It’s always enjoyable to watch people who are good at what they do, whether that’s winning court cases, breaking news stories, negotiating deals, or killing baddies. To this end, Redditors recently got together on r/movies, the largest film subreddit, to discuss which movie characters are the best at their jobs.
Their picks range from sports dramas to heartwarming comedy dramas, and sci-fi to real-life space missions. These characters keep cool under pressure, overcome impossible odds and handle any challenge with the ease of a pro.
10 ‘Air’ (2023)
Ben Affleck‘s latest movie chronicles the beginning of shoe line Air Jordan. Matt Damon plays real-life figure Sonny Vaccaro, a Nike talent scout tasked with finding a new spokesperson for the brand, and sets his sights on Michael Jordan. Vaccaro has to move heaven and earth to get the deal done.
“Besides being hilarious and a good movie, it also was just cool seeing people doing something they’re very good at (in this case, scouting and recruiting talent),” said abracadabra1998 about Air.
9 ‘The Intern’ (2015)
A 70-year-old widower named Ben (Robert De Niro) becomes an intern at an online fashion company founded and run by Jules (Anne Hathaway). Ben’s old-fashioned work ethic and life experience make him an asset to the company and a confidant to his boss in The Intern.
“It’s a simple movie, but it’s very satisfying seeing De Niro be good at a really normal job,” said user ILoveMyChococat. Somewhat surprisingly, Quentin Tarantino was also a big fan of the movie. He named it one of his favorites of 2015, saying, “I think Robert De Niro gave one of the best performances this year in that movie.”
8 ‘Spotlight’ (2015)
Redditor abracadbra1998 mentioned Spotlight, a drama directed by Tom McCarthy, in a post about “characters being extremely good at their jobs.” The film tells the unbelievable true story of a team of investigative journalists from The Boston Globe who uncovered the systemic sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston area. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber all give outstanding performances in their roles as members of the Spotlight team.
The film seamlessly weaves together the personal stories of the victims with the complex political and legal machinations that allowed the abuse to go unchecked for decades. It’s a testament to the power of good journalism and the importance of shining a light on dark truths, even in the face of daunting obstacles.
7 ‘Moneyball’ (2011)
Moneyball is a sports drama that tells how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) revolutionized baseball by using statistical analysis to build a winning team on a shoestring budget. Pitt is joined by Jonah Hill as Beane’s assistant general manager Peter Brand, who introduced him to the concept of sabermetrics.
It’s a fascinating exploration of how data and analytics can be used to challenge traditional thinking and achieve success in even the most established industries. “Moneyball taps into that same vein the show The Newsroom does for me,” user failinglikefalling. “People who are absolute masters of their craft doing what they do, even if others don’t get it or don’t appreciate it.”
6 ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’ (1996)
Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a small-town schoolteacher who discovers that she has a hidden past as a skilled CIA assassin in the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Alongside private investigator Mitch Hennessy (Samuel L. Jackson), Samantha embarks on a dangerous mission to uncover her past and confront her former employers.
“Both Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson’s characters are TOO good at their jobs and the wrong people notice. It might be cheesy at times but remains one of my all-time favorite movies,” said user Migraine_Megan. “Also the best one-liners ever. Fun fact: [Davis] actually learned to shoot, and was so good at it she took up archery and nearly qualified for the Olympics. I admire the actress and the character.”
5 ‘The Martian’ (2015)
Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars after a storm separates him from his crew. He uses his resourcefulness and scientific expertise to grow food, create water, and communicate with Earth in an attempt to stay alive until a rescue mission can be mounted.
“The Martian, because he sciences the s**t out of it! Surprisingly witty film too,” said Redditor SithLard. User KnotSoSalty agreed, saying, “The Martian is such a great film. It also stands out in my mind as the only serious science fiction movie in which no one dies. It’s genuinely about humanity pulling together.”
4 ‘Michael Clayton’ (2007)
This legal thriller follows a fixer (George Clooney) for a prestigious New York law firm, as he tries to unravel a conspiracy involving the firm’s biggest client and a class-action lawsuit that could destroy the company.
Michael Clayton istense, intelligent, and expertly paced, with a screenplay that keeps the audience guessing until the very end. “He’s mostly a failed lawyer with a sh*t job. His first scene very much establishes that he is a ‘janitor’ and not a ‘miracle worker,” said staedtler.
3 ‘Steve Jobs’ (2013)
Michael Fassbender delivers a phenomenal performance here as the legendary tech visionary and Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. The film Steve Jobs is divided into three acts, each set in the moments leading up to a major product launch: the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT computer in 1988, and the iMac in 1998.
Alongside his business success, the movie examines Jobs’ complex and often tumultuous personal and professional relationships, including those with his daughter, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and CEO John Sculley. “Jobs is an asshole but it’s a compelling movie. Focuses more on his personal issues but you get a sense of how he ran Apple, especially their launch events,” said boywithapplesauce.
2 ‘Apollo 13’ (1995)
Apollo 13 tells the true story of the 1970 NASA mission to the moon. It focuses on the challenges faced by the three astronauts, Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks), Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon), and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), when an explosion occurs in their spacecraft, leaving them stranded in space with limited resources and a race against time to return safely to Earth. The film showcases the incredible teamwork and resilience of the astronauts, as well as the scientists and engineers on the ground, who work tirelessly to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Several Redditors suggested this one and with good reason. “As soon as that spaceship gets into trouble, you get the whole of NASA working to bring those astronauts home safely,” said user ScarlettReyes95. “Putting people on the moon was an awesome amount of work by very competent people and organizations,” said user spsammy.
1 ‘The Accountant’ (2016)
The Accountant stars Ben Affleck as Christian Wolff, a high-functioning accountant with autism who works for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. When the Treasury Department begins to investigate Wolff’s activities, he becomes the target of a dangerous hitman and is forced to use his skills as an accountant and assassin to stay alive.
Supporting characters Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons also turn in terrific performances. Multiple users recommended The Accountant. “Great action, character uses developmental disability to kick butt,” said Grattytood. “He is extremely competent at two jobs. Killing and accounting,” added Redditor Perpete.
NEXT: Movies About Characters With Genius Minds