From Blow to American Crime Story: Penélope Cruz's Most Noteworthy Roles

By Johnni Macke Apr 28, 2019 2:00 PMTags
NOV. 16, 2020
The Assassination of Gianni Versace, American Crime StoryFX

Penélope Cruz has been acting since she was 16 years old and now we really couldn't imagine Hollywood without out her.

The Spanish actress has managed to make the jump from films in her native country of Spain to big blockbusters in the United States with ease and it only took a few years to do it.

Now, Cruz is turning 45 years old and she is one of the most iconic actresses from Spain and of her generation. She's acted alongside Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem and more mega stars and has had numerous leading roles, including her first U.S. film, Woman on Top.

In honor of Cruz's big birthday, we're taking a look back at her most memorable roles in both film and television. Some of her movies you'd never forget like Blow and Vanilla Sky, but others flew under the radar and are equally as intriguing. 

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Plus, the brunette beauty has been a part of massive franchises including, Pirates of the Caribbean, where she reunited with Depp, and her big TV hit, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, in which she played Donatella Versace and wowed fans.

Her most recent role in Everybody Knows proved once again how much chemistry she has with Bardem and that she has some serious range when it comes to her acting choices. She's done rom-coms, dramas, thrillers and crime stories as well as biographical takes on big events and comedies.

Basically, Cruz can do it all and we should bow down to her for all that she's accomplished.

Happy birthday, Penélope! You go, girl. 

Woman on Top

Beginning in the '90s, Penélope Cruz starred in a ton of foreign films and by 2000, she made her big splash in the United States with Woman on Top. In the film she plays Isabella Oliveira, a Brazilian chef who moves to San Francisco after her husband cheats on her and ends up becoming a big cooking show star.

Blow

Blow is the true story of how American George Jung (Johnny Depp) and the Medellin Cartel, headed up by Pablo Escobar, created the American cocaine market back in the 1970s. In the film, Cruz portrays George's wife, Mirtha Jung. 

Vanilla Sky

After falling in love with Sofia (Cruz), David (Tom Cruise) finds his life turned upside down when a scorned lover (Cameron Diaz) decides to drive her car off the road with him inside it leaving her dead and him with a manslaughter charge to try and fight. As he tells the story of his life, his successful business and his budding romance he tries to decipher what is real and what is fake. 

Sahara

Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and his team, which consists of Eva (Cruz) and Al (Steve Zahn), go on the adventure of a lifetime searching for a lost Civil War battleship called the "Ship of Death." As they explore the deserts of west Africa they uncover way more than they bargained for. 

Volver

Cruz plays Raimunda, one of two sisters who return to their home town to visit their mother's grave only to find that their mother has returned to fix all of the things she left unresolved in life.

Nine

As famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) tries to find the next idea for his movie, he realizes that his personal and professional lives are intertwined. He must balance his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Cruz), his muse, his agent, his mother and many more in order to remain on top.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

In 2011, Cruz reunited with Depp to play a pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Cruz's Angelica is Captain Jack Sparrow's (Depp) former love and the daughter of Blackbeard (Ian McShane). While she still loves Jack, she and her father along with Jack and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) are all on the same hunt for the fountain of youth and there can only be one pirate victor!

To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love tells many different stories of visitors and residents in Rome as they find love, adventure and get into trouble. Cruz plays Anna, a prostitute, and her storyline is hilarious. 

The Counsellor

A lawyer, who goes by the name of Counselor (Michael Fassbender), finds himself in serious trouble when he gets involved in drug trafficking and things go awry leaving both him and his fiancée Laura (Cruz) at risk.

Zoolander 2

After retiring from the world of male modeling, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are brought together again when retired swimsuit model Valentina (Cruz) employs them to help solve a string of pop star murders. The two friends and models head to Rome to take over the fashion world and save the day...with style.

Queen of Spain

In the 1950s, Macarena Granada (Cruz) returns to Spain to film a massive blockbuster about Queen Isabella I of Castile, but the shoot doesn't go off without a hitch. Even though she is now a big Hollywood star, she has to deal with a European dictatorship to get the film made as she reunites with her old friends and troop actors. 

Loving Pablo

Based on true events, Loving Pablo shows the rise and fall of the most feared drug lord in the world, Pablo Escobar (Javier Bardem), in the '80s, including his love affair with Colombia's famous journalist Virginia Vallejo (Cruz), who was with him during the reign of terror that tore Colombia apart.

Murder on the Orient Express

Based on the Agatha Christie novel by the same name, this film tells the story of thirteen strangers, one of which is Cruz's Pilar Estravados, who end up stranded on the train following the murder of one of the passengers. A detective on board races against time to uncover which of the passengers is a murderer.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

The 45-year-old actress played Donatella Versace on the FX series that showed the moments in Andrew Cunanan's (Darren Criss) life, beginning with childhood, leading up to the 1997 murder spree that left five dead, including fashion icon Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramírez).

Everybody Knows

In 2019, Cruz reunited on screen with Bardem in a crime drama not to be missed. When Laura (Cruz) returns to her hometown outside of Madrid for her sister's wedding, she must turn to her former love Paco (Bardem) when her daughter is taken and she doesn't know who to trust.

Poll

Penélope Cruz's Best Roles

Which of Penélope Cruz's roles over the years has been your favorite?
Woman on Top
3.6%
Blow
17.9%
Vanilla Sky
8.9%
Sahara
7.1%
Volver
21.4%
Nine
0.9%
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
11.6%
To Rome With Love
2.7%
The Counsellor
0%
Zoolander 2
0.9%
The Queen of Spain
0%
Loving Pablo
0.9%
Murder on the Orient Express
0%
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
21.4%
Everybody Knows
2.7%