One of the funniest and surprisingly nuanced character actors of the 21st century, Simon Pegg is a comedic force of nature. While he’s best known for his work alongside his lifelong friends Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, Pegg has also been a part of some of the most significant movie franchises in recent memory, including Star Trek, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mission: Impossible, Ice Age, and even Star Wars.

COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

In addition to being a great actor, Pegg has also done valuable work behind the scenes. With a remarkably versatile career, Pegg can improve most movies with just a single dialog. The best Simon Pegg movies showcase his range and provide him with the chance to truly shine in comedy and even drama, while having a significant impact in modern pop culture.

10 ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ (2010)

Director: Michael Apted

Reepicheep smiling in The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Narnia

While the third installment in The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy is generally regarded as its weakest entry, the film does benefit from the addition of some new characters. Pegg joined the vocal cast as the mouse swordsman Reepicheep, who comes to the aid of the comically oafish Pevensive cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter).

While the film ultimately feels like a drag due to the lethargic pacing, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader remains an intriguing entry into the series. The friendship that Reepicheep develops with Eustace helps strengthen both characters, with Pegg delivering a sweet, earnest, and quite compelling performance.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Visiting their annoying cousin, Eustace, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) come across a painting of a majestic ship called the Dawn Treader. Suddenly, the painting comes to life and draws the youths into Narnia, where they meet their old friend, King Caspian (Ben Barnes). Caspian is on a quest to find the seven lost Lords of Telmar, whose swords will save Narnia from an evil green mist that enslaves men’s minds and bodies.

Release Date
December 2, 2010

Director
Michael Apted

Cast
Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Will Poulter, Bill Nighy, Gary Sweet

Rating
PG

Runtime
112 minutes

Watch on Disney+

9 ‘Burke & Hare’ (2010)

Director: John Landis

Simon Pegg as William Burke and Andy Serkis as William Hare in Burke and Hare

Before they starred together in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pegg and Andy Serkis played opposite each other in John Landis’ absurd dark historical comedy Burke and Hare. Based on a shocking true story, the film follows the Ulster immigrants William Burke and William Hare in their attempt to sell corpses to anatomy labs.

Burke and Hare is the type of “true story” that would have been completely unbelievable if presented as fiction. It’s an absurd yet frightfully funny dark comedy that would’ve pushed the boundaries of good taste without the excellent chemistry between Pegg and Serkis. The two play off each other wonderfully with the kind of effortless chemistry audiences don’t often see.

Burke and Hare

Release Date
October 29, 2010

Director
John Landis

Rating
R

Runtime
91

Watch on Tubi

8 ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

tintin

Even if they’re not literally “on screen” together, Pegg and Frost never fail to have delightful chemistry. They added some particularly funny moments as the incompetent “keystone cops” Thompson and Tompson in Steven Spielberg’s exhilarating adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin.

Benefitting from Spielberg’s trademark humanistic approach, The Adventures of Tintinis an old-fashioned and thrilling ride, a callback to the all-time best adventure movies that have long inspired the director. Despite being one of the more viscerally stunning animated films in recent memory, The Adventures of Tintin has yet to inspire a sequel that would surely give Pegg and Frost more material to work with.

The Adventures of Tintin

Release Date
October 24, 2011

Director
Steven Spielberg

Cast
Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell, Cary Elwes, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost

Rating
PG

Runtime
101

Watch on Paramount+

7 ‘Ready Player One’ (2018)

Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow standing on a desolated street in Ready Player One.

Given that Pegg is a huge nerd (in the best way possible), it must have been a real treat for him to team up with Spielberg again for his adaptation of Ready Player One. Ernest Cline’s science fiction novel manages to pack in references to nearly every stone-cold genre movie classic from the 1980s.

While not as engaging on an emotional level as Steven Spielberg’s best movies, Ready Player One gets a boost of heart thanks to Pegg’s brief performance as Oasis’ co-creator Ogden Morrow. This is the definition of a stellar supporting performance; Pegg contributes heavily to the story and makes the most out of his limited screen time, leaving a lasting impression and making this short role far more memorable than many of his other, most significant characters.

Ready Player One

Release Date
March 28, 2018

Director
Steven Spielberg

Cast
Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
140

Rent on Amazon Prime

6 ‘Paul’ (2011)

Seth Rogen and Simon Pegg screaming in Paul
Image via Universal Pictures

In another team-up with his lifelong co-star, Pegg and Frost co-starred in this 2011 comedy about best friends on a road trip to Area 51 who encounter a real alien, Paul, voiced by a wisecracking Seth Rogen. Determined to help the alien get back to his spaceship, the two friends race against time and a slew of unexpected foes.

Paul lacked the strength of Wright’s direction. However, Superbaddirector Greg Mottola finds a great way of adding references to a number of sci-fi classics that Pegg is surely a fan of. Thanks to Rogen’s energetic performance and Pegg and Frost’s certified chemistry, Paul is an endearing comedy and an underrated sci-fi movie that deserves far more love from audiences.

paul

Release Date
February 14, 2011

Director
Greg Mottola

Cast
Mia Stallard, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jeremy Owen, Jeffrey Tambor, David House

Rating
R

Runtime
100

Rent on Amazon Prime

5 The ‘Star Trek’ Trilogy

Directors: J. J. Abrams, Justin Lin

Movie

Year

‘Star Trek’

2009

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

2013

‘Star Trek Beyond’

2016

Simon Pegg as Scotty

Rebooting a franchise as beloved as Star Trek comes with great expectations. However, the creative “Kelvin Timeline” trilogy of the franchise found an interesting way to tie the past by defining itself as an “alternate” version of the events of the original films. It’s a credit to the strength of the cast that performances like Pegg as Montogomery Scott feel like fresh renditions of classic characters.

Pegg is perfect in the role, acting as a comedic relief while still fitting within the franchise’s larger storytelling. He never pulls focus away from the main characters; instead, he complements their performances, becoming a crucial player in an ensemble full of standouts. The Star Trek rebooted trilogy remains highly-regarded by critics and fans; it launched a new era of Star Trek content on streaming, confirming that this franchise will never go out of style.

star-trek-2009-poster

Star Trek

The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

Release Date
May 6, 2009

Director
J.J. Abrams

Cast
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
126

Watch on Paramount+

4 The ‘Mission Impossible’ Franchise (2006 – Present)

Directors: J. J. Abrams, Brad Bird, Christopher McQuarrie

Movie

Year

‘Mission: Impossible III’

2006

‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’

2011

‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’

2015

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’

2018

‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I’

2023

Pegg joined the Mission: Impossible series for a brief cameo in J.J. Abrams’ Mission: Impossible III but was elevated to co-star status in 2011’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. His character, expert hacker Benjamin “Benji” Dunn, returned to play an even more significant role in Christopher McQuarrie’s sequels, becoming a crucial member of Hunt’s team.

Despite the relentlessness of the series’ action sequences, Pegg adds a nice touch of humor as Tom Cruise risks his life. Benji is a much-needed lighter presence in Ethan’s life, providing an interesting contrast with the super agent’s stoic intensity. Pegg and Cruise’s dynamic is incredible, helping keep the Mission: Impossible movies fresh and exciting.

Mission: Impossible III is available to stream on Paramount+.

Watch on Paramount+

3 ‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007)

Director: Edgar Wright

Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel, Nick Frost as Danny Butterman, Jim Broadbent as Frank Butterman, and Olivia Colman as Doris Thatcher in Hot Fuzz
Image via Universal Pictures

The second installment in Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” Hot Fuzz is a tribute to buddy cop classics like Point Break and Bad Boys II. Pegg and Frost once again co-star as two wildly different British police officers forced to team up to unravel a conspiracy in a seemingly perfect neighborhood.

Hot Fuzz certainly puts the “action” in “action comedy.” The final set piece features Pegg performing action stunts that Ethan Hunt would be proud of and showcase his innate ability for physical comedy. Wild and unpredictable, Hot Fuzz is a satirical triumph and further confirmation that the Wright-Pegg-Frost trio is among cinema’s most consistently hilarious.

Hot Fuzz Film Poster

Hot Fuzz

Release Date
February 20, 2007

Director
Edgar Wright

Cast
Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Robert Popper, Joe Cornish, Chris Waitt

Rating
R

Runtime
121 minutes

Rent on Amazon Prime

2 ‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004)

Director: Edgar Wright

Zombies walking toward Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Shaun of the Dead'
Image via Focus Features

Shaun of the Dead is the ideal zombie movie. It is a loving homage to classics like George Romero’s Living Dead series, but it’s also a great way to introduce new fans to the genre if they’ve had no interest. The plot centers on Shaun, a thirty-something slacker who, along with his best friend and flatmate, Ed, must defend his town from a horde of zombies.

On top of the extremely funny splatter moments, Shaun of the Dead works as a great mid-life crisis dramedy, thanks to Pegg’s relatable performance as the titular character. Seamlessly blending humor with existential drama, Shaun of the Dead is an instantly memorable and hilarious comedy about coming-of-age in adulthood. The film has become a certified classic, with many considering it among the all-time best zombie movies. Shaun of the Dead is also closely related to Pegg’s image, to the point it might be the first movie that comes to mind when thinking of the actor.

Shaun of the Dead

Release Date
April 9, 2004

Director
Edgar Wright

Cast
Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Nicola Cunningham

Rating
R

Runtime
99

Watch on Hulu

1 ‘The World’s End’ (2013)

Director: Edgar Wright

Five protagonists of The World's End walking
Image via Focus Features

Pegg has never been more heartbreaking than he is in The World’s End, the last of the now-iconic Cornetto Trilogy. His character, Gary King, is so rooted in his nostalgia that he can’t move forward. The plot revolves around King’s attempt to complete a pub crawl accompanied by his youth friends, only to discover his hometown is being raided by aliens.

The World’s End is arguably Pegg’s darkest film, with Wright, Pegg, and Frost visiting themes of melancholia, regret, and longing. However, it’s also one of the funniest and most exciting entries in Pegg’s filmography, thanks to Wright’s inventive way of tying in a premise similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Thoughtful yet hysterical and endlessly entertaining, The World’s End is a worthy end for the Cornetto Trilogy and Simon Pegg’s most complex and rewarding movie.

The Worlds End

Release Date
July 18, 2013

Director
Edgar Wright

Rating
R

Runtime
109

Rent on Amazon Prime

NEXT: Edgar Wright’s 10 Favorite Comedy Movies, Ranked by Letterboxd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *