Kevin Bacon’s 8 Best Performances, Ranked

Kevin Bacon is a critically acclaimed film and television actor with a diverse career spanning multiple genres. He first made his film debut in the 1978 comedy / romance National Lampoon’s Animal House directed by John Landis. While the film received major acclaim, Bacon did not blow up after his portrayal of Chip Diller and went back to auditioning for small roles in the theater after the release of the movie. It was not until 1984 when Bacon starred as Ren McCormack in the iconic dance / musical Footloose that he became the household name he is today. The actor’s film career flourished during the eighties, and he continued to star in a handful of great films such as A Few Good Men, Mystic Riverand Apollo 13 in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2013, Bacon became a full-on television star due to the success of his drama / murder series The Following. The show ran for three seasons and followed Bacon’s character Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent, who gets dragged back into a case after notorious serial killer Joe Carroll singles out Hardy and terrorizes him into playing his game. There are so many memorable roles Kevin Bacon has played throughout his career – here are the best ones, ranked.

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8 Friday the 13th

Paramount Pictures

Everybody has heard of Jason and the brutal killer tormenting those on Crystal Lake in the cult-classic 1980s horror film Friday the 13th. Kevin Bacon stars as Jack, one of the arrogant and young newcomers to the camp and gained major recognition from the role. Even though he is an essential aspect of the story, he does not make it to the end as he inevitably meets his fate with the slasher. Still to this day, over 40 years after the film was released, people continue to watch Friday the 13th and the many sequels and spinoffs starring Jason.

7 Patriots Day


Patriots Day is one of Kevin Bacon’s more recent films. This thriller / crime was directed by Peter Berg and released in 2017 received great reviews and major critical acclaim. Patriots Day has an 81% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed over $ 52 million worldwide. With such a huge cast including Mark Wahlberg, Alex Wolff, Michelle Monaghan, Melissa Benoist, JK Simmons, and Jimmy O.Yang, and the fact that the film is based on the bombing at the Boston Marathonthe movie gained lots of attention.

6 A Few Good Men

Columbia Pictures

The iconic Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Aaron Sorkin, and Kevin Bacon star in director Rob Reiner’s legal / trial drama A Few Good Men. The film follows a conspiracy involving two US Marines who are accused of killing a fellow Marine at the Guantánamo Bay Naval base in Cuba. The Marines lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee is persuaded into believing that it is possible the Marines were carrying out an order from their commanding officer Col. Nathan R. Jessep played by Jack Nicholson.

Paramount Pictures

Arguably Kevin Bacon’s most iconic role of all time is that of Ren McCormack in the classic 1984 dance / musical Footloose. This dance film is centered around Ren, the new kid who moved from Chicago to the Midwest and finds himself in a small town where dancing is illegal. Ren does his best to evolve and blend with his new environment, but can not help but break the rules and shake up the town. This movie is filled with feel-good and lighthearted dance scenes as well as catchy music that is still listened to today. In 2011, a Footloose remake was released starring the talented Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormland, which brought this beloved story to a whole new generation.

4 Apollo 13

Universal Pictures

Apollo 13 was released in 1995 and is one of the most critically acclaimed works Bacon has been a part of. Directed by the great filmmaker Ron Howard, this drama / history based on true events received 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1996, including Best Picture. Ultimately, the film took home the Oscar for both Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. In addition to this being some of Kevin Bacon’s best work, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Ed Harris all give incredible performances.

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3 Mystic River

Warner Bros.

This crime / thriller is a story of murder, betrayal, and trauma that will have you hooked from beginning to end. The cast is incredible, from Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, who both won Academy Awards for their roles in the film, to Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, and Emmy Rossum. Clint Eastwood as the director is a huge reason why Mystic River is so successful. His direction is so incredible and passionate, all of his best films have the ability to make you feel as though you are living through the events on screen with the characters. In addition to Mystic River’s two Oscar wins for acting, it was also nominated for four other Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

2 The Following


Kevin Bacon stars as FBI agent Ryan Hardy in the crime / drama television series The Following, which ran for three seasons from 2013-2015. The show centers around Hardy a retired FBI agent who is sucked back into his old life when a serial killer named Joe Carroll, with a very personal relationship with Ryan Hardy, escapes from prison. He torments Agent Hardy into playing along with his games, threatening him with a promise that if he does not try to catch Carroll, innocent people will continue to die. Bacon gave some of his best performances throughout the series and is the beating heart of The Following.

1 Murder in the First

Warner Bros.

Coming in at number one on the list of the best Kevin Bacon performances is the 1995 drama / thriller, Murder in the First. Bacon gives such an incredible and raw portrayal of Henry Young, a small-time criminal who is caught trying to escape from prison and is punished by being sent to solitary confinement for years, despite the fact that the maximum amount of time allowed to be spent there are 19 days. Henry goes crazy from being left alone in the cold and dark driving him into madness. Kevin Bacon won a Movie’s Choice Critics Award for his role and received a nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. His role even generated Oscar buzz at the time and was one of that season’s snubs.

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