Brittany Murphy had a varied and hugely celebrated career, and the late actress left behind a movie legacy that will continue to be brought up for years to come. And while family classics like Happy Feet and fan-favorite shows like King Of The Hill didn’t make it into the rankings of her overall best, there are still countless other recognizable names in Murphy’s filmography.
Throughout her career, Murphy demonstrated that she was incredibly versatile in front of the camera. Whether it was as a minor supporting player or a major character, the actress clearly gave her all in every role.
10 David And Lisa (1998) 6.7
A TV movie from early into Murphy’s career and one that saw her star as the titular Lisa, this drama and romance might be a bit of a sleeper in terms of its recognition, but it demonstrates the actor’s ability to be able to lead a project, even before she had landed some of her major roles.
The movie explores relationships and mental health, with both David and Lisa meeting in a psychiatric facility and falling in love for the first time. It’s touching, complex, and well regarded by IMDb users as a great romance movie, and a project that allowed Murphy to showcase her emotional range.
9 Spun (2002) 6.8
This award-nominated, independent production is somehow both wacky and gritty, thanks to its combination of genres. A crime, comedy, and drama story, the film sees a drug dealer introduce one of his best clients to a meth producer with chaos quickly ensuing.
While the movie is packed with recognizable names including Mickey Rourke as the meth cook, Jason Schwartzman, and John Leguizamo, Brittany Murphy comes in with the supporting role of Nikki. The actress’s edge and charm serve her well in the role that allowed her to flex her comedy muscles, catapulting the production to the levels of Trainspotting and other classic movies about drug addiction.
8 Freeway (1996) 6.8
Another star-studded affair, Freeway features Murphy alongside Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, and Bokeem Woodbine. The comedy, crime, and drama film has many twists and turns, as Witherspoon’s Vanessa Lutz ends up in jail for protecting herself against a serial killer.
Murphy portrays a background character, Rhonda, in a small role, although an interesting one for the actress to get to grips with. As a fellow prisoner and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s an important part even if Murphy isn’t in the center of the action. She delivers her few lines with the kind of performance expected from the actress by this point in her career.
7 Clueless (1995) 6.8
In the film that arguably launched Brittany Murphy into superstardom, Clueless is a cult hit that boasts such names as Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone and it’s a movie that still holds up today in many ways. The film sees Murphy’s Tai move to a new school where she is befriended by Silverstone’s Cher.
The two quickly bond with Cher in trying to give Tai a makeover to help her fit into the new environment. The comedy and romance film is one of Murphy’s most recognizable roles and a statement on the versatility of the actor who could fully sink her teeth into a part on which the plot depends.
6 Drive (1997) 6.8
It’s action-packed, utilizes sci-fi elements and an array of martial arts styles and tropes, while also leaving room for plenty of adventure — the original Drive feels more like a spin-off of Rush Hour than an original production. For all its wackiness though, the film is well-reviewed.
Featuring the team of Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison, a weaponized super-human is on the run from a group of hitmen. Murphy gets caught up in the chaos as Deliverance Bodine and is given several action beats of her own, which she more than puls off in this remarkable supporting role.
5 8 Mile (2002) 7.1
8 Mile is an incredibly famous biographical drama based around the music legend, Eminem. The film is a depiction of Marshall Mather’s early life and how he got started with his rap career, and it’s a vital piece of music filmmaking and one that hangs on the actions of Murphy’s Alex.
Britanny Murphy portrayed the short-term girlfriend of Eminem’s B-Rabbit and acts, in many ways, as a vital motivator of his career. Although she ultimately betrays his trust, the character is a catalyst for B-Rabbit’s eventual rise. This may be one of Murphy’s most captivating performances.
4 Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs (2008) 7.2
Although she never appeared in Futurama the TV show, Murphy did get to lend her voice to a role in the feature-length The Beast With A Million Backs, a TV movie that took audiences on a brand new adventure featuring the same cast of characters.
Murphy portrayed Colleen O’Hallahan in this sci-fi comedy, who happened to be both the Chief of Police and Fry’s girlfriend. Although the character might have been short-lived, her romantic relationship with Fry was both touching and heartbreaking and the role allowed Britanny Murphy to hone her voice acting talents.
3 Common Ground (2000) 7.3
Common Ground is an award-nominated independent anthology film, which explores three vastly different short stories. Each of these tales explores the LGBTQ+ community in some way and the experiences of these characters as they go on their own journey of discovering their identity and sexuality.
Britanny Murphy took on the titular role of Dorothy Nelson in the mini-film entitled A Friend Of Dorothy. Her character joins the Navy in the 1950s and begins to develop an attraction towards the other women around her while she comes to grips with her true self.
2 Girl, Interrupted (1999) 7.3
This dramatic biography is based upon a real story and taken from the writings of Susanna Kaysen. The Oscar-award-winning production takes place in a psychiatric facility in the 1960s and centers on Susanna, who spent 18 months in the facility and documented her experiences.
The cast of women who stayed in this hospital includes Winona Ryder in the lead role, alongside Angelina Jolie, Elisabeth Ross, and Murphy as Daisy. The cast also included the likes of Jared Leto, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jeffrey Tambor. Murphy shines in her supporting role, effectively portraying the girl from Susanna’s original writings.
1 Sin City (2005) 8.0
Based on the famous graphic novel of the same name, Sin City is not only one of the most well-regarded pieces of film from the comic book genre, but also the highest-rated production of Britanny Murphy’s career. The crime noir thriller is bursting with brilliant performances and breathtaking visuals.
While the cast is packed with notable names like Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, and Clive Owen, it also sees Murphy take on the role of a barmaid and Josh Brolin’s Dwight McCarthy’s on and off girlfriend. She made the small role her own and leaves her mark on a movie that continues to stand out in cinema history.