as an actress, Angelina Jolie is known for a variety of performances from action films like mr. and mrs. Smith to fantasy movies like Maleficent. Jolie’s movies from the 2000s include the iconic Lara Croft, though many of her best performances branch from the 90s into the 2010s. Like many actors lately, Jolie is a triple threat – one that can act, produce, and direct feature films.
While Jolie has only had a handful of films with her listed as director, the films’ themes cover the topic of social consciousness at its forefront. Her first directed film was a documentary on orphanages and refugee camps in an effort to raise awareness and encourage cultural understanding. the movie, A Place in Time, premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Festival. From there, she directed a war-romance film entitled In the Land of Blood and Honey. In 2014, Jolie directed her most well-known work, unbroken, another war film based on true events. In 2015, she directed and starred alongside her ex-husband Brad Pitt in By the Sea. Her most recently directed movie, First They Killed My Fatherdebuted in 2017 and is another war biopic.
It has been a few years since Jolie has directed a film, but she does have an upcoming project that will showcase her directing skills, involving her Eternals co-star Selma Hayek, called without blood. Per Variety, the film is produced in partnership with Fremantle, with whom she signed a three-year international filmmaking agreement in March 2022. According to The Hollywood Reporter, without blood will also star Demián Bichir and will be based on the novel of the same name by author Alessandro Baricco. Still in the early stages of development, fans will have some time before it’s released. While we wait, here are the films Jolie has directed, ranked.
4 In the Land of Blood and Honey
The 2011 movie In the Land of Blood and Honey is a war-romance film that takes place during the Bosnian War and follows Danijel, a Serbian soldier, and Ajla, a Bosnian captive. The two had briefly met prior to the war in a nightclub, but when they are reconnected as the captor and captured, can their newly rekindled love make it? More importantly, can they trust each other?
While the story in this film was directed, written, and produced by Jolie, viewers found that the film fell short of expectations, citing that the film failed to engage the viewer. Though the battle scenes were realistic and not too over the top, viewers found that the connection between the lovers and the overlaying war did not impress. It seems that Jolie learned her lesson from this film and was able to correct these issues in the following films.
3 By the Sea
By the Sea is one of the new non-war-related films directed by Jolie. In the film, Jolie not only is the director, but she also stars as one of the main characters, is the sole writer of the screenplay, and is listed as a producer. The film reunites Pitt and Jolie together for the third time — the first in a film directed by Jolie.
The storyline follows a 1970s romantic era couple, their failing marriage, and the fallout during a hotel stay in France. Pitt plays the husband who is struggling with writing his next work and Jolie the tired wife who becomes obsessed with the woman in the room next door. Critics praised the way Jolie portrayed marriage, especially after 14 years, but say that her writing ability caused the film to fall short of its full potential.
2 First They Killed My Father
First They Killed My Father is a war biopic based on the life and experiences of Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung. In the 2017 film, Ung recounts her life under the deadly Khmer Rouge back in the 1970s. Khmer Rouge invaded Cambodia and turned the young Loung’s life upside down, forcing her family to leave a comfortable life for a work-camp life. To make things worse, her father, a former officer, is killed, forcing the already struggling family to split in order to survive.
Jolie worked alongside Loung Ung to develop the screenplay for this Netflix biopic. The duo used material already written by Ung from her novel of the same name. The film received a BAFTA Film Award nomination in the category of Best Film Not in the English Language. Critics praised the film and its ability to showcase the horrors of the Cambodian genocide told through the eyes of children.
In arguably one of Jolie’s most well-known directed films, unbroken covers the true story of Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was an Olympian-turned-World War II soldier who survived 47 days in a raft after his plane crashed, only to be captured by Japanese military. The film covers Zamperini’s young life through his time in the 1936 Olympics and the second half of his life, which was full of torment and torture in a Japanese POW camp.
The 2014 film was nominated for three Oscars including Best Achievement in Cinematography. It’s a moving story that shows Zamperini’s resilience and unbroken spirit. Jack O’Connell portrayed Zamperini and was nominated for a few awards for his performance. The film was adapted from the novel written by Laura Hillebrand. While Jolie could not include everything from the novel, critics praised her for staying as true to the events as possible.