The 33 greatest Dwayne Johnson movies

Fast Five
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Whether he’s in the wrestling ring or walking the red carpet, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known the world over as arguably one of the biggest movie stars of all time.

Originating in the WWE (formerly WWF) as The Rock, Dwayne Johnson got bit by the acting bug when he started acting in TV guest roles for shows like That ‘70s Show (where he played his own father, Rocky Johnson) and Star Trek Voyager. In 2001, he was caked under putrid CGI to play the ancient warrior Mathayus, aka The Scorpion King, in the summer blockbuster The Mummy Returns. After reprising the role in his own standalone prequel movie, “The Rock” has been as forceful and invincible of a movie star as his stage name suggests.

Although Johnson has returned to the wrestling ring on several occasions, he still asserts his celebrity status as a movie star, typically anchoring in mega-budget tentpole releases. Whether he’s in heartfelt family dramas, gritty R-rated revenge movies, or standing firm against superheroes, The Rock has done it all. But which of these are the greatest, really?

33. Beyond the Mat (1999)

Beyond the Mat

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Dwayne Johnson first tasted stardom inside the squared circle, carrying on his family’s tradition as a champion professional wrestler known as “The Rock.” In 1999, Johnson made his first, albeit unofficial film appearance in Barry W. Blaustein’s canonical documentary Beyond the Mat, which takes audiences deep behind the curtains of the then-named World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The movie highlights several figures in the wrestling biz circa 1998, namely Mick Foley, who at the time went by the name “Mankind” and was embroiled in an onscreen feud with The Rock while Blaustein’s cameras rolled. Beyond the Mat is more than just a novelty as The Rock’s first film - see him say hello to the Foley children, to ensure they aren’t traumatized when he beats their daddy up later that night - but as a riveting time capsule into a business that heavily defined ‘90s popular culture.

32. Tooth Fairy (2010)

Tooth Fairy

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Following in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dwayne Johnson also went from gritty action movies like The Scorpion King and The Rundown to… Tooth Fairy. In this saccharine family comedy, Johnson plays a ruthless hockey player who is forced to serve in the magical order of tooth fairies. While Tooth Fairy is painfully cute and serves up more sugary sweetness than substance, it is harmless fun, and solid enough as an introduction to Dwayne Johnson for the younger crowd. For the rest of us, the movie’s real legacy is that it marked the start of Dwayne Johnson being credited by his full name rather than his wrestling moniker.

31. The Other Guys (2010)

The Other Guys

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

From director Adam McKay, The Other Guys is an affectionate send-up of ‘80s and ‘90s buddy cop blockbusters, with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg playing low-level NYPD cops who team up on the case of a lifetime. The Other Guys is a modern classic, and only ranks behind other Dwayne Johnson movies for the simple fact that Johnson, along with fellow movie badass Samuel L. Jackson, only features in a supporting role (and that’s putting it generously). But rest assured, both Johnson and Jackson go out like true heroes. Never forget: Always look down before you “aim for the bushes.”

30. Red Notice (2021)

Red Notice

(Image credit: Netflix)

In this overproduced action comedy caper from Rawson Marshall Thurber for Netflix, Dwayne Johnson leads as an FBI agent who reluctantly teams up with a wisecracking art thief (Ryan Reynolds) to take down a mutual enemy, a notorious criminal known as “The Bishop” (Gal Gadot). While Red Notice has its charms, its entertainment value lies solely in one’s personal limits for Dwayne Johnson as an invincible action figure and Ryan Reynolds’ relentless winking humor. For some, that’s pure Hollywood heaven, but for others, it’s utter hell and enough to question if the streaming business is one elaborate money laundering scheme. Basically, you have to decide for yourself if Red Notice is worth stealing your time.

29. Black Adam (2022)

Black Adam

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Dwayne Johnson spent almost a decade signed to Warner Bros. to play the supervillain Black Adam. Finally in late 2022, Johnson flew into theaters as the anti-hero in black in the standalone feature Black Adam, from director Jaume Collet-Sera. Regretfully, the end result is mixed at best. While the movie is prime popcorn fare with Johnson engaged in teflon mayhem against other DC heroes - including Pierce Brosnan as the enigmatic Dr. Fate - Black Adam hardly changed the superhero game. (Or, as Johnson said it often, “the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe.”) Despite a buzzy post-credits scene featuring the return of Henry Cavill as Superman, Black Adam failed to electrify the box office to warrant sequels, and the DC Universe went forward without either Cavill or Johnson as their caped crusaders. Maybe somewhere else in the multiverse, there are audiences being blown away by Black Adam 2.

28. Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

Race to Witch Mountain

(Image credit: Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios)

While its only real legacy is an internet meme where Dwayne Johnson is shocked, Race to Witch Mountain is one of the better offerings throughout Johnson’s exclusivity to Disney in the late 2000s. Directed by Andy Fickman, the movie stars Johnson as a Las Vegas cab driver who unwittingly picks up two teenagers (AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig), who are actually aliens and hire Johnson to get them away from government agents. Funny, propulsive, and surprisingly sweet at heart, Race to Witch Mountain is by no means a classic, but those who have seen it know the wild ride it delivers.

27. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

In the first major spin-off of the Fast & Furious series, Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs reluctantly joins forces with Jason Statham’s Furious 7 villain, Deckard Shaw; the two bald butt-kickers work together on a mission to stop the artificially enhanced superhuman Brixton Lore (Idris Elba). While Hobbs & Shaw is a far cry from the more grounded action films the Fast & Furious movies originated, it wisely makes the most of Johnson and Statham’s dynamite chemistry, not to mention a formidable Vanessa Kirby as Shaw sibling Hattie. The climax of the movie is Hobbs & Shaw at its best, with Johnson leading a heroic haka against Brixton’s men, whose sophisticated weapons are no match for traditional Samoan armaments. 

26. The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise saw Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs fully integrated as part of Dominic Toretto’s “Family” - though tensions were famously very, very real behind the scenes for Johnson and Vin Diesel. While Dominic Toretto has gone rogue under the influence of a new super hacker (played by Charlize Theron), Hobbs takes partial charge of the group, leading them on a mission that takes them from the gritty streets of New York City to the icy tundras of the Arctic. Dare you to watch Johnson redirect a submarine missile with his bare hands and not have a smile on your face.

25. Hercules (2014)


(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

While Dwayne Johnson is never really convincing with a giant lion mane on his head, his starring role in the 2014 film Hercules has enough muscle to make a case for more sword and sandal epics in modern Hollywood. Loosely based on the graphic novel by Steve Moore (who wanted his name removed after learning he wouldn’t be compensated nor consulted in a creative capacity), Hercules tells of the famed mythological hero who is hired to stop a bloodthirsty warlord. While it’s still another epic VFX affair, Johnson flexes real might in his performance that it’s hard not to root for him as he belts out “I am Hercules!” in the movie’s thrilling climax.

24. Faster (2010)


(Image credit: CBS Films)

Before Dwayne Johnson stood at the peak of Hollywood movie stardom, he took charge in mid-level fare that knew enough to just let “The Rock” do what he does best. Faster, a 2010 thriller from George Tillman Jr., stars Dwayne Johnson as an ex-con determined to exact vengeance on his brother’s killers. While Faster has enough touches of a gritty noir to deliver a more elevated experience, Faster ultimately takes the easy route and relies solely on Dwayne Johnson laying the smackdown on all who stand in his way. Hard to say that’s a bad thing.

23. The Game Plan (2007)

The Game Plan

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Dwayne Johnson spent some of his prime years in family comedies, but that doesn’t mean he squandered them. In his 2007 family comedy The Game Plan, Johnson wins over audiences’ hearts as a self-centered star football player who suddenly learns he’s the father to an eight-year-old girl, Peyton (played by Madison Pettis). Putting aside the absurd reasons how he never knew about Peyton’s existence, The Game Plan is a heartfelt, uplifting movie about how much love for family can win over all of us.

22. Doom (2005)

Dwayne Johnson in Doom

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Before successful adaptations of video games like The Last of Us and Fallout, the “video game curse” loomed over Hollywood. During these dark years came Doom, from director Andrzej Bartkowiak. The Boys’ Karl Urban stars as John “Reaper” Grimm (AKA, Doomguy), an elite black ops soldier whose unit is dispatched to Mars to investigate a distress call from a scientific research facility. Dwayne Johnson leads as squad leader “Sarge,” who - spoilers! - winds up infected with whatever the scientists were working on. Doom was not loved by anyone upon release, lambasted by critics as another poor action film and hated by gamers for changing the enemies from demons to zombies. But in retrospect, Doom has slowly won over more admirers who relish its tryhard vibe, its novelty first-person sequence, and Dwayne Johnson in his performance as a truly monstrous bad guy.

21. Snitch (2013)


(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Loosely based on the accounts of DEA informant James Settembrino, Dwayne Johnson stars in Snitch as John Matthews, a construction company owner who goes undercover for the DEA after his son is framed in a drug deal. Snitch doesn’t amount to anything more than what it says on the tin can, but it still offers an unusually thoughtful and engrossing Dwayne Johnson who is surrounded by a surprisingly stacked cast: Benjamin Bratt, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, the late Michael Kenneth Williams, David Harbour, and Harold Perrineau all feature in one of Johnson’s better films as an onscreen theatrical actor.

20. Central Intelligence (2016)

Central Intelligence

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In what would be the first of several collaborations with comedian Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson stars as a hotshot CIA agent who recruits his old high school classmate (Hart) - the only one to ever show him kindness back in the day - on a risky mission to save the world from a terrorist. While Central Intelligence lacks actual intelligence in its script, it is saved by a winning tag-team combination in Johnson and Hart. Together, the two bring to mind some of the best “big guy/little guy” duos of yesteryear, from Schwarzenegger/DeVito in Twins to Farley/Spade in Tommy Boy. 

19. Jungle Cruise (2021)

Jungle Cruise

(Image credit: Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios)

After the success of Moana in 2016, Dwayne Johnson returned to working with the House of Mouse. In 2021, the star co-anchored Jungle Cruise with Emily Blunt, which was not only a solid adventure film in its own right but a welcome return to blockbuster adventures in the spirit of The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean. (Like the latter, Jungle Cruise is also based on the popular Disney attraction.) While it takes real suspension of disbelief to accept that an early 20th century steamboat captain to have the towering physique of The Rock, Johnson and Blunt help make an overproduced studio release feel like a worthwhile trip to the wild side. 

18. Skyscraper (2018)


(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

For a time, Dwayne Johnson was the reigning champion of disaster movies. After enduring catastrophic earthquakes (San Andreas) and giant mutant monsters (Rampage), Johnson took on falling buildings in Skyscraper. From director Rawson Marshall Thurber, Johnson plays a former Marine turned security consultant who is sent to review the world’s tallest skyscraper, a mega-structure called “The Pearl” in Hong Kong. Naturally, terrorists enter the picture, leaving it up to Johnson’s Will Sawyer to save the day. While the film's obvious green screen work renders its death-defying situations into feeling like video game cutscenes, Skyscraper brings back old school movie heroism in the style of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno.

17. Gridiron Gang (2006)

Gridiron Gang

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

In one of the very few dramatic and non-action roles in Dwayne Johnson’s entire oeuvre, The Rock plays a football coach who mentors troubled Los Angeles youths by using the sport of football to turn them away from drugs and gangs. While Gridiron Gang doesn’t go long, so to speak, and suffers under worn cliches set by other at-risk youth movies - think Stand and Deliver, Stand By Me, and Dangerous Minds - it still features a mesmerizing Dwayne Johnson performing on a deadly-serious wavelength. It remains baffling how much Johnson hasn’t revisited this side of his artistry enough, because he definitely has the juice to make it work.

16. Rampage (2018)


(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

It wasn’t the first video game movie Dwayne Johnson starred in, but with a $428 million box office gross, it’s easily the most commercially successful. Based on the Midway arcade title, Johnson stars as an ex-soldier (of course) and primatologist whose best animal friend George, an albino gorilla, is mutated by scientists into an oversized kaiju. But in Godzilla-like fashion, George is the only one who can stop two other mutant monsters - the crocodile Lizzie, and the wolf Ralph - from destroying all of Chicago. While the movie’s feel-good ending renders the movie’s catastrophic stakes a tad toothless, it’s The Rock teaming up with a giant gorilla to fight giant monsters. Really, what else is there to ask for?

15. San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

“The Rock versus Earthquakes” kind of writes itself, doesn’t it? A modern epic disaster movie, San Andreas features Dwayne Johnson as a helicopter rescue pilot and family man who is caught in a massive earthquake that, ahem, rocks the entire West Coast of the U.S. Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario star as Johnson’s estranged wife and daughter respectively, with Johnson fighting the forces of nature to reunite and protect them. Despite the unwieldy scale of San Andreas, the movie succeeds as an emotionally charged thriller about the lengths a man will go to save his loved ones.

14. Be Cool (2005)

Be Cool

(Image credit: MGM)

Dwayne Johnson has made several returns to WWE since becoming a full-time movie star. But in his first prolonged break from the ring, he maintained his newfound Hollywood status in a string of leading and supporting roles. This includes Be Cool, a sequel to the 1995 film Get Shorty, in which Johnson plays a flamboyant, stereotypically gay bodyguard to crooked film producers. Although Be Cool doesn’t register as PC to modern eyes, Johnson’s enthusiasm for an offbeat role makes it at least entertaining. In his own words: “Scorchin’!”

13. Get Smart (2008)

Get Smart

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In this lively, knee-slapping modern movie version of the Mel Brooks TV series, Dwayne Johnson plays the ruthless and cunning “Agent 23” in the top secret intelligence agency CONTROL. While Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway lead Get Smart as its main stars - and do so with aplomb, because they’re genuinely great together - Johnson’s Agent 23 proves to be a formidable foil whose allegiance is called into question. Johnson doesn’t take center stage in Get Smart, but he’s just one of many reasons why the movie remains hilarious and exciting after all this time.

12. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

It was almost impossible to imagine that a Jumanji sequel/reboot could outdo the original. Well, it didn’t. But Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, from director Jake Kasdan, is lots of fun in its own right. A standalone sequel to the original classic that starred Robin Williams, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle transports four high school teenagers in detention into an immersive, lifelike Jumanji “video game” in which they inhabit avatars portrayed by Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan… and Dwayne Johnson, as the game’s heroic Dr. Smolder Bravestone. While a fraction of Jumanji is just more of Johnson and Hart yelling at each other and making funny faces, the movie works as both an all-ages crowd-pleaser and an affectionate satire of video game tropes. 

11. The Scorpion King (2002)

The Scorpion King

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It’s the movie that made Dwayne Johnson more than just “The Rock.” In this prequel to The Mummy series, Johnson reprises his villainous role of Mathayus from The Mummy Returns in what is essentially his origin story movie, detailing his rising from ancient tribal warrior to the feared legendary figure called “The Scorpion King.” While the movie was, and frankly still is, a noisy sword-and-sandal blockbuster that pales in comparison to its predecessors, it still cemented Dwayne Johnson as more than a "wrassler" trying out as an actor. Audiences really latched onto The Rock in this movie, allowing the People’s Champ to embark on a long road to Hollywood domination. Long live the king.

10. Fighting With My Family (2019)

Fighting With My Family

(Image credit: MGM)

Credit to Dwayne Johnson: Even as a Hollywood mega-star, he has never shied away from his wrestling roots. In 2019, Johnson took an interest in the story of then-WWE star Paige (also known as Saraya), an English female pro wrestler who long stood out in her own rise to industry stardom. Inspired by a 2012 documentary that chronicled Paige and her family, Fighting With My Family stars Florence Pugh as a fictionalized Paige who works her way up from England’s indie scene to the bright lights of the WWE. Johnson was not only a producer on the movie, but also plays himself, recreating an encounter between himself and Paige backstage at a WWE event. Though Johnson’s role in the movie is minimal, it rises to the forefront as a movie in which Johnson dishes out his signature insults as “The Rock” for celluloid posterity.

9. Moana (2016)


(Image credit: Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios)

What else can The Rock say except, “You’re welcome!” In this animated musical fantasy from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Johnson plays the demigod Maui, a tattooed hunk who mentors young Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) in her journey to restore the heart of the goddess Te Fiti. While an original story, Maui is heavily inspired by Polynesian myths; Johnson himself is of half-Samoan ethnicity, with his famous tattoos illustrating his family’s story. Moana is as entertaining and invigorating as any good Disney musical, but it’s the smooth soft falsetto of Johnson’s singing voice that makes Moana such a delight. Fun fact: Maui’s visual design was heavily inspired by Johnson’s own grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.

8. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Honestly, it’s maybe the most underrated movie in Dwayne Johnson’s career. In the sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Dwayne Johnson enters the movie as Roadblock, who - spoilers! - takes over as the new main character from Channing Tatum’s Duke, who is shockingly killed off early in the movie. Under tactical direction from Jon M. Chu, G.I. Joe: Retaliation hits hard and hits fast as an on-the-run military action-thriller that shows how fast fascist rule can take over when no one is looking. Watch Dwayne Johnson hide in a well and just barely miss bullets being fired at him, and you’ll be left holding your breath just like him and the other Joes.

7. Walking Tall (2004)

Walking Tall

(Image credit: MGM)

In this remake of the 1973 film, Dwayne Johnson plays a former U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant, Chris Vaughn, who returns home to Washington and finds his beloved small town has fallen under the corrupt influence of a casino magnate (Neal McDonough). Armed with only his grit and a piece of lumber, Sgt. Vaughn campaigns as sheriff and wages a one-man war against the men bending his town to their will. With Johnson still early in his career and on an upward trajectory, Walking Tall makes an excellent showcase of what’s soon to come from the destined icon - and stands straight as a competent, rollicking action movie weighted with gravity.

6. Furious 7 (2015)

Furious 7

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

All we need to do is just play the clip of The Rock breaking free of his arm cast and end it there. But if we must elaborate: Furious 7, still one of the better entries in the entire Fast & Furious franchise, sees Johnson return as Luke Hobbs who is sidelined by incoming villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Though Johnson spends the majority of the movie in a hospital bed, he rises up in time for the movie’s climax, flexing his arm cast off to get in the fight. With director James Wan at the helm, Furious 7 feels unlike other Fast & Furious movies: It’s darker, more daring, and doing the most despite being burdened with the loss of Paul Walker during filming. 

5. Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Fast & Furious 6

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It was a tall order for Justin Lin to top himself after Fast Five. While Fast & Furious 6 doesn’t reach the same lofty heights as its immediate predecessor, it’s still one of the entire series’ best sequels, and arguably the platonic ideal for any Fast Saga installment. (Just grounded enough to feel real, but just fantastical enough to defy reason.) While the luster of Dwayne Johnson’s returning Luke Hobbs has faded a bit, The Rock keeps an imposing presence who provides a much-needed lawful counterbalance to the film’s collection of rogues. Fast & Furious 6 is summertime movie goodness at its finest, made all the more impactful because of The Rock’s involvement.

4. Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

After three consecutive Transformers movies, Michael Bay returned to grittier action dramas in the style of his past hits like Bad Boys and The Rock. (No, not Dwayne Johnson.) In 2013, Bay directed Pain & Gain, based on the impossibly true story of Miami bodybuilders and ex-cons who carried out a series of crimes in the mid-1990s. Dwayne Johnson plays Paul Doyle, a born-again Christian who is roped back into a life of crime by lead protagonist Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg). A maximalist production in which Bay invites audiences on a hellish rollercoaster ride to chase the American dream, Pain & Gain is fittingly brawny and sweaty, and memorable for being one of Dwayne Johnson’s last R-rated movies before spending the rest of the 2010s in more crowd-pleasing PG-13 fare. Johnson steals the movie often, including an impossible-but-still-reportedly-true moment in which he cooks severed hands on a barbecue grill.

3. Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Swerving the Fast & Furious series away from the DVD bargain bin and into the upper echelons of Hollywood billion-dollar grosses was Fast Five, with Dwayne Johnson making his franchise debut as the determined, calculated DSS agent Luke Hobbs. Tasked with bringing Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor to justice, Luke’s appearance in Fast Five strongly contrasts with his later appearances, being less quippy and all business as he swaggers about with the vibe of an alpha wolf in camo pants and skin-tight Under Armour layers. Even now after all these years, Luke’s introduction is an all-time great moment for the Fast & Furious, with Luke getting straight to brass tacks without wasting any breath. His one-on-one fight with Dom Toretto later in the movie hits equally hard, too.

2. Southland Tales (2006)

Southland Tales

(Image credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

It’s downright incomprehensible that it almost flirts with genius. From Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly came his sophomore feature Southland Tales, an indecipherable political thriller mired in the miasma of post-9/11 paranoia. Set in a near future alternate 2008, in the aftermath of World War III, the movie tells of several different characters whose lives weave in and out in an elaborate narrative that culminates with the end of the world. Dwayne Johnson plays his most unusual character yet, that of a former action star turned nervous screenwriter who has somehow typed up a prophetic vision of armageddon. Southland Tales is elaborate as it is bizarre, a divisive movie (it was booed out of the Cannes Film Festival) that doesn’t require being understood but demands to be experienced. 

1. The Rundown (2003)

The Rundown

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

If there is one movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that is the platonic ideal for his movie star persona, it was and still is Peter Berg’s The Rundown. A rousing buddy action comedy from 2003, Johnson leads the film as a bounty hunter hired to find errant Travis (Seann William Scott), a wannabe Indiana Jones searching Brazil for a lost artifact. Together, they wind up lost in the South American jungles and must work together to make it back home in one piece. A blend of old school action sensibilities with new school cool, The Rundown hasn’t lost its edge one bit in the years since its release. Funny, thrilling, and loaded with machismo, The Rundown ages like wine but still goes down smooth like whiskey.

Eric Francisco

Eric Francisco is a freelance entertainment journalist and graduate of Rutgers University. If a movie or TV show has superheroes, spaceships, kung fu, or John Cena, he's your guy to make sense of it. A former senior writer at Inverse, his byline has also appeared at Vulture, The Daily Beast, Observer, and The Mary Sue. You can find him screaming at Devils hockey games or dodging enemy fire in Call of Duty: Warzone.