The 33 greatest Sandra Bullock movies

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Ever since she blew up the silver screen in Speed, Sandra Bullock's Hollywood career has never slowed down. After discovering acting in high school and college theater productions, Sandra Bullock officially embarked on her career in New York City; her first onscreen role was in the 1989 television film Bionic Showdown, a crossover with The Six Million Dollar man and its sister series The Bionic Woman. Following a string of indie movies, she went on to star in studio pictures like Love Potion No. 9 and Demolition Man. 

But when Speed became a hit, it catapulted Bullock to new heights permanently, enabling her to enjoy rarified air as a Hollywood mainstay. In 2009, Bullock notably won both the Oscar for Best Actress and the Razzie for Worst Actress, proving she has range like no one else. To commemorate her ongoing career, we rank the 33 greatest Sandra Bullock movies of all time.

33. Who Shot Pat? (1989)

Who Shot Pat?

(Image credit: Shout! Factory)

Very early in her career, Sandra Bullock starred as the lead in this quaint, if underwhelming coming-of-age romance. Set in 1950s Brooklyn, Bullock plays a beautiful private school student from a wealthy family who gets mixed up with tough vocational student Bic (David Edwin Knight). Basically a mixture of The Outsiders and Romeo & Juliet, Who Shot Pat? is only really interesting because of its inclusion of the now-famous Bullock, who plays a moderately important role in this mighty obscure, discount-priced production.

32. Hope Floats (1998)

Hope Floats

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

In this amusing romantic drama directed by actor Forest Whitaker, Sandra Bullock stars as a wife and mother whose life is turned upside down when her best friend reveals she's been sleeping with her husband – on television, in a daytime talk show a la Ricki Lake. Publicly embarrassed, Bullock's character Birdee moves back to her Texas hometown and gets romantically involved with an old friend from school, played by Harry Connick Jr.. While Hope Floats isn't all that funny nor all that romantic, it's still buoyant enough through the charms of both Bullock and Connick Jr.

31. Crash (2004)


(Image credit: Lionsgate)

A divisive Oscar-winner, Crash is a modern L.A. drama whose vast ensemble cast (with Sandra Bullock as one of its primary leads) play disconnected characters who have their lives dramatically changed through a vehicular collision. While the movie, directed by Paul Haggis, cleaned up at the 78th Academy Awards (including receiving the honor of Best Picture), Crash has had an unfavorable legacy in retrospect, with observers feeling other movies, like Brokeback Mountain, were more deserving. Its soft sentiments on racial divisions and politics have only gotten nauseating over time, but Sandra Bullock is hardly the reason for the movie's faults.

30. Premonition (2007)


(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Years before she starred in Netflix's hit Bird Box, Sandra Bullock starred in this supernatural thriller from German director Mennan Yapo. Bullock co-stars with Julian McMahon as a soon-to-be-widow who tries to prevent her husband's death; the movie has an intentionally dizzy plot, with events taking place out of chronological order. Critics did not review Premonition kindly, unfavorably comparing it to other twisty thrillers like Memento and The Sixth Sense. Still, Sandra Bullock does the most she can even in a confused movie that doesn't know which way its own story is headed.

29. All About Steve (2009)

All About Steve

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

It's considered one of the worst movies of all time, and one of the worst movies in Sandra Bullock's career. It's not undeserved. All About Steve is clumsy, awkward, and profoundly unsexy, which is the last thing a rom-com should be. Still, it's got Sandra Bullock doing her best, as a socially inept newspaper crossword writer who stalks a TV cameraman (Bradley Cooper) after their one and only date. In the same year Bullock won the Oscar for Best Actress (for The Blind Side), she also won the Razzie for Worst Actress. In a show of good humor, Bullock appeared in person to accept the award and gave out free DVD copies of the film.

28. Love Potion No. 9 (1992)

Love Potion No. 9

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Before her Hollywood superstardom, Sandra Bullock co-starred in this delirious rom-com that tells the whole story of The Clovers' 1959 song of the same name. A lonely biochemist named Paul (Tate Donovan) seeks out a potion sold by a New York City mystic in order to win the affections of his coworker, Diane (Bullock). It's sleazy, sure, but it packs just enough soul to sell its charms. Emblematic of a time when romantic comedies were the go-to genre for experimentation, Love Potion No. 9 is criminally underrated.

27. Gun Shy (2000)

Gun Shy

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

A middling black comedy with Liam Neeson as an undercover DEA agent undergoing a nervous breakdown, Gun Shy is a forgotten early-aughts feature that painfully strives, and fails, to reach the same level as the Coen Brothers. Sandra Bullock is one of the better features of the movie, in the supporting role of a beautiful alternative medicine doctor – who calls herself the "Enema Queen" – who helps him deal with gastrointestinal problems. Gun Shy is too bumbling to really entertain, but it's still Liam Neeson in one of his few comedic roles and Bullock providing thankful assistance.

26. Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box

(Image credit: Netflix)

On the coattails of the horror blockbuster A Quiet Place, Netflix released the apocalyptic horror Bird Box in December 2018. Directed by Susanne Bier, the movie follows a mother (Bullock) trying to protect her children from dark entities that compel people to kill themselves upon visual sight. It was a major hit for Netflix that demonstrated the power of algorithm-driven releases. While Bird Box is uninspired in its story of diverse survivors working together from falling apart, the movie offers enough dreadful atmosphere to keep the hearts racing of scaredy cats too afraid to look at the screen.

25. The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In the same year Sandra Bullock "won" a Razzie for Worst Actress, she also took home the richest prize in the game for anyone of her craft: an Oscar for Best Actress, for her role in The Blind Side as real-life mother Leigh Anne Tuohy who "adopted" (revealed in 2023 to be a conservatorship) future NFL star Michael Oher. Legal controversies aside, The Blind Side suffers from a hackneyed white savior narrative that's painfully too saccharine; that the events actually happened in real life keeps it from incredulity. Still, Bullock is quite worthy of her Oscar in it, even if the movie overall is tough to stomach watching now.

24. Our Brand Is Crisis (2015)

Our Brand is Crisis

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In David Gordon Green's narrative remake of a 2005 political documentary, Sandra Bullock plays a political strategist who is hired by a controversial and unpopular presidential candidate in Bolivia to win a 2002 election. Sandra Bullock exerts her maximum powers as a lead actress masterfully anchoring this otherwise limp political comedy. While Our Brand Is Crisis is trite and unambitious, there's no denying that Bullock wins the movie by a landslide.

23. Murder By Numbers (2002)

Murder by Numbers

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Loosely based on the Leopold and Loeb true crime case, Murder By Numbers from Barbet Schroeder features Sandra Bullock as a seasoned homicide detective investigating two exceptionally gifted students (played by Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling) who have seemingly carried out the so-called "perfect murder." Yet another middling, glossy thriller where Sandra Bullock is predictably the best thing about it, Murder By Numbers is pretty paint by numbers, but who says functionality is bad? In his review, the late Roger Ebert praised Bullock, saying she "does a good job here of working against her natural likability, creating a character you'd like to like, and could like, if she weren't so sad, strange, and turned in upon herself."

22.  The Unforgivable (2021)

The Unforgivable

(Image credit: Netflix)

Sandra Bullock stars in this Netflix drama as an ex-con who, after 20 years behind bars for murdering a sheriff, re-enters a hostile society to locate her estranged sister. A remake of a 2008 British miniseries (titled Unforgiven), The Unforgivable stands on its own through a totally engrossing Bullock, whose textured performance as lead Ruth Slater makes up for the movie's tirelessly grim atmosphere. While the rest of the movie doesn't pull its weight, Bullock again proves she's one of her generation's finest actors, going toe-to-toe with others like Viola Davis, Jon Bernthal, and Vincent D'Onofrio.

21. The Net (1995)

The Net

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Released at a time when the "world wide web" was still exciting new territory for most regular people, The Net stars Sandra Bullock as a systems analyst who finds her entire personal history has been completely erased and seeks to restore her identity. While it's funny to watch in hindsight, when people these days either put too much of themselves online or actively try to stay under the radar, The Net is a surprisingly grounded techno-thriller that tries its best to grapple with our technology-dependent present.

20. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

10 years after New York City was rocked by 9/11, the sentimental drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (based on the novel) brought audiences back onto the streets of post-9/11 NYC through the microscopic lens of a curious 11-year-old boy named Oskar (Thomas Horn), whose father (Tom Hanks) was killed in the attacks. Sandra Bullock co-stars as Oskar's mother Linda, who is in the midst of her own grieving while struggling to raise Oskar alone. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is far more of a vehicle for Horn, with Bullock only in a handful of minutes of screentime. But Bullock is still impossibly great, carrying emotionally ravaging scenes of a mother and son who are growing increasingly estranged but desperate to love each other again.

19. Forces of Nature (1999)

Forces of Nature

(Image credit: DreamWorks Pictures)

In this delightful and breezy road trip rom-com, Ben Affleck stars as a soon-to-be-wed writer, whose name is also Ben, and whose flight from New York to Georgia is grounded in a freak accident. (A bird flies into the jet engine.) With no options and time running out, Ben embarks on a road trip home with free-spirited Sarah, played by Sandra Bullock, and the two start to get too close for comfort. A barrel of laughs with a dynamite Affleck and Bullock, Forces of Nature is one of Bullock's best and most underrated movies, being a hilarious splash of cold water on cliche Hollywood endings.

18. The Proposal (2009)

The Proposal

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Despite some unseemly politics regarding U.S. immigration policies, not to mention a theoretical HR nightmare, The Proposal is a quintessentially great Sandra Bullock romantic comedy with an equally formidable Ryan Reynolds as her male opposite. A tough-as-nails New York City publishing executive (Bullock) faces deportation back to Canada, and pressures her long-suffering assistant (Reynolds) into a green card marriage. But over the course of a family trip to Alaska, the two start to actually fall for one another. Whatever faults The Proposal may have as a movie, there's no denying the combined might of Bullock and Reynolds.

17. Bullet Train (2022)

Bullet Train

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

While Sandra Bullock only has a supporting role, and that's putting it generously, Bullet Train (based on a novel by Kōtarō Isaka) is a wildly entertaining studio action blockbuster with irremovable post-John Wick stylings. Directed by John Wick's own David Leitch, Bullet Train features an ensemble cast (among them Brad Pitt, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hiroyuki Sanada, and even Bad Bunny) who play a collection of assassins and outlaws on a speed train running through Japan. Bursting with color and violence, Bullet Train is lively R-rated action and comedy in one tight, explosive package.

16. Demolition Man (1993)

Demolition Man

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Time has been remarkably kind to Demolition Man. In this sci-fi action blockbuster with heapings of satirical comedy, Sylvester Stallone stars as a reckless police officer who is cryogenically frozen until the year 2032, where he's thawed out to catch a rival crime lord (Wesley Snipes). Sandra Bullock plays Lenina Huxley, a police lieutenant who assists Stallone's John Spartan in his mission as well as in adjusting to his surroundings. Unlike most futuristic sci-fi movies of its day, Demolition Man takes place in a utopia where crime is eradicated and society is, in a word, soft. This only makes for a perfect playground of destruction for the likes of Stallone and Snipes, with Bullock dodging bullets between them.

15. The Thing Called Love (1993)

The Thing Called Love

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Sandra Bullock is not the main star of The Thing Called Love. The movie really belongs to Samantha Mathis, who plays an aspiring country singer that moves from New York City to Nashville to pursue her dreams. (Bullock plays fiery Linda Lue Linden, who shares similar goals and befriends Samantha.) More notable for being the last movie starring the late River Phoenix, The Thing Called Love doesn't sing a new tune – it's yet another hard-edged showbiz drama that explores broken dreams – but it's still a solid, well-made movie with exceptional actors who make their version of Nashville feel alive with song.

14. The Heat (2013)

The Heat

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

While it was unfortunately packaged as another tired buddy action-comedy, the magnetic powers of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock together surprised pretty much everyone willing to give it the time of day. McCarthy and Bullock team up as a Boston cop and FBI agent respectively to track down a drug lord. This movie's leads are pure dynamite, with McCarthy's hot-headed persona colliding with Bullock's tough, no-nonsense exterior. All the while, director Paul Feig shows his proficiency at the studio comedy formula and spicing them up to be more than what it looks on the tin. 

13. Infamous (2006)


(Image credit: Warner Independent Pictures)

In this 2006 drama that explores author Truman Capote's research into the grisly murders that made him write his best-seller In Cold Blood, Sandra Bullock plays Harper Lee (yes, that Harper Lee) who supports and helps Capote in his endeavors. While Infamous is primarily an exhibition for actor Toby Jones, who plays Capote, Bullock is no slouch, playing Harper Lee with surprisingly coarse exteriors that can betray anyone's mental image of the author from their youthful experiences reading To Kill a Mockingbird in school.

12. A Time to Kill (1996)

A Time to Kill

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

An unofficial companion film to director Joel Schumacher's The Client (both it and A Time to Kill are based on John Grisham novels), A Time to Kill stars Sandra Bullock as an idealistic law student who is part of a defense team on behalf of a Black father (Samuel L. Jackson), who murdered two white men who assaulted his young daughter. Set in a racially divided corner of Mississippi, A Time to Kill is a scorching legal drama with uncomfortable moral questions, and whose only crime was being made and released so close to another Schumacher/Grisham joint. While even Schumacher didn't back too kindly on A Time to Kill, the movie still stands as an engaging Hollywood drama.

11. Ocean's 8 (2018)

Ocean's 8

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Though a female-led spin-off of the Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy didn't inspire a lot of confidence at first, the execution by director Gary Ross and his astonishing ensemble – led by, of course, Sandra Bullock – make Ocean's 8 worthy of carrying (or rather, stealing) the mantle. Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney's character Danny Ocean, who plans a heist during the glitzy Met Gala in New York City. With a killer collection of glamorous female leads including Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Sarah Paulson (plus an array of celebrity cameos, because Met Gala), Ocean's 8 is a refreshingly chic spin on the familiar heist genre.

10. Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Two Weeks Notice

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Two Weeks Notice is a feel-good romantic comedy with sharper character work than its Hollywood sheen implies. Sandra Bullock plays a principled, altruistic lawyer who spends a year or so under the employ of a billionaire real estate developer (Hugh Grant), all in exchange for his promise not to bulldoze a community center in Coney Island. When Bullock's Lucy puts in her "two weeks' notice" to leave him, they start to grow closer than they've ever been. It's a charming entry in the canon of "opposites attract" rom-coms, and both Bullock and Grant make for an attractive pair.

9. 28 Days (2000)

28 Days

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

No, this isn't a prequel to 28 Days Later. Sandra Bullock stuns in this emotional comedy-drama from Betty Thomas, as an alcoholic newspaper columnist whose hard-partying ways finally catch up with her and she's forced into court-ordered rehab. (It's funnier than it sounds, promise.) With an array of equally great actors surrounding her including Steve Buscemi, Viggo Morensen, and Alan Tudyk, Bullock is a riot in a movie that's all about learning to calm down.

8. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Famous New York playwright Siddalee "Sidda" Walker (Sandra Bullock) resents her unhappy childhood, and in an interview with a magazine she lays blame on her mother (Ellen Burstyn). Her mother's oldest friends "kidnap" Sidda and introduce her to their secret sisterhood, which they hope will enlighten Sidda with newfound context on her troubled upbringing. From director Callie Khouri, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is typical Hollywood melodrama and sentimentality, being an enthralling dive into the importance of nurturing and understanding. Sandra Bullock has a mostly passive role, unfortunately, but it hardly derails Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from its tracks.

7. Practical Magic (1998)

Practical Magic

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

In this tender fantasy drama about the everlasting connections between sisters, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman co-star as siblings who descend from a family of witches. They suffer from a curse, in that the men they fall in love with are eventually doomed to die. As adults, they work together when Kidman's abusive boyfriend (Goran Višnjić) seems to have powers of his own. Although Practical Magic bombed in theaters, it has since developed a cult following, due in large part to its gorgeous New England backdrops, its themes of women shunned by society, and Bullock and Kidman being impulsive watchable talents. It's grown-up Hocus Pocus, and deserves more recognition as a cozy Halloween season staple.

6. The Lost City (2022)

The Lost City

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

It's basically the reincarnation of Romancing the Stone, and that's hardly a bad thing. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum lead this enchanting adventure rom-com where Bullock plays a successful book series author, and Tatum as her recurring cover model. The two end up running for their lives on a remote island chased by an eccentric billionaire (played by Daniel Radcliffe) who knows her books are based on real intel pointing towards buried treasure. The Lost City feels like an echo of maybe better movies, but it proves even late-stage Bullock is still a powerhouse. 

5. While You Were Sleeping (1995)

While You Were Sleeping

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Shortly after amassing international fame through Speed, Sandra Bullock slowed things down in this gem of a romantic comedy. Set in Chicago, Bullock plays a transit employee who rescues her crush (Peter Gallagher). When the man falls into a coma, his family believe her to be his fiance, which leads her to meet someone else who takes her breath away: his brother (Bill Pullman). An excellently-assembled romantic comedy, While You Were Sleeping is worth staying up for.

4. The Lake House (2004)

The Lake House

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

A gorgeous Hollywood remake of a Korean romantic fantasy film, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves reunite in this story of a doctor (Bullock) and an architect (Reeves) who live in the same house and fall in love – two years apart. Communicating via letters in a magic mailbox, these two lonely souls find comfort and companionship in one another despite their distance by time and space. The actual home, itself a modern design marvel, was made just for the movie at a real location in suburban Chicago. While the house was torn down after shooting completed, the production team left behind a fishing dock to mark where the house once stood.

3. Miss Congeniality (2000)

Miss Congeniality

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

She's beauty, she's grace, she's Miss United States! Sandra Bullock fires on all cylinders as Grace Hart, a tomboyish FBI agent tasked with going undercover in the national Miss United States beauty pageant. She's taken under the wing by a veteran pageant coach (Michael Caine), who still takes pride in forging the feminine queen resting within her. A phenomenal comedy that cleverly toys with spy movie tropes like dolls, Miss Congeniality outshines the competition as one of Bullock's all-time greatest movies. (What's the perfect date? Fans of this movie know the answer is April 25.)

2. Gravity (2013)


(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Speed isn't just Sandra Bullock's breakout movie; it's arguably her best movie period. A perfect summer blockbuster that has only gotten better of time, the movie is quite famously about a Los Angeles public transportation bus with a bomb rigged to blow if its speed slows below 50 miles per hour. Keanu Reeves leads the movie as an LAPD SWAT bomb disposal officer, who recruits a beautiful and tenacious passenger – played by Bullock – to drive the bus until they can stop the terrorist (Dennis Hopper) who planted it. An unstoppable popcorn movie, Speed rips and explodes in all the right ways, with a magnetic Bullock driving it home.

1. Speed (1994)


(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Speed isn't just Sandra Bullock's breakout movie; it's arguably her best movie period. A perfect summer blockbuster that has only gotten better of time, the movie is quite famously about a Los Angeles public transportation bus with a bomb rigged to blow if its speed slows below 50 miles per hour. Keanu Reeves leads the movie as an LAPD SWAT bomb disposal officer, who recruits a beautiful and tenacious passenger – played by Bullock – to drive the bus until they can stop the terrorist (Dennis Hopper) who planted it. An unstoppable popcorn movie, Speed rips and explodes in all the right ways, with a magnetic Bullock driving it home.

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.