Every Single Adam Sandler Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
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
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.
47. Jack and Jill
Role: Jack Sadelstein / Jill Sadelstein
What is Jack and Jill? Why is Jack and Jill?
Role: Donald the Capuchin Monkey
Night at the Museum, but with a zoo and Adam Sandler is a monkey.
45. The Do-Over
Role: Max Kessler
They need a do-over on The Do-Over to try to make a better movie.
44. Mixed Nuts
This deserves to be on here mostly because Adam Sandler is also in the worst Steve Martin movie and the worst Nora Ephron movie.
43. Going Overboard
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.
42. Shakes the Clown
Role: Dink the Clown
41. Grown Ups 2
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.
40. The Animal
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.
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.
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.
Role: Jim Friedman
Here's 50 First Dates in Africa.
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."
35. The Cobbler
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.
34. Grown Ups
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.
33. Bedtime Stories
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.
32. The Week Of
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.
31. Just Go With It
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.)
30. That's My Boy
Role: Donald "Donny" Berger
Sandler pairs with Andy Samberg for this mutli-generational comic mess.
29. Little 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.
28. You Don't Mess With the Zohan
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!
27. Men, Women, and Children
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.
26. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
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.
25. Hotel Transylvania
Role: Count Dracula
Basically Cartoon Grown Ups in Transylvania.
24. Hotel Transylvania 3
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.
23. Hotel Transylvania 2
Role: Count Dracula
This is truly The Godfather Part II of animated Transylvanian monster movies starring Adam Sandler.
22. Sandy Wexler
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!
21. Murder Mystery
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.
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.
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?
18. Eight Crazy Nights
Role: Davey Stone, Whitey Duvall, Eleanor Duvall, and Deer
Not even the best Hanukkah movie.
17. The Longest Yard
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.
16. Mr. Deeds
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.
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).
14. Anger Management
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.
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.
12. 50 First Dates
Role: Henry Roth
The Wedding Singer but with amnesia instead of '80s clothing. Very fun.
11. Funny People
Role: George Simmons
Sandler's willingness to go meta pays off.
10. Reign Over Me
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.
8. The Waterboy
Role: Robert "Bobby" Boucher, Jr
Arguably the most quotable Sandman outing of them all.
7. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
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.
6. Punch-Drunk Love
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.
5. Billy Madison
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.
4. Happy Gilmore
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.
3. Uncut Gems
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.
2. The Wedding Singer
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.
1. Big Daddy
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.
From: Esquire US