Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

Best Don Cheadle Movies;-Given how long he has worked in the film industry, it is difficult to say that an actor like Don Cheadle is “underrated.” But it seems like Cheadle doesn’t get enough credit for being such a brilliant cinematic chameleon. Cheadle has amazing adaptability, whether he’s joking around with Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making appearances in high-profile dramas, or playing important supporting roles as part of large ensemble casts.

The 16 Greatest Don Cheadle Films, According to HBO Max
By Liam Gaughan on November 3, 2022 at 7:56 p.m.
Given how long he has worked in the film industry, it is difficult to say that an actor like Don Cheadle is “underrated.” But it seems like Cheadle doesn’t get enough credit for being such a brilliant cinematic chameleon. Cheadle has amazing adaptability, whether he’s joking around with Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making appearances in high-profile dramas, or playing important supporting roles as part of large ensemble casts.

Cheadle has been active since the 1980s, but in the twenty-first century, his fame has increased significantly. Along with giving acclaimed performances in theaters and on comedic programs like “House of Lies” and “Black-ish,”

Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

1.Miles Ahead

The best movie Cheadle has ever made is also his most intimate. For the eccentric dramedy “Miles Ahead,” which he wrote, directed, and starred in, Cheadle went back to his indie film roots. Although the tale is based on certain true incidents, the events of the movie are mostly made up. Cheadle plays Miles Davis in it. In “Miles Ahead,” which presents a kaleidoscope view of Davis’ life, the iconic musician is seen grappling with his legacy during a period of career decline. It’s a thoughtful exploration of artistic integrity that only an actor with Cheadle’s level of expertise could accomplish.

Cheadle gives a fantastic performance. There have been many depictions of Davis in movies over the years, but Cheadle’s portrayal of the musician shows him as a man who has passed his own peak and is depending on his prior achievement to maintain relevance. This idea is explored by Cheadle in a way that is both amusing and moving. Flashbacks to Davis’ early career are intertwined with his exploits with dishonest reporter Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor). In these scenes, Cheadle assumes the role of a younger, more vivacious Davis who appears more grounded in reality.

There isn’t a better method to convey the tale of a mythical figure than with a movie that plays with structure and format. It’s undoubtedly the most entertaining and adult.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

2.Hotel Rwanda

One of the worst catastrophes in contemporary history was the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Additionally, the atrocity has frequently gone unreported, so any movie that sheds light on it has the potential to be enlightening. In the gripping 2004 biography “Hotel Rwanda,” directed by Terry George, actor Don Cheadle portrays Paul Rusesabagina, a hotelier who saved more than 1,000 refugees at the height of the catastrophe. Cheadle received his first and only Academy Award nomination for best actor for his honest portrayal of a real hero.

Despite the unbelievable bravery of Rusesabagina’s deeds, Cheadle does not portray him as a superhuman. He’s just a regular guy stuck in a tricky political predicament. Early in the battle, Rusesabagina is faced with a difficult moral choice: Does his activism put his wife Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo) and kids in more danger?

Finally, Rusesabagina comes to the realization that if nothing were done, countless families would be broken. Although the Academy Award-nominated screenplay makes subtle allusions to this idea, Cheadle demonstrates his comprehension of the film’s thematic depth by taking on the role of a father figure for the refugees under his care.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

3.Boogie Nights

The best quality Paul Thomas Anderson possesses as a director is his capacity to make the audience care about his characters. Instead than making fun of the people who work in the porn industry, “Boogie Nights” shows respect for them and examines the difficulties they must deal with on a daily basis. The actors and crew of Jack Horner’s (Burt Reynolds) pornographic films all aspire to “make it,” but they all face challenges that prevent them from doing so.

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One of the most sympathetic performances in the movie belongs to Cheadle. Despite being one of Horner’s biggest performers, Buck Swope longs for an ordinary existence away from the spotlight. When Cheadle talks about wanting to start a family with his lover, Jessie St. Vincent, he exhibits a maturity above his years (Melora Walters). Cheadle, though, is also able to demonstrate how Buck came to be such a mainstay of Horner’s movies. Buck is the consummate showman, even when he’s making a silly movie to advertise his equipment shop.

4.Ocean’s Eleven

There aren’t many films that can be seen over and over again like “Ocean’s Eleven.” The 2001 remake by director Steven Soderbergh is all you could want from an ensemble heist movie, whereas the 1960 original is almost unwatchable. The “Ocean’s” trilogy’s formula for success? The notable actors in Soderbergh’s cast were permitted to venture outside of their comfort zones. When Cheadle assumed a cockney accent to play Basher Tarr, the crew’s explosives expert, he made one of his biggest career swings.

Is Cheadle’s accent believable? No, but it’s not actually intended to be, so… In fact, his accent is so outrageously bizarre that it perfectly accentuates how unbelievable the movie is. Since Cheadle tends to portray actors who are self-assured, it’s entertaining to watch him in a role as a geeky techie. Although “Ocean’s Eleven” is unquestionably the best entry in the series, “Ocean’s Thirteen” also offers a humorous plot in which Cheadle’s character, Basher, must pilot a helicopter to save Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon).Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

5.Devil in a Blue Dress

Movies like “Devil in a Blue Dress” are what people mean when they say that certain types of productions “they simply don’t make anymore.” How wonderful would it be to watch an entertaining neo-noir movie every few years? The 1995 film version of Walter Mosely’s book by Carl Franklin has the atmosphere of a timeless thriller from the 1940s. However, Black perspectives were hardly considered in movies from that time. Some of the best Black actors in the business are featured in the top-notch murder mystery “Devil in a Blue Dress,” which amends their wrongs.

Cheadle steals the show in the movie, overshadowing Denzel Washington’s naturally endearing portrayal as the inept investigator Easy Rawlins. Easy’s longtime friend Mouse steps in to help him when he gets caught up in a political inquiry. Easy deliberately tries to avoid arousing suspicion, so it’s all the funnier when Mouse accidentally pulls a few unnecessary triggers. It’s a shame that “Devil in a Blue Dress” didn’t have any follow-up films since it would have been great to watch Easy and Mouse collaborate once more. Cheadle did win a Screen Actors Guild nod for best supporting actor, despite the fact that he was regrettably passed up for an Academy Award.


Cheadle isn’t afraid to play characters who face difficult moral choices, as evidenced by his performance in Robert Zemeckis’ thriller “Flight” from 2012. The movie challenges viewers to consider whether the lead character is a good guy or a bad guy. An investigation finds that the pilot, William Whitaker Sr. (Denzel Washington), was intoxicated during the flight after he heroically saves his passengers’ lives after a crash landing. Should he be commended for his courage or castigated for his rashness?

The movie required a moral core to provide the audience with some guidance because it is one of Denzel Washington’s darkest performances in her career. Cheadle steps in at this point. As the lawyer Hugh Lang, who stands up for Whitaker during the investigation, the actor provides a superb supporting performance. Lang is placed in a challenging situation: he is aware that Whitaker will experience discrimination, yet he is unable to fully defend his conduct. The information Lang offers provide the viewers a lot of different angles to take into consideration as they decide if Whitaker is deserving of salvation.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

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The political satire “Bulworth” by Warren Beatty from 1998 is an ambitious but misguided examination of the inaction of contemporary political parties. The movie doesn’t shy away from the depressingly selfish nature of politicians, but it could have done a better job of portraying the racial gap in America. Beatty did not always portray the Black characters in the movie in the most accurate way because he is a white director, writer, and actor. The Black actors became especially crucial because they had to fill up parts that weren’t written from informed perspectives.

Despite the movie’s shortcomings, Cheadle gives a fantastic performance as drug lord L.D. Despite the fact that Cheadle does a fantastic job of identifying the character’s worldview, the role could have easily been a lazy cliché. L.D. criticizes Senator Jay Billington Bulworth (Beatty) for being hypocritical when he brings up his criminal history. What distinguishes a drug dealer like L.D. from a senator with two personalities who lies to his supporters? The performance is incredibly sympathetic and completely transcends the subject matter.

8.Out of Sight

It’s understandable why Soderbergh and Cheadle work together so regularly. As a director, Soderbergh enjoys fusing various genres together. His 1998 film “Out of Sight” pays a largely ironic homage to old-school caper movies, but it also features unexpectedly moving scenes and real-life tension. A villain with a sense of humor is necessary for a movie this eccentric, and Cheadle’s merciless crook, Maurice Miller, definitely fills the bill.

Maurice reluctantly joins up with bank robber Jack Foley in “Out of Sight” (George Clooney). Despite some light-hearted banter between the two characters during their first several heists, it is obvious that Maurice does not completely trust his new ally. When Maurice starts to doubt Jack’s motives, a significant deal of tension suddenly comes to the surface. It’s unfortunate that Cheadle hasn’t played more bad roles because he can switch effortlessly from being a comedic relief and a terrifying antagonist.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

9.No Sudden Move

Steven Soderbergh is a filmmaker who is skilled at incorporating political allegory into works that would otherwise be viewed as mainstream entertainment. For instance, “No Sudden Move” from 2021 is a classic gangster film that doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge its pulp origins. The movie also looks at the social, racial, and economic difficulties that existed in Detroit in the 1950s. The gangster Curt Goynes (Cheadle), who is enlisted to help in an intimidation operation that morphs into something more complex, is at the focus of this investigation.

Although Goynes is certainly not a saint, he does have misgivings about hurting innocent people. When the family of GM accountant Matt Wertz is threatened with death by gangster Charley (Kieran Culkin), Cheadle does a fantastic job of recognizing Goynes’ limitations (David Harbor). Goynes’ fast thinking is expertly shown by Cheadle. No matter what, he will need to be cruel; the only question is which side he supports.

Benicio del Toro, who co-stars as Goynes’ fellow criminal Ronald Russo, and Cheadle have terrific chemistry, similar to the dynamic between Gordon and Catro in “Traffic.” Although Cheadle and del Toro play two professionals who don’t often exchange one-liners, their subtle body language conveys their characters’ admiration for one another.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked


In order to dissect the illegal drug trade in Mexico, Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” employs an intriguing storytelling technique that involves weaving together several stories. Some stories in an ensemble movie like this will always be more interesting than others. Thankfully, Cheadle’s part of “Traffic” is without a doubt the greatest. He makes an appearance in the movie as DEA agent Montel Gordon, who is a part of the plot that centers on the hunt for drug lord Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer).

Although this section of the movie could have easily been nothing more than a straightforward police procedural, Cheadle gives Gordon a personality and explains his intentions. He’s obviously outraged by Ayala’s acts, which gives his quest to convict the criminal a much more individualized feel. The movie explores the DEA’s effectiveness and considers how difficult it is (or lack thereof). However, because of the close friendship between Gordon and Castro, the audience doesn’t feel awful about rooting for a character who works in law enforcement. An extensive past between the two that isn’t clearly addressed is implied by Cheadle and Guzman. Although it’s not in the screenplay, it seems as though they’ve been collaborating for a while.

Additionally, Cheadle gives Gordon a distinctive intelligence. The movie waits to show what his true plan is at times when he is several steps ahead of the audience. The fact that Cheadle is able to make this slow burn fascinating is a testament to his patience.

11.Iron Man 3

Sadly, Cheadle didn’t have a lot of work to perform in “Iron Man 2.” Rhodey’s acting in the movie is a marked improvement over Terrence Howard’s in the first “Iron Man,” but he doesn’t do much more than watch over Tony when he has a meltdown. Cheadle wasn’t really given a chance to highlight the friendship he had established with Robert Downey Jr. Fortunately, Shane Black was able to fix these mistakes in “Iron Man 3.” In addition to starring in some of the best action sequences in the film, Rhodey also contributes significantly to its more somber parts.

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One of the few who is familiar with Tony’s situation is Rhodey. In “The Avengers,” Tony came dangerously close to dying during the Battle of New York, and ever since, he has battled post-traumatic stress disorder. Because of his military background, Rhodey is familiar with what it’s like to put his life in danger. The straightforward talks between Downey Jr. and Cheadle give the movie a sense of reality; despite the fact that it’s based on a comic book, Cheadle feels like he’s portraying an actual member of the military. When Rhodes finds out that Vice President Rodriguez (Miguel Ferrer) is a part of a global conspiracy, he also encounters an ethical conundrum.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

12.Hamburger Hill

John Irvin’s 1987 epic “Hamburger Hill” does a commendable job of portraying the perspective of Black soldiers, in contrast to many other Vietnam War movies. During the Vietnam War, African Americans faced a challenging situation: how do you defend a nation that does not uphold your rights? As Private First Class Elliott Washburn, a new recruit ordered to join the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division prior to the Battle of Hamburger Hill, Cheadle provides one of his earliest performances in the movie.

Cheadle’s stillness possesses strength. Being the sole Black soldier among the new recruits, Washburn makes the decision to remain silent when his other soldiers use flagrantly racist language. Despite the fact that Washburn is obviously offended by their remarks, he is aware of the danger in speaking up. The movie does an excellent job of illustrating the camaraderie among the Black men in the division. A particularly moving scene is Washburn calming down Doc Johnson, a medic, after he suffers a mental collapse following a bloody combat. Despite his youth, Johnson is able to focus thanks to Cheadle’s comforting air of authority in the part.


Because of his innate compassionate nature, Cheadle is a good choice to play sympathetic roles. For instance, Cheadle plays former American soldier Samir Horn in the 2008 spy movie “Traitor,” whose family was slain in a vehicle explosion when he was a little boy. Samir is currently employed in Yemen as an arms trader, but he was recently detained on suspicion of having ties to a terrorist organization.

Samir’s ardent Muslim faith quickly makes it clearly evident why he is the subject of an investigation. Samir is not in the least bit ashamed of his faith, according to Cheadle’s belief in him. He exposes the heinous war crimes committed by the US military during his interrogation by FBI Special Agent Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and conducts himself with an unmatched dignity.

Samir, however, is compelled to collaborate with some terrorists in order to shut down their operation. Samir’s role is one that must be performed, thus Cheadle does an excellent job of making him utter extreme things about his hatred of Americans that he doesn’t genuinely believe. Cheadle’s voice carries a discernible worry when he speaks;Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked


Unambiguously, “Crash” is a bad movie. It’s one of the worst films to ever receive the Oscar for best picture, further demonstrating how disconnected the Oscars are from what viewers are actually seeing. A manipulative melodrama called “Crash” struggles to deal with important problems like racism, police brutality, and elitism. The cliched characters rank first among the movie’s problems. Simply said, Paul Haggis was the wrong director to depict a narrative about Black pain.

Why does “Crash” appear on the list, then? Well, Cheadle is quite remarkable in it. It’s one thing for an actor to make the material better, but Cheadle effectively lends “Crash” much more credibility than it otherwise would have. Cheadle gives the movie the necessary righteous rage, while other actors like Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Michael Pena, and Terrence Howard are burdened by the shoddy narrative. He portrays Detective Graham Waters, a Los Angeles police officer who conducts missing children investigations.

Waters is in a challenging circumstance. He struggles to acknowledge the shortcomings of the police since he genuinely wants to be a devoted member of the public service. Furthermore, as remnants of his past come to light, he is put in real danger. Cheadle’s subdued fury

15.Captain America: Civil War

James Rhodes, aka War Machine, has more to do in “Captain America: Civil War,” thanks to Cheadle. The persona serves as “Civil War’s” emotional focus and isn’t afraid to state that the Avengers must be held responsible for their deeds. When Rhodes calls out Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) hypocrisy during the discussion of the Sokovia Accords, Cheadle stands up as a sincere voice of reason. This was the MCU’s response to the charges that had been thrown at it.

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One of the darkest movies in the MCU also has a terrific relationship between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Rhodey that injects some humor. When Tony talks about his remorse, Rhodes listens to him but also makes fun of him. Although the humor in the MCU isn’t always effective, Downey Jr. and Cheadle’s on-screen friendship makes for laughs without taking away from the dramatic impact of the narrative.

Furthermore, Rhodes’ storyline demonstrates that actions in the MCU have repercussions. James is badly hurt while pursuing Rogers and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in one of the most terrifying situations in the entire trilogy, and his final scenes with Tony demonstrate how both characters are recovering. Cheadle performs admirably.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked

16.Hotel for Dogs

The maturity in Cheadle gives him the ideal choice to play figures of authority. This has aided Cheadle in giving respectability to some of his more absurd initiatives. The movie “Hotel for Dogs” isn’t thought of as a classic, but it wouldn’t be nearly as good without Cheadle’s performance since he pulls off taking himself seriously in a film full of humor about dog poo.

The film “Hotel for Dogs” is based on Lois Duncan’s endearing book of the same name. The movie centers on two orphaned siblings named Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), who launch their own independent dog-care business. Bernie Wilkins, a social worker who tries to assist them, is played by Cheadle. Bernie is actually the father figure in the lives of Andi and Bruce, despite the fact that they spend the entire movie searching for a family. Although it would have been simple for Cheadle to fake it and overact, he plays the part honestly, which heightens the impact of the movie’s emphasis on orphaned children.Top 16 Best Don Cheadle Movies, Ranked


  • What movie made Don Cheadle famous?

Devil in a Blue Dress

Cheadle first gained attention for his performance as Mouse Alexander in the 1995 movie Devil in a Blue Dress, for which he received nominations for similar awards from the Screen Actors Guild and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as Best Supporting Actor awards from the National Society of Film Critics.

Don Cheadle plays a significant contribution but gets no credit. This is as a result of a billing issue. Along with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and George Clooney, Cheadle wanted to be billed above them all. He refused to be given any credit after being rejected.

  • What movie did Don Cheadle win an Oscar?


Talk To Me, Crash (2006 Oscar® winner for Best Picture), which Cheadle also produced, Hotel Rwanda, in which he received Best Actor nominations for the Academy Award®, the Golden Globe®, the Broadcast Film Critics Award, and the Screen Actors Guild® Award, as well as Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve,