Julia Roberts’ 8 greatest film roles

As she takes a starring role in psychological thriller Homecoming, cast your mind back over the Oscar-winning actress's best roles from the last 30 years.

She’s one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood, and now Amazon Prime Video viewers will get to see her in a major new TV series.

Julia Roberts is starring in psychological thriller Homecoming as a caseworker at a secret government facility helping soldiers to return to civilian life.

[Read more: Everything you need to know about Homecoming]

As the series begins, remind yourselves of the roles that made Julia an A-lister.

Steel Magnolias (1989)

One of Julia’s earliest roles was in romantic comedy Steel Magnolias, where she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar as diabetic Shelby.

The story centres on a Louisiana beauty parlour which is the hub of her mother’s life, and when Shelby risks her life by going ahead with a pregnancy that could affect her diabetes, her mother’s friends from the parlour rally round to support her.

Steel Magnolias took a heartbreaking turn with Shelby’s eventual death, but gave Julia the chance to show what she was made of as an actress.

Her incredible cast of co-stars included Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis.

[Read more: The must-watch Amazon Prime Originals]

Pretty Woman (1990)

Probably the role that Julia is still best known for today is as prostitute Vivian in Pretty Woman.

It’s difficult to imagine the film being made today, and in fact a host of stars turned down the role ahead of her - Michelle Pfeiffer, Molly Ringwald and Daryl Hannah were among those who didn’t like its tone.

Julia was eventually cast opposite Richard Gere, who played the successful businessman Edward, who hired a prostitute and ended up falling in love with her.

Critics at the time didn’t seem to have any problems with the questionable plot as Julia was nominated for a best actress Oscar and won a Golden Globe in the same category.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

The actress hit her rom-com stride with My Best Friend’s Wedding, a star-studded, feel-good movie about a woman devastated that her close male friend was planning to marry another woman.

Dermot Mulroney played her unrequited love and Cameron Diaz his bride, while Rupert Everett stole the show as her friend and confidant George, who poses as her fiance as part of her plan to scupper the wedding.

It was a classic rom-com premise, but a huge box office hit with memorable moments including Cameron’s dreadful karaoke turn and a group sing-a-long to Dionne Warwick, and also earned Julia another Golden Globe nomination.

[Read more: What to watch now on Amazon Prime Video]

Notting Hill (1999)

Julia bolstered her rom-com credentials with another huge success on the other side of the Atlantic in Richard Curtis favourite Notting Hill.

It took over from the screenwriter’s Four Weddings and a Funeral as his biggest success, and even beat My Best Friend’s Wedding to a US opening weekend box office record.

Julia played film star Anna Scott, who had an unlikely romance with a bookshop owner played by Curtis’ favourite leading man, Hugh Grant.

The London-set film also included star turns from Rhys Ifans, James Dreyfus, Emma Chambers, Gina McKee, and Hugh Bonneville.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

If Julia feared being pigeon-holed as a rom-com lead, she put paid to any worries with Erin Brockovich.

Recognised as one of her stand-out roles, Erin Brokovich saw her play the real-life title character who led a legal case against California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company on behalf of residents who had developed cancer due to the chromium in their groundwater.

The role changed the way that cinemagoers saw Julia, and earned her a best actress Oscar.

[Read more: All you need to know about The Man in the High Castle season 3]

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

One of the most successful film franchises of the 00s began with the remake of 1960 Rat Pack heist film Ocean's 11.

In both Ocean's Eleven and its 2004 sequel, Ocean's Twelve, Julia played Tess Ocean, the ex-wife of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) who headed up a team of criminals planning to rob a casino.

Her impressive list of co-stars also included Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Andy Garcia. 

Julia did not return for the 2018 all-female franchise instalment, Ocean’s Eight.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

Memoir Eat, Pray, Love was a bestselling novel that made the perfect film script, and Julia was the woman to retell Elizabeth Gilbert’s story of how she changed her life.

She began by leaving a marriage she wasn’t happy in in order to travel the world and discover more about herself.

The film saw Julia take her character to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of inner peace, and although it was panned by critics for being shallow and predictable, it was one of her biggest box-office smashes.

August: Osage County (2013)

It may not be as well known as Pretty Woman or Notting Hill, but one of Julia’s finest roles was in the film adaptation of the play August: Osage County.

The plot sees a dysfunctional family gather at their parents’ home where their mother is suffering from cancer and their father has disappeared.

Some of the film’s best scenes focus on the family’s bitter rows around the dinner table, and feature a stellar ensemble cast including Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis and Dermot Mulroney.

It garnered best actress and best supporting actress nominations at the Oscars and Golden Globes for both Meryl and Julia.

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