Top 10 Films Featuring The Stars Of Friends

Everyone knows Friends. It was a phenomenal success around the world; particularly in America and the UK. This top 10 looks at the best films made by the stars of the show…

Friends_early-1990s_cast-promotional-photo-posterLooking at the careers of the Friends stars after finishing the tenth and final series of the critically acclaimed and much-loved sitcom you can see who wanted to continue a career in television and who wanted fame on a bigger screen. Or perhaps I should rephrase: it highlights who could and who couldn’t turn their Friends stardom into box office appeal…

Certainly, Jennifer Aniston’s widely endorsed celebrity helped her establish a solid standing in theatres and she clearly pursued success on the big screen, while Matt LeBlanc, in comparison, steered his ship closer to television. The cinematic failings of Aniston’s co-stars, particularly the men, have perhaps seen them less voluntarily turn back to television with inconsistent results.

While Aniston has secured multi-million dollar contracts every year since leaving Friends (highlights being Horrible Bosses, Marley and Me, and Wanderlust), her co-stars have found the market for their talent more limited. However, on the small screen, most have continued to excel – Matthew Perry in Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Courteney Cox in Dirt and currently in Cougar Town, and David Schwimmer playing the slimy Captain Sobel in Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks-produced World War II drama Band of Brothers). Matt LeBlanc has also enjoyed success with the entertaining Episodes, which first aired in 2009, where he plays a fictional version of himself following a two-year struggle to gain an audience for Friends spin-off Joey between 2004 and 2006.


The Numbers…
Of the 10 films listed below – who is featured most..?
Jennifer Aniston – 4
Courteney Cox – 2
Lisa Kudrow – 2
Matthew Perry – 1
David Schwimmer – 1
Matt LeBlanc – 0

Yet, if prizes were given to the sexes, it would be the female cast members who take the gold medal for their work in the movies. While it is Aniston who continues to get top-billed roles year-on-year, Kudrow and Cox have made the more interesting films. Kudrow, for example, has sought smaller roles that push her acting skills, while turns in films such as Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and Ps. I Love You, continue to delight. Cox, who enjoyed a film career prior to Friends (remember her in Cocoon The Return), has enjoyed, like some of the others, working behind the camera but her movie CV has plenty of highlights. 3000 Miles to Graceland and Ace Ventura Pet Detective showed she could play characters far removed from her Friends persona Monica Geller, while Scream, in which she plays obnoxious television journalist Gale Weathers, is the best film and best character featuring any of the Friends on-screen team.

Ultimately, the Friends stars’ legacy will always be their funny, warm-hearted and lovable sitcom that remains rewardingly re-watchable and infinitely entertaining. But the movies were always going to come calling, and whether it was during the show’s original run or after it, these actors have given us some wonderful cinematic experiences as well. Here are my favourites…

10. Horrible Bosses (featuring Jennifer Aniston)

charlie_day_jennifer_aniston_horrible_bossesI’d been waiting for Jennifer Aniston to play a character that wasn’t a version of her Friends persona Rachel Green for years. Finally, in Horrible Bosses, an enjoyable comedy about a group of friends who decide to murder their nasty managers. Aniston plays the sex-obsessed doctor Julia Harris, whose risqué and no-nonsense approach to man-management is the funniest thing she’s ever done.

9. Apt Pupil (featuring David Schwimmer)

david-schwimmer_apt-pupil_film_friends-tvThis interesting thriller sees student Brad Renfro strike up an unlikely relationship with ex-Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander (played by Ian McKellen). David Schwimmer is Renfro’s frustrated school counsellor Edward French.

8. Marley and Me (featuring Jennifer Aniston)

marley-and-me_aniston_wilson_friends-tvAniston stars alongside Owen Wilson in this heartwarming tale about the life of Labrador Retriever Marley and his time with and influence upon the Grogan family. The film is based on the memoir by John Grogan.

7. The Whole Nine Yards (featuring Matthew Perry)

whole-nine-yards_film_matthew-perry_friends-tvMatthew Perry plays a version of Chandler Bing in this riotous comedy that also features Bruce Willis, Amanda Peet, and Kevin Pollak. Perry is unhappily married dentist Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky whose life gets turned upside down when ex-mob member-turned-informant Jimmy “the Tulip” Tudeski moves in next door.

6. Ps. I Love You (featuring Lisa Kudrow)

p-s-i-love-you_lisa-kudrow_film_friends-tvLisa Kudrow, playing it straight, is somewhat ordinary in a role that demands nothing more. This lovable romantic-comedy sees Hilary Swank’s widow pursue a journey of discovery after her husband (played by Gerard Butler) suddenly dies from a brain tumour. Its soft centre, gooey romance and touches of tragedy are the perfect blend for those wanting their boy-meets-girl stories to come pre-loaded with tissues to wipe away those happy-sad tears.

5. The Good Girl (featuring Jennifer Aniston)

Zooey-Deschanel-and-Jennifer-Aniston-in-The-Good-Girl_friends_tvAniston goes outside her comfort zone in Miguel Arteta’s dark comedy about a bored married discount store clerk and her affair with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Holden Worther.

4. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (featuring Lisa Kudrow)

Female Buddy Movies, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion,Lisa Kudrow is superb, as is co-star Mira Sorvino, as two ditzy friends in the late twenties who live life like teenagers without a care in the world. The lovable twosome, who grow increasingly frustrated by their lack of career and perfect boyfriend, decide to go to their ten-year high school reunion posing as successful businesswomen in order to impress their old school acquaintances.

3. Scream 2 (featuring Courteney Cox)

scream_courteney-cox_friends-tvScream 2 is arguably as good, if not better, than Scream. Cox returns as egotistical television reporter Gale Weathers as a copycat killer surfaces to begin terrorising the survivors of the Woodsboro massacre.

2. Office Space (featuring Jennifer Aniston)

office_space_jennifer_anniston_friends-tvAudience favourite Office Space satirises the working life of staff members at a software company. Aniston plays a waitress who shares Ron Livingston’s distaste for idiotic management and is similarly inspired to stand up to her boss.

1. Scream (featuring Courteney Cox)

screamcourtneycoxdavidarquette_friends-tvScreenwriter Kevin Williamson’s re-imagination of the slasher genre is perfectly brought to life by seasoned horror film veteran Wes Craven. The film turns stalk and slash conventions of their head whilst simultaneously celebrating the movies that inspired its creation. Nods to slasher classics Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street are all evident, as Woodsboro High School students come under attack from a knife-wielding killer who has a penchant for scary movies. You know you are witnessing something unique when the recognised star of the film – Drew Barrymore – finds herself a victim in the opening reel. From then on, all expectations are out the window. Courteney Cox delivers one of her finest performances as ego-ridden, single-minded television reporter Gale Weathers, who is far more interested in her own celebrity status than either her own safety or those around her.

Written and compiled by Dan Stephens

Over to you: what is your favourite movie featuring a star of Friends?

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Jaina Reply

    Think I would have put Office Space in the #1 spot. Not for Jennifer Aniston though. Just because I freaking adore that film. It’ll never get old for me!

    And hey.. what about Matt LeBlanc in Lost in Space 😉 Eh… eh ! HA!

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Thanks Jaina…I think Office Space would top many people’s lists but Scream had to be number one for me because it married a great film with a great character performed by a Friends star.

      I would have liked to feature all the cast but nothing in LeBlanc’s back catalogue thrills me. Lost In Space remains one of the worst films I’ve ever seen! 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Mark Reply

    Not a fan of the series, but two that come to mind are Lisa Kudrow in Wonderland, when she plays John Holmes’ (Val Kilmer) ex-wife and David Schwimmer in The Iceman.

    Can’t figure out why Wonderland took such a beating from the critics. Aside from the unpleasant true life subject matter (a coked-up porn star with the world’s biggest schlong is involved in some LA suburban murders that almost matches the vicious antics of the Mansion family), it is a pretty intelligent and well made movie.

    As for LeBlanc and Lost in Space, this film should lead the “Top 10 movies which absolutely cry out for a sequel” list. Problem is I can’t think of the other nine ….

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Good alternatives Mark, there’s one or two others involving Kudrow. Small roles they might be but interesting films overall…The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings, for example.

      Lost In Space may one day turn up in one of my lists…not sure of the title but the words “worst”, “ever” and “made” might be in there.

  3. Avatar
    Alex Withrow Reply

    GREAT list. I love the two Cox mentions (I adore Gale Weathers) and huge props for the inclusion of Schwimmer in Apt Pupil. He played scared so damn well.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      For the male actors it wasn’t easy picking some top 10-worthy considerations but Apt Pupil was a good example of David Schwimmer playing a role far removed from Ross in Friends.

  4. Avatar
    Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    Great to see the top 2 but horrified to see Ace Ventura isn’t at number 3 or even on the list!! Also just where the hell is Masters of the Universe???

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      …Pete, I’m with you in regards to Masters of the Universe – that film scared me as a kid. Ace Ventura is another great option. Heck, I even had Cocoon 2 on my short list! Perhaps Cox should have dominated this top 10, not Aniston..? But I wanted to try, where possible, to include them all, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to include anything starring Matt LeBlanc.

      Apt Pupil and Horrible Bosses out for Ace Ventura and Masters of the Universe on another day perhaps! 😉

  5. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen Scream or Scream 2 along with a number the films on this list. I didn’t think Horrible Bosses was anything special as a movie, but I agree that Aniston is fantastic, maybe the funniest she’s ever been. Office Space is one of my all-time favorites and I dig Jennifer Aniston in it, even though she doesn’t get too many chances to be funny. I can recommend a Lisa Kudrow movie NOT to watch: Happy Endings. I mostly thought it was a strange film that’s pretty depressing. I didn’t mind her in Analyze This or Analyze That.

  6. Avatar
    Lights Camera Reaction Reply

    What a great idea! Not surprised no Matt LeBlanc films are on there haha, he’s better in Television. Scream would be my No.1 choice too.
    Nice to see ‘The Good Girl’ on there.

  7. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    Two honorable mentions or films I would add –

    Fools Rush In (Matthew Perry) funny comedy, Perry is hilarious.

    Breast Men (David Schwimmer) great acting from both Chris Cooper and David Schwimmer.

  8. Avatar
    whirlwindsupernova Reply

    I liked Office Space not just for Aniston though, the movie was hilarious. I did like her in The Good Girl, though I couldn’t figure out if she was deliberately doing an accent because her voice varied in some scenes.

    Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion was a great flick.

  9. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    I’d add Just Go With it here. Really one of Sandler’s funniest films, imo.

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