In an article about Sandra Bullock's best films, an illustration of Bullock wearing a red dress with a clapperboard behind her.

The 4 Best Films of Sandra Bullock’s Career

Now that the Hollywood actress has announced a hiatus, it's the perfect time to reflect on her top movies ever.
July 9, 2022
8 mins read

From spunky undercover pageant royalty to a fearless, space-hopping astronomer, Sandra Bullock has quite the resume. Bullock is a winner of multiple awards — such as the Academy, the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild, to name a few — and has certainly proven her A-list star power in the dazzling world of Hollywood. So much so that Bullock has worked herself a little too hard. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bullock revealed that she needs a break from it all, stating, “I’m so burnt out. I’m so tired, and I’m so not capable of making healthy, smart decisions and I know it.” In March, Bullock also expressed her desire to focus on caring for her children instead of throwing herself into her work nonstop. Given her sensational 35-year career, if there’s anyone in Hollywood who’s earned some time off, it’s her.

While we might be saying goodbye to Bullock’s magnetizing presence on the big screen for a while, it’s the perfect time to dig deep into some of her most iconic roles. And trust me, the actress has done it all. With her well-seasoned range, she’s tackled many film genres and approaches each role with unquestionable charisma and earnest execution. No matter what genre you’re a fan of, there’s probably a Sandra Bullock movie for you. It’s hard to imagine the actress’s best performances fit into one short list. Nevertheless, I’ve handpicked four amazing Bullock films to add to your summer watch list. Get ready — it’s movie marathon time!

1. Miss Congeniality (2000)

Starting with one of Bullock’s most popular roles, “Miss Congeniality” is an early 2000s comedic charmer that contains many hilarious and quotable scenes. April 25, anyone? The story follows Gracie Hart, a gritty, “sneaker over heels” FBI agent who is forced to go undercover at a place that could not be any more ironic: a beauty pageant. When a serial killer, known as “The Citizen,” targets the Miss United States beauty pageant, Gracie must pose as a contestant since she’s the only woman at her FBI office in a sea of men. As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly tough feat for her. Gracie undergoes a drastic makeover and tries her best to maintain a convincing graceful persona just to fit in with the other stunning beauty queens. However, she forms unlikely close bonds with the other women and sparks a romance with her hunky colleague, Eric Matthews (played by Benjamin Bratt). This film accentuates Bullock’s trademark humor and familiar charm, which every fan has grown to love.

2. Gravity (2013)

The sci-fi thriller film that granted her a 2014 best actress Oscar nomination, “Gravity” is Bullock’s most riveting performance to date. She plays medical engineer and newbie astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone, who gets stranded in space alongside Lieutenant Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) after their shuttle gets demolished. After a heroic exit by Kowalski, Ryan must survive on her own and return safely to Earth, a deadly undertaking where she endures terror after terror. It seems she can never catch a break. The film’s flawless, immersive camerawork places you in Ryan’s shoes — or rather spacesuit — absorbing every moment of growing panic, stomach-turning dread and dizzying complication. To an extent, that makes you sigh with relief once you realize that it’s just a movie and you’re not actually isolated in the doom of nothingness hundreds of miles above the Earth. Bullock carries the entire weight of the film on her shoulders, giving a masterful performance that is definitely out of this world. You won’t be able to defy this “gravity.”

3. Bird Box (2018)

Doomsday has arrived. In Netflix’s 2018 post-apocalyptic horror hit, “Bird Box,” Bullock is Mallory Hayes, a mother who must protect her two children from evil creatures that project people’s worst fears if seen. It’s a nightmarish terror that is enough to drive everyone to their self-inflicted deaths. One must wear a blindfold just to survive in this world. When the horror begins, Mallory takes shelter in a suburban home with six other survivors. From there, their safety continuously gets threatened as menacing monsters lurk at their door, eventually taking the lives of everyone around her as the plot progresses. Now, it’s just Mallory, her two kids, and a “box of birds” making their way to a haven across a river. The movie has suspense and creepiness that will have you at the edge of your seat during most of its runtime. Bullock embodies the complexities of her character convincingly and chillingly. Although the film received mixed reviews from film critics, it still deserves a spot on this list for being the most meme-able and dangerously popular movie on Netflix. Plus, a “Bird Box” sequel is currently in the works.

4. The Lost City (2022)

Released in March, Bullock’s latest film, “The Lost City,” is everything that you’d want in an action-adventure, rom-com blockbuster. It has suggestive and amusing exchanges, attention-grabbing fighting scenes and a sultry dance number. Bullock plays the reclusive, exotic novelist Loretta Sage, who gets thrown on an island against her will by a nutty, offbeat billionaire named Abigail Fairfax (played by Daniel Radcliffe), who is in an aching pursuit of the long-lost treasure Loretta wrote about in her latest novel. Much to her surprise, an exciting adventure awaits her. Alan, Loretta’s ladykiller cover model (played by Tatum), naively rescues her from Fairfax and his henchmen, alongside his lionhearted pal, Jack Trainer (played by Brad Pitt).

Following Trainer’s quick departure, Loretta and Alan simultaneously escape Fairfax’s many attempts at recapture and set out on their own venture to try to find the treasure themselves. Both hilariously take turns being the “damsel in distress,” and develop a genuine and romantic connection that makes them almost impossible not to root for. Loretta also gains a zest for life and frees herself from the binds of her past. Bullock shines with Tatum and their playful, comfortable chemistry gives viewers something fresh in an otherwise predictable plot.

Sandra Bullock’s upcoming send-off film, “Bullet Train,” is set to hit theaters this summer on August 5, with an all-star cast featuring Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, and Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny. We’re sure it will deliver nothing less than her signature humor and amazing acting before a well-deserved break for the star.

Megan Garcia, Arizona State University

Writer Profile

Megan Garcia

Arizona State University
Film and Media Studies

Megan is a film and media studies major at Arizona State University. With a passion for storytelling, she hopes to reach others through her writing, and of course, have fun while doing so.

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