Essential Viewing: 11 Joel Edgerton Movies and TV Shows You Must See

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Here at TV Fanatic, we do an excellent job of spotlighting actors who have made a name for themselves through their acting careers.

However, Joel Edgerton is on another level as the actor has taken on various roles in almost thirty years of the actor’s career.

With over fifty award nominations and eleven wins, including numerous from the Australian film associations, Joel Edgerton has made a name for himself worldwide.

Starting his acting journey in Australia, Joel Edgerton was only twenty-one when he first began appearing on the small screen.

Since then, he’s gone on to work with high-caliber actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Dev Patel, and Jennifer Lawrence.

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Though his acting credits boast roles from all walks of writing, it’s fair to say the actor prefers roles set in periods beyond the present day.

From swinging swords in Arthurian tales to donning saddle gear and hunting down slaves to a fat suit acting alongside a young king in Timothy Chalamet, Joel Edgerton loves a period piece.

Whatever his choice, the actor always brings a level of acting from years of experience, whether it’s the small screen or the silver screen.

We’ve done the leg work and cherry-picked some of the actor’s most fun, best-acted, and all-around craziest roles in film and television.

Grab a martini and a sword because we’re about to go down a filmography that spans beyond human history to fantastical lands and alternate dimensions filled with pseudoscience of the nerdiest kind.

The Thing (2011)

Role: Sam Carter. Available for rent or purchase.

What can you expect from the producers of 2004’s Dawn of the Dead? You already know this sci-fi action flick will deliver a creature feature of the goriest kind.

It’s still an insanely fun delivery with just the right amount of over-the-top acting. Scream queen actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays perfectly against Joel Edgerton’s Sam Carter.

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At an Arctic outpost, a Norwegian research team calls in paleontologist Kate Lloyd after discovering an alien ship hidden within the ice.

They awaken a long-slumbering alien species that can change shape to look like anything or anyone as it hunts the humans down.

Joel Edgerton plays Sam Carter, an American pilot stuck at the Norwegian Thule station when “The Thing” escapes and begins playing dress up with everyone’s faces.

The interesting thing about Edgerton’s character is that while he is considered the leading man, he is not the protagonist. You’ll have to see the entire film to get it.

Regarding science fiction horror prequels, The Thing is a solid action film with a fun cast that does its best with an otherwise clunky plot.

If you enjoy this sci-fi scare and need more creature feature horror at home, check out the insane and terrifying stories of From or The Last of Us.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Role: Patrick Grayston. Available to watch on Tubi.

You can always bet on a “historical thriller,” catching a few eyes as people love a chance to feel like they’re learning without actually doing anything.

Still, this star-studded military movie did everything right and gave audiences exactly what they wanted and more, with Jessica Chastain applauded for her performance.

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After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Osama Bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world, setting off a decade-long search.

But it’s the dedication and intuition of a female CIA operative that inevitably leads to locating Bin Laden.

Edgerton played Patrick Grayston, who is a part of SEAL Team 6 and instrumental in raiding the compound where Bin Laden is found.

Joel and his fellow actors were all praised for their performances, earning this film accolades from numerous avenues.

With an Academy Award and a Golden Globe behind a crazy amount of nominations, this historical drama thriller hits all the right notes for a perfect cinematic experience.

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For a little more dramas that involve crossing enemy lines,  be sure also to give The Sympathizer a watch or SEAL Team.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Role: Tom Buchanan. Available to watch on Netflix.

What in the F. Scott Fitzgerald kind of film and TV Fanatics would we be if we didn’t include this cinematic retelling of the 1925 classic novel of the same name?

When you put the name Leonardo DiCaprio on any film, there will be eyes on it. So, you also know that the movie will have to be good.

In the 1920s, wannabe writer Nick Carraway moved to New York City to pursue the American dream and found himself living next to millionaire Jay Gatsby.

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Nick quickly finds himself pulled into Gatsby’s world of wealth and luxury, inspiring the writer to pen a tale full of love, dreams, and tragedies.

Joel Edgerton plays the role of Tom Buchanan, a character known for his arrogance and bullying, with his social skills laced with racism and sexism.

The actor was nominated for several Australian and international awards for Best Supporting Actor and won the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.

This fun film swept awards season with two Academy Awards, Critic’s Choice Awards, and Satellite Awards.

If historical romantic drama is at the top of your watch list, then try this movie and shows like Bridgerton and The Great for more lavish characters in luxurious surroundings.

It Comes at Night (2017)

Role: Paul. Available to watch on Max.

A specific kind of moviegoer loves the idea of horror being cemented in the unknown because the mind can fill in the blanks with something more horrifying.

That’s precisely what we have here for that kind of scare enthusiast. This film has a mixed bag. Critics greatly praised it but had trouble targeting the right audience.

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This psychological horror film tells the story of a world suffering after a mysterious apocalypse left it with few survivors.

Now, two families must learn to live and function together to keep the outside evil at bay, but the real danger may be much closer than they realize.

Joel Edgerton’s character of Paul is that of a man desperate for survival, intense and uncompromising in his journey to do whatever it takes to protect his family.

As said above, this movie is not for everyone, but it’s an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys a slow, tense build-up that pulls you into the story’s claustrophobic world.

For more tense stories with questionable characters full of their own agendas, check out Yellowjackets and Mindhunter.

Bright (2017)

Role: Nick Jakoby. Available to watch on Netflix.

This urban fantasy action film proves that the fantasy and science fiction genres continue to lead the charge with underlying themes of prejudice and discrimination.

But it also has magic and high-class Manhattan elves, so while this movie has some strong themes about separation, it’s also a wild and fun ride for the senses.

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In an alternate universe where humans, elves, orcs, and fairies live together in the present day, a human and orc find themselves as partnered beat cops.

On a routine night patrol, this unlikely duo must protect a young girl guarding an ancient relic from falling into the wrong hands and destroying the world.

Edgerton plays Nick Jakoby, the first orc police officer in the United States, partnered with human LAPD officer Daryl Ward, played by Will Smith.

As a member of a faction of orcs not bonded to any clans, Nick has become accustomed to the rejection of both the human and orc races.

Critics basically eviscerated the film, but audiences had very different opinions about it. Netflix mirrored the positive reaction by confirming viewership.

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Male audiences will always favor any mix of hunting with monsters and magic thrown, which is why viewers who like this movie will also enjoy Supernatural and Grimm.

The King (2019)

Role: Sir John Falstaff. Available to watch on Netflix.

Before Chalamet took up the mantle of the chocolate-slinging candy maestro in Wonka, the bilingual actor took the thrown in this Netflix epic historical drama flick.

With Edgerton, Chalamet, Lily-Rose Depp, and Robert Pattinson, this movie has the acting locked and loaded for some quality Renaissance festing.

Timothee Chalamet plays King Henry V during his rise to power after his father’s death in the 15th century.

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With his reign just starting, the young king experiences navigating palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional ties of his past.

As Sir John Falstaff, Joel Edgerton plays the companion to Timothee Chalamet’s Hal, often showing the young man the pleasures of the low life.

As corrupt as he is, the old, fat drunk has a charisma and zest for life that intrigues the young king.

As far as historical epic dramas go, all the critics agree that this is the one to go with, and audiences seem to agree.

For more swashbuckling and sword fighting with your historical retellings, watch Vikings and The Last Kingdom.

The Green Knight (2021)

Role: The Lord. Available to watch on Max.

You can never go wrong with shooting your shot in King Arthur’s court, as there is always some drama between pulling swords and trying to kill your sister.

However, Dev Patel leads this movie, and the focus has shifted from the King of Camelot to Sir Gawain of The Round Table.

The Green Knight tells the tale of Sir Gawain, King Arthuer’s rebellious nephew, who sets out on a journey to test his courage and face The Green Knight.

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Along the way, the young knight faces ghosts, giants, and thieves but contends with the greatest obstacle: finding his worth and who he is to himself and his family.

In this epic historical drama, Edgerton plays The Lord of a castle, which the main character stops at for rest.

Unbeknownst to Gawain, The Lord has plans to test the young knight to prove his honesty and honor.

This particular film is another mixed bag. Critics loved it, praising how it smoothed out the rough edges of Camelot lore. Audiences had mixed reactions but still noted the movie’s acting.

This is an excellent choice for movie night for sword and fantasy fans. For more streaming enjoyment, watch House of the Dragon.

The Secret Life of Us (2001-2002)

Role: William “Will” McGill. Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

If there is one thing that never goes out of style in television, it’s stories about young singles in their early twenties doing what all hot people who live in a city do.

Even Australia had its own versions of Melrose Place and Sex & The City, much of what filled the television airways in the early 2000s.

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The Secret Life of Us centers around eight individuals living on the same apartment block in Melbourne, Australia.

Every episode further delves into the lives of these twenty-somethings as they weave their way around love, sex, romance, and success.

This coming-of-age story saw a fresh-faced Edgerton in his early years and features all the fun, overwrought acting of the Borders soap and sitcom.

Add Girls, New Girl, and How I Met Your Mother to your watch list for more plot points featuring an attractive cast in exaggerated everyday situations for comedic and dramatic purposes.

The Underground Railroad (2021)

Role: Arnold Ridgeway. Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

This historical drama is rife with intense and emotional moments that will have viewers on the edge of their seats as they wonder what will happen to these down-on-their-luck characters.

This dramatic miniseries has reached widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

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This imaginative retelling of The Underground Railroad follows the journey of a young slave girl named Cora Randall.

After escaping a Georgia plantation, Cora boards a train, embarking on a harrowing journey toward freedom while outrunning a notorious slave catcher.

Joel Edgerton plays Arnold Ridgeway, the son of a Virginian blacksmith who grows up as a notorious slave catcher.

Historical dramas have found a new home in retellings and reimaginings, much to the enjoyment of audiences, like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

If you enjoy this historical retelling, check out The Great for a fun and whimsical look at some European history retelling.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

Role: Owen Lars. Available to stream on Disney+.

The Star Wars franchise is known for its film and television endeavors, which are either hits or misses, but this highly anticipated installment had viewers feeling like they had won the jackpot.

As a series about one of the most beloved characters of the Star Wars universe, Disney+ delivered what fans wanted when it became the most watched of its opening weekend.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi follows the titular character as he journeys to save the kidnapped princess, a young Leia.

Along the way, he’ll have to avoid pursuit by the Imperial Inquisitors and his former padawan, who turned to the dark side, Darth Vader.

As Owen Lars, Joel Edgerton first encountered the Star Wars franchise as the moisture farmer on Tatooine, where he and his wife were raising a young Luke Skywalker.

This space opera and galactic adventure was a hit with critics and viewers when it first premiered on the streaming giant and brought back many much-missed familiar faces from the franchise.

While not all Star Wars installments will knock it out of the park, luckily, we’ve already got your next watch ready with Ahsoka.

Dark Matter (2024)

Role: Jason Dessen. Available to stream on Apple TV+.

Although this fresh sci-fi series has only one season under its belt, critics and viewers agree that Dark Matter is a bona fide must-watch.

The show is an action thriller science fiction adventure that audiences can watch to leave the real world behind in this mind-bending series.

This life-action retelling of the 2016 novel of the same name follows Jason Dessen, a physicist from Chicago.

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He is thrown into an alternate universe where his life took a different path. He must now find a way back to his life before his alternate self hurts his family.

Joel Edgerton plays Jason Dessen, a quantum physics teacher at Lakemont College with a wife of fifteen years and a fourteen-year-old named Charlie.

This science fiction romp will have fans eager for more of this dark and gritty journey into the “what ifs.”

If trips to alternated dimensions and universes are right up your alley, be sure to check out this series and Stranger Things.

Through his years of crafting his acting skills, Joel Edgerton has proven that the actor will only get better as his illustrious career continues.

Which of Joel Edgerton’s films and shows have you seen? Which of the entries on this list were you surprised to see?

Drop a comment below to let us know and join us again when we shine the spotlight on another fantastic actor.

Joshua Pleming is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow him on X.

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