The 15 best America Ferrera movies and TV shows, ranked

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The Disney Channel Original Movie star to Oscar nominee pipeline is real.

The Disney Channel Original Movie star to Oscar nominee pipeline may not be the most common Hollywood pathway, but America Ferrera is proof that it’s possible. Before she was Gloria in Barbie, the actress made a name for herself in iconic millennial movies, groundbreaking Latina-led projects, and quirky sitcoms that we’ll never stop quoting. She even received a Golden Globe, SAG, and Primetime Emmy Award for her most famous role in Ugly Betty (which may foreshadow our list). Clearly, her talent (and that Barbie monologue) speaks for itself. So, without further ado, read on for EW’s take on the 15 best America Ferrera movies and TV shows, ranked.

<p>courtesy everett collection (3)</p>

courtesy everett collection (3)

15. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–2024)



Although Larry David may not be welcome around Sesame Street any time soon, his HBO sitcom — which wraps its 12th and final season on April 7 — remains an oddly comforting classic. David plays an exaggerated version of himself as a cranky, semi-retired television writer and producer with a total disregard for social conventions. While Ferrera only guest stars in a single episode, “The Shucker,” her cameo as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wife, Vanessa Nadal, stands out as memorable because of the sheer absurdity of David falling asleep on her shoulder during Hamilton. Plus, Nadal suggested Ferrera for the role herself.

Where to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm: Max

14. Steel City (2006)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

Heavy on the family drama with a dash of romance, this Brian Jun film stars John Heard and P.J. Lee as two brothers whose father is incarcerated in the aftermath of a tragic car accident. Ferrera plays P.J.’s love interest, Amy Barnes, bringing a real sense of light and warmth to what would otherwise be an hour-and-a-half of pure doom and gloom. EW’s critic described Steel City as “quietly absorbing and incisive” and especially praised how “even the most minor character registers as a full, complicated presence.”

Where to watch Steel City: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

13. The Good Wife (2009–2016)

<p>Craig Blankenhorn/CBS</p>

Craig Blankenhorn/CBS

EW’s critic gave this CBS legal drama — following a woman who goes back to work as a litigator after her state attorney husband is embroiled in a sex scandal — a glowing series review when it ended in 2016, declaring, “there may never be a show like The Good Wife again.” Though Ferrera only stuck around for four episodes, her performance as Natalie Flores, an undocumented immigrant, is a standout not only because of the important subject matter but also for her clear dedication and care regarding the character. And, as EW’s critic noted, the series often “led the conversation on issues.”

Where to watch The Good Wife: Paramount+

12. How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer (2005)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

This underrated comedy is a true family affair, centering on three generations of Garcia girls (hence the title) as they experience a summer sexual awakening. Ferrera stars as head-over-heels teenager Blanca, accompanied by Elizabeth Peña as her mother and Lucy Gallardo as her grandmother. If you’re in the mood for a sweet coming-of-age story about love and familial ties that will make you laugh, cringe, and occasionally reach for tissues, look no further than How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer.

Where to watch How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer: YouTube

11. Lords of Dogtown (2005)

<p>TriStar/courtesy Everett Collection</p>

TriStar/courtesy Everett Collection

Despite not doing so hot at the box office, Catherine Hardwicke’s drama about a group of Santa Monica, Calif., skateboarders in the ‘70s has earned a cult following over the years. Among a stacked cast that includes Heath Ledger and Nikki Reed, Ferrera plays Thunder Monkey. Besides that name, her character is memorable for her sizzling chemistry with Sid (Michael Angarano). EW’s critic described the characters as “vibrant and full,” and deemed the film “rare in its grit and authenticity.”

Where to watch The Lords of Dogtown: Paramount+

10. Our Family Wedding (2010)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

Our Family Wedding isn’t exactly a critical darling, which is fair considering some of its humor relies too much on stereotypes and, as EW’s critic put it, “empty-calorie jokes.” But still, a breezy rom-com that sees Ferrera and Lance Gross (of Tyler Perry fame) getting married? It’s basically impossible not to crack a smile at those two playing love interests, along with their respective dads (Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia) and their hijinks. The flick also features the late Lupe Ontiveros as Lucia’s ultra-opinionated grandmother, and it’s worth watching for the Real Women Have Curves reunion alone.

Where to watch Our Family Wedding: Max

9. Dumb Money (2023)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

Based on the real r/WallStreetBets saga, this dramedy follows Redditor Keith Gill (Paul Dano) who invests his life savings into GameStop (what could go wrong?) and sparks a movement with his viral YouTube videos. While its cast is fleshed out by Pete Davidson and Seth Rogan, Ferrera especially stands out in her instrumental role as Jenny, a nurse deep in debt who follows Keith’s stock tip. In an interview with EW, director Craig Gillespie called Ferrera’s performance “such an anchor” to the story: “I love that tone she can do, that dance between the humor and the drama.”

Where to watch Dumb Money: Netflix

8. Gotta Kick It Up! (2002)

<p>Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection</p>

Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection

Buried somewhere deep in every millennial’s brain is a faint but distinct memory of America Ferrera enthusiastically chanting "Si, se puede!" Inspired by a true story, this feel-good Disney Channel Original Movie follows a Latina middle school dance group and their teacher turned coach, Ms. Bartlett (Susan Egan), as they train for a big competition and (of course) learn some life lessons along the way. EW designated it as no. 16 out of 33 on our DCOM ranking, noting that “All of the classic ingredients are present.”

Where to watch Gotta Kick It Up: Disney+

7. WeCrashed (2022)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

A solid addition to your “WeWatched” list, this AppleTV+ miniseries — based on the Wondery podcast WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork — stars Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as the real-life married couple behind the infamous company that, well, crashes. Although EW’s critics took issue with the writing, they commended the “viciously funny” performances. Ferrera plays CEO Elishia Kennedy (a stand-in for SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice), who develops a friendship with Hathaway’s Rebekah Neumann, chief brand and impact officer of the ill-fated corporation. The two actresses expertly play off of each other as they lean into the ridiculousness of the highly-publicized fiasco. Their characters are a match made in heaven (or, perhaps more accurately, hell).

Where to watch WeCrashed: AppleTV+

6. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

From the creators of Shrek, this Dreamworks Animation hit has spawned several sequels, a graphic novel, a television series, and even an upcoming live-action remake. It follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a young boy who dreams of being a Viking but must first learn to slay dragons. In a heart-tugging twist though, he ends up befriending the irresistibly adorable Toothless — don’t judge a dragon by its cover! Ferrera voices Hiccup’s crush, Astrid, who serves as the voice of reason. EW’s critic likened How to Train Your Dragon to a Harry Potter film with less clutter,” writing that the movie “makes you feel in every way miles high.”

Where to watch How to Train Your Dragon: Freevee on Amazon Prime Video

5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

<p>courtesy Everett Collection</p>

courtesy Everett Collection

Just before Ugly Betty took off, Ferrera, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn, and Alexis Bledel made every preteen girl wish they had a pair of magical jeans to share with their friends. In a 2013 interview with EW, Ferrera admitted she almost didn’t give the role of Carmen a chance. “[I] said there’s no way I’m reading a script called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It sounds way too cheesy,” she confessed. “And then of course I read it and was, like, laughing and sobbing.” Nearly two decades later, the friendships have truly stood the test of time both on and off screen.

Where to watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: AppleTV+ (to rent)

4. Barbie (2023)

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

In addition to blowing up the box office and everyone’s TikTok feeds (thanks, Barbenheimer), the Greta Gerwig blockbuster earned Ferrera her first-ever Oscar nomination. Her monologue about the impossibilities of womanhood resonated across generations and made her a clear standout of the stellar ensemble. “I love when young girls and young women come up to me and say how much it meant to them,” Ferrera told EW. In response to criticisms that the speech “oversimplifies” feminism, the actress noted that the message is ultimately still important. “We can know things and still need to hear them out loud,” she told The New York Times.

Where to watch Barbie: Max

3. Superstore (2015–2021)

<p>Greg Gayne/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty </p>

Greg Gayne/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

EW’s critic wasn’t a big fan of the pilot (though they called the cast “great”), but the NBC sitcom found its footing soon enough. Ferrera stars as Amy, a manager of the fictional chain store Cloud 9, along with Ben Feldman as her adorkable love interest, Jonah. By season 4, EW deemed the series a “riot” and declared it “Must See TV.” Though Ferrera only appears sporadically in the final season, Amy is still the heart and soul of Cloud 9, being ridiculously relatable to anyone who’s ever had to deal with the public for a living.

Where to watch Superstore: Hulu

2. Real Women Have Curves (2002)

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

Ferrera gained recognition for her feature film debut at just 17, playing a student in East Los Angeles chasing her dreams. A breakout hit from Sundance, the coming-of-age drama was groundbreaking for its predominantly Latin-American cast and message of body positivity. Ferrera’s costar George Lopez commended her performance as Ana, telling EW in 2017, “It was like watching a rose open up… the confidence she brought, it made me feel tears of joy.” The actress noted to EW that the film “set the tone for the career [she] wanted,” explaining, “I realized I could do what I love and tell stories that had the power to make people feel seen.”

Where to watch Real Women Have Curves: Max

1. Ugly Betty (2006–2010)

<p>Patrick Harbron/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p>

Patrick Harbron/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than America Ferrera as Betty Suarez, the unfashionable 22-year-old who somehow lands a job at the high-fashion magazine Mode. Commended for its sharp humor and progressive portrayal of the LGBTQ community, feminism, and self-love, the ABC comedy has maintained a cult following over the years. Ferrera — who became the first Latina woman to take home a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series — told Entertainment Tonight in 2023, “Betty is my heart. I would be thrilled [to play her again].”

Where to watch Ugly Betty: Netflix

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Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.