11 Films That Jump Started Actors Careers

Some people think actors who make it to the A-List are just lucky. If you look at some of their early movies carefully, we think you'll see they have more. There are definitely professional actors and entertainers who offer a sparkle and a little extra something that directors, casting agents and viewers obviously notice.

These ambitious talents have managed to parlay their earlier, insignificant roles into million-dollar careers. Laugh all you want at their beginnings while you remember that their lives are filled with luxurious amenities and they live, what looks to be, lives of entitlement.

That is not to suggest they take advantage of their celebrity status, because these 11 are as humble and down to earth as your best friend or next door neighbor. You find yourself saying, "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy/girl." They constantly demonstrate that they are people first and actor/celebrities second, which makes us love them even more.

It's fascinating to see "their acting roots" and see how much different they are today. They now exude confidence and appear to be oh-so-much more polished. This list of eleven super stars made it to the top of the heap with a ton of talent and drive. Let it be a lesson to you, "there are no small parts, only small actors" . Of course, having great looks and a persistent agent doesn't hurt.


11 George Clooney: Return of the Killer Tomatoes

Yes, this is a young George Clooney playing in the sand with one of the blonde bombshells in the Tomatoes sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes. The story is a hoot and is about a professor who figures out a way to make tomatoes look human... and scary. Adams Family television actor, John Astin was a big part of the Killer Tomatoes hit cult movies. Clooney did not make it to the following sequel, and instead went on to work in the television industry in several series.

10 Sarah Jessica Parker: Footloose


This 1984 hit starring Kevin Bacon was a musical drama about a boy who moves to a small town that has banned music and dancing. This was a perfect fit for Sarah, who grew up wanting and training to be a ballerina. Well, instead she wound up being one of our favorite, iconic Sex and the City stars, for which we are happy. However, her role in Footloose didn't miss a beat. She still has a deep love for the ballet and dance.

9 Julia Roberts: Mystic Pizza

Julia Roberts stands coyly with her "Slice of Heaven" t-shirt along with co-stars, Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish in this 1988 coming of age movie directed by Donald Petrie. Julia's role was typically Julia - pretty woman in a pizza shop with a different profession. We loved her then and we love her just as much in her more mature roles, such as Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride.

8 Nicole Kidman: BMX Bandits 


Nicole Kidman's role in this Australian kids adventure story was her first. Hard to see her pretty face with all that wild hair. This is an entirely different Nicole than she is today. For years we have seen her as a refined, fashionista who demonstrates a wide range in the parts she plays. This really was definitely a different look compared to her current sleek and more elegant look. This 1983 movie was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starred David Argue and John Ley alongside Nicole.

7 Tom Hanks: Mazes and Monsters

Blockbuster star, Tom Hanks, was 26 when he played Robbie Wheeling in this 1982 film adaptation directed by Steven Hilliard Stern. This was an interesting adventure movie about a group of college students who decided to move the playing board of their favorite game, Mazes and Monsters, into a cave. The premise was a new and interesting way to connect gamers with reality. The movie was a success and Mr. Hanks was excellent; as always.

6 Steve Carell: Curly Sue


This was actor, Steve Carell's first movie ever. He had a small part, but he made the most of the situation. Carell's role as the silent, snobby waiter was just distinct enough to get him future gigs. It seems this actor doesn't age, he looks much the same today as he did when playing in the 1991 movie. Curly Sue became one of Jim Belushi's better movies; although critics would not agree. Belushi, Alisan Porter (Curly Sue) and Kelly Lynch made an adorable trio. Carrell's career continued to move forward at a consistent rate and now his roles bring in the revenue.

5 Bradley Cooper: Wet Hot American Summer

The star-studded cast included comedian Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. Bradley Cooper was also an integral part of this movie about the last days of summer at Camp Firewood when everyone is trying to tie up loose ends before leaving. This movie premiered in 2001 and although it did not move mountains in terms of box office success, it continues to do well in rentals - partly due to Bradley's increased fan base.


4 Brad Pitt: Thelma and Louise


Anyone who saw Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise knew he was going places. That adorable smile won the heart of Gina Davis in the movie and the hearts of viewers everywhere. Brad's career really hasn't stalled since this movie popped him onto the radar of the big screen moguls. You must admit, he had that extra on-screen something-something the minute he was seen and is loved by fans everywhere. Brad, Angelina and their children set new standards for living a family life. Even though they are always in the public eye, they manage beautifully.

3 Meg Ryan: Top Gun

Meg Ryan was America's sweetheart for decades and it all started with Top Gun. Her role was quite complex for being a small support role and she handled it beautifully. Her face has always had the ability to convey every emotion; from silly to devastated. She generally lights up the screen with her levity and impeccable comedic timing. Top Gun definitely earned her the right to move upward into superstar status and she made the best of it. These days, Ms. Ryan lives in New York and out of the public eye.

2 Sandra Bullock: Love Potion #9


Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan starred in this 1992 film about a love potion invented by a super geek biochemist (Donovan). Once this potion is imbibed, it makes the person irresistible by the opposite sex and all they have to do is talk and everyone around becomes infatuated. Well Bullock's transformation from the toothy geek to beautiful woman is fun to watch and, as always, she creates a transformation that is irresistible. In recent years, Sandra has become the Girl Next Door favorite and always looks a decade or two younger than her years.

1 Jane Fonda: Barbarella

We couldn't resist adding this old photo that Jane Fonda is probably still trying to live down. In her early years, she was the sex kitten with the sultry and soft voice. She was rebellious and outspoken and a woman's woman. Barbarella made it to cult status immediately even though the movie was not great. Seeing Fonda in the ultimate futuristic fashion is worth watching the French-Italian sci-fi so you can be in on the fun. The 1968 film was based on the comic series and Jane fit the bill with her hourglass figure. Men still can't wait to watch this one - again and again. Fonda is still a gorgeous woman and a talented actress.


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