Over the decades, Beyonce has solidified herself as a generational talent. The singer and performer has continued to turn heads with her voice and stage performances as we’ve seen with the Renaissance World Tour. However, Beyonce’s ventures into movies have also proved quite successful. While her film projects pale in comparison to her work as a musician, they are still worth celebrating.
To date, Beyonce has starred in nine feature-length movies. These projects have ranged from hilarious comedies to musical dramas, animated blockbusters, and even a romantic thriller. Beyoncé’s acting is far from one-dimensional, as she has shown off her range on multiple occasions. She also has the honor of starring in the highest-grossing animated film of all time — The Lion King.
Beyonce’s experience as a visual artist far extends beyond her movies as well. She has garnered a solid reputation for her storytelling music videos that have served as accompaniments to her acclaimed discography. Her visual albums Beyoncé, Lemonade, and Black Is King have received near-unanimous praise for their style, flair, and vulnerability.
This is a ranking of Beyonce’s best performances in movies, and not the movies themselves. However, it’s important to note that her visual albums and documentary film, Homecoming, are not a part of this compilation.
9. Epic (2013)
In the animated fantasy film Epic, Beyoncé had just a few minutes of time to voice her character Queen Tara. The film did perform well critically and commercially, but the star didn’t have enough room to shine in the film. After appearing in the early moments of the film, she was gone with the wind. Beyoncé did, however, perform an original song, “Rise Up”, which she co-wrote with Sia for the movie. The song was praised for its delicate nature and inspiring lyrics. Furthermore, she scored a nomination for Outstanding Voice Performance at the Black Reel Awards.
8. The Pink Panther (2006)
The Pink Panther was a commercial success despite its negative reviews. Beyoncé had a supporting role in the movie as Xania, a pop star who is a suspect in the theft of the titular diamond. Although her acting was quite good, it wasn’t enough to save the film from its overwhelming criticisms. A number of notable stars starred in the film, including Steve Martin in the lead role, as well as Kevin Kline, Henry Czerny, Kristin Chenoweth, Jason Statham, and more. In typical fashion, Beyoncé performed music for the film. While The Pink Panther isn’t one of her more praised projects, her number one single “Check On It” off the film’s soundtrack quickly became a fan-favorite track in her discography.
7. The Lion King (2019)
In the 2019 remake of the animated classic The Lion King, Beyoncé voiced the character Nala. The star was joined by an ensemble cast of talented stars, including Donald Glover as Simba. Not only is The Lion King the highest-grossing film in Beyoncé’s filmography, but it also surpassed Frozen as the highest-grossing animated film of all time. While the film received mixed reviews, its music was praised.
6. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
Austin Powers In Goldmember marked Beyoncé’s theatrical film debut. The spy comedy continued to parody James Bond in the third installment of the movie series, while Beyoncé was introduced as the titular character’s latest sidekick, Foxxy Cleopatra. Her character was a smart and sexy counterpart to Powers’ dim-witted persona. She also lent her voice to the soundtrack, singing the retro, funky number “Work It Out”. The single, which serves as Beyoncé’s official debut solo track, was lauded for its 1970s-inspired sound, and her sensual vocals.
5. Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001)
Beyoncé landed her acting debut in the musical romantic drama Carmen: A Hip Hopera. The television film reimagines the famous opera Carmen in modern times. Carmen follows the titular character, played by Beyoncé, a seductive aspiring actress on the journey to fame when she encounters a man named Derek, played by Mekhi Phifer. Several notable Hip Hop and R&B stars also starred in the film, including: Wyclef Jean, Da Brat, Rah Digga, and more.
4. Obsessed (2009)
Obsessed may have been panned by critics, but Beyoncé’s acting was favorably received by fans. The climactic fight scene towards the end of the movie was particularly praised, later winning the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight. Obsessed is one of Beyoncé’s more financially successful films as well, pulling in over three times its budget at the box office. Obsessed is also notable for being the only film Beyoncé starred in where she did not perform a song for the soundtrack.
3. The Fighting Temptations (2003)
Beyoncé’s film appearances almost always include utilizing her signature voice to some extent. In The Fighting Temptations, her second theatrical release after Austin Powers in Goldmember, she was the star focus as she co-starred alongside Cuba Good Jr. as Lilly. The film is noted for its ensemble cast, which featured Mike Epps, Angie Stone, and more. A major focus of great praise for the film was its soundtrack, specifically Beyoncé’s cover of Little Willie John’s “Fever.” She sang numerous songs on the soundtrack, as a solo artist and as a member of Destiny’s Child.
2. Dreamgirls (2006)
Perhaps the most acclaimed of all the movies in Beyonce’s catalog is Dreamgirls. The Oscar-winning movie was lauded for its stellar acting, direction, and musical numbers. The song, “Listen”, which was performed by Beyoncé, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. With an ensemble cast of talented stars on the project, Beyoncé held her own in a tale that captured the evolution of soul music and R&B. Her acting, as well as her song and dance numbers were packed with tons of emotion and flair, and scored her a Best Supporting Actress nod at the Golden Globe Awards.
1. Cadillac Records (2008)
Cadillac Records has flown under the radar in recent times, but it’s undeniably a showcase of Beyoncé’s strengths as an actor. In the musical biographical film, she starred as world-renowned singer Etta James. Cadillac Records is set between the 1940s and 1960s and chronicles the successful Chess Records under the management of Leonard Chess. Beyoncé’s cover of James’ “At Last” attracted praise and she earned a nomination at the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress.