20 Greatest Elle Fanning Movies and TV Shows

I don’t know about you, but I could watch Elle Fanning movies and TV shows around the clock without getting bored – she’s a talented actress that’s only getting better. For the past 20+ years, she has ‘wowed’ us with her versatility, passion, voice, and ability to captivate her audience. 

Born Mary Elle Fanning in 1998, it didn’t take long for Fanning to find herself on the big screen. She made her debut in 2001 with the release of Sam I Am, a role she secured with her older sister Dakota Fanning – who is a talented actress in her own right. Together, they’re dynamic.

Throughout her career, Elle Fanning has been nominated for dozens of awards – including two Golden Globe nominations and three Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations within the past two years for her excellence in The Great. At just 24 years old, she has so much left to give!

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Best Movies and TV Shows Featuring Elle Fanning

15 Greatest Elle Fanning Movies and TV Shows
Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock

Over the past 22 years, we’ve seen Elle Fanning in a wide range of films and television shows. In fact, she has been cast or starred in over 60 projects as an actress since 2001 – which is actually quite shocking for a 24-year-old. When I was 24, I was working at Bath & Body Works. 

Not only that, but she has been credited as a producer or executive producer in several films and TV shows over the past few years – including Visceral (2015), All the Bright Places (2020), Gucci Always Wins (2020), The Great (2020-present), and The Girl from Plainville (2022). 

While we all have our own opinions about Elle Fanning and the many characters she has portrayed through the years, we’re going to list out our 20 favorite Elle Fanning movies and TV shows. Let’s see how many of our favorites you agree with – and which ones you disagree with. 

20. The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls is an animated comedy that was released in 2014. The film was directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, with Elle Fanning being cast as Winifred “Winnie” Portley-Rind (voice only). Her character was the main character’s first human friend. 

The film also starred Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Tracy Morgan, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Dee Bradley Baker, and more. It was about a young boy raised by trash collectors who attempts to rescue his friends from an exterminator with bad intentions. 

19. We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo is a comedy-drama that was released in 2011. The film was directed by Cameron Crowe and based on a 2008 book of the same title by Benjamin Mee. Elle Fanning played a 13-year-old home-schooled student who works at the restaurant inside the zoo.

The film also stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, Patrick Fujit, and John Michael Higgins. It’s about a father who moves his two children, Dylan and Rosie, to a dying zoo in hopes of turning it around. 

18. The Roads Not Taken

The Roads Not Taken is a drama that was released in 2020. It was written and directed by Sally Potter, and was dedicated to Potter’s brother. Elle Fanning was cast as Molly, the daughter of Leo – the main character. The film will certainly make you rethink the way you’re living your life. 

The film also stars Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, Laura Linney, and Branka Katić. It’s about a father and daughter, who struggles to make sense of his dementia and how people treat him. The story takes place in several locations as he hallucinates about what could’ve been.  

17. A Rainy Day in New York

A Rainy Day in New York is a romantic comedy that was released in 2020, written and directed by Woody Allen, and produced by Letty Aronson. Elle Fanning plays Ashleigh Enright, a college student who’s majoring in journalism and the girlfriend of Gatsby Welles at the beginning.

The film also stars Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna, and Liev Schreiber. It’s about a young couple who take a trip to New York City. During the trip, the two grow distant and make room for new lovers – leading to an inevitable breakup.

16. Ginger & Rosa

Ginger & Rosa is a drama that was released in 2012. It was written and directed by Sally Potter, who also wrote and directed The Roads Not Taken. Elle Fanning was cast as Ginger, a young girl who feels betrayed when her best friend and father fall in love with each other. 

The film also stars Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, Jodhi May, and Annette Bening. It’s about two best friends, Ginger and Rosa, who see their friendship enter a crossroad after Rosa becomes pregnant with an unlikely father.

15. The Girl From Plainville

The Girl From Plainville is a drama miniseries that was released in 2022 and ran for eight episodes. The miniseries was created by Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus, and based on a true story. In addition to being one of the producers, Elle Fanning was cast as Michelle Carter. 

It also stars Chloë Sevigny, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox, Colton Ryan, and Norbert Leo Butz. It tells the true story of a Conrad Roy, who dies by suicide after being encouraged to do so by his girlfriend, Michell Carter, through texts. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. 

14. Teen Spirit

Teen Spirit is a musical drama that was released in 2019. It was written and directed by Max Minghella, and produced by Fred Berger. Elle Fanning was cast as Violet Valenski in a lead role, showing her true versatility with her singing and acting. Yes, that’s her real singing voice. 

The 92-minute musical did $1.5 million in box office sales. It also stars Rebecca Hall and Zlatko Buric, alongside Fanning. It’s about a young girl who enters a singing contest in hopes of pursuing a career in music – some would call it a more modern spin on the Cinderella story. 

13. Phoebe In Wonderland

Phoebe In Wonderland is a drama that was released in 2009. It was written and directed by Daniel Barnz, and produced by Ben Barnz and Lynette Howell. Elle Fanning plays a young girl, Phoebe Lichten, who has obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome. 

The film also stars Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety, and Bailee Madison. It’s about a nine-year-old girl who has a hard time fitting in and getting along with others at school. In the end, she’s diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.

12. Somewhere

Somewhere is a drama that was released in 2010. It was written and directed by Sofia CoppolaG. Mac Brown and Roman Coppola helped with the production. As for Elle Fanning, she played Cleo, the daughter of a famous Hollywood actor that’s ready to reassess his lifestyle. 

The film also stars Stephen Dorff, Chris Pontius, Michelle Monaghan, Kristina Shannon, and Karissa Shannon. It’s about a Hollywood actor who lives a care-free lifestyle, until his 11-year-old daughter shows up at his door unexpectedly. It changes his life for the better. 

11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a fantasy romantic drama that was released in 2008. It was directed by David Fincher, but based on a 1922 book of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Elle Fanning was cast as a younger version (7 years old) of Daisy Fuller. 

The film also stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Mahershala Ali, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas, and Tilda Swinton. It’s about a boy who’s born with the features of an old man and ages in reverse. As he grows younger, he falls in love with a girl.

10. Daddy’s Day Care

Daddy’s Day Care is a family comedy that was released in 2003. It was written by Geoff Rodkey, directed by Steve Carr, and produced by John Davis, Wyck Godfrey, and Matt Berenson. Elle Fanning was cast as Jamie, one of the many kids involved in the film. 

The film also stars Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Anjelica Huston, Kevin Nealon, Jonathan Katz, and Lacey Chabert. It’s about two former co-workers who decide to start a daycare – they call it Daddy’s Day Care. It eventually grows into a passion.

9. Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley is a biographic romantic drama that was released in 2017. It was written by Emma Jensen, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, and produced by Amy Baer, Ruth Coady, Alan Moloney, and David Grumbach. Elle Fanning was cast as Mary Shelley, the main character. 

The film also stars Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Ben Hardy, Tom Sturridge, Maisie Williams, Stephen Dillane, and Joanne Froggatt. It’s about a young writer, Mary Godwin, who falls in love with a radical poet, Percy Shelley, before penning a book titled Frankenstein

8. The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon is a psychological horror that was released in 2016. It was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, with Lene Børglum assisting with the production. Elle Fanning was cast as Jesse, an up-and-coming model who gains a few enemies out of jealousy and fascination.

The film also stars Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves. It’s about an aspiring model who finds immediate success, but it doesn’t sit well with her fellow models, who seek to eliminate her.

7. Maleficent

Maleficent is a dark fantasy adventure that was released in 2014 and is based on the 1959 musical called Sleeping Beauty by Disney – though it’s told through the eyes of the antagonist, Maleficent. Elle Fanning was cast as Aurora, the daughter of King Stefan and Maleficent’s rival. 

The film was directed by Robert Stromberg and produced by Joe Roth. In addition to Fanning, the film stars Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. In October 2019, the sequel – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – is released.

6. I Am Sam

I Am Sam is a drama that was released in 2001. It was written and directed by Jessie Nelson, co-written by Kristine Johnson, and produced by Richard Solomon, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz. Elle Fanning was cast to play the two-year old version of Lucy. 

The film also stars Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianne Wiest, Richard Schiff, Laura Dern, Doug Hutchison, Loretta Devine, and Dakota Fanning – who plays the older version of Lucy. It’s about a mentally-handicapped father who fights for custody of his daughter, who he named Lucy. 

5. Babel

Babel is a psychological drama that was released in 2006. It was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, though Steve Golin and Jon Kilik helped with the production. As for Elle Fanning, she was cast as Debbie Jones – who is based in the United States/Mexico. 

The film also stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Kōji Yakusho, Adriana Barraza, and Rinko Kikuchi. It was the first time Fanning was cast with Pitt and Blanchett, but the trio would reconnect two years later (2008) in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

4. Super 8

Super 8 is a sci-fi thriller that was released in 2011. It was written, directed, and produced by J.J. Abrams – with a little assistance from Bryan Burk and Steven Spielberg. Elle Fanning was cast as Alice Dainard, the daughter of a man blamed for the killing of another person’s wife. 

The film also stars Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Gabriel Basso, Noah Emmerich, Ron Eldard, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Caitriona Balfe, and Zach Mills. It’s about a group of people who witness a violent train crash, which is followed by a series of unexplained events.

3. How to Talk to Girls at Parties

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a sci-fi romantic comedy that was released in 2017. It was directed by John Cameron Mitchell and based on the 2006 book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. Iain Canning, Howard Gertler, and Emile Sherman helped with the production. 

Elle Fanning was cast as Zan, a rebellious alien that wants to learn more about Earth. The film also stars Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas, Ethan Lawrence, and Edward Petherbridge. It’s about an alien who meets two inhabitants of Earth. It’s worth a watch.

2. The Beguiled

The Beguiled is a Southern Gothic thriller that was released in 2017. Sofia Coppola was the director and wrote the screenplay, which was based on a 1966 novel by Thomas P. Cullinan. It’s the second version of the film, the first of which was released in 1971 by Don Siegel.

Elle Fanning was cast as Alice, but the film also stars the likes of Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, and Addison Riecke. It was the second time Fanning was in a Coppola film – the first one was Somewhere, released in 2010.

1. The Great

The Great is a historical, satirical comedy drama television series that was released in 2020. The first season was titled An Occasionally True Story and the second season was titled An Almost Entirely Untrue Story. Hulu announced earlier this year that a third season is on the way.

The series was created by Tony McNamara and also stars Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Sacha Dhawan, Charity Wakefield, Gwilym Lee, Adam Godley, Douglas Hodge, Belinda Bromilow, Richard Pyros, Bayo Gbadamosi, and Sebastian de Souza. It’s a must-watch.

Which Elle Fanning Character is Your Favorite?

Although Elle Fanning has already been in the industry for over 20 years, some might say her career is just getting started. She seems to get more comfortable and talented with every role she gets, leaving us eager and excited for whenever her next film or television show is released.

The good news is Elle Fanning has several projects already rumored for 2023 and beyond – including The Nightingale (filming), Francis and the Godfather (filming), and Chippendales (pre-production). She will also continue to reprise her popular role as Catherine in The Great

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Not only that, but she recently teamed up with her sister, Dakota Fanning, in starting a new production company called Lewellen Pictures. They’re partnering with Civic Center and MRC Television, who produced TheGreat. Expect more great things from both of them in the future.

If you liked learning about Elle Fanning’s greatest movies, perhaps you’d like to take a look at superstar Christina Ricci’s career as well. The star has accomplished so much over the last couple of decades in the industry but most people have not seen all of her movies. Let us introduce you to them!

Watch These Incredible Christina Ricci Movies:

Black Snake Moan (2006)

Christina Ricci Movies

First things first, this pitch-black comedy is not for the faint of heart. It is wild! Secondly, you might remember how horrible Justin Timberlake‘s performance is in this. If you can get past it and stay for the movie’s real stars, Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson, you’re in for a treat. The film finds Jackson as a down-and-out Bluesman who tries to cure Ricci’s character’s nymphomania. It goes off the rails in the best sort of way. Currently, this film is available to rent on your favorite platform.

Mermaids (1990)

Christina Ricci Movies

What do you get when you cast a film with Cher and a young Winona Ryder and younger Christina Ricci? Movie magic. Set in the 1960s, Cher plays an eccentric, single mother who relocates to a Massachusetts town with her two daughters. The move kicks off a number of events that both put the family’s bond to the test and subsequently strengthen it. It’s one of the first Christina Ricci movies to exist. In fact, it was her debut film. The film is streaming on Tubi or Pluto TV.

The Ice Storm (1997)

Christina Ricci Movies

Set in the 1970s, The Ice Storm finds the Hood family fraying at the edges as they enter the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Ricci plays Wendy Hood whose father’s drinking is out of control. Her mother is at her wit’s end over it. Wendy is left on her own and she roams the neighborhood looking for something but not knowing what she will find. Then, an ice storm hits, and things will never be the same. The movie is currently available to rent on your favorite platform.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Christina Ricci Movies

There are some issues with Sleepy Hollow, chief among them, there’s not enough Ricci in it! Although she stars opposite Johnny Depp, her performance is fantastic and leaves you really wanting more. This horror movie is a retelling of the curse of Sleepy Hollow with a headless horseman on the loose decapitating the town’s citizens and causing chaos. It’s one of the Christina Ricci movies that earned her some awards. She won a Saturn Award for her performance as Katrina Van Tassel. The movie is currently streaming on Starz.

The Addams Family (1991)

Christina Ricci Movies

The creepy family you know and love got a reboot in the 1990s with Christina Ricci playing Wednesday Addams. Her moody and mysterious performance found the actor exploring her dark side. In this comedy, we’re introduced to the family who is actively trying to be conned into accepting a “lost uncle” into the family. It’s campy and ridiculous and might be just the thing to revisit soon. The film is currently streaming on Peacock.

Addams Family Values (1993)

Christina Ricci Movies

Some people regard the second installment of The Addams Family as superior to the first. One thing’s for certain, it’s one of the most iconic Christina Ricci movies as Wednesday Addams really goes full-on evil at a summer camp. Meanwhile, Fester Addams is dealing with some serious love life drama. The film is currently available to rent on your favorite platform.

The Laramie Project (2002)

Christina Ricci Movies

The Laramie Project is a 2000 play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the reaction to the 1998 vicious hate crime of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Christina Ricci stars in the film adaptation of the play. She portrays Romaine Patterson, an activist and friend of Shepard. It’s one of the most potent Christina Ricci movies that will break your heart. The movie is currently streaming on HBO Max.

Monster (2003)

Christina Ricci Movies

Another one of the Christina Ricci movies based on real-life, Monster tells the story of the serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Ricci plays her lover and friend, Selby. Although Wuornos was convicted of several murders there’s so much more to her story including substance abuse and a history of violence against her. Monster is currently streaming on the Tubi.

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The Opposite Sex (1998)

Christina Ricci Movies

The Opposite Sex is one of the Christina Ricci movies that saw her moving from child star to young adult. She was only 18 at the time of filming and she gives an exceptionally self-assured performance as Deedee Truitt. In the movie, Deedee is a 16-year-old who decides to visit her gay half-brother only to seduce his partner and cause absolute chaos in their lives. It’s a quirky movie with offbeat characters that’s totally worth your time. The film is available to rent on your preferred platform.

Penelope (2006)

Christina Ricci Movies

If you like a silly romp then Penelope is one of the best Christina Ricci movies for you. She stars as Penelope Wilhern, an aristocratic heiress who is born under a curse that gives her a pig snout instead of a normal nose. To break the curse, she must find true love. The movie is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, and Pluto TV.

Casper (1995)

Christina Ricci Movies

Casper is another one of the lighter Christina Ricci movies. She plays Kat in the film, the daughter of an afterlife therapist. They move into a crumbling mansion and Kat meets Casper, the friendly ghost, who helps her work through the sadness she still carries from losing her mother. Along with the good ghost, there are some baddies who Kat and her father most help crossover to the other side. The movie is available to rent on your favorite platform.

Now and Then (1995)

Christina Ricci Movies

A personal favorite among Christina Ricci movies when I was a kid, Now and Then tells the story of four 12-year-old girls who grow up together during a very eventful summer in a small town in 1970. Much of the story is told through flashbacks. Ricci plays the kid version of Roberta while Rosie O’Donnell plays the same character aged thirty years on. The film was directed by legendary filmmaker, Lesli Linka Glatter and it’s worthy of a watch. You’ll find this movie streaming on HBO Max.

Prozac Nation (2001)

Christina Ricci Movies

Based on an award-winning novel, Prozac Nation is a romantic drama film that tells the story of a young woman, Elizabeth, studying at Harvard, who is struggling with depression during her first year. Ricci plays the character with such care. It’s one of the great Christina Ricci movies and performances that most have missed out on. Give it a shot! You can rent the movie on your favorite platform.

Pumpkin (2002)

Christina Ricci Movies

Pumpkin was a polarizing movie that some critics loved and others completely panned. Its brand of black comedy went over some heads but if you have a dark sense of humor, it’s one of the must-see Christina Ricci movies. Ricci plays a sorority girl who finds herself with a crush on a mentally-challenged man. It’s an indictment of society’s misconceptions about those with intellectual disabilities. It’s offensive and that’s sort of the point. It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

Christina Ricci Movies

We saved the best for last. You might have missed 1996’s Bastard Out of Carolina. The film finds Ricci teamed up again with Anjelica Huston (from The Addams Family) instead of acting in the film, Huston made her directorial debut with this Emmy-winning movie. While Ricci is not starring, her appearance as Dee Dee will surely make an impression. The film is a heavy-hitting movie about abuse and how one person can enter a family and tear it apart. This movie is available to rent.

If you’re not ready to let go of Misty, turn to Christina Ricci movies to fill the void that Yellowjackets has left in its wake. She is such a talented performer with varied roles in a variety of movies from horror to romantic comedy. Long live the Riccisance!

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