, as it takes an unexpectedly dark turn at the end. But here's a fun fact: This is the only Sandler movie that's been nominated for an Oscar (Best Makeup).

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14. Anger Management

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Role: Dave Buznik

"Let's get one of today's biggest movie stars, and one of Hollywood's living legends, and let's just get them yelling at each other." —Someone much wealthier than we will ever be.

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13. Hustle

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Role: Stanley Sugerman

Debuting at the tail end of the NBA's 75th anniversary year, Hustle is an absolute celebration of the game. Sandler is endlessly compelling—and entirely believable—as an NBA scout who discovers the next Greek Freak-esque surprise prospect. Hustle hits the sweet spot of Sandman's recent dramatic work and he goofiness that made us fall in love with him in the first place.

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12. 50 First Dates

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Role: Henry Roth

The Wedding Singer but with amnesia instead of '80s clothing. Very fun.

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11. Funny People

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Role: George Simmons

Sandler's willingness to go meta pays off.

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10. Reign Over Me

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Role: Charles "Charlie" Levine

Once every 10 movies, Sandler takes on a serious role. And while at points it dips into cliché, Sandler's performance here—as it is in most times he dips into this lane—is truly touching.

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9. Airheads

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Role: Pip

The first of Sandler's big movie roles—at the end of his SNL tenure, but before the formation of Happy Madison—when we were still wondering what kind of movie presence he'd be. Little did we know.

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8. The Waterboy

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Role: Robert "Bobby" Boucher, Jr

Arguably the most quotable Sandman outing of them all.

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7. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

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Role: Danny Meyerowitz

Earning a standing ovation at Cannes, Noah Baumbach's family comedy of manners was Sandler's best chance yet for an Oscar nomination as the middle-aged son of a domineering father (Dustin Hoffman) who projects his failures as an artist onto his kids.

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6. Punch-Drunk Love

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Role: Barry Egan

Adam Sandler's best acting work? Probably! But this is more of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie than an Adam Sandler movie, no matter how great he is in it.

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5. Billy Madison

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Role: Billy Madison

Adam Sandler's breakthrough performance sees him as a super-rich manchild who somehow cons everyone into believing he's charming and endearing.

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4. Happy Gilmore

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Role: Happy Gilmore

If you're between the ages of 30 and 45, you have seen this movie at least a dozen times. And you have laughed at it. Those are the rules.

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3. Uncut Gems

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Role: Howard Ratner

Never has Sandler disappeared into a role like this. Watching Sandler sleaze around New York, making a string of shady deals—you'll forget completely who you're watching. From his physical mannerisms, to his voice, and goofy transition lenses—Sandler is unrecognizable in this tense and taught crime thriller.

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2. The Wedding Singer

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Role: Robbie Hart

For all the serious acting Sandler has done in his career, this is his best of it. Surprisingly, this film, lovingly set in the '80s, has aged remarkably well of Sandler's Golden Years of the late '90s. He and Barrymore—their first of many lesser films together together—have real chemistry, making this the best true rom-com of his career.

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1. Big Daddy

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Role: Sonny Koufax

The McDonald's breakdown. Scuba Sam. Peein' on a wall. If you haven't seen Big Daddy in a minute, now is the time for a rewatch. Big Daddy is a surprisingly sweet—and hilarious—mediation on fatherhood, where a manchild receives custody of an actual child. Above all the cute-as-hell hijinks, Sandler's Sandlering, the comedy and drama of it all, lands a beautiful message about the love (and obligation) fathers have to their sons.

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