Jodie Foster’s illustrious decade-spanning career started when she was but a young teen in the mid-70s. Unlike many child stars of her time, the actress successfully transitioned into adult roles and is now among the most respected and highly acclaimed women in Hollywood. 


Over the years, Foster showed her impressive range by starring in movies of various genres, including crime thrillers, dramas, and even romantic comedies. The Oscar winner’s latest part is of a no-nonsense Alaskan police chief in the fourth season of True Detective. While you patiently wait for new episodes of the critically acclaimed series to be released, here are some of Foster’s best movie roles to date to keep you entertained. 

Top 10 Jodie Foster Movies

Bugsy Malone (1976)

Bugsy Malone is a gangster movie with a twist. Instead of having adults play the parts of hardened criminals, the movie only cast child actors in the role. And instead of bullets, the machine guns fire candy. The hilarious musical received widespread praise when it first came out, and it’s still considered one of the best children’s movies ever to grace the silver screen.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver stars Robert De Niro as the titular character and follows his slow descent into madness and violence. While nowadays, the film is a cult classic and widely considered one of the director’s best works, it garnered a lot of controversies when it first came out specifically, for including a then 11-year-old Jodie Foster in the part of a streetwalker who befriends the protagonist.

Freaky Friday (1976)

Based on the namesake book by Mary Rodgers and directed by Gary Nelson, Freaky Friday is the original body-swap movie many modern-day filmmakers are still trying to replicate. A young Jodie Foster appears alongside Barbara Harris as a teen girl who finds herself switching places with her mother.

The Accused (1988)

Jodie Foster won her first Academy Award and several other accolades for her performance in this disturbing court drama. The movie follows a young woman’s long and arduous journey to receive justice after being the victim of a brutal rape. A film ahead of its time, The Accused explores themes of misogyny, the flawed justice system, and classism. 


The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

In this timeless thriller, Foster stars as young FBI agent Clarice Sterling, who develops a dangerous bond with the sadistic but charismatic Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Clarice needs Dr. Lecter’s assistance to catch another serial killer, but his help comes at a cost. Foster earned her second Oscar win for her portrayal of Clarice.

Little Man Tate (1991)

This poignant drama also marks Jodie Foster’s directorial debut. The movie follows a young mother with a child prodigy and her struggle to offer him the best start in life. Foster herself was also considered gifted as a child, and this film showcases the social, financial, and cultural struggles the families of genius kids can face.

Maverick (1994)

Based on a popular TV show from the 50s, Maverick is a witty comedy western about a group of con artists who make their way around the old West’s poker table. Jodie Foster stars in the film alongside Mel Gibson and James Garner.

Contact (1997)

In this touching sci-fi drama, Jodie Foster plays a scientist chosen to make the first contact between humans and extraterrestrials. While other alien movies from the era, such as Will Smith’s Independence Day, portray outer space beings as dangerous invaders, Contact imagines a more benign scenario. The movie is also notable for its stunning visuals and poignant existential themes.

Panic Room (2002)

David Fincher’s suspense-filled Panic Room features Foster as a divorcee who moves into a new home with her chronically ill daughter. When three men break into the house searching for a hidden fortune, the two are forced to take refuge in its titular safe room. Interestingly enough, Nicole Kidman was originally cast in the main role but had to pull out at the last minute due to health concerns, with Foster having to take over at the last minute. While over 20 years old, the movie will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire runtime.

Carnage (2011)

Carnage is a hilarious black comedy that shows how adults aren’t always the best equipped for conflict resolution. When two boys get into a fight at school, their respective parents decide to meet up and try to resolve the issue. However, it soon becomes clear the two couples are less likely to find common ground than their kids are.

Abbas Jaffar Ali
Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas has been covering tech for more than two decades- before phones became smart or clouds stored data. He brought publications like CNET, TechRadar and IGN to the Middle East.


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