George Clooney is Hollywood. He acts, directs, writes, produces and fully embodies what we all imagine when someone says "movie star." So, it should come as no surprise that he's this year's American Film Institute Life Achievement recipient. 

Ahead of receiving this big—and well deserved—honor, we've been thinking about all of the amazing roles that Clooney has played over the years...not including all the projects he's created or produced.

He got his real big break as Dr. Doug Ross on ER, but you might remember that he was also on an episode of The Golden Girls and played Booker Brooks on Roseanne. Although TV is what got him noticed it's really his work in film that has set him apart in Hollywood.

Even though he's only won one Oscar (for acting) he has been nominated numerous times. Roles like Governor Mike Morris in The Ides of March or Danny Ocean in the Ocean's franchise have cemented Clooney as one of the best of the best in the entertainment industry.

He's taken on real-life stories like Good Night, and Good Luck and played all sorts of different characters over the past three decades. The Kentucky native has done comedies and dramas as well and with each role we are more impressed with his body of work.

Since the star-studded gala where Clooney will be honored (by his famous friend and co-star Julia Roberts) won't air on TV until June 21 on TNT (it takes tonight, June 7) we've rounded up the star's best roles for you to look through. After so many years of working in Hollywood it's hard to narrow down which roles really define Clooney, but we've definitely tried.

Check out some of his greatest characters below and vote for your favorite Clooney movie as well. PS: Feel free to re-watch any or all of these wonderful movies (and TV shows) in your spare time...they're all amazing.

Ocean's Eleven, Julia Roberts, George Clooney

Warner Bros.

George Clooney was Danny Ocean, the leader of a band of thieves in Ocean's Eleven (and the two sequels that followed). His character was charming, handsome and had a mind brilliant enough to rob the Bellagio Hotel & Casino.


Hail, Caesar!

Universal Pictures

If you love to laugh and want to see Clooney dressed as Caesar only to get kidnapped while in costume then you should watch Hail, Caesar! ASAP.

George Clooney, O Brother, Where Art Thou, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Buena Vista Pictures

Clooney plays Everett, who has broken away from the chain gang with two other convicts, in this 1930s-based film. Together the three search for hidden treasure and try to stay out of jail.


George Clooney, Bill Murray, A Very Murray Christmas


The actor played himself in the hilarious Christmas TV special starring Bill Murray.



The Kentucky native played former boy-genius inventor Frank Walker in the 2015 film who goes on a mission with a young teen to uncover the secrets of a place that only exists in their memory.

Gravity, George Clooney

Warner Bros.

In Gravity, Clooney (as Matt Kowalski) is the only person tethered to Sandra Bullock's character Ryan Stone as the two are lost in space.

John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, The Monuments Men

Columbia Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox

Clooney wrote, directed and starred in the iconic film about a World War II platoon that is sent to retrieve masterpieces from the Nazis and return them to their rightful owners.


Out Of Sight, George Clooney

Universal Pictures

Clooney starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the 1998 crime drama as bank robber Jack Foley.


In case you forgot, Clooney played Batman AKA Bruce Wayne in the 1997 hero flick and we'll always love him for it.

George Clooney, The Facts of Life, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Facts of Life was the actor's first real TV gig. He played the boarding school's neighbor, George Burnett, in 17 episodes of the hit comedy beginning in 1985.

George Clooney, The American

Giles Keyte/Focus Features

As he waits for his final assignment as an assassin, Clooney's Jack starts to make friends in Italy and fall in love, which could jeopardize his safety. 

Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney

Warner Independent Pictures

Clooney played producer Fred Friendly in the 2005 film which was a biography about bringing down Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

George Clooney, The Ides of March

Sony Pictures

The Ides of March earned Clooney another Oscar nomination for his screenplay, but fans remember him as Governor Mike Morris who is running for president in the film which also starred Ryan Gosling.


George Clooney, Syriana

Warner Bros.

Syriana earned Clooney his first and only Oscar. The film was loosely based on former Central Intelligence Agency agent Robert Baer and his memoirs from the Middle East and Clooney brought a version of him as Bob Barnes to life.

George Clooney, Burn After Reading, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Bobby Bank/WireImage

In the 2008 film, a disk containing secret information gets into the hands of two people at the gym who will try anything to sell it. Clooney plays Harry, a marshal at the State Department who is cheating on his wife.


George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures

Clooney's Ryan Bingham loves traveling and firing people for a living, but his travel lifestyle and frequent flyer miles are threatened when he meets a woman who flies as much as him, and has to deal with a new hire.


The Men Who Stare at Goats, George Clooney, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Overture Films

The actor portrayed Lyn Cassady in this 2009 film, who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army. He tries to convince a reporter in Iraq that his unit employs paranormal powers in their missions.

George Clooney, ER, Returning Stars


ER was the actor' biggest TV role to date and one of his most memorable characters of all time. He played Dr. Doug Ross for five seasons returning only when Julianna Margulies left the show (to tie up her storyline) and again on the series finale.

Ice Cube, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Three Kings, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Warner Bros. Pictures

Archie Gates (Clooney) and three other soldiers set out to steal gold after the Persian Gulf War that was originally stolen from Kuwait. On their journey they discover people who need their help and must rise to the challenge.


George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Friends, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Warner Bros. Television

Clooney was only on one episode of Friends, but fans still remember his cameo. He appeared as a doctor alongside his fellow ER co-star Noah Wyle in a 1995 episode and after treating Rachel (who was pretending to be Monica) they all went out on a date.

The Descendants, George Clooney, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Oscar-winning film follows Matt King (Clooney) as he tries to reconnect with his daughters—one of which is played by Shailene Woodley—after his wife gets into an accident. Meanwhile he's trying to sell his land in Kauai and figure out what's next.

George Clooney, Leatherheads, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Universal Pictures

Set in 1925, Leatherheads focuses on a brash football hero named Dodge Connolly (Clooney) as he tries to get his team from being a group of bar brawlers and losers to a united, winning team.

George Clooney, Roseanne, George Clooney's Greatest Roles


From 1988 to 1991 Clooney played Booker Brooks on Roseanne. He was the supervisor at the plastic factory and a total dreamboat.

George Clooney, Solaris, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

20th Century Fox

Dr. Chris Kelvin (played by Clooney) is set to investigate the crew of a research station orbiting a bizarre planet, but when he arrives part of the team is missing.


The Perfect Storm, George Clooney, George Clooney's Greatest Roles

Warner Brothers Pictures

The 57-year-old actor stars alongside Mark Wahlberg in The Perfect Storm, which is about a sword-fishing boat caught in a killer storm in the North Atlantic.

George Clooney's Best Roles Poll
Which of George Clooney's most iconic roles is your favorite?

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