Javier Bardem Movies: 8 Most Iconic Roles & Performances

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Javier Bardem Movies: 8 Most Iconic Roles & Performances

Since he transitioned to Hollywood, these Javier Bardem movies and performances have attracted accolades and recognition. Born to the late veteran Spanish film and television actress Pilar Bardem, his mother heavily influenced his passion for acting. As the last child of his parents (they separated after his birth), Bardem and his older siblings were raised alone by their mother.

Javier Bardem’s Hollywood debut was in the Tom Cruise-led Collateral (2004), where he briefly appeared as a crime lord, Felix. 20 years later, Bardem is one of Hollywood’s most influential Spanish actors. With several Box Office hits for bragging rights, Javier Bardem has played iconic characters in movies. Here are 8 Javier Bardem movies where the actor gave his best performances.

Before Night Falls (2000)

Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls

One good way to appreciate an actor’s talent is in their performance before fame and recognition. Before Javier Bardem became a popular name and face in Hollywood, he delivered jaw-dropping performances that even the Academy Awards couldn’t ignore. Javier Bardem portrayed vocal Cuban critic, poet, novelist, and playwright Reinaldo Arenas in the 2000 biographical drama Before Night Falls. The movie follows the life, career, relationships, and death of Reinaldo Arenas. For his performance, Javier Bardem received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor at the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001. Javier Bardem lost his nomination to Russell Crowe (for Gladiator). However, Javier Bardem became the first Spanish actor to be nominated for an Academy Award.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem was part of the leading cast in the Coen Brothers neo-Western crime thriller No Country for Old Men (2007). Bardem portrayed hitman and psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh. Cast as the movie’s villain, he tracks down Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) for the money he stole. Bardem’s portrayal of the character did justice to the character in Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel of the same name. Unsurprisingly, Bardem’s performance earned him his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Javier Bardem won his first Academy Award with No Country for Old Men at the 80th Academy Awards. With his win, Javier Bardem became the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Javier Bardem in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Away from playing the psychopathic hitman, Javier Bardem is cast as the male lead in Woody Allen’s 2008 romantic comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Bardem plays the lover boy, artist Juan Antonio. Juan becomes romantically involved with two friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson). Spanish actress Penélope Cruz also starred in the movie as Bardem’s ex-wife. Bardem and Cruz began dating in real life. They married in July 2010, with the marriage producing two children. 

Skyfall (2012)

Javier Bardem in Skyfall

Although these Javier Bardem movies didn’t earn him an Academy Award nomination, they always stand out because of their popular and commercial success. Bardem played the villain in the Daniel Craig-led James Bond film Skyfall (2012). Bardem was cast as Raoul Silva, an ex-MI6 agent who became a cyberterrorist. Grossing $1.109 billion at the Box Office, Skyfall became the second-highest-grossing film of 2012, second only to The Avengers. It is still Javier Bardem’s highest-grossing movie of his career.

Mother! (2017)

Javier Bardem in Mother!

Javier Bardem continued his leading man roles playing the male lead character in Darren Aronofsky’s fantasy drama Mother! Starring alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Bardem is cast as Him, an acclaimed poet introduced as having writer’s block. Although it only attained moderate success at the Box Office, Mother! was critically acclaimed. As usual, Javier Bardem, as well as Jennifer Lawrence, received praises for their mind-blowing performances. 

Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Franchise

Javier Bardem in Dune: Part Two

In recent times, one of Javier Bardem’s most iconic roles is portraying Stilgar in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune movies. Javier Bardem becomes the fourth actor to play the character, following in the footsteps of Everett McGill, Uwe Ochsenknecht, and Steven Berkoff. Although not one of the film’s leading characters, Bardem’s Stilgar plays an important role as the leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr. Javier Bardem also reprised the role in the 2024 sequel, Dune: Part Two.

Being the Ricardos (2021)

Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos

Javier Bardem portrayed another historical figure in Aaron Sorkin’s 2021 biographical drama, Being the Ricardos. Bardem portrayed Cuban actor, musician, and bandleader Desi Arnaz. Being the Ricardos centered around the romantic relationship between the 1950s CBS sitcom I Love Lucy stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Actress Nicole Kidman shared the lead role with Bardem, portraying actress and comedian Lucille Ball. For his performance as Desi Arnaz, Javier Bardem received his fourth Academy Awards nomination, with his nomination for Best Actor. Bardem lost to Will Smith (for King Richard).

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Javier Bardem in The Little Mermaid
If ever there was any doubt about Javier Bardem’s versatility, Javier Bardem added Walt Disney Pictures to his credits. In the 2023 live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1989 The Little Mermaid, Bardem portrayed the iconic King Triton, Atlantica’s ruler, Ariel’s father, and Melody’s grandfather. Javier Bardem made history as the first actor to portray the character in a live-action movie. Despite mixed critical reviews, The Little Mermaid finished as the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2023 and the seventh-highest-grossing Disney live-action adaptation film. If you enjoyed reading Javier Bardem’s movies, check out the 10 best Spanish Netflix series to binge watch.

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