The Top 25 Judd Apatow Movies, Ranked

Judd Apatow has an extensive body of work in which he’s served as a writer, director, and producer of a large number of films. These pieces have encompassed a little bit of everything. Although Apatow’s primary choice is comedy, he’s also dipped his toe into documentaries and other genres. These are his movies, ranked from worst to best.

25. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

In 2016, Judd Apatow released a movie called Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping that featured several Saturday Night Live alumni, including the star and co-producer Andy Samberg.

25. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

The movie focuses on Samberg as the star of a boy band turned solo artist and took on the form of a mockumentary – a style Apatow loves. It even included cameos from major artists like Snoop Dogg, Paul McCartney, and Martin Sheen. The movie was clever but ultimately didn’t make a huge splash with audiences after its release.

24. Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Since Apatow was once Adam Sandler’s roommate, there’s no surprise he’s been in a number of his movies. One such movie was Don’t Mess with the Zohan, released in 2008.

24. Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Apatow co-wrote this film with Robert Smigel and focused on a bizarre plotline about Zohan Dvir, played by Sandler, a commando from Israel who moves to New York City with the dream of becoming a stylist. The movie relies on dark humor and, while entertaining, doesn’t come up at first when discussing Sandler’s (or Apatow’s) work.

23. Celtic Pride

Celtic Pride came out in 1996 and adds to Apatow’s credits as an executive producer. While the movie didn’t perform well, it does have the excuse of being rather early on in Apatow’s body of work.

23. Celtic Pride

The movie focuses on characters who are fans of the Boston Celtics. The plot of the movie followes two fans, played by Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern, who try to kidnap a player off the opposing team through a big game. While it had potential, it left many disappointed.

22. Funny People

Judd Apatow had his hand in all parts of making the 2009 film Funny People. He served as the writer, director, and producer for this film.

22. Funny People

The stars of the film include two heavy hitters: Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen’s character, an up-and-coming comedian named Ira, garners favor with audiences while Sandler’s character, George Simmons, is less sympathetic and likable. It did suffer slightly for its long run time: it lasts more than two hours!

21. The King of Staten Island

As one of Apatow’s most recent movies, The King of Staten Island brought him together with fresher talent in the form of Pete Davidson.

21. The King of Staten Island

While Davidson can be controversial, the film was generally well-received. It was a comedic and semi-biographical take on Davidson’s life as the son of a firefighter who dedicated his life to the job. The movie has an underlying thread of drama but is topped off by the comedy that Apatow and Davidson are both known for.

20. The Cable Guy

There are few people that wouldn’t recognize the title The Cable Guy. This 1996 movie was produced by Apatow and stars none other than famous actor and comedian Jim Carrey.

20. The Cable Guy

The movie was actually meant to be much different than it ended up being. For one, Apatow originally wanted Ben Stiller in the film but we ended up with Jim Carrey instead. Carrey even got to show off a new side as the once lighthearted film shifted towards a darker comedy.

19. Drillbit Taylor

Today, most audiences probably won’t think of Drillbit Taylor off the top of their heads. After all, the film was funny enough with a solid cast but didn’t quite stick out the way some of Apatow’s other films did.

19. Drillbit Taylor

The star of the film was Owen Wilson who played a bodyguard. The catch was that this bodyguard didn’t work for a movie star or highly recognizable official but rather for a group of school-aged children trying to keep bullies off their back.

18. The TV Set

The TV Set is a film that Apatow served as executive producer on but he didn’t write personally. Instead, that honor goes to Jake Kasdan who has also produced successful films of his own.

18. The TV Set

The story of the film follows a film group working to make an idea for a television pilot to come to fruition. It stars David Duchovny who is most widely recognized for his role on The X-Files. Kasdan insists that this isn’t a satirical piece but simply a movie about creating a TV pilot.

17. Get Him to the Greek

Another movie that Apatow served as producer for is Get Him to the Greek and it even has two heavy hitters on the bill: Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.

17. Get Him to the Greek

In this 2010 movie, Russell Brand actually reprises his role as Aldous Snow from another Apatow film that most people recognize: Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Jonah Hill plays Aaron, the supporting role in the film to Brand but makes the film memorable with his unique brand of comedy.

16. May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

Stepping away from strict comedies, Apatow took a chance on a documentary in 2017 with May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers.

16. May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

The documentary, as the name suggests, follows the story of the Avett Brothers, a band from South Carolina, as they created their album named “True Sadness.” While it lacks the comedy that Apatow usually brings to the table, its engaging and leaves fans hoping he delves further into the genre in the future.

15. This Is 40

Premiering in 2012, Judd Apatow wrote, directed, and produced This Is 40. It featured familiar stars from Knocked Up including Paul Rudd, playing Pete, and Leslie Mann, playing Debbie.

15. This Is 40

The movie focuses on a couple who are also the parents of a couple of children. The story follows them as they handle the challenges that life threw at them in the form of marriage, family, and, of course, turning 40. All in all, it wasn’t Apatow’s worst effort but it didn’t leave audiences amazed either.

14. Kicking & Screaming

Kicking & Screaming was a film that Apatow served as executive producer on in 2005. It had a star-studded cast too including the pairing of Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall.

14. Kicking & Screaming

This movie, overall, received a mixed bag of reviews from critics but it was generally considered an entertaining movie by audiences. It features Duvall and Ferrell as father and son with an interesting plot featuring a youth soccer team. It does a good job at one of Apatow’s favorite things: mixing comedy with a meaningful message.

13. Step Brothers

In 2008, Apatow worked as a producer on a film with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to make a movie that would become a pretty well-known name among comedy movie fans: Step Brothers.

13. Step Brothers

The plot takes a familiar general concept – a pair of newfound stepsiblings trying to live together – and turned it on its head. Rather than making these siblings school-aged, Ferrell and Reilly play two adults in the situation with antics similar to those that you’d expect from a younger group.

12. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Another movie featuring John C. Reilly as the star, Apatow both wrote and produced Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story back in 2007 under the direction of a familiar face.

12. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

This movie was helped along by a few things. First, Reilly was almost perfectly cast for not only his acting talent but for his ability to both play the guitar and sing. Plus, Kasdan returned to direct this Apatow flick and did his due diligence by preparing by watching plenty of music biopics.

11. Heavyweights

Heavyweights is a movie that has grown on some audiences while others still find it a tad vulgar and rude for them. Either way, this 1995 both written and produced by Apatow has made quite a name for itself.

11. Heavyweights

While it didn’t perform well when it first released, this film has gained popularity over the years. The core of the message pokes more than a little fun at the self-help gurus that sell books, seminars, and more and Apatow introduces a message to be more genuine.

10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

We mentioned Forgetting Sarah Marshall earlier but it deserves a section all its own. Apatow produced it in 2008 and it’s a movie most people can recognize by name alone.

10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

As mentioned earlier, this movie introduces a character seen in later films, Aldous Snow played by Russell Brand. The movie focuses on Peter, though, played by Jason Segel who also wrote the movie. While on vacation, he has to face the challenges of seeing his ex-girlfriend there in a new relationship.

9. Pineapple Express

In 2008, Apatow produced Pineapple Express but before that, he helped writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg develop the story of the film as well.

9. Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express showcases exactly what Seth Rogen fans expect from this comedian. Even better, his character plays across from James Franco to make for an exceptionally entertaining film. Not only is it lauded for its production quality but makes for some recognizable characters as well. It even features another comedic actor in the mix: Danny McBride.

8. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Once again, Apatow paired up John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell for a fan-favorite film. Apatow produced Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby in 2006 and it’s been a comedic classic ever since.

8. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

This movie is remembered for being pretty funny with plenty of laughs to go around, even if the substance of the plot was lacking from time to time. Overall, whether you’re a fan of Apatow, Reilly, or Ferrell, this is a must-add to any list for movie night.

7. The Big Sick

Apatow would have never produced The Big Sick if he hadn’t been won over by Kumail Nanjiani who wrote the script with his wife, Emily Gordon, loosely based on how they met one another.

7. The Big Sick

While Kumail Nanjiani played his own role in the movie, Gordon wasn’t as interested and the role went to Zoe Kazan. Even though they weren’t the true-story couple, the two showed wonderful on-screen chemistry. The movie was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2017.

6. Superbad

Even though Apatow produced and released Superbad in 2007, the story behind the movie stretches back much further than that. In fact, it started when the writers weren’t even adults yet!

6. Superbad

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg began writing this story while they were still growing up as teenagers in Canada. By the time the idea came to the production stage, the two main roles that were semi-based on the writers’ lives were delegated to Michael Cera and Jonah Hill in this coming-of-age comedy.

5. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

There are few people who can’t quote or haven’t seen Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Apatow was the producer behind this film that released in 2004.

5. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

The comedy follows, as the title suggests, a news anchor named Ron Burgundy who is played by Ron Burgundy. However, the movie also includes a few of Apatow’s favorite cast members such as Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen as well. Plus, it features iconic scenes like the news teams fighting.

4. Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids is one of the most iconic movies in the last decade. Released in 2011, Apatow was the mind that served as the producer who brought this project to life alongside Paul Feig.

4. Bridesmaids

The cast of this movie was filled with comedic talent too including Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Kristin Wiig, and more. Wiig even helped to co-write it as well as starred in the film. The film follows an absolutely chaotic series of events in which Annie (Wiig) has to serve as one of her friend’s bridesmaids.

3. Trainwreck

Apatow both directed and produced the 2015 movie Trainwreck which starred Amy Schumer in the lead role. Schumer also wrote the movie and it served as her breakout film performance.

3. Trainwreck

The story of the film follows the main character, sharing the name Amy with the comedian, as she starts to fall for a doctor named Aaron Conners, played by Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader. While the film has an underlying tone that’s serious, Apatow and Schumer don’t stray away from their humorous tone.

2. Knocked Up

Knocked Up was released in 2007 and Apatow made his signature move in wearing all hats of the creation of the movie. He served as the writer, producer, and director of the film.

2. Knocked Up

The movie starred Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen. Rogen’s character, Ben, also has an extended group of friends in the movie including actors such as Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, and Jonah Hill. The movie was well-received but viewers weren’t always a fan of Heigl.

1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Knocked Up was released in 2007 and Apatow made his signature move in wearing all hats of the creation of the movie. He served as the writer, producer, and director of the film.

1. The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The movie starred Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen. Rogen’s character, Ben, also has an extended group of friends in the movie including actors such as Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, and Jonah Hill. The movie was well-received but viewers weren’t always a fan of Heigl.