The 16 Best Adam Sandler Movies, Ranked

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Adam Sandler in 'The Wedding Singer'

"Critic-proof" is a term that's seemingly thrown around a lot when discussing popular movies. With a worldwide box-office of well over $3 billion (that's not even counting a $250 million deal with Netflix) against one of the lowest-ever actor averages on Rotten Tomatoes, the term has certainly come up in discussion of the films of iconic Brooklyn native Adam Sandler.

From a celebrated (if cut short) run on SNL (and a triumphant return many years later), to a critically adored dramatic turn in Uncut Gems, Sandler's raw performing talent has never been up for debate. And it's not exactly breaking news to say his movies have seen ups and downs. In light Netflix confirming Sandler's Happy Gilmore sequel, we've rounded up and ranked the comedy legend's very best movie roles. Ranked from pleasantly diverting to unforgettable, these are the best Adam Sandler movies of all time. 

Best Adam Sandler Movies of All Time, Ranked

16. Just Go With It (2011)

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in 'Just Go With It' <p>Sony</p>
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in 'Just Go With It'


There's a sea of low-brow but watchable Sandler comedies out there that are critically unloved, commercially successful, and not easy to recommend in any official capacity. One that is perhaps a little more amusing than most is Just Go With It, pairing Sandler with Jennifer Aniston for the first time (along with frequent directing collaborator Denis Dugan). Sandler plays a shallow, successful plastic surgeon who convinces his longtime assistant to pretend to be his ex-wife as he courts a stunning 23-year-old (Brooklyn Decker) in Hawaii.

Featherweight Just Go With It is mostly proof that Sandler and his coworkers had a nice time at a Hawaiian Waldorf Astoria, but there are two crucial reasons the movie actually gets a fair amount of laughs: Nicole Kidman as Aniston's hyper-competitive, aggro former sorority sister, and Dave Matthews as her husband who claims to have invented the iPod. You read all that right.

15. Spaceman (2024)

Adam Sandler in 'Spaceman' <p>Netflix</p>
Adam Sandler in 'Spaceman'


Coming off the best-reviewed film of his career with You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah in 2023, not to mention a prestigious, much-deserved Mark Twain Award in the same year, many were hoping this Netflix drama about an isolated Czech astronaut would continue a winning streak for the beloved star. Though Sandler's performance is sturdy and believable, Spaceman is an uneven and half-baked mashup of ideas from other familiar sci-fi stories.

Three-time Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan plays the Czech spaceman's lonely, troubled wife on Earth. As always, her presence is reason enough to tune in. When Mulligan is on screen, Spaceman is a riskier yet more grounded, much better movie.

Related: Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time, Ranked  

14. Billy Madison (1995)

Missi Pyle and Adam Sandler in 'Billy Madison' <p>Universal</p>
Missi Pyle and Adam Sandler in 'Billy Madison'


There's simply no comparing box-office hit Billy Madison to the best of what Jim Carrey was doing right around the same time (The Mask and Dumb and Dumber are looking close to timeless these days), but Sandler's farce about a spoiled adult forced to redo his schooling at a breakneck pace has considerable lowbrow laughs, thanks in no small part to a supporting cast including Missi Pyle, Darren McGavin and Bradley Whitford.

13. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)

'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation' <p>DreamWorks</p>
'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation'


The best in Sandler's series of highly popular, charming and lightly spooky animation introduces a little romance into the mix. In Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Sandler's Count Dracula unexpectedly catches feelings for Ericka Van Helsing, granddaughter of...yeah, that Van Helsing. Luckily for us, Ericka is played by the ever-dynamic, enchanting Kathryn Hahn. This was Sony's highest-grossing animated film until 2023's Across the Spider-Verse

Related: Best Animated Movies of All Time, Ranked 

12. Murder Mystery (2019)

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in 'Murder Mystery' <p>Netflix</p>
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in 'Murder Mystery'


Netflix venture Murder Mystery had the biggest opening weekend in Netflix's history in its time, surpassing Bird Box. Reunited Aniston and Sandler have an appealing shorthand in a comedy whodunit about a New York couple who become entangled in a European murder plot. It's an easy viewing good time, but the script should have been better given the star power front and center. A sequel followed in 2023.

Related: Best Jennifer Aniston Movies, Ranked 

11.  The Waterboy (1998)

Henry Winkler and Adam Sandler in "The Waterboy"<p>Touchstone Pictures</p>
Henry Winkler and Adam Sandler in "The Waterboy"

Touchstone Pictures

An essential Sandler hit centers on Bobby Boucher, a stuttering, timid waterboy whose aggressive outbursts take him to football glory. Sandler's charming and all, but The Waterboy remains a fan favorite most of all because of the supporting characters—especially a riotously funny Kathy Bates as bayou-dwelling Mama Boucher. She steals every scene she's in, and she's quite frankly the chief reason fans remember the film so warmly.

10. Funny People (2009)

Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen in 'Funny People'
Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen in 'Funny People'

Sandler has appeared in numerous dramatic or at least dramedic films; Judd Apatow's follow-up to home runs The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up was better in theory than in practice. Sandler gives an inspired, semi-self-reflective turn as a film superstar facing midlife crisis, but Funny People suffers from a a shaggy, aimless script that could have been something truly special with more polish.

A great cast that also includes Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen and multiple comedy legends as themselves is at odds with scene after scene of navel gazing.

9. 50 First Dates (2004)

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in '50 First Dates' <p>Columbia Pictures</p>
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in '50 First Dates'

Columbia Pictures

Drew Barrymore's lovability as a film star is perhaps without peer. From E.T. and beyond, audiences fall for her beguiling good nature again and again (it's why the opening of Scream was so cruelly effective). She's a perfect match on screen with Adam Sandler; they bring out an effortlessness in each other, million-watt star quality that's often best in the quieter moments. In 50 First Dates, Sandler plays a Hawaiian vet who falls for Barrymore's Lucy, his dream girl who happens to have short-term memory loss.

The funny and sweet, even tender rom-com was an enormous hit, more than doubling its budget at the box office. Barrymore and Sandler reunited a decade later for the forgettable but hardly charmless Blended; Sandler reunited with director Peter Segal one year later for The Longest Yard.

8. Reign Over Me (2007)

Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler in 'Reign Over Me' <p>Sony</p>
Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler in 'Reign Over Me'


The aughts through the early 2010s understandably saw a fair amount of American dramas about 9/11 and the devastating aftermath. The best of these films by a margin is Paul Greengrass's United 93, an emotionally wrecking story of heroism that's also one of the best constructed thrillers ever made. Oliver Stone's World Trade Center was a glossier but respectable multiplex drama. Cloying, inexplicably Oscar-nominated Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is best forgotten.

Reign Over Me certainly falls on the more positive side of things. A film full of real, affecting emotions and regrettable missteps in structure and tone, the picture benefits greatly from Sandler and Don Cheadle's performances as former college roommates who reunite and bond as one grieves his wife and children.

7. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in 'Happy Gilmore' <p>Universal Pictures</p>
Bob Barker and Adam Sandler in 'Happy Gilmore'

Universal Pictures

The Waterboy told the story of a sports prodigy with anger issues serviceably enough, but Happy Gilmore did it first and better. Many of Sandler's fans say the golf comedy is one of Sandler's all-time best. It's certainly his most quotable film ("The price is wrong, Bob!"). The title of course inspired one half of Sandler's famous production company, Happy Madison.

6. You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (2023)

Idina Menzel, Adam Sandler, Sunny Sandler and Sadie Sandler in 'You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah'<p>Netflix</p>
Idina Menzel, Adam Sandler, Sunny Sandler and Sadie Sandler in 'You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah'


This charming YA adaptation about two feuding besties quickly became a relatively rare thing: a critically acclaimed Sandler comedy. Boasting a remarkable 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, coming-of-age You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah soars on the lead performance of star Sunny Sandler, a natural talent with screen presence and timing to rival her famous father's.

5. The Wedding Singer (1998)

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in 'The Wedding Singer' <p>New Line Cinema</p>
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in 'The Wedding Singer'

New Line Cinema

The first pairing of Sandler and Barrymore remains the best, and a highlight of both remarkable careers. In the romance directed by Frank Coraci (who directed The Waterboy the same year) Sandler plays a broke entertainer who swoons for a beautiful banquet server (Barrymore) who's unfortunately engaged to an unkind yuppie (Matthew Glave).

The Wedding Singer has some tonally awkward, uninspired crass moments aiming at low-hanging fruit where it sells itself short, but the core of it is a thoroughly winning, utterly lovable romantic comedy that holds up a quarter-century later. The stars are luminous.

4. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)  (2017)



This comedy-drama was written by Oscar nominee Noah Baumbach (Barbie, Frances Ha) and stars Sandler, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. The film is about an estranged family gathering in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with positive reviews.

Sandler was briefly hyped for an Oscar nomination here, though Netflix's awards push ultimately wasn't successful.

3. Hustle (2022)

Juancho Hernangomez and Adam Sandler in 'Hustle' <p>Netflix</p>
Juancho Hernangomez and Adam Sandler in 'Hustle'


In Hustle, Sandler plays a struggling NBA scout who bets everything on a Spanish street player (Juancho Hernangómez). Hustle takes what audiences love about this kind of movie and delivers it with the kind of humor and heart that can't be made in a lab, or mandated by a filmmaking committee. The performances, including an understated turn by Queen Latifah, are all valuable to an enterprise that's impossible to resist and really quite moving. We're not crying; you're crying.

2. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Emily Watson and Adam Sandler in 'Punch-Drunk Love'<p>New Line Cinema</p>
Emily Watson and Adam Sandler in 'Punch-Drunk Love'

New Line Cinema

The most fascinating piece of Sandler as a performer has always been rage; in The Waterboy this was explored on a surface level at best, a little better in Happy Gilmore. Though it's more dramatic than any role he'd played prior, it's worth noting Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love is definitely still a comedy, making it Adam Sandler's best comedy film by a country mile.

Sandler plays Barry Egan, a broke and directionless businessman who falls for his sister's co-worker (Emily Watson) pretty much instantly. Their romantic bliss is threatened by an unsophisticated but rather brutal team of cons (led by a note-perfect Philip Seymour Hoffman), giving Egan's anger problems plenty of fuel. Darkly absurdist Punch-Drunk Love has negative schmaltz and still manages be romantic in a way that completely sweeps you off your feet.

1. Uncut Gems (2019)

Adam Sandler in 'Uncut Gems' <p>A24</p>
Adam Sandler in 'Uncut Gems'


If anyone could possibly be seen as the modern successors to Martin Scorsese as masters of the crime picture, it's Ben and Josh Safdie. Sandler silenced any remaining doubters of his dramatic chops, if any remained, as towering presence Howard Ratner, in the Safdies' riveting crime caper about a compulsive gambler who puts everything on the bet of a lifetime. Idina Menzel plays Howard's long-suffering wife.

Ultimately. Uncut Gems is a merciless and unsparing portrait of an addicted soul in free fall. With suspense that's close to unbearable by design, this is nothing short of a masterpiece, and one of the finest movies on record about the decidedly non-cinematic topic of addiction. Sandler gave the best performance in any 2019 film, and the Oscars snub still stings.

Next, Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time