What are the best Zoe Saldaña movies of all time? When it comes to big sci-fi blockbusters or heart-racing action movies, few stars are as well-known or beloved as Zoe Saldaña. From Avatar to her work in the MCU, Saldaña has achieved something that many stars only dream of; she has appeared in three of the five highest-grossing movies of all time.
But as Saldaña continues to take Hollywood by storm, and with Avatar 2, Avatar: The Way of Water, set to score her another hit, you may be wondering about this actor’s impressive career. At the end of the day, Saldaña is a talented performer, having worked across a wide range of genres. And among all the franchise splendour, it can be easy to forget all her less-known but still fantastic work.
With that in mind, we here at The Digital Fix have combed through Tinsel Town’s catalogue and have found the cream of the crop when it comes to the best Zoe Saldaña movies. So sit back and get ready to dive into some silver screen magic.
What are the best Zoe Saldaña movies of all time?
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- The Book of Life
- Star Trek Beyond
- I Kill Giants
- Infinitely Polar Bear
8. Drumline (2002)
What were the 2000s without a good sports movie? Now, what about an effective 2000s sports movie but you add drums? Drumline, to this day, is a highly enjoyable coming-of-age story following the journey of a young musician from New York entering University and coming head to head with the leader of the school’s drum section.
Saldaña plays the main love interest in Drumline as Laila, an upperclassmen dancer who ultimately is a catalyst for growth for our main hero Devon, played by Nick Cannon. Who knew that the world of competitive marching bands could be so intense or the perfect pick for a Friday movie night?
7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy is not only one of the best films in the entire MCU, but it also cemented Saldaña as a top-tier action movie star. Playing the role of the orphaned alien and trained assassin Gamora, Saldaña manages to capture the perfect balance between lethal and righteous — making her one of the most captivating MCU characters not only in Guardians of the Galaxy but across the franchise.
She is fabulous as Gamora in all her MCU appearances, such as Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. But you just can’t beat her memorable Marvel introduction.
6. The Book of Life (2014)
Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, the animated movie The Book of Life proves that Saldaña is just as talented with voice-over work as she is with live-action. The Book of Life is a pretty dark romance story, that sees two lovers having to fight against marriage proposals, societal pressure, and even death in their effort to be together.
Playing the part of the wilful Maria, Saldaña shines as the film’s leading lady. The role earned her multiple award nominations and ultimately grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office. So if you are ready for angst and some romantic strife, it is time to sit down and enjoy The Book of Life!
5. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
While Saldaña has arguably been amazing in all of the rebooted Star Trek movies, you just can’t deny that Star Trek Beyond takes the USS Enterprise cake. Star Trek Beyond is the third action movie in the rebooted series and sees Saldaña return as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura.
In this movie, the drama is up to scratch, along with all the heavy action pieces, primarily thanks to Spock and Uhura’s turbulent relationship. Break-ups are never easy, especially when the swarm and Krall are involved. Despite the captivating performances and story, Star Trek Beyond underperformed financially. However, that shouldn’t sway your decision to watch it.
Saldaña is one of the best performers when it comes to science fiction movies and Star Trek Beyond is a testament to that fact.
4. I Kill Giants (2017)
When it comes to science fiction movies, Saldaña is well-known and celebrated. However, did you know that the actor has dipped her toes in some fantasy movies too? I Kill Giants is too often underappreciated for the moody film that it is.
Directed by Anders Walter and based on Kelly and Ken Niimura’s graphic novel of the same name, it tells the story of a teenager who creates a fantasy world as a way to cope with the real-world traumas facing her daily life.
Saldaña plays the role of the school psychologist Mrs Mollé who is constantly struggling to help and communicate with our protagonist. Magic realism is a tricky genre to crack, but I Kill Giants manages to create a memorable movie, that, while slow in parts, you won’t regret watching.
3. Vivo (2021)
The animated musical Vivo is straight-up delightful. Telling the story of an adorable kinkajou (tropical animal) with a passion for song — the family movie is a heartwarming journey. With music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Vivo was always going to be wholesome, and Saldaña’s voice talents as Rosa is smile-inducing.
While she may not be the main character, Rosa is still notable, and when the whole film comes together is an excellent addition to Netflix‘s catalogue of kids movies. If you haven’t seen it already and fancy a catchy and colourful flick exploring Havana, Cuba, we urge you to give this movie a try!
2. Avatar (2009)
I mean, come on, we couldn’t make a best Zoe Saldaña movie list without including the highest-grossing movie of all time, now could we? Love or hate James Cameron‘s Avatar; it is undeniable that Saldaña shines as the alien movie‘s leading lady (or should we say Na’vi), Neytiri.
While her appearance changed and the use of motion capture was used, this James Cameron movie truly shows how talented this star is. As Neytiri, we saw a warrior fighting for a people, someone experiencing intense love, and then navigating heartbreak from some good old-fashioned betrayal. From the scope of emotions to the intense action scenes, Saldaña’s performance in Avatar is a force to be reckoned with.
1. Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)
Infinitely Polar Bear sees Saldaña team up with her MCU co-star Mark Ruffalo to give us one of the star’s best performances to date, period. Although this comedy movie is pretty unknown when it comes to the grand scheme of things, despite Ruffalo receiving a Golden Globe nomination, it is a touching story that really showcases Saldaña’s range.
Saldaña plays the role of a wife who not only has to help raise her kids but also has to navigate her husband’s bipolar disorder while also attending graduate school. Talk about an overwhelming do-to list, right? If you haven’t seen Infinitely Polar Bear and are a fan of Saldaña, trust us, you won’t be disappointed.