Now updated with Skyscraper!
Over the last 20 years, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become one of the most recognizable names, faces, and physiques in the world. The rare individual to make the jump from pro wrestler to top-tier Hollywood talent, Johnson has been building his filmography for both television and the big screen since the late 1990s. As an actor, he now tallies 100 credits; he’s padding that list of credits out with and endless stream of new ideas as a producer, further shaping his brand and delivering original ideas tailored to what Johnson himself and his legions of fans want to see. All that being said, his career in Hollywood is just getting started and we expect many more decades ahead for The Rock both in front of the camera and behind it. With that in mind, we wanted to get caught up on all of Johnson’s major movies so far in order to take a look at his progress as an actor along the way, discover some hidden gems, and recommend some performances you may have missed.
It’s not all going to be pretty, of course. There were a lot of rough patches along the way that Johnson had to weather well before the success of things like The Fast and the Furious franchise and the formation of his own banner, Seven Bucks Productions. But in each of these performances you can see the innate talent possessed by Johnson and how each role shaped and molded what his persona would become in the years that followed. And since he’s got three movies coming out this year alone–Rampage, Skyscraper and Fighting with My Family (the latter one now pushed to a March 1, 2019 release date)–we wanted to revisit where Johnson has been in order to get a better handle on just where his career is going.
Now, you can skip on down to the rankings if you’d like, but to find out why this list is more than just a Buzzfeed style list, I’d like to tell you a little story: Johnson is a sort of hometown hero of mine. Granted, he only lived in the Lehigh Valley for a brief period of time (and he totally went to the wrong school; Go Rovers!), but his insane success left a strong impression on the community, helped by the fact that he would occasionally return home to attend a Freedom football game early in his career. (Johnson probably doesn’t remember the time spent there so fondly if his Ballers character Spencer Strasmore is any indication.) Oddly enough, our families even crossed paths; my dad was a power-lifter at the time, Johnson’s dad is the storied pro wrestler Rocky Johnson, and somehow the two of them came to occupy the same circle for a brief while. (I’ve still got an autographed picture from the elder Johnson that reads “To David, Best in Sports” for what it’s worth.)
A few years later, my brother–a Freedom alumnus–and I marveled at the growing fandom for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson after some hard luck in college football and some hard-fought years in the squared circle of professional wrestling. Here was a guy who, for his time, lived in our neck of the woods, only to escape and claw his way to the top, first as the People’s Champion, and eventually as Forbes’ top-grossing Hollywood actor. There’s something inspirational in that, whoever you are, but for those of us who have some infinitesimally small claim to fame from having been within The Rock’s vicinity, his success story really hits home. So it’s with that backstory in mind that I visited–and in most cases revisited–all of The Rock’s major movies, including some minor parts along the way.
Here’s a look at The Rock’s movies, ranked worst to first: