Top 5 John Travolta Films and Television Shows!

john travolta movies in order

On and off the screen, John Travolta is undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s most fascinating actors. He’s an outspoken Scientologist who is also a licensed pilot. He’s been behind some of the business’s most infamous box office flops, but he’s also starred in some of its most revered and enduring movies.

In the late 1970s, Travolta was at the peak of his game, but by the mid-80s, his performances were marred by some regrettable box office failures and bad role selections, which tragically failed to highlight his skill.

The direction of his career, however, shifted when Quentin Tarantino considered him for the part of Vincent Vega in the groundbreaking, iconic film Pulp Fiction. Here, Travolta reclaimed his stardom, and Pulp Fiction’s critical and economic success sparked a career revival for him in the 1990s.

However, his career seems to be slipping once more as of late. His productivity has been less than stellar, with the majority of his films receiving universal acclaim and being released immediately on streaming services. However, if history is any indication, it would be folly to write out Travolta just yet because the king of comebacks is always a possibility of rediscovering his mojo. Here is a list of John Travolta’s top films, ranked.

9 Michael (1996)

john travolta movies in order

Travolta portrays the Archangel Michael in the 1996 comedy-drama Michael, in which he is dispatched to Earth to carry out various missions for his creator. Travolta excels in the lead role amidst a stellar supporting cast that includes Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, and Bob Hoskins.

The movie is quirky and hilarious, but it also manages to touch viewers’ hearts when Michael has play cupid and in a particularly heartwarming scene when he saves the protagonist’s dog Sparky from being run over by a truck. Michael was a distinctive comedy from the 1990s that never got the recognition it deserved.

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8 Broken Arrow (1996)

john travolta movies in order

Major Vic Deakins, played by Travolta in Broken Arrow, is one of his few roles as an action villain. In a part where he takes nuclear weapons in an effort to demand money from the US government or else he will blow up the missiles in populated regions, Travolta plays the opposite of Christian Slater.

Travolta does a fantastic job portraying a cool and collected psychopath, much like the one in the 1997 thriller, even though it’s not as memorable as his other ’90s villain performance, Face/Off. Most of Broken Arrow’s positive aspects stem from Travolta’s excellent performance, which is why it doesn’t receive as much praise as it ought to.

7 Hairspray (2007)

john travolta movies in order

This musical love comedy from 2007 is a wonderful summertime picture with lots of heart. The 1988 comedy film of the same name by John Waters served as the inspiration for the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspray. It follows Tracy Turnblad, a “pleasantly overweight” adolescent girl who finds fame as a dancer on a regional television dance show and participates in protests against racial segregation.

Tracy’s mother, Edna Turnblad, is portrayed by John Travolta and is obese and agoraphobic. Travolta’s choice to play Edna continued the custom of having a guy in drag play the role, as was done in both 1988 original, which starred drag queen Devine and the Broadway adaptation of Hairspray.

According to rumors, the film’s producers had originally envisioned an actor better known for his comedic appearances, such as Steve Martin or Robin Williams, taking the role.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron lobbied for Travolta due to his popularity in the musical Grease and their belief in his flexibility, and the rest is history. It is difficult to think of another actor playing this larger-than-life persona as successfully as Travolta did.

6 Get Shorty (1995)

john travolta movies in order

After the 1994 success of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (which also starred Travolta), a flurry of pulpy gangster movies started to appear out of nowhere. Most were essentially imitators looking to capitalize on the success of Pulp Fiction.

There were a few standouts among these imitators that, while drawing inspiration from Pulp Fiction’s darkly comic, dialogue-heavy, multi-stranded, and ultra-violent tone, added something new. One of these was Get Shorty, which delivered the ideal balance of comedy and thriller while being fiercely satirical.

It was released in 1995, one year after Pulp Fiction, and features Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, and John Travolta as well. It centers on Miami mobster and loan shark Chili Palmer (Travolta), who goes to Los Angeles to settle a casino debt with a B-movie director and unintentionally gets embroiled in feature film production.

Like Hairspray, Travolta wasn’t necessarily everyone’s first option; according to rumors, the roles of Chili Palmer were offered to Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, and Michael Keaton, who all declined them. Having said that, Travolta is in excellent form here, displaying his signature cool in the way that only he can while also showcase his comedic skills when the script asks for it.

5 Face/Off (1997)

john travolta movies in order

Face/Off is essentially the story of an FBI agent (John Travolta) impersonating a criminal mastermind (Nicolas Cage) through facial transplant surgery in order to thwart a terrorist plot. However, things go wrong when the criminal wakes up early and employs the same method to pass himself off as the agent.

This John Woo-directed action thriller is a thrilling ride with some of the best-stylized action sequences ever put on screen, even though it does leave itself up to a tonne of story flaws. Given that Travolta plays Nic Cage’s (a notoriously unstable actor) character for the majority of the film, this is undoubtedly one of the actor’s most irrational and scenery-chewing performances to date.

4 Saturday Night Fever (1977)

john travolta movies in order

John Travolta became one of the biggest stars on the planet because of the cultural phenomenon that was Saturday Night Fever. In addition to being a huge critical and economic success, it revived disco music and made it more well known throughout the world (which could be considered a good or a bad thing, depending on where you stand regarding the genre).

Almost every aspect of the film, including the dance moves, the Bee-Gees-centered soundtrack, and the wildly extravagant clothing, have become recognizable. The film itself is a deftly told dark depiction of working-class life in the 1970s USA that addresses a variety of sensitive subjects, such as drugs, religion, poverty, suicide, sexual assault, and racism. This is true even of the cheesy soundtrack and the frilly clothes.

3 Blow Out (1981)

john travolta movies in order

Still riding high off the box office successes of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, Travolta somewhat defied expectations by choosing to collaborate with legendary director Brian De Palma for his subsequent part.

At the time, De Palma was well-known for producing films that were extremely provocative, such as the sensual slasher Dressed to Kill and the now-iconic supernatural blood fest Carrie. In the film Blow Out, Travolta plays Jack Terry, a Philadelphia-based sound effects technician who accidentally records audio from an assassination involving a prominent political person while recording sounds for a low-budget slasher movie.

This novel idea led to the creation of a film that became one of Quentin Tarantino’s all-time favorites and a critical sensation. Despite the positive reviews, the film did poorly at the box office, which was most likely caused by Travolta’s abrupt change of tone and the depressing conclusion.

2 Grease (1978)

john travolta movies in order

If Saturday Night Fever demonstrated to the world John Travolta’s ability to perform in musicals, Grease established him as the king of musicals by becoming the highest-grossing musical movie of all time at the time.

The story, which takes place in the 1950s, centers on ‘greaser’ Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), who fall in love over the summer. Due to their dissimilar peer groups and backgrounds in high school, their relationship becomes more difficult to manage.

The movie is still the ideal illustration of how to bring a Broadway musical to life on the big screen without losing any of the excitement and magic ones expects from a live performance, despite a few problematic moments that don’t hold up so well today (take note, Cats).

Like Saturday Night Fever, it touches on a number of significant topics that are still relevant today, such as teenage pregnancy, peer pressure, and gang violence, despite the cheesy (but incredibly popular) soundtrack and the campy costumes.

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1 Pulp Fiction (1994)

john travolta movies in order

For good reason, Pulp Fiction is recognized as one of the best films of all time. Almost every aspect of the film is executed to perfection, from the satirical blending of humor and intense violence to the snappy dialogue loaded with pop culture references that movie lovers still quote today, more than 25 years later.

Although the writer/director is mostly responsible for this and his original idea, one of the best casts ever put together is essential to its success. The likes of Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth, and John Travolta all put on outstanding performances for the audience.

Particularly Travolta and Samuel L Jackson have received appreciation for their superior cold performances as two cool-headed hitmen who commit mass murder.

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