Photo: Touchstone Pictures
1. Pretty Woman
In what could very well be one of the best "chick flicks" of all time, Julia plays Vivian Ward, a Los Angeles prostitute who becomes enamored with businessman Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere). Julia manages to make the role of a Hollywood harlot come across as irresistibly lovable as she's romanced by this wealthy—and unlikely—suitor. And who can forget the famous Rodeo Drive shopping spree scene? When she utters the line, "You work on commission right? Big mistake," we're reminded of why we've always loved this Cinderella fairytale.
Photo: ®2000 - Universal Pictures, Inc.
2. Erin Brockovich
In Julia's Oscar®-winning role, she plays the title character, a role inspired by one woman's true story. Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three working as a legal secretary who discovers that a company is covering up industrial poisoning in one town's water supply. Erin's persistence makes us all believe in female intuition a little more after she persuades an entire community to take on a multibillion-dollar corporation. Julia's brilliant depiction of Erin made us all stand up and cheer for the underdog.
3. Sleeping with the Enemy
In this dramatic '90s favorite, Julia plays Laura Burney, a trophy wife who fakes her death to escape an abusive husband. When the heroine's psychopathic husband discovers she is, in fact, not dead, the suspense is palpable. To ease the tension, the charismatic beauty gives moviegoers a break by striking up a romance with a handsome neighbor and trying on hats as Van Morrison's ''Brown Eyed Girl'' plays in the background. Julia's precise execution of this multidimensional character reinforces why she'll always be our brown-eyed girl.
Photo: ®1988 - Night Life Inc.
4. Mystic Pizza
In one of her earlier roles, Julia leaves us utterly mystified with her portrayal of Daisy Arujo. In this coming-of -age story, two Portuguese-American sisters and their friend, Jojo, work as waitresses at a family-owned pizzeria, and when they're not serving up slices, they learn tough lessons about love.
5. Notting Hill
It isn't surprising to us that William Thacker (Hugh Grant) falls for superstar actress Anna Scott, a role fittingly played by Julia in this romantic comedy. Whether its flashbulbs, spilled orange juice or a spontaneous first kiss, Julia radiates beauty in every scene while maintaining her simple, enchanting charm. In one famous line, Julia also manages to communicate a universal truth about love that we'll never forget: ''I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.''
Photo: ®2001 - Warner Bros. - All Rights Reserved
6. Oceans Eleven
As the leading lady in a cast of some of Hollywood's sexiest men
, Julia nails the character of Tess Ocean. The fact that she could even pretend to break up with Danny (George Clooney
) in Ocean's Eleven
should merit a standing ovation...although she later reconsiders. In the sequel, Ocean's Twelve
, we found her absolutely electrifying as a lifesaver-turned-thief. No matter how high the stakes are, our bet is always on Julia.
Photo: ®1989 - Rastar Films
7. Steel Magnolias
In her Oscar®-nominated role as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie, Julia proved she was destined for greatness when she held her own alongside an all-star cast, including Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine. We laughed, we cried and we held each other a little tighter as we followed the story of these close-knit women whose lives are so intricately intertwined. The waterworks really start when Julia's diabetic character makes a life-changing decision. Triple tissue alert.
Photo: ®1997 - TriStar Pictures
You'd think Julia singlehandedly invented the romantic comedy with her effortless execution of Julianne Potter, a woman lovesick over her soon-to-be-married friend, Michael. Julianne's wacky attempts to sabotage her BFF's impending nuptials are both side-splitting and spunky. This movie made every woman take a second look at the guys we thought were "just friends" and shamelessly belt out ''Say a Little Prayer for You'' in our best Aretha Franklin
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Julia breathes life into John Grisham's novel as she plays Darby Shaw, a young law student on the run after uncovering the truth about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices. Julia crosses the threshold by giving balance to a character who is strong, yet vulnerable. Even with skilled assassins on her heels, Julia plays this compelling role with ease alongside co-star Denzel Washington
.More about Julia's latest film, Eat, Pray, Love
Published on May 24, 2010