8 Must-See Paul Walker Movies

We celebrate the on-screen life of the actor who passed away over the weekend. From 'Fast & Furious' to 'Running Scared', take a look at our favorite performances.

Yesterday, we reported the tragic news that beloved actor Paul Walker passed away at the age of 40, after a horrific car crash in Valencia, California. While Hollywood morns the loss of this talented man, his work will be remembered and loved for ages. Although he was best known for his work in The Fast and the Furious franchise, he shined in a number of other films before, during and after that popular series. Here are our eight favorite roles that Paul Walker gave to the world.

1Pleasantville

Pleasantville

Before becoming fast and furious as Brian O'Conner, Paul Walker shined as high school hero Skip Martin in this 1998 Gary Ross classic. The story centers on two siblings (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) who are mysteriously transported inside a classic television series that is set in an idyllic small town, where everything is sunny side up. This role showed Paul Walker's true potential as a leading man, portraying the perpetually cheery Skip with charm and grace, and gave us a glimpse of the talented actor he would turn into in the years to come.

2Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues

Before Friday Night Lights, this 1999 modern classic showcased the obsessive world of Texas high school football. Paul Walker played local jock legend Lance Harbor in director Brian Robbins' drama, the high school quarterback the whole town is pinning their hopes of a state championship to, before falling to a horrific injury, forcing the backup quarterback (James Van Der Beek) into the spotlight. It's a compelling and underrated film that shines a light on this unique culture where winning is everything, no matter what the cost. Although Paul Walker plays a supporting role, his performance paved the way for bigger and better things.

3She's All That

She's All That

While it started to seem like Paul Walker was being typecast as the go-to big man on campus, he still managed to put his own stamp on these familiar roles, including Dean Sampson in She's All That. He can't necessarily be considered the "villain" of this teen romance, which centers on the most popular boy in school (Freddie Prinze Jr.) who turns an artistic, nerdy-ish young woman (Rachael Leigh Cook) into a part of the in crowd. However, he does show us that he can break out of the squeaky-clean roles that helped turn him into a star, playing the somewhat slimy Dean to perfection.

4The Skulls

The Skulls Paul Walker Photo

This is a criminally underrated movie, in my opinion, giving Paul Walker a much meatier role as elite collegian Caleb Mandrake, who is recruited into an Ivy League secret society along with townie Joshua Jackson. This film is perhaps the best example of how versatile the actor can be, showing subtle nuances in his performance as Caleb, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and forms a unique bond with Lucas, who most definitely comes from the other side of the tracks. The film also paired him with director Rob Cohen for the first time, which would ultimately lead to the filmmaker casting him as Brian O'Conner in the 2001 blockbuster The Fast and the Furious. While I'm not quite sure why it was so overlooked, you can check out this wonderful drama on Netflix Instant right now.

5Joy Ride

Joy Ride

2001 turned out to be a banner year for the actor, with his performances in The Fast and the Furious and the great thriller Joy Ride. J.J. Abrams co-wrote this film, which is as equally underrated as The Skulls, which follows three friends (Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski), who decide to break the monotony of their road trip by pranking a trucker over their CB. They soon realize they picked the wrong trucker, voiced brilliantly by Ted Levine, as their journey quickly turns into a horrific nightmare. Director John Dahl's thriller can currently be found on Netflix Instant, and I highly recommend checking it out, if you haven't already.

6Running Scared

Running Scared

2006 was another great year for the actor, with performances in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, Eight Below and the fantastic Running Scared. Wayne Kramer wrote and directed this crime drama, which shows a completely different side of Paul Walker's acting chops that hadn't been seen before. The actor stars as Joey Gazelle, a low-level mob enforcer, who is tasked with disposing of the gun that killed dirty cops. However, the gun ends up in the hands of a 10-year-old, who used it to shoot his abusive stepfather with, who has connections to the Russian mafia. I'm not sure why this film didn't take off like it should have, and it's almost tragic that so many of the films I've written about weren't the hits they should have been. However, in light of the actor's tragic passing, I can only hope these underrated gems are finally discovered and recognized as the great films they are.

7Eight Below

Eight Below

This is yet another film that was written off by many as Disney fluff, but has definitely gained a following in the years following its release. Paul Walker plays Jerry Shepherd, a sled dog trainer who tries to find a sponsor to rescue his dogs after a mission was called off due to extreme weather. Prolific producer Frank Marshall directs this Disney drama that is well worthy of revisiting now, or checking out for the first time.

8Fast & Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6

While it remains to be seen what will happen with Fast & Furious 7, which Paul Walker was shooting at the time of his untimely passing, fans can enjoy his performance as Brian O'Conner in Fast & Furious 6, when it arrives on Blu-ray and DVD December 10. This action-packed blockbuster proves that this franchise is one of the only ones that actually gets better with each movie, as director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan continually find new ways to up the proverbial ante in groundbreaking ways.

We hope you enjoyed these eight memorable performances from the late Paul Walker as much as we did. While the actor most certainly will be missed by millions of fans around the globe, these great performances prove that his talent will always be with us.



Sources: Brian Gallagher

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Comments (16)

  1. CelluloidDreams

    I just rewatched 'Pleasantville" ..I forgot he was in this..WOW!

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  2. Celestialforthcoming

    @CoreyB couldn't agree more, that film was so much fun to watch.

    1 year agoby @CelestialforthcomingFlag

  3. CoreyB

    @kingbrady Im glad people are finally realizing this! Running Scared is really good I own it on dvd. I highly reccomend it to any1 else too! Walker is a beast in it!

    1 year agoby @CoreyBFlag

  4. JonSpidey07

    it's interesting, I just pulled out my 'Fast and Furious' movies with Paul in them this weekend and I am also going to re-watch all of them before 'Fast and Furious 6' comes out next week
    I am getting that for X-Mas

    I've seen Paul in several other flicks: 'Running Scared' which I watched with some friends 3 years ago
    'Pleasantville' which I watched in class during community college
    'Varsity Blues' which I forgot was in my collection
    'She's All That' which we still had on VHS, sorry but that pubic hair scene ruined it for me
    I saw 'Eight Below' with my sisters but barely remember it, those poor dogs dying
    and I recently watched 'Joy Ride' in October

    no disrespect to him btw, but half of his career he hasn't really catapulted other than the 'Fast and Furious' films
    like Vin, Michelle, and Jordana their careers have been in limbo for a while
    true though Vin can pull off 'Riddick' when it works

    here's how his films fared according to critics and here are my takes on them:

    Rotten Tomatoes:
    'Running Scared' 40% 'This film runs with frenetic energy punctuated by gratuitous violence but sorely lacks in plot, character development and stylistic flair.'
    it moved very fast for me which I liked, one scene could have been cut entirely and it is very, very violent but Paul can do drama

    'Pleasantville' 86% 'Filled with lighthearted humor, timely social commentary, and dazzling visuals, Pleasantville is an artful blend of subversive satire and well-executed Hollywood formula.'
    true Paul isn't the main focus and he is a supporting player to Reese Witherspoon but he's very goofy and still a genuine nice guy learning about hormonal change, but I felt bad that's all he could think about after they both fooled around
    the movie: I still liked it with my man Tobey and the 1950's vibe

    'Varsity Blues' 40% 'This is a predictable football movie that lacks intensity.'
    I don't think so, it was hip, slick, the music rocks and Jon Voight's performance is a marvel to watch
    Paul as the new coach near the end was a great calling and truly inspiring

    'She's All That' 38% 'Despite its charming young leads, She's All That can't overcome its predictable, inconsistently funny script.'
    I can see why 'Not Another Teen Movie' spoofed this premise and it became a part of the pop culture
    that damn pubic hair scene brought the rest of the film down and I was willing to let go the predictability of the plot
    I didn't really buy Paul as a deuchebag but it's nice to see him in a high school role for once

    'Eight Below' 72% 'Featuring a stellar cast of marooned mutts, who deftly display emotion, tenderness, loyalty and resolve, Eight Below is a heartwarming and exhilarating adventure film.'
    again I barely remember this movie but maybe it's for the better since those dogs dying really affected me
    I could barely get through the rest of the film
    still Paul is a great leading guy in that flick

    'Joy Ride' 73% 'A well-constructed B-movie thriller, Joy Ride keeps up the necessary level of tension and chills. Critics also liked Zahn's performance as the goofball older brother.'
    honestly, this is one of Paul's better films involving horror/thriller and Steve Zahn is so much fun despite acting like an idiot
    pulling pranks on people on the road is never safe but the film was very intense and uneasy

    now for the big ones:

    'The Fast and The Furious' 56% 'Sleek and shiny on the surface, The Fast and the Furious recalls those cheesy teenage exploitation flicks of the 1950s.'
    this was the start of Paul's rise to fame for me, I was instantly a fan and hooked to the franchise seeing this at 11 years-old, he, Vin, Michelle, and Jordana became the ultimate team for these movies, they made racing cars sexy, brought in hot girls, and played badass music
    '2 Fast, 2 Furious' 36% 'Beautiful people and beautiful cars in a movie that won't tax the brain cells.'
    this was one of my least favorites next to the 3rd one, even without Vin Diesel this one felt empty and less exciting, then when it reached the end my sister and I were like, really that's it? Paul still owns it though
    'Fast and Furious' 29% 'While Fast and Furious features the requisite action and stunts, the filmmakers have failed to provide a competent story or compelling characters.'
    now this was more like it, it's like the filmmakers sat down and re-watched the 1st movie, this should have been made right after, I am so glad they got back on track to the main plot, at the time supposedly killing Letty was such a crap idea because I was looking forward to seeing everyone again on-screen after so long, the action scenes still made it for me, the music was cool as always, the girls kept getting hotter and they did thicken the plot despite what many critics thought
    'Fast Five' 77% 'Sleek, loud, and over the top, Fast Five proudly embraces its brainless action thrills and injects new life into the franchise.'
    I was amazed they made an actual good movie for once in this series! the critics were warming up to the actors thank goodness, and they continued more of the story while building on it and keeping it consistent, I was entertained they brought all the cast members from the previous films together and the action scenes kept getting better and better, it's still on my top 2011 list
    Fast and Furious 6' 70% 'With high-octane humor and terrific action scenes, Fast & Furious 6 builds upon the winning blockbuster formula that made Fast 5 a critical and commercial success.'
    a 6th film was inevitable but thankfully they made it just as worth as the others, the best part: I rejoiced hearing that Michelle Rodriguez was coming back, it's not 'Fast and Furious' without her
    aside from the 1-dimensional villain and the tank scene being too short the film still worked for me and bringing all the nostalgia back from 2001
    and that cliffhanger oh boy...I am still wondering how they're gonna tackled that
    and now with Paul being gone what lies ahead? who knows?

    now the ones I didn't see with him:

    'Flags of Our Fathers' 73% 'Flags of Our Fathers is both a fascinating look at heroism, both earned and manufactured, and a well-filmed salute to the men who fought at the battle of Iwo Jima.'

    'Brokedown Palace' 31% 'Lacks credibility and tension.'

    'Takers' 28% 'Takers boasts some gripping set pieces and keeps things moving quickly, but its two-dimensional characters, clich&#233d script, and brazenly derivative plot make it hard to recommend.'

    'Noel' 26%

    'Vehicle 19' 24% 'It starts with an interesting premise and Paul Walker is as handsomely brooding as ever, but Vehicle 19's incoherently shot action sequences make it a poor substitute for his work in the Fast & Furious movies.'

    'Into The Blue' 21% 'Even the endless shots of bronzed beach babes and buffed dudes can't keep this soggy scuba flick's plot from drowning.'

    'Hours' 20%, this isn't doing so well so far and it's not opening until later this month
    not sure if it's a proper ending for Paul's career
    I saw the same thing with Brittany Murphy and her last film

    'Timeline' 12% 'This incoherently plotted addition to the time-travel genre looks and sounds cheesy.'
    my sister watched this and didn't mind it

    'Pawn Shop Chronicles' 12%

    'The Skulls' 9% 'The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.'
    kept hearing about it since it opened but never watched it

    'Meet The Deedles' 4%

    so regardless of his films good or bad, I still like the guy so much
    he will be sorely missed

    1 year agoby @jonspidey07Flag

  5. JMP

    the movie Eight Below made me cry and now it might make me cry more cause Paul Walker gone. R.I.P

    1 year agoby @jmpFlag

  6. Upsmann44

    @ What the hell is wrong with you people! F*ck off!

    1 year agoby @upsmann44Flag

  7. TheDude1

    No Timeline? That is just not right.

    1 year agoby @thedude1Flag

  8. Upsmann44

    @2movieguys Timeline, Yes!

    1 year agoby @upsmann44Flag

  9. CelluloidDreams

    I would add "Timeline" to the list.

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  10. CelluloidDreams

    I forgot he was in "Pleasantville"......I didn't care for "Joy Ride"...loooved "Running Scared"...!

    1 year agoby @2movieguysFlag

  11. Writer220

    seen all of these films, some are better than others but still I enjoyed them.

    1 year agoby @writer220Flag

  12. kingbrady

    Running Scared was a great film

    1 year agoby @kingbradyFlag

  13. thedude-abides

    Good list, but every Paul Walker list should start and end with the original Fast and Furious. When people think of Paul Walker, that's what they think of.

    1 year agoby @thedude-abidesFlag

  14. Upsmann44

    Where is Meet the Deedles?

    1 year agoby @upsmann44Flag

  15. Superman81

    Pleasantville is an amazing movie and it did launch his career in my opinion. Joy Ride is one of my favorite thriller films as well. Nice list and this is still hard to imagine he is not going to be around.

    1 year agoby @superman81Flag