Zac Efron is a certified movie star. She started with some small parts in hit TV shows in the early 2000s like Firefly And ER and starred in the short-lived show, Summerland. But it was her starring role in the Disney hit High school Musical where it became a household name. Over the years he has started choosing more and more interesting projects and has become more than just a pretty face. He won a Daytime Emmy in 2021 for hosting the show, Down to earth with Zac Efron on Netflix. And the most recent film of him, The biggest beer race ever, which premiered at TIFF in September. Since the early 2000s, Zac has been a fixture on both the small and big screen. Here are some of the best films of him to date.
11/11 The high school musical saga
Zac Efron probably had no idea about the role of high school basketball star Troy Bolton in the 2000s original Disney movie. Musical high school, would make him an international star. But as soon as he took the microphone with Vanessa Hudgens playing her love interest, Gabriella, her star power exploded. The film spawned a sequel in 2007 and a third film followed in 2008 that hit theaters. Currently, Disney Channel hosts a spin-off High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Recently for season 4, the show announced that at least 6 original cast members will return for cameos in the new season. Efron’s name was not mentioned, but we’ll continue to hope Troy Bolton shows up.
10/11 Hairspray (2007)
In keeping with his singing and dancing prowess, Efron played the role of Link Larkin in the 2007 film adaptation of Giovanni Waters‘musical, Hair spray. Link is the lead dancer on “The Corny Collins Show”, but is overwhelmed when the latest dancer, Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky), joins and shakes the show to propel it into the modern era. The film is also the protagonist John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, James Marsden, and many others. Efron is extremely easy to believe as a teen heartthrob and makes it look easy as his sex appeal leaps off stage in both the fantasy show and real-life movie screen.
9/11 Orson Wells and Me (2008)
Efron plays Richard in this coming-of-age story based on a novel of the same name. Richard is a high school student who plays Lucius in the upcoming theatrical adaptation “Caesar,” directed by Orson wells (Christian McKay). Richard gets involved in a behind-the-scenes drama and learns a hard lesson in show business and romance at a young age. The film itself is a love letter (?) To the life of the theater and what it takes to make a production work. Claire Danes it makes it easy for Efron’s character to fall head over heels, but his performance also shows how quickly one can be overwhelmed by the glamor and heartbreak of the show.
8/11 17 Again (2009)
Efron plays Mike as a teenager who gave up his college ticket to be with his pregnant girlfriend. Now older and frustrated with his choices and resentful of his wife, Scarlet (Leslie Mann), Mike (Matthew Perry) magically wakes up as seventeen-year-old himself, ready to take another chance in life. Where is it Back to the Future has a teenager who travels back in time and knows his parents as friends, 17 again it shows a parent who knows his children as friends, which is very endearing. As he tries to salvage his failed relationship with Scarlet, he learns more about her children, Alex (GBP Knight) and Maggie (Michelle Trachtenberg), and, by extension, himself. Efron sticks the needle here like a peer and a dad, but the result is touching and sincere. There have been many versions of the trope of rediscovering your youth, but 17 again it is definitely one of the best
7/11 The Paper Boy (2012)
In this detective drama based on the book of the same name by Pete DexterEfron plays Jack Jansen who is hired by his brother, Ward (Matteo McConaughey), to be a pilot for Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman). Charlotte is engaged to a man on death row (John Cusack) and Ward is there to investigate whether he was wrongfully convicted. Jack is immediately perplexed by Charlotte and the actor pair immediately shows that they exude chemistry in their tense and awkward scenes together. It’s a wild thriller based on true events in 1960s Florida. Kidman and Efron were praised for their performances in a somewhat erratic film.
6/11 Park (2013)
There have been countless adaptations of the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedybut Park takes an untapped approach by showing the aftermath at Parkland hospital right after the shooting. Efron plays Dr. Jim Carrico, a young doctor who, like everyone, is overwhelmed by what is happening in real time, but needs to jump into action quickly. Efron really manages to show his acting skills when he’s in the operating room with the president and refuses to let him succumb to his injuries. It’s a very sensitive subject and the film deals with it gracefully and gives hospital staff the dignity they deserve for having to deal with trauma.
5/11 Neighbors (2014)
In a funny comedy, Efron plays the fraternity president, Teddy. He and his brothers buy an off-campus home in a residential neighborhood to house their fraternity and throw epic parties. Unfortunately for their neighbors and new parents, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), a fraternity house next door isn’t exactly what they need with a newborn. He is friendly enough at first with everyone playing well and being close, but soon the couple and the fraternity all become our enemies in a battle to save their new homes. It’s a nice raucous moment and has an epic comic backing cast included Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael, Hannibal BuressAnd Lisa Kudrow.
4/11 Mike and Dave need wedding dates (2016)
In another bro-y movie, Efron plays the lead Dave Adam DevineIt’s Mike while they, you guessed it, are looking for wedding dates. They meet their matches in Anna Kendrick And Aubrey Square in a surprisingly captivating comedy. Efron is always able to bring a little lightness to seemingly one-dimensional characters, and ultimately makes you cheer him on no matter how stupid his choices may be. His chemistry with Kendrick is palpable as the two provide an unexpected, yet hilarious, couple.
3/11 The greatest showman (2017)
In this smash hit at the box office, Efron stars alongside Hugh Jackman in The greatest showman. Jackman plays PT Barnum in this fictionalized version of his life. Efron plays Philip Carlyle on which he loosely relies Giacomo Bailey. Together, the two eventually they would form Barnum & Bailey Circus. Philip is an upper-tier rich guy who gets sucked into the circus world and falls madly in love with Zendayait’s Anne Wheeler (I mean, how could you not do it?). Even though it had been ten years since her last role as a singer, it was clear that she only got better with her age.
2/11 Extremely wicked, incredibly wicked and vile (2019)
The story of Ted Bundy it has been told in many incarnations. This detail is told from Liz’s point of view (Lily Collins), Bundy’s longtime girlfriend. It is loosely based on Elizabeth KloepferThe memoir of “The Phantom Prince, my life with Ted Bundy”. It is the most extreme story of learning that the person you love is not what you thought they were. But what stands out is that Efron taps into how she and the world have been fooled for so long. He is beyond charming and so incredibly handsome, how could he ever commit the atrocities he is accused of? Efron’s darkness behind those captivating eyes shows how easy it is to be fooled and illustrates what Efron truly is a fantastic actor.
1/11 Gold (2022)
A low-key Australian film that has remained hidden this year, Gold is the story of survival in the Australian outback in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world. It is beautifully shot from Anthony Hayes that most Americans know from the movie The kingdom of animals. Hayes also appears in the film as one of the few other actors alongside Efron. Efron is mostly alone in the vast desert during the film, and is compelling enough to take it with even small dialogue or scene mates. While not incredibly rich in texture, Efron’s performance and scenery make this a good watch.