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5 Margot Robbie movies and TV shows you need to watch

Since her emergence as a big-screen star a decade ago, Margot Robbie has been one of the defining movie stars of her generation. Barbie has cemented her status as one of the world’s brightest stars and also serves as a reminder of just how versatile she can be as a performer.

In honor of Barbie’s tremendous success, it makes sense to look back at the many triumphs that Robbie has already experienced over the course of her career. As the movies and TV shows on this list make abundantly clear, Robbie is a star unafraid of taking risks, even if that means that those risks don’t always pay off, at least in the short term. 

Birds of Prey (2020) 

BIRDS OF PREY - Official Trailer 1

One of Robbie’s signature roles is undoubtedly Harley Quinn, a character she has now played three times. Birds of Prey was really Robbie’s chance to make the role her own, though, and it’s a chance she definitely didn’t waste.

Here, Robbie’s wild-eyed Harley finally decides to do something good, and teams up with a young teenager who inadvertently swallowed a diamond. This may be the movie that best encapsulates Harley’s incredible energy, and it’s a reminder that, although you may not love the DCEU, we can’t be mad that it gave us Robbie’s version of Harley Quinn. 

Babylon (2022)

BABYLON | Official Trailer (2022 Movie) – Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Tobey Maguire

A criminally underrated movie with a terrific performance from Robbie, Babylon is director Damien Chazelle’s ode to the end of the silent film era in Hollywood. Although Chazelle’s depiction of this era may not be technically accurate, it’s wildly entertaining.

In the movie, Robbie plays a Brooklyn-born actress who is convinced of her own stardom, and eventually shows the world how talented she is. The emergence of sound ultimately dooms her career, though, turning Robbie’s character into something much more tragic. At more than 3 hours long, Babylon is a lot of movie, and it has a sprawling ensemble, but Robbie remains at the beating heart of the movie from its first moment to its last.  

I, Tonya (2017)

I, TONYA [Official Trailer] – In Theaters Now

In the movie that almost won her a Best Actress Oscar, Robbie is truly excellent as Tonya Harding, the disgraced former Olympic skater who is best known for her connection to the assault on one of her chief U.S. rivals, Nancy Kerrigan, .

I, Tonya does an extraordinary job complicating that story, though, in part by showing us the way that Harding was herself the victim of repeated abuse from both her mother and her husband. The movie is willing to shine a light on Harding’s flaws and her culpability in what happened to Kerrigan, but it’s also a fairly gentle portrait of a complicated person who had a pretty rough life.

Pan Am (2011) 

"Pan Am" TV Series Trailer

After starring in Australian soaps, Margot’s first American role was as part of the ensemble on ABC’s short-lived drama series Pan Am. The series as a whole may not have lived up to the hype surrounding it, but its emphasis on flight crews in the 1960s was an inspired way to riff on the phenomenal success of Mad Men.

Robbie is just one piece of this ensemble, but she certainly stands out from the second she first shows up on-screen. Few actors have the kind of ineffable charisma that she has always possessed as an actor, and it’s right on the surface every time she gets a moment of screen time on the show. 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The role that introduced many Americans to Robbie as an actor, The Wolf of Wall Street is not explicitly about Robbie’s character. Instead, she plays the wife of Jordan Belfort, the Wall Street scammer who made millions on the backs of people who didn’t understand what they were being sold.

Belfort’s wife, who is initially charmed by him and eventually infuriated by his child-like behavior, could have easily come across as a scold. And yet, because of Robbie’s excellence as a performer, and Martin Scorsese’s sharp direction, the relationship feels much more complex and lived in than it might have in lesser hands.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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