10 of Greatest Ensemble Movies Ever Made

Just so you’re not stuck wondering what an ensemble movie is all about and why it’s different, an ensemble movie occurs when the main actors have the same importance throughout the movie, as in, they all contribute and no single actor is above the others, no matter how it might appear that way. Now that we have that under control, let’s move on.  Good ensemble movies aren’t hard to come by, but great ones are constantly being debated for a number of reasons that people can come up with since they might not like the cat, or perhaps they don’t enjoy the story, or whatever it might be. Let’s just say that ensemble movies are impressive based on the idea of keeping everyone roughly at the same level of importance since to do so with this many different talented individuals is kind of like herding cats, it takes a lot of patience and a great deal of skill to make it work.  Here are ten great ensemble movies for you to look at. 

10. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of Will Ferrell since personally, I do think that an ensemble movie is about the only way he can shine given that his type of comedy is, like many comedians, very unique and that his ability to shout his lines and act like a giant man-child is what attracts people to him. But where it’s endearing in other actors, it’s kind of annoying with Ferrell. When he’s with other great actors, however, it’s bearable and works quite well. 

9. The Thin Red Line

It’s actually really impressive how many big names were put into this movie since in war movies there are usually a few people that get a lot more attention than others since the movie happens to center on their character or a situation in which their character is one of the main elements of the story. But in this and a few other war movies, the focus isn’t held intently on just one person for a long period of time. 

8. The Royal Tenenbaums

As one of the movies that showcase a truly messed-up family, this feature is something that a lot of people have found to be very well-written and performed. Others have differed in their opinions since it is kind of an awkward movie, but at the very least one can say that it helps to show the range of the actors involved. 

7. The Breakfast Club

This is one of the movies that a lot of us grew up with when we were younger, and it featured some of the greatest names of the time since no matter what anyone wants to say, the Brat Pack did in fact rule the 80s in a big way when it came to these types of movies. To this day a lot of people still remember this movie fondly, no matter that it’s joined the group of movies that ‘couldn’t be made today’. 

6. Tropic Thunder

This was such a goofy movie that it’s hard to think of why it’s still so popular, at least until one realizes it’s BECAUSE it’s so goofy that people managed to get into it. The fact that no single actor among this bunch took the lead in such a big way is amazing to be certain since this movie utilized quite a bit of top-level talent at the time and even brought in a couple of other greats to make it even better. 

5. Boogie Nights

There was something interesting about watching Burt Reynolds act in a movie with much younger actors since he usually played an alpha male type of character, but he could also appear to be a mentor at times, which was nice. Out of all the movies that the late actor managed to star in, this was one that didn’t get a lot of attention but was still able to reach cult classic status thanks to the fans. 

4. 12 Years a Slave

This movie was a pretty big deal when it came out, and it’s still talked about today since it did deal with a very controversial issue that plenty of people still talk about. But when looking at the cast it’s simply amazing to think of how a director would keep things moving without wanting to cater to a few of the bigger names in the movie. The fact is that everyone knew their role and they nailed it beautifully. 

3. Steel Magnolias

I’ll fully admit that I liked this movie since, despite the fact that it is a chick flick (it is, don’t get bent out of shape), it’s also a touching story about a family and what they go through when it comes to life in the south and the loss of a family member who was too young to go as she did. Plus, the humor between Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis was so insanely funny that it was worth watching the dramatic moments to get to their back and forth bickering. 

2. Pulp Fiction

The names and faces just kept coming throughout this movie since it employed a lot of actors from different tiers as Tarantino put together what is arguably his best, or at least one of his best, movies to date. The fact that it essentially started at the end and kept showing what happened to lead up to such a moment was actually kind of great. 

1. Ocean’s Thirteen

When you add Al Pacino into an ensemble movie you’re only going to make it better since while the second movie wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t up to the caliber of the first and third. Admittedly, the third movie was starting to push the whole idea of Vegas a little too much, but it still worked. Plus, the crew was still a lot of fun to watch. 

Ensemble movies are a lot of fun, at least until there are too many individuals to really pay attention to. 

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