20 Best Mel Gibson Movies of All Time

Mel Gibson is not only a great actor, but he is also a fantastic director. He has accomplished greatness on both paths. The following list is the list of best Mel Gibson movies as an actor. His achievements as a director will be discuses on some other occasion.

During the 80s and 90s, he was one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Gibson is best known for the roles in the Lethal Weapon film series, Mad Max trilogy, and Braveheart. Interestingly, his biggest box office successes (as an actor and as a director) are from the 2000s decade with What Women Want and Signs. In recent years he made some pretty good movies like Get the Gringo (2012) and Blood Father (2016).

RELATED: Best Kurt Russell Movies of All Time

Let’s take a look at the list of 20 best Mel Gibson movies in a lead role (ordered by release date):

1. Mad Max (1979)

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: George Miller
Starring: Mel Gibson (23)

In dystopian Australia, the roads are ruled by gangs of maniacs who would do anything for gasoline and scrap. When a gang of bikers kills Max’s partner, wife, and kid, Max decides to take revenge and end the reign of bandits once and for all. Max, who is a highway patrol policeman has no idea what he is getting into until he chases down the murder who goes by the name Knight Rider.

Created with a very small budget, the first movie in the Mad Max series earned more than $100 million and made Mel Gibson known worldwide.

2. The Road Warrior (1981)

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: George Miller
Starring: Mel Gibson (25)

Once a police officer, and now road warrior, Max travel through Australian wasteland trying to survive and searching for fuel. He finds himself to be the only hope for a group of survivors who have a small remote oil refinery and are being attacked by gangs.

This is the second movie in the Mad Max series, also known as Mad Max 2. According to major review sites, this is the best Mel Gibson movie.

3. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Directors: George Miller, George Ogilvie
Starring: Mel Gibson (29), Tina Turner (46)

Third and final Mel Gibson’s Mad Max. Robbed by a duo of father and son, Max finds himself in a town that is known as a trading post in dystopian Australia called Bartertown. The town is ruled by an Aunt Entity who forces Max to fight on her behalf against a fighter called Thunderdome. Max is then thrown into the desert where he is rescued by a group of children. With their help, he returns to Bartertown where has a score to settle.

4. Lethal Weapon (1987)

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (31), Danny Glover (41), Gary Busey (43)

Story of two L.A. cops with completely opposite personalities working together to solve a murder mystery. Roger Murtaugh is a sensible man, a little old and taking one day at a time. While Martin Riggs is a crazy police officer who does not care about his life and jumps into danger at the brink. The incompatible partners uncover a dangerous ring of drug smugglers that employs ex-military mercenaries.

The role of Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon movie series is our personal favorite Mel Gibson role. This is the first movie in what will become one of the best action-comedy movie franchises of all time. It’s one of those movie series that you can constantly watch. Lethal Weapon movies are timeless and nobody beats Martin Riggs.

5. Tequila Sunrise (1988)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Director: Robert Towne
Starring: Mel Gibson (32), Michelle Pfeiffer (30), Kurt Russell (37)

Mel plays a drug dealer who wishes to go straight. His best friend, Nick Frescia is a cop. Nick is given the case of Mac and he is asked to uncover and put an end to the drug dealer’s business. In his desperate attempts to stop Mac, Nick gets in touch with Jo Ann, the lady love of his best friend. He tries to extract information about Mac’s drug business and his relationships with a Mexican drug lord, only to end up falling for the woman and jeopardizing his friendship with Mac.

6. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (33), Danny Glover (43), Joe Pesci (46)

It’s the second installment of the Lethal Weapon film series. In this one, Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs chase down a BMW that crashes, and several million dollars in Krugerrands are spilled on the road. This is a lot of money for any drug dealer and that is when the police officers know that they are in trouble. Running behind the drug dealers, they uncover a huge drug business that involves heavy arms, helicopters, and South African diplomats who are clever, evil, and must be punished.

7. Bird on a Wire (1990)

Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: John Badham
Starring: Mel Gibson (34), Goldie Hawn (45), David Carradine (54)

After helping the FBI in convicting an FBI agent suspected of being a drug dealer, Rick is given a new identity to live peacefully. Fifteen years later, his fiancée finds out that her ex-boyfriend was an FBI undercover agent. Rick’s FBI minder has been replaced by a corrupt agent who helps the FBI agent in tracking down Rick. All this leads to a lot of high-paced action and a series of chases leading to Rick and his girlfriend revisiting their past. If you didn’t watch this comedy, you definitely should.

8. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (36), Danny Glover (46), Joe Pesci (49)

Third and most successful blockbuster in Lethal Weapon movie series, grossing over $320 million worldwide.

Martin Riggs meets the perfect woman, Lorna Cole, who also happens to be a fellow police officer. She is tough and beautiful and blows Martin’s mind. Martin, Roger, and Lorna must now work together to expose yet another police officer, Jack Travis, and his dark arm business. The crooked police officer is determined to kill anyone who comes in his way and this is how he is determined to make his business a success. The three must stop him.

9. Maverick (1994)

Genre: Comedy, Adventure
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (38), Jodie Foster (32), James Garner (66)

Bret Maverick is as good with the gun as he is with a deck of cards on a poker table. However, he believes in deceiving rather than shooting and this is how he has been settling his fights. A big poker tournament is coming up and he needs 3000$ to enter the competition. Awesome comedy with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster at their best.

10. Braveheart (1995)

Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Mel Gibson (39), Sophie Marceau (29)

William Wallace was a thirteenth-century Scottish warrior that changed the course of the country forever. Braveheart is a movie that shows how Wallace calls upon amateur fighters and sets out on a mission to wade off the English army led by Edward I out of Scotland. The warriors are strong, motivated, and ready to shed blood at one call of Wallace to reclaim their freedom. The road to liberty is not easy and it demands blood.

This is one of the best Mel Gibson’s roles and with an 8.3 rating and over 900,000 votes, it’s his highest-rated movie on IMDb for a reason.

11. Ransom (1996)

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Mel Gibson (40), Gary Sinise (41), Rene Russo (42)

Tom Mullen is a family man who has worked hard to earn his current status and money. However, things turn ugly when his son is kidnapped. Mullen loves him and he wants his back. He is ready to pay the ransom but involves the FBI just to be sure. When he is on his way to pay the ransom, the kidnapper changes the plan and reschedules the deal. The angry Mullen decides to change his plan and went live on TV announcing the ransom as a bounty on the kidnapper.

12. Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (41), Julia Roberts (30)

Jerry Fletcher has fallen with a woman who he has only seen from afar. She works for the government which is exactly what keeps Fletcher away from her. Fletcher is a critic who has conspiracy theories for everything. However, he finds himself in the middle of a feud one day when one of his theories turns out to be accurate. Now, some people want him killed and the only person he trusts is the woman he loves.

13. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson (42), Danny Glover (52), Joe Pesci (55), Rene Russo (44)

Riggs and Murtaugh have grown old and find it difficult to continue what they are best at. However, it’s time to team up once again and stop the Chinese triads from doing their illegal business in the country. They are joined by a new cop (Chris Rock) who helps the duo in stopping Jet Li and his Chinese triad from printing fake money in the USA which was intended to buy the four fathers back from the Chinese military.

14. Payback (1999)

Genre: Action, Crime
Director: Brian Helgeland
Starring: Mel Gibson (43), Gregg Henry (47), Maria Bello (32)

Porter is an ex-marine who is betrayed by an ex-partner and shot by a crazy wife in the back. Nevertheless, he is now back and wants his cut from the robbery of an Asian Crime Gang. Unluckily, the fortune has been acquired by a dangerous gang, The Outfit that runs the city. Porter will have to make his way through a world filled with crime, prostitution, unlawfulness, drugs, and cops. His only friend is a prostitute who now works for The Outfit. This is not going to be a cakewalk.

15. The Patriot (2000)

Genre: War, Drama, History
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Mel Gibson (44), Heath Ledger (21), Joely Richardson (35)

The French-Indian war hero, Benjamin Martin is haunted by his past and wants to live a peaceful life. He lives in a plantation, away from the city life and trouble. However, things change quickly when his eldest son Gabriel signs up for the Continental Army without his father’s permission. When South Carolina decides to join the rebellion against Great Britain, Colonel William Tavington burns down Martin’s plantation.

16. What Women Want (2000)

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Mel Gibson (44), Helen Hunt (37), Marisa Tomei (36)

A hotshot advertising executive, Nick finds himself in a grey when a fluke accident gives him the ability to listen to what women think. At first, he thinks this is a curse and wants to get rid of him but then a crazy psychologist tells him how this can be turned out into an advantage. Nick’s first victim is a colleague, Darcy McGuire who got the promotion that Nick had been eyeing for a while.

This comedy was a huge box office success, grossing over $374 million.

17. We Were Soldiers (2002)

Genre: War, Drama, History
Director: Randall Wallace
Starring: Mel Gibson (46), Madeleine Stowe (44)

From the perspective of the battalion commander, this is the story of the 1st Battalion, 7 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Calvary Division’s battle in the La Drang Valley of Vietnam in 1965. The movie shows how the commander prepares for Vietnam, the war, and the first major war between the USA and the NVA forces. The use of helicopters as a means of mobility and anti-aircraft assault means.

18. Edge of Darkness (2010)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Mel Gibson (54)

When a successful detective of Boston finds his daughter has been murdered, a lot of questions engulf his head. He soon realizes that the murder of his daughter is just a small part of the big conspiracy. He is determined to solve the puzzle and uncover all the corrupt people involved in the big scene.

19. Get the Gringo (2012)

Genre: Crime, Action
Director: Adrian Grunberg
Starring: Mel Gibson (56)

In a desperate attempt to leave the country, a getaway driver dressed in a clown’s disguise along with his friend and 2 million dollars in the trunk, rams the car into the thick border wall of Mexico. The friend dies instantly and he is arrested by a duo of Mexican officers who keep all the money and send the driver to the infamous El Pueblito prison. The driver quickly earns the name ‘The Gringo’ in the jail and soon finds out how hard it is to live in a jail that looks more like a small village of convicts.

20. Blood Father (2016)

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: Jean-François Richet
Starring: Mel Gibson (60)

An ex-convict, now a tattoo artist who struggles every day to stay sober finds himself in haywire when he receives a desperate call from his 17-year-old daughter. He reunited with her and tries to save her from the Mexican drug cartel. The high-speed action and cut-throat fights remind the ex-convict of his past but his fatherly duties help him through.

Mel is 60 in this movie and as we can see, he can still play tough guy without any problem.

We hope that you like our list of best Mel Gibson movies. If you plan a Mel Gibson movie marathon sometimes in the future, you know where to look for a reminder.

15 Best Mel Gibson Movies According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are the 15 best Mel Gibson movies in the lead role:

  • Braveheart (1995) – 8.3
  • Lethal Weapon (1987) – 7.6
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) – 7.6
  • Gallipoli (1981) – 7.4
  • The Professor and the Madman (2019) – 7.3
  • The Patriot (2000) – 7.2
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – 7.2
  • We Were Soldiers (2002) – 7.2
  • Payback (1999) – 7.1
  • The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) – 7.1
  • Get the Gringo (2012) – 7.0
  • Maverick (1994) – 7.0
  • Dragged Across Concrete (2018) – 7.0
  • The Bounty (1984) – 7.0
  • Mad Max (1979) – 6.9

15 Best Mel Gibson Movies According to Box Office

  • Signs (2002) – $408 million
  • What Women Want (2000) – $374 million
  • Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) – $322 million
  • Ransom (1996) – $310 million
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) – $285 million
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – $228 million
  • The Patriot (2000) – $215 million
  • Braveheart (1995) – $210 million
  • Maverick (1994) – $183 million
  • Payback (1999) – $162 million
  • Bird on a Wire (1990) – $138 million
  • Conspiracy Theory (1997) – $137 million
  • Forever Young (1992) – $128 million
  • Lethal Weapon (1987) – $120 million
  • We Were Soldiers (2002) – $115 million