Top 8 Adam Sandler Movies

adam sandler

It’s easy to make jokes about Adam Sandler’s movie career. His films have ridden the critical and box office waves up and down so frequently that it feels like his next movie is always either, or “Adam Sandler’s new career low point” or “Adam’s Sandler’s triumphant comeback.” And while the jury is still out on Sandler’s latest film Pixels, it’s worth reminding ourselves that in spite of some of the stinkers that grace his IMDB page, Sandler remains one of the most genuinely funny comedians working in film.  And when he is on his game, no one is funnier.

So let’s celebrate Adam’s Sandler’s career, by looking at eight of the movies that stood out above the rest. Quick side note: I’m sure you are all going to wonder why I didn’t include what is considered Sandler’s most critically regarded work in PT Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love. But to be honest, although I enjoyed the movie, it doesn’t feel like an Adam Sander movie, but rather a PT Anderson movie.  I mean, I could easily just put it at #1, but then it kind of defeats the purpose of this list. Is Punch Drunk Love a strictly better movie than any of the films below? No doubt. But putting it on the same list as You Don’t Mess With The Zohan feels somewhat odd to me.


8.  Big Daddy – Sandler’s first foray into dramedy comes in the form of Big Daddy, a film that takes Sandler’s usual man-child, but links him up with an actual child. The results are generally solid, mixing the typical antics of Sandler yelling and screaming at innocent people, with more heartfelt moments of him bonding with his “foster child”. The movie remains underrated, partially because of its close proximity to so many of Sandler’s more well known, and well regarded comedies.  




7. The Waterboy – Speaking of well known comedies, The Waterboy was by far the most hyped of Sandler’s blockbuster films in the late 90’s. This film featured Sandler as Bobby Boucher, a socially awkward waterboy for the South Central Louisiana State football team, who finds his calling as an elite tackler. Only you had to get him angry to bring out this skill. Kind of like the Hulk minus any social intelligence. It remains one of Sander’s most commercially successful films, but surprisingly enough, the most memorable moment to the film (and its longest lasting contribution to pop culture) belongs to Rob Schnieder and his now famous catchphrase, “You can do it!”



6. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – A film with a title like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and a premise as unbelievable as “An Israeli Army Commando secretly pursues his dream of being a hairstylist in NYC” has literally no business being as funny as it was. The plot literally feels like it was pulled out of the Family Guy Manatee Idea Balls in South Park. Yet somehow, watching Sandler mix earnest hairstyling montages with hilarious action scenes was absolutely uproarious. The film does not take itself seriously at all, with gags that come and go with little consequence to the plot, and is all the better for it.



5. Click –In the film, Sandler plays an architect who receives a magical remote control that lets him fast forward through boring parts of his life. Be honest, you kind of wish you had one of these, don’t you?  But as is so often the case with those “too good to be true” story tropes, he soon discovers that by fast forwarding through so many parts of his life, he misses out on the parts that make life worth living. Although ostensibly a comedy, this is really more of a family film that tries to teach a lesson.  And although not as broadly comedic as some of Sandler’s earlier films, the sci-fi twist helps to make it work.  Fun fact:  Click is the only Adam Sandler filmed to be nominated for an Academy Award (it received a nomination for Best Makeup).


4. Billy Madison – The movie that kickstarted Sandler’s film career as a leading comedic actor, Billy Madison is often considered his finest work. Billy Madison signals the beginning of Sandler’s man-child persona, where he plays a 27-year old trust fund brat that needs to prove to his dad that he is smart enough to take over the family business. Billy’s trials as he progresses from kindergarten through high school are frequently funny, but the scene of the movie is when Billy is competing in a quiz game for his father’s company and answers a question so badly, that the judge decides to tell him this.  “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”  Yikes…

wedding singer

3. The Wedding Singer – The first of three Barrymore/Sandler collaborations, The Wedding Singer perfectly hits on 80’s nostalgia, paired with a simple, yet sweet love story. Sandler plays a wedding singer who falls in love with a waitress (Barrymore) that is <shocker!> about to marry the wrong guy. Sandler and Barrymore have chemistry to spare as they banter back and forth, and although the movie itself doesn’t stray too far off the beaten path of romantic comedies, the journey is surprisingly well crafted.

2. 50 First Dates – Okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret. 50 First Dates might be one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. Period. Maybe it’s the Hawaiian music, or maybe it’s the absolutely pitch perfect chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore (who seemed to have perfected their repartee from The Wedding Singer). Or perhaps it’s the unbelievable, yet somehow wholly believable premise that Sandler, as a serial bachelor, must somehow make Barrymore’s short term amnesiac fall in love with him every single day, over and over again.  This is Sandler at his romantic peak, where he plays to his usual comedic strengths, yet shows a surprising amount of vulnerability. In 50 First Dates, Sandler may not want to settle down, but we can tell that he is a good guy.  And once he meets his perfect girl, he’ll do anything to keep her. Even to this day, whenever I hear Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys, I’m reminded of this film.


1. Happy Gilmore – Although Sandler gave birth to his man-child persona in Billy Madison, he perfected it in Happy Gilmore. A sports movie in the loosest sense, Happy Gilmore gives us Sandler as the titular hero, a failed hockey player who turns his gift for slapshots into long drives on the golf course.  His meteoric rise through the professional golfing ranks are slowed only by one of the greatest comic villains in the Sandler-verse, Shooter McGavin, a rival pro golfer played by Christopher McDonald, who raises smarm and douchebaggery to new heights.  Sandler walks the line between charming and raging psychopath perfectly in this film, making us both root for him, while also waiting to see just what makes him go off next.  The film is endlessly quotable, with numerous great scenes, but the scene stealer is of course, none other than Bob Barker.  “The Price is Wrong, Bitch!”

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