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Ranking Adam Sandler movies from worst to first

  • Happy Madison Productions
    1/ Happy Madison Productions

    Ranking Adam Sandler movies from worst to first

    While Adam Sandler may not exactly be considered one of the greatest actors of his generation, the everyman comedian has earned an even better title from generations of teenagers and lovers of sophomoric humor: hero. Whether it’s arguing the merits of shampoo over conditioner in “Billy Madison” or finding love against all odds in “50 First Dates,” Sandler thoroughly explores the human condition via gross-out jokes, silly voices and his overall signature silliness. He hasn’t won any Oscars, but his shelves are packed with Kids’ Choice Award blimps and MTV Movie & TV Awards Moonmen.

    The Adam Sandler canon stretches over four decades, and Stacker has ranked his major roles according to their IMDb audience scores. In the case of ties, priority was given to the film with the highest number of votes. This list tracks Sandler’s work from his early fish-out-of-water films to his dramatic turns of the 2000s, up to his current run on Netflix. Read on to see where your favorite Sandler flick falls on the list.

    RELATED: Definitive rankings of movies featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson 

  • L.A. Dreams Productions
    2/ L.A. Dreams Productions

    #38. Going Overboard

    IMDb user rating: 1.9
    Year: 1989
    Director: Valerie Breiman

    Before becoming the breakout star of early 1990s-era “Saturday Night Live,” Adam Sandler acted in this low-budget comedy alongside Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Zane. In the movie, Sandler stars as “Shecky Moskowitz,” a fill-in cruise ship comedian who ends up—spoiler alert—saving Miss Australia from terrorists.

  • Happy Madison Productions
    3/ Happy Madison Productions

    #37. Jack and Jill

    IMDb user rating: 3.4
    Year: 2011
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    One of the most ridiculed films of Sandler’s career, “Jack and Jill” is about spending Thanksgiving with your family. In this case, the family is made up of Jack, played by Sandler, and his passive-aggressive twin sister Jill…also played by Sandler. The first line of the Time magazine review says it all: “More than 24 hours has passed since I watched the new Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill and I am still dead inside.”

     

  • Eaves Movie Ranch
    4/ Eaves Movie Ranch

    #36. The Ridiculous 6

    IMDb user rating: 4.8
    Year: 2015
    Director: Frank Coraci

    Sandler tried his hand at the western genre in this 2015 direct-to-Netflix movie along with his frequent directing partner, Frank Coraci. It didn’t go over very well. Sandler plays an outlaw raised by Native Americans who discovers he has five half-brothers, portrayed by Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Luke Wilson and of course, Rob Schneider. The film was poorly received even before it wrapped production—with cast and crew members walking out on account of the script's overtly racist content—and was universally panned upon its release.
     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    5/ Happy Madison Productions

    #35. Sandy Wexler

    IMDb user rating: 5.1
    Year: 2017
    Director: Steven Brill

    In one of his more recent movies, Sandler once again leans on playing an oddball character. His titular character is a 90s-era low-level Hollywood manager who falls in love with a client, played by Jennifer Hudson. There’s a long list of major Hollywood celebrity cameos in the film, from Henry Winkler to Chris Rock, but that wasn’t enough to save it in the eyes of critics or viewers.

     

  • Meatball Animation
    6/ Meatball Animation

    #34. Eight Crazy Nights

    IMDb user rating: 5.3
    Year: 2002
    Director: Seth Kearsley

    This animated movie tied into Sandler’s ultra-popular ode to Hanukkah from his “Saturday Night Live” days. It’s about a man sentenced to community service who has to reform his old ways and become a better person. With the world awash in Christmas movies, “Eight Crazy Nights” could have occupied an underrepresented niche. Instead, it was panned for its gross-out humor, overt product placement and an overall negative tone that critic Roger Ebert characterized as “angry and vulgar.”

     

  • Paramount Pictures
    7/ Paramount Pictures

    #33. Coneheads

    IMDb user rating: 5.3
    Year: 1993
    Director: Steve Barron

    While not the star of the movie, Adam Sandler plays Carmine Weiner, an East Coast gangster who sells the extra-terrestrial Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) a fake identity as Donald R. DeCicco. Despite its middling reviews, “Coneheads” was one of the major SNL movie successes of the early 1990s, in addition to both “Wayne’s World” films.


     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    8/ Happy Madison Productions

    #32. Little Nicky

    IMDb user rating: 5.3
    Year: 2000
    Director: Steven Brill

    In “Little Nicky,” Adam Sandler plays the calmest of the devil’s three sons, tasked with stopping his brothers from destroying Earth. Patricia Arquette and Harvey Keitel round out the cast in yet another turn where Sandler plays an underdog who discovers the inner strength to succeed.

     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    9/ Happy Madison Productions

    #31. Grown Ups 2

    IMDb user rating: 5.4
    Year: 2013
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    The first “Grown Ups,” film, which is later on this list, proved a huge success for Sandler and his all-star comedic crew of Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade. In this sequel, Sandler’s character Lenny moves back to town to be near his childhood friends, setting off a series of crazy adventures that mimic the fun they had as kids.

     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    10/ Happy Madison Productions

    #30. You Don't Mess with the Zohan

    IMDb user rating: 5.5
    Year: 2008
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    In “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” Sandler finally takes on the role he was born to play: an Israeli secret agent who fakes his death and poses as a hairdresser. The film grossed more $100 million dollars, making it one of Sandler’s most successful movies.

     

     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    11/ Happy Madison Productions

    #29. That's My Boy

    IMDb user rating: 5.6
    Year: 2012
    Director: Sean Anders

    As Sandler got older, he shifted away from playing the juvenile, never-going-to-grow-up characters that made him a movie star towards more mature, paternal roles. In “That’s My Boy,” he gets to play both—an immature former teen father who imposes his craziness on his soon-to-be-married son (Andy Samberg).

     

  • Columbia Pictures
    12/ Columbia Pictures

    #28. Pixels

    IMDb user rating: 5.6
    Year: 2015
    Director: Chris Columbus

    “Home Alone” director Chris Columbus returned to kids' movies with “Pixels,” the story of aliens attacking Earth in the form of video game characters. Adam Sandler stars as Sam Brenner, a video game champion who helps to thwart the attack.
     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    13/ Happy Madison Productions

    #27. The Do-Over

    IMDb user rating: 5.7
    Year: 2016
    Director: Steven Brill

    The second in Sandler’s Netflix films, “The Do-Over” turns him into an action star: a coroner who pretends to be an FBI agent and fakes his death, along with co-star David Spade, to escape their boring lives. They run into major trouble when they discover that the new identities they’ve assumed are criminals currently being pursued by other criminals.
     

  • Universal Pictures
    14/ Universal Pictures

    #26. Bulletproof

    IMDb user rating: 5.8
    Year: 1996
    Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

    Sandler teams up with Damon Wayans in this action-comedy about an undercover cop (Wayans) guarding a criminal witness (Sandler) before a trial. The film scored an impressively low 8% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.

     

  • Voltage Pictures
    15/ Voltage Pictures

    #25. The Cobbler

    IMDb user rating: 5.8
    Year: 2014
    Director: Tom McCarthy

    In a major departure from his earlier work, Adam Sandler starred in “The Cobbler,” helmed by Academy Award-winning writer and director Tom McCarthy. In the film, Sandler plays a New York City shoe repairman who discovers a magical family heirloom that allows him to assume the lives of other people. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.

  • Happy Madison Productions
    16/ Happy Madison Productions

    #24. Mr. Deeds

    IMDb user rating: 5.8
    Year: 2002
    Director: Steven Brill

    In one of the only remakes of his career, Sandler played “Mr. Deeds,” the character originally played by Gary Cooper in Frank Capra’s 1936 classic. In this version, Longfellow Deeds is a pizzeria owner who inherits a massive fortune from a long-lost great-uncle and takes over his media empire. Winona Ryder and Peter Gallagher co-star.

  • Happy Madison Productions
    17/ Happy Madison Productions

    #23. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

    IMDb user rating: 6
    Year: 2007
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    Adam Sandler started working with director Dennis Dugan on 1996 comedy hit “Happy Gilmore,” and the pair have collaborated on some of Sandler’s biggest hits since. One of them is “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” a screwball comedy about two firefighters who pretend to be lovers in order to cash in on domestic partner benefits. USA Today panned it, declaring, “Unless you like your summer movies laced with a heavy dose of homophobia, sexism and racism, steer clear of this unfunny Adam Sandler movie.”
     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    18/ Happy Madison Productions

    #22. Grown Ups

    IMDb user rating: 6
    Year: 2010
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    Another Dennis Dugan collaboration, “Grown Ups” managed to take in more than $160 million. The story of childhood friendships reignited as adults, Sandler got to share the screen with his real-life pals Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade. To add to the star power, Salma Hayek joins the cast as Sandler’s wife.

     

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    19/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #21. Airheads

    IMDb user rating: 6.1
    Year: 1994
    Director: Michael Lehmann

    Fans of Adam Sandler's sleeveless arms will love “Airheads.” Sandler plays the drummer in a heavy metal band that breaks into a radio station to play their record. Co-starring is Steve Buscemi and Brendan Fraser, who both went on to become stars. 

  • Happy Madison Productions
    20/ Happy Madison Productions

    #20. Bedtime Stories

    IMDb user rating: 6.1
    Year: 2008
    Director: Adam Shankman

    This family movie follows Sandler as hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson, who tells bedtime stories to his niece and nephew that magically become true. Skeeter ends up falling in love with Keri Russell’s character, Jill.

  • Robert Simonds Productions
    21/ Robert Simonds Productions

    #19. The Waterboy

    IMDb user rating: 6.1
    Year: 1998
    Director: Frank Coraci

    A favorite among early Sandler fans, “The Waterboy” is the story of the outrageous Bobby Boucher (based loosely on Sandler’s SNL “Canteen Boy” and “Cajun Man” characters) and Henry Winkler as his football coach. The story of a waterboy turned college football player has resonated all over pop culture, with references in more different TV shows and movies than you might think.  

  • Happy Madison Productions
    22/ Happy Madison Productions

    #18. Anger Management

    IMDb user rating: 6.2
    Year: 2003
    Director: Peter Segal

    Adam Sandler teamed up with a legendary co-star in 2003’s “Anger Management.” Jack Nicholson plays a therapist who pushes Sandler to the brink after his character is wrongly sentenced to anger management training.

     

     

  • Universal Pictures
    23/ Universal Pictures

    #17. Funny People

    IMDb user rating: 6.3
    Year: 2009
    Director: Judd Apatow

    “Funny People” has Adam Sandler playing a popular, goofy comedian (art imitating life) who’s diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and forced to re-evaluate his life. Judd Apatow was at the helm of this film, bringing along a typical Apatow cast including Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann.

     

  • Columbia Pictures
    24/ Columbia Pictures

    #16. Spanglish

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 2004
    Director: James L. Brooks

    Iconic director and “Simpsons” co-creator James L. Brooks directed this big-budget comedy about an insecure chef and his family who form a close bond with their Mexican housekeeper (Paz Vega). The box office results were less than ideal, earning $42 million on an $80 million budget.

  • Universal Pictures
    25/ Universal Pictures

    #15. Billy Madison

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 1995
    Director: Tamra Davis

    Adam Sandler’s first major hit as a movie star was the tale of a hotel magnate’s son who goes back to repeat every grade—from elementary through high school—in order to secure his inheritance. If you’ve ever heard somebody say “Stop looking at me, swan!” it’s because they’re a "Billy Madison" fan. Bradley Whitford stars as Eric, the film’s villain and Billy's chief rival in inheriting the Madison Hotel company.

  • Paramount Pictures
    26/ Paramount Pictures

    #14. The Longest Yard

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 2005
    Director: Peter Segal

    “The Waterboy” tends to get more love from die-hard Adam Sandler fans, but this football movie shows Sandler in a completely different light. A remake of the 70s film, Sandler steps into Burt Reynolds’ original role in the story of a quarterback sentenced to prison and forced to play for the warden’s football team. Reynolds returned for the new iteration—this time playing Sandler’s character’s mentor.

  • Jack Giarraputo Productions
    27/ Jack Giarraputo Productions

    #13. Big Daddy

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 1999
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    An immature man finds himself in a situation beyond his limited abilities, yet emerges victorious. This synopsis applies to many early Adam Sandler films, and in “Big Daddy,” it's man-child Sandler playing father to an adorably feisty kid in order to impress his girlfriend and, ultimately, growing up in the process. “Big Daddy” was one of Sandler’s biggest hits of his career making more than $163 million at the box office.

  • Happy Madison Productions
    28/ Happy Madison Productions

    #12. Just Go with It

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 2011
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    This false-identity movie has Sandler playing a dentist who convinces his assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to play the part of his soon-to-be-divorced wife to avoid a scrape with his much-younger girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker). It’s already the seventh collaboration with director Dennis Dugan on this list (with still one more remaining).

     

  • Columbia Pictures
    29/ Columbia Pictures

    #11. Click

    IMDb user rating: 6.4
    Year: 2006
    Director: Frank Coraci

    Frank Coraci is the other director who Adam Sandler works with the most often. In the fantastical family comedy “Click,” Sandler plays an over-worked architect who happens upon a magic remote control that lets him fast-forward and rewind through parts of his life. Kate Beckinsale co-stars as Sandler’s wife, and Christopher Walken plays the mysterious man who bestows the remote upon Sandler’s character.
     

  • Happy Madison Productions
    30/ Happy Madison Productions

    #10. Blended

    IMDb user rating: 6.5
    Year: 2014
    Director: Frank Coraci

    Some of Adam Sandler’s best work has been alongside with Barrymore, and that’s certainly the case in “Blended.” Sandler and Barrymore play two divorced people who wind up at the same African resort with their respective children. Hijinks ensue, and so does love.

  • Paramount Pictures
    31/ Paramount Pictures

    #9. Men, Women & Children

    IMDb user rating: 6.7
    Year: 2014
    Director: Jason Reitman

    Another serious turn for Sandler, Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women & Children” is an adaptation of Chad Kultgen’s novel of the same name. The all-star cast (including Jennifer Garner, Emma Thompson and J.K. Simmons) tells a story of internet addiction in the suburbs, and the unfulfilled sex lives of both parents and their respective high school offspring.
     

  • Sony Pictures Animation
    32/ Sony Pictures Animation

    #8. Hotel Transylvania 2

    IMDb user rating: 6.7
    Year: 2015
    Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

    This sequel to “Hotel Transylvania” has Sandler reprising his role as Count Dracula, while he and his monster friends try to get his half-human, half-vampire grandson to bring out his inner monster. Sandler's voice stars alongside frequent co-star Kevin James, as well as Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez.

     

  • New Line Cinema
    33/ New Line Cinema

    #7. The Wedding Singer

    IMDb user rating: 6.8
    Year: 1998
    Director: Frank Coraci

    The first film to pair Adam Sandler with Drew Barrymore was “The Wedding Singer,” a rom-com about a lovelorn wedding singer who finds true love with a girl who works at a wedding venue. This is the highest-rated film of the Sandler/Coraci collaborations.

  • Happy Madison Productions
    34/ Happy Madison Productions

    #6. 50 First Dates

    IMDb user rating: 6.8
    Year: 2004
    Director: Peter Segal

    The most successful Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore film was “50 First Dates,” which garnered more than $120 million in box office sales. The comedy sets Sandler in Hawaii as a commitment-averse man who finally finds a woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, only to discover she has chronic amnesia and forgets him entirely after every date they go on.

  • Netflix
    35/ Netflix

    #5. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    IMDb user rating: 7
    Year: 2017
    Director: Noah Baumbach

    Serious Sandler strikes again in this Cannes favorite, which tells the stories of failure-to-launch adult siblings living in the shadow of their successful artist father. Sandler stars alongside Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in this Netflix film that some thought would lead to Sandler’s first Oscar nomination (it didn’t).

  • Universal Pictures
    36/ Universal Pictures

    #4. Happy Gilmore

    IMDb user rating: 7
    Year: 1996
    Director: Dennis Dugan

    One of the early Sandler classics, Happy Gilmore is the story of a hockey player who finds success as a professional golfer. If you went to junior high or high school in the 1990s, you’ve probably seen this movie at least twice. Sandler’s love interest in the movie is a young Julie Bowen, who went on to play a lead role on “Modern Family.”

  • Sony Pictures Animation
    37/ Sony Pictures Animation

    #3. Hotel Transylvania

    IMDb user rating: 7.1
    Year: 2012
    Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

    Adam Sandler stars as Count Dracula in this animated movie about a resort for monsters. The place gets thrown for a loop when a human boy enters the premises, and falls in love with Dracula’s teenage daughter. Sandler was both a lead voice actor and executive producer on the movie.

  • New Line Cinema
    38/ New Line Cinema

    #2. Punch-Drunk Love

    IMDb user rating: 7.3
    Year: 2002
    Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

    Independent film-directing superstar P.T. Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood”) cast Sandler as the lead of this sordid drama, which tells the story of a socially awkward entrepreneur caught up in an identity theft scheme while trying to woo a woman. “Punch-Drunk Love” is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of Sandler’s career, with an impressive 80% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.

     

  • Relativity Media
    39/ Relativity Media

    #1. Reign Over Me

    IMDb user rating: 7.5
    Year: 2007
    Director: Mike Binder

    The highest-rated movie of Adam Sandler’s career is about a man who can’t get over the loss of his family in the September 11th attacks. The drama pairs Sandler with Don Cheadle as two men who both need friends as Sandler’s character finally comes to terms with his grief. The film doesn’t have any of the zaniness of Sandler’s earlier work, but instead shows his impressive range as a prolific actor.

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