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Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best

stills from Adam Sandler movies Spaceman, Punch Drunk Love, and Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler is the guilty pleasure of so many, and his more serious ventures have led to critical acclaim! Here’s a list of his top 10 movies ranked from worst to best!

Adam Sandler, or the Sandman, has been gracing our screens for over 30 years. He is most known for his much criticised, yet highly successful ‘dumb’ comedies. Due to his success, Sandler has choice over his projects. His decisions to take on more complex and ‘serious’ roles in indie features, alongside his comedic blockbusters, have earned him profound respect as an actor, even winning him an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in Uncut Gems (2019).  Sandman’s latest feature, Spaceman, was released on Netflix last week, so it felt only right to create a list of the King of Hollywood, Adam Sandler’s Top 10 movies! 

10. Spaceman (2024)

Director: Johan Renck

Spaceman Film Review: A Sci-Fi Slog – Loud And Clear Reviews
Adam Sandler is the latest ‘lonely man in space thinking about things and getting sad’ in Johan Renck’s protracted and uninspiring Spaceman.

Sandler and somber are not often associated, but in Spaceman, he plays loneliness devastatingly well. The new Netflix release follows an astronaut, Jakub (Sandler), sent on a solo mission to the edge of the solar system. Once almost at the half-way point, he encounters a spider-like creature, Hanuš (Paul Dano), who helps him repair his relationship with his wife Lenka (Carey Mulligan), and uncovers why he has tried to get as far away as he can from his life on earth, quite literally. Though the film has quite a slow and hard going start, it does pick up in the second act; I did not expect witnessing an alien spider hug the Sandman to reduce me to tears but it did!

Sandler’s performance, though, is consistently excellent throughout. Though known for his typically shout-y comedic roles, he plays the quiet, sad and isolated man beautifully. As soon as I saw Dano’s Hanuš, I expected it to take a comedic route. Instead, Spaceman is a very profound and earnest film with the power of interpersonal connection at its centre.

9. Funny People (2009)

Director: Judd Apatow

Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen in the film Funny People, one of Loud and Clear Reviews' top 10 Adam Sandler movies ranked from worst to best
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: Funny People (Universal Pictures)

Funny People is, in my opinion, the most underrated Judd Apatow movie. The film follows Ira (Seth Rogan), an aspiring young comedian trying to make it on the scene, as he meets the mega-successful comedy movie star George Simmons, played by (you guessed it) Adam Sandler. When George finds out he is suffering from a terminal illness, he hires Ira to write him new material and be his companion. George’s diagnosis also leads him to reach out to his ex-wife Laura (Leslie Mann).

Funny People bears a resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal work ‘The Great Gatsby‘: it follows a narrator (Ira / Nick Carraway) attracted by the wealth and grandeur of an elusive celebrity (George / Jay Gatsby), so much that he is drawn in to his scheme to win back the girl he once lost (Laura / Daisy Buchanan). Yet, as both Ira and Nick get to know their idols, they discover that they actually are not what they seem and are instead shallow, selfish and fractured. It certainly isn’t one of Apatow’s most likeable films, and George can often be quite a difficult character to get on board with, but it is definitely a great dark comedy with some excellent moments throughout.

8. The Wedding Singer (1998)

Director: Frank Coraci

Adam Sandler sings dressed in blue in The Wedding Singer, one of Loud and Clear Reviews' top 10 Adam Sandler movies ranked from worst to best
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: The Wedding Singer (New Line Cinema)

Sandler’s first collaboration of many with the sweetly spoken Drew Barrymore comes in the form of The Wedding Singer. In this Sandman classic, Sandler plays Robbie Hart, who falls in love with an engaged waitress, Julia (Barrymore), after he is left at the altar of his own wedding. Set in 1985, The Wedding Singer is a brilliant romcom full of gaudy costumes, ostentatious characters and a sweet love story at its centre.

The chemistry between Barrymore and Sandler is palpable; their characters are shy, sweet and adoring of one another and you’re rooting for them throughout as their blossoming relationship stands in such stark juxtaposition to their mistreatments from respective partners. It obviously works as they’ve gone on to star in two more rom-coms together! Adam Sandler drunk singing a song about hating love with a mullet and a loud 80s suit on is a scene that’s both hard to watch and impossible to look away from.

7. 50 First Dates (2004)

Director: Peter Segal 

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore talk on the beach in the film 50 First Dates
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: 50 First Dates (Columbia Pictures)

One thing about Adam Sandler romantic comedies is you know they’re going to be set somewhere sunny and beautiful, and 50 First Dates does not deviate from the norm with the gorgeous Hawaii setting. By far his sweetest romcom, 50 First Dates follows commitment-phobe Henry Roth (Sandler) as he hits it off with Lucy (Drew Barrymore) and then discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the next day.

Sandler plays the funny and loud yet sensitive romantic lead very well, and his dedication to trying to get her to fall in love with him again each day is extremely wholesome viewing. 50 First Dates always makes me think of ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ by The Beach Boys, which Lucy belts out in multiple scenes as she falls in love each day; that song just encompasses how feel good this story is – as well as absolutely hilarious throughout.

6. Happy Gilmore (1996)

Director: Dennis Dugan

Adam Sandler blows on a golf ball in the film Happy Gilmore
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: Happy Gilmore (Universal Pictures)

Perhaps Adam Sandler’s most iconic film, Happy Gilmore remains an endlessly quotable classic. Written by Sandler and his writing partner Tim Herlihy, the story follows an unsuccessful ice hockey player, Happy Gilmore (Sandler), who discovers he has an untapped talent for golf and signs on to a golfing tournament to try and save his grandmother’s house from foreclosure. If you’re looking for a Sandler film with his classic angry, shout-y hilarity, then this is the motherlode. Carl Weathers’ appearance as his golf coach, Chubbs, a pro golfer who had to retire due to his hand being bitten off by an alligator, provides some iconic moments. It’s hard to dislike a film about an underdog in an elitist sport trying to do right by his grandma.  

5. Hustle (2022)

Director: Jeremiah Zagar

Hustle Netflix Review: Sandler Delivers – Loud And Clear Reviews
Review: Hustle doesn’t stray from sports film clichés, but it’s elevated by Adam Sandler, who turns in one of his best performances to date.

It’s well known that the Sandman is a big basketball fan – he was even seen going viral on TikTok last week playing basketball at a local leisure centre in London! In Hustle, Sandler plays Stanley Sugarman, a down-on-his-luck NBA scout who discovers a pick-up basketball player, Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez) when scouting in Spain. The film is a real underdog story, with raw, grassroots training sequences, akin to Sylvester Stallone’s magnum opus the Rocky franchise about a young boxer in Philadelphia famed for its montages and iconic use of ‘Eye of the Tiger’.

Intense hype music accompanies scenes of Sugarman pushing Cruz to his limits in a brilliant montage before reaching the climactic sporting moment, in this case the NBA draft. Sandler’s passion for Basketball is infectious and has a sense of atmosphere that only great sports movies evoke. Even if you’re not a basketball fan, Hustle is sure to have you on the edge of your seat throughout – and if you are a fan, the player cameos are aplenty! 

4. Just Go With It (2011)

Director: Dennis Dugan

Two women shake hands in front of Adam Sandler in the film Just Go With It, one of Loud and Clear Reviews' top 10 Adam Sandler movies ranked from worst to best
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: Just Go With It (Columbia Pictures)

It’s a romcom, it’s set in Hawaii, and it stars Adam Sandler – a combination we’ve seen before with brilliant results, and Just Go With It continues that trend. This time, the Sandman’s romantic interest is Jennifer Aniston, who plays Katherine Murphy, assistant to plastic surgeon Danny (Adam Sandler). The story, loosely based in the 1969 film Cactus Flower, follows Danny, a man left at the altar on his wedding day who discovers his unused wedding ring is a great technique for pulling women.

His deceptive methods lead him to convince Katherine to pose as his soon-to-be divorced wife in order to cover up a lie he told to his new girlfriend. Soon Katherine’s two children are involved, and they all end up going on a trip to Hawaii as the lie just keeps growing and feelings soon begin to develop between Danny and Katherine. The story is simple, fun and almost Shakespearean with all of the farce, deception and romantic confusion. Just Go With It wins the Sandler romcom top spot due to the brilliant chemistry between Sandler and Aniston: they are a hilarious pairing with their sly digs and rapport developing into a sweet love story underneath it all – alike to Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing!

3. The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)

Director: Noah Baumbach

Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and two women sit on chairs in a waiting room in the film The Meyerowitz Stories
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: The Meyerowitz Stories (Netflix)

The Meyerowitz Stories is a story of an estranged family living in the shadow of their self-absorbed father, who are brought back together by crisis. Noah Baumbach’s films always possess a certain charming realism in them, and his multifaceted, often flawed and difficult characters are deeply loveable, layered and relatable. Sandler’s performance is understated and excellent, and Baumbach does not shy away from Sandler’s comedic nature either. Sandler works best with a dynamic ensemble cast, and Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Marvel are excellent scene partners as Danny’s half siblings Matthew and Jean. Their developing dynamic is joyous to watch as they uncover how they are trauma bonded through their shared patriarch, famed New York sculptor and retired Bard College Art Professor Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman). 

2. Uncut Gems (2019)

Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Uncut Gems: Film Review – Loud And Clear Reviews
Uncut Gems is a genre-defying masterpiece that puts to trial the American dream and revels in the absurd beauty of movie making.

Uncut Gems was the film that got Adam Sandler the closest to an Academy Award nomination; his intense, bold and stressful performance is what makes the movie so powerful. Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a Jewish-American jeweller and gambling addict in New York’s Diamond District. He purchased an expensive gem in order to pay off his gambling debts, and must retrieve to stave off his loan shark brother-in-law. Ratner makes seemingly bad decision after bad decision, digging himself deeper into a pit of despair. The anxiety inducing twists and turns in this film are so thrilling that you can’t help but be taken in by Howard and his intense hope and belief, so much so that you are also wishing for his success at the end of the film. I cannot wait to see what the Safdie brothers and Sandler’s next project entails. 

1. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

the kiss scene in the film Punch-Drunk Love, one of Loud and Clear Reviews' top 10 Adam Sandler movies ranked from worst to best
Top 10 Adam Sandler Movies Ranked Worst to Best: Punch-Drunk Love (Columbia Pictures)

When esteemed director Paul Thomas Anderson announced he was going to make an “Adam Sandler movie,” people thought he was joking, but what he created with Punch-Drunk Love is his tribute to Adam Sandler movies. Sandler plays Barry Egan, an introverted novelty toiletries business owner who permanently wears a blue suit. Barry is outwardly people pleasing, but then, in response to people taking advantage of him, he erupts into fits of rage – not unlike characters in many of Sandler’s early comedic ventures, such as Happy Gilmore. 

The film is, at its heart, a love story; Barry meets Lena, a sweet friend of one of his overbearing sisters, and they like each other straight away. Alongside his budding romance, he is being blackmailed by a Utah phone sex company and also trying to collect coupons from pudding packaging to convert to air miles. The plot is wonderfully chaotic, and provides Sandler with the space to give his best performance to date. It is clear Anderson understands what makes Sandler so great as an actor, and as such, Punch-Drunk Love has taken the top spot!

Spaceman is now available to watch on Netflix. Read our review of Spaceman!

Spaceman: Trailer (Netflix)
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