What Are Mel Gibson's 10 Best Movies?

The Best Films of Mel Gibson's Lengthy Career

There was a time when Mel Gibson was better known for his acting than for his off-screen troubles. The American-born, Australian-raised Gibson initially gained fame for his work Down Under before returning to America to become a Hollywood action star in the 1980s. More recently he has turned to directing with his most controversial -- but also most financially successful -- work being . Here's a list of Gibson's best films as an actor.

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Mad Max (1979)

© 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
George Miller's futuristic action tale put Mel Gibson on the map. Gibson stars as a cop whose family is killed by a vicious gang so he sets out for revenge. The film ends memorably with one gang member handcuffed to a car that's about to explode. Max informs him: "The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel. It'd take you ten minutes to hack through it with this [handing him a hacksaw]. Now, if you're lucky, you could hack through your ankle in five minutes." The film was dubbed for U.S. release because the distributor didn't think American audiences could understand the Aussie accents. Buy from Amazon »

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Tim (1979)

Greater Union Organisation
Gibson's next role was an about face from Mad Max. In Tim, Gibson plays the title character, a mentally challenged young man who takes up an affair with an older woman played by Piper Laurie. He won the Australian Film Institute Award for best actor. Buy from Amazon »

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Gallipoli (1981)

Paramount Pictures
Gibson also scored well with critics and audiences for playing one of two Australian sprinters sent to fight in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during World War I. The film is directed by Peter Weir and it conveys the brutal horrors of war. Gallipoli makes good use of Jean Michel Jarre's music Oxygène for some of the running sequences. Buy from Amazon »

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The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road Warrior
Warner Bros.

Mad Max proved too good of a character to leave after just one film so Gibson returned for this sequel that boasts some of the best car chases and stunts ever put on film. The film was simply called The Road Warrior for the U.S. release because Mad Max had only received limited play in the U.S., so calling the film Mad Max 2 was not considered a wise marketing move. Gibson returned one more time to play Max in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) in which he comes up against Tina Turner.

The next film in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, came out in 2015 and featured Tom Hardy playing Max -- though Gibson showed up at the premiere to endorse him. Buy from Amazon »

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The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

The Year of Living Dangerously

Gibson generated sparks onscreen with co-star Sigourney Weaver in this political thriller set in Indonesia. Gibson plays a journalist and Weaver is a British Embassy official. The film drew attention for its casting of Linda Hunt to play the half-Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, a male photographer. The race and gender-bending casting created an interesting dynamic for the three lead characters and also won Hunt an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Buy from Amazon »

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The Bounty (1984)

The Bounty
Orion Pictures

This remake of Mutiny on the Bounty pairs Mel Gibson as the mutinous Christian Fletcher with Anthony Hopkins as the cruel Captain Bligh. The film is looked upon as a more realistic depiction of the actual mutiny than either the 1935 film (with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton) or the 1962 version (with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard). Buy from Amazon »

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Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon
Warner Bros.

Gibson entered the action buddy film franchise playing the homicidal/suicidal Martin Riggs. He pairs up with Danny Glover as the cautious veteran cop Roger Murtaugh. Gibson exposes his comic side in a film that spawned three sequels.

The only sequel of note is Lethal Weapon 4, which introduced Jet Li to American audiences. Li, best known for playing squeaky clean heroes in Hong Kong films, made his U.S. debut playing a villain who bests Gibson's Riggs for most of the film. Director Edgar Wright cites the first film as one of the inspirations for his comedy . Buy from Amazon »

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Hamlet (1990)

Warner Bros.

Franco Zeffirelli reportedly thought of Gibson to play the melancholy Dane after seeing his failed suicide scene in Lethal Weapon. Surprisingly, Gibson's first foray into Shakespeare was playing Juliet in an all-male production of Romeo and Juliet at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (1976). Gibson makes Hamlet more physical and energetic than past screen incarnations, and Zeffirelli cut the bard's text in half to make this a much more accessible adaptation of the play. Buy from Amazon »

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Braveheart (1995)

Paramount Pictures

Braveheart marks Gibson's sophomore effort as a director and managed to nab both a Best Picture and Best Directing Oscar for Gibson. The epic memorably told the story of William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who lead armies in the Scottish Wars of Independence. Buy from Amazon »

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Signs (2002)

Touchstone Pictures.

M. Night Shyamalan's Signs was promoted as a kind of sci-fi thriller, but it really was a film about a man suffering a crisis of faith. Gibson plays a minister who has lost his faith after the sudden death of his wife. But it takes an alien invasion of earth for him to find his way back to God.

Bonus Pick: Mel Gibson provided the voice for the cocky Rocky the Flying Rooster in Aardman Studio's delightful Chicken Run.

Edited by Christopher McKittrick Buy from Amazon »