Rosario Dawson’s 10 Best Performances, Ranked

Rosario Dawson has worked her way into many popular movies and TV shows over the years. From musical roles to voiceovers to action films, Dawson’s filmography includes big-name productions and even reoccurring roles in the DC Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, Dawson voices Wonder Woman in the DC Universe animated movies and has starred in a few Marvel Studios TV shows where she plays Claire Temple.

Dawson’s first role was in the 1995 film, Kidswhere she was, according to New York Times, literally picked off the street and asked to star in the film. From there, she went on to star in the women-led comedy musical film Josie and the Pussycats. 2005 gave us the modern black and white film Sin city and the film version of the hit Broadway musical, Rent. Throughout the years, Dawson has proven that she has what it takes despite the genre style of the film or TV show.

Where some stars have lost their luster after so many years in the spotlight, Dawson seems to be growing more popular. Her most recent roles include Hulu’s Dopesick, a reoccurring role on Jane the Virginand her portrayal of Ashoka whom you might remember from an arc on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. In addition to returning to her Star Wars character in her own Disney + series, AhsokaDawson will also appear in Guillermo del Toro’s 2023 upcoming film, Haunted Mansion. Let’s look back on some of Rosario Dawson’s best performances, ranked.

Related: Ahsoka: Cast, Plot, and Everything Else We Know

10 Unstoppable

20th Century Studios

An unmanned freight train carrying toxic chemicals is accidentally on the loose. A new conductor and a veteran train engineer decide to chase it down before the train derails. Meanwhile, the operation department is at odds on how to best stop the train.

While Dawson’s role in Unstoppable is more of a supporting role, her character, Connie, is one of the operation people who work with Frank and Will to try and safely stop the train. Connie is badass and refuses to listen to the “big man” as she knows her plan is safer. She is able to think on her feet and even though she is not on the train herself, she still played a part in the rescue.

9 Rent

Columbia Pictures

Rent is a musical surrounding the lives of a group of friends. It covers deep topics of AIDS, love, life, and death taking place in the East Village of New York City. The rock opera is a sad story, but ultimately a love story filled with all the different versions of love.

Dawson shows her musical background with her role as the exotic dancer Mimi Marquez. The film is based on the Tony Award-winning musical by Jonathan Larson, Rent. Dawson’s portrayal of Mimi was the perfect blend of the character’s sexual nature and need to be loved. Each time she is on-screen, it’s hard to tear yourself away from her performance. She helps turn a sad-topic musical into a captivating love story.

8 Death Proof

Troublemaker Studios

Stuntman Mike McKay uses his car for evil, stalking, and running down women. Fourteen months after escaping the charges, he ditches his car for a new, death-proof one and picks up where he started. This time, he has his eyes set on a set of women who can fight back. Who will win in this deadly game of cat and mouse?

Dawson’s character Abernathy appeared in this Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez film and the double feature titled Grindhousewhich includes the films Planet Terror and Death Proof in one three-plus hour-long movie. Between the cast and the group of badass women, Dawson’s character stands out amongst the stars. Heavy on violence and action, this film shows Dawson’s wild side.

7 Clerks II

rosario-dawson-clerks-ii (1)
Paramount Pictures

Dante and Randal find their shop on fire forcing them to have to find a new job. The best friends settle on a fast-food chain. A year into their new job, Dante declares he wants to leave the minimum wage job and move with his clingy fiancée. Randal, however, has other plans.

From the hilarious mind of Kevin Smith comes Clerks IIthe sequel to the 1994 hit film Clerks. 10 years later, director and writer Kevin Smith released the highly anticipated followup, this time bringing some new faces to the scene, including Dawson’s character of Becky. Becky is the manager of the fast-food restaurant that Dante and Randal end up working at. Viewers loved the addition of Dawson to the film, saying she helped brighten it up.

6 The Lego Batman Movie

Warner Bros.

The LEGO Bruce Wayne must save Gotham City again as the usual suspects threaten. To make things harder, he accidentally adopts a teenage orphan he attempts to become his sidekick. In the comedic animation film The Lego Batman Movie, Dawson plays Batgirl and the new Commissioner Barbara Gordon. This film is one that is perfect for all ages. From the star-studded cast to the LEGO animation action, this film does not disappoint.

5 Seven Pounds

Columbia Pictures

Ben Thomas changes the lives of seven people he does not know. This journey of redemption is only halted by the unexpected love he finds for a woman named Emily. Instead of changing the lives of the seven strangers, it’s his life that is changed the most.

In Seven Pounds, Dawson plays a woman named Emily who is in need of a new heart, but due to her rare blood type, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Her character is pivotal in Ben’s arc. After the many action roles, it was a nice change of pace to see Dawson in an emotional film.

Related: Star Wars: Ahsoka’s Best Clone Wars and Rebels Episodes to Watch

4 The Mandalorian

Lucasfilm / Disney

The Mandalorian follows the story of a lone bounty hunter and “The Child” in the Star Wars galaxy. Dawson’s character Ahsoka appears in Season 2 in “Chapter 13: The Jedi” episode. In this episode, the Mandalorian travels to Ahsoka’s planet to find that she is fighting the city’s magistrate. He is asked to kill her, but he personally also wants to find out more about The Child’s past.

This episode is important to understand more about the past of the child companion for The Mandalorian. According to IMDB, this episode is highly rated coming in at 9.4 / 10 as of April 2022. Dawson’s character can also be seen again in episode 6 of The Book of Boba Fett.

3 Sin city

rosario-dawson-sin-city (1)
Troublemaker Studios

Adapted from Frank Miller’s popular comics, Sin city follows the dark and miserable Basin City and its residents. With corrupt law enforcement at a high, a pedophile on the loose, and a hitman looking for cash, the film follows three residents caught up in the corruption.

With a jam-packed cast, completely black and white cinematography, and plenty of violence, Sin city is a one-of-a-kind movie. Dawson plays the character of Gail who is one of the Girls of Old Town who took over after Goldie’s death. She is the lover of Dwight McCarthy who is the protagonist of the film.

2 Marvel Universe TV Series

Marvel Television

Dawson’s character of Claire Temple can be seen in a handful of Marvel Universe TV shows including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and Luke Cage. Claire is a night nurse who first helped take care of Matt Murdock from Daredevil. After the battle against the Hand, she left the hospital and moved back to Harlem where she reunited with Luke Cage and help nurse him back to health as well. This theme continues with the heroes of these MCU shows. Their joint show, The Defenders featured Dawson’s character in every episode.

1 Dopesick


Dopesick takes a deeper look into America’s opioid addiction. The miniseries looks at the addiction from the point of view of a boardroom of a Pharma company, a distressed community, and the hallways of the DEA.

Dawson stars in Hulu’s 2021 drama as Becky, the DEA member. While her character is fictionalized, the series is based on true events and adapted from the non-fiction novel by Beth Macy. The eight-episode miniseries is a docu-drama that is compelling and eye-opening. For Dawson, she felt the series accurately depicted the crisis in America still continuing today.

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