Vin Diesel is an American actor well known for his role as Dominic Toretto in the ever-popular Fast & Furious franchise. One of the top-grossing actors of all time, Diesel is praised for his acting, directing, and being an action movie actor who does his own stunts. While his Fast & Furious films are what Diesel is best known for, there are plenty of other films that showcase his skill as an actor and stuntman.
Diesel was an unknown when he hit the silver screen in Saving Private Ryan, but his short performance in this Academy Award-winning film brought a great deal of attention to the actor, earning him role after role. These are the best Vin Diesel movies that aren’t a part of the Fast & Furious franchise.
9 Saving Private Ryan
The amazing story of Captain Miller leading his men into danger behind enemy lines to find the last remaining Ryan and return him home to his mother, Saving Private Ryan took home the Academy Award for Best Director thanks to Steven Spielberg. Vin Diesel plays the role of Private First Class Adrian Caparzo, a member of Miller’s team. His appearance is small and short-lived, often referred to as a cameo, when Caparzo saves a little girl before getting taken out by a Nazi sniper. Nonetheless, Diesel’s appearance in the film did well for his career, gaining him the role of The Iron Giant and changing his status from a nobody into an A-list celebrity. Spielberg explained that this role was written specifically for Diesel to showcase his skill as an actor.
8 Pitch Black
Pitch Black follows the journey of a crew who crash-lands on a mysterious planet. As the crew members discover more about the planet and the creatures that inhabit it, their fight for survival becomes dependent on Richard B. Riddick, a criminal being transported aboard the ship. Pitch Black is Diesel’s introduction as the character Riddick, who is far more than just a criminal. Diesel shines in this role, as a back-talking physically tough criminal / anti-hero, capable of more than anyone could imagine. The best-known scene in the film is when Diesel shows off his stunt skills and dislocates his shoulders to get free of his binds, which he actually did.
7 Guardians of the Galaxy
When Peter Quill gets his hands on an orb more powerful than he could ever imagine in Guardians of the Galaxy, he teams up with a group of criminal misfits: Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot. Probably the most lovable character in the MCU, Groot is voiced by Vin Diesel and while he may not say much, apart from “I am Groot”, his character is far from forgettable as he sacrifices his physical body at the end of the film for the greater good of his friends, saying “We are Groot”. Groot’s appearance does not end here as he returns as Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and as Teen Groot in a few of the Avengers films. It’s recently been confirmed that Groot will get his own series on Disney + in 2022.
6 The Iron Giant
When 9-year-old Hogarth discovers the giant robot body on the outskirts of town, Hogarth finds an unlikely friend in the robot. When the government discovers the robot and vows to destroy it, Hogarth is determined to save his iron friend. Vin Diesel voices the robot in The Iron Giant in this heart-warming tale of true friendship. While the film was a box office flop, it gained a cult following with many finding the unlikely friendship endearing and wholesome. Despite its box office performance, The Iron Giant took home a number of accolades for its screenplay and animation.
5 The Chronicles of Riddick
The sequel to Pitch Blackand the second installation in the Riddick franchise, The Chronicles of Riddick follows Riddick after his escape from the planet and his journey looking for “Jack” / Kiera having to evade mercenaries and necromongers along the way. The film features a larger, more well-known cast, including Judi Dench and Colm Feore. The Chronicles of Riddick once more showcases Diesel’s skill as a stuntman as he does many of his own impressive stunts throughout the film, including breaking free from chains that hang him from the ceiling.
Based on the Valient comic-book superhero of the same name, Bloodshot follows Marine Ray Garrison who is resurrected by a group of scientists after being murdered with his wife. Using nanotechnology to enhance his strength and healing abilities, Ray is now the superhero Bloodshot. While Ray hones his new abilities, he struggles to regain his memory of his former life and when he does remember, he goes on a revenge-driven killing spree, to get to the man who killed his wife. Little does Ray know that not everyone around him is trustworthy. Diesel has confirmed that he will reprise his role as Bloodshot in the sequel.
3 The Pacifier
While many did not like Diesel appearance as the Navy SEAL turned Nanny Shane Wolfe in this Disney flick, The Pacifier is a departure from Diesel’s usual hardcore action films. Shane Wolfe is tasked with protecting the children of Howard Plummer who he failed to protect from assassination. He aids the children with their everyday struggles, and they grow unusually close to him. While many fans of Diesel’s did not appreciate this film for its lack of action and stunts, the film was popular among its intended audience, and it showed that tough militant men can in fact have a soft spot, especially when it comes to children.
2 A Man Apart
After the murder of his wife, undercover DEA Agent Sean Vetter and his partner must work with a cartel boss to take down Diablo, the new threat to both the law and the Baja Cartel. Playing the role of Agent Sean Vetter, Vin Diesel takes matters into his own hands when his wife is killed instead of him, wavering outside the law. A Man Apart is a one-of-a-kind film, highly underrated as Diesel’s vendetta driven by revenge shows what a man is capable of when he has something taken from him.
xXx or Triple X stars Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, an extreme sports athlete / stuntman known for his death-defying stunts turned reluctant spy for the National Security Agency. xXx follows Cage when he is sent on a dangerous mission to infiltrate a Russian terrorist group in Central Europe. Vin Diesel stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Trejo, and Asia Argento in this spy film. This role is ideal for Diesel as it showcases his abilities as a stuntman and an actor combined, an action film’s dream. The film’s success spawned two sequels which received as much attention as the original film.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is beginning to sound more and more like a somber affair, as Dave Bautista states that ‘all things must end.’
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