Best Zac Efron Movies of All Time

Zac Efron has been appearing in many successful movies over the years, from comedies to iconic teen musicals, becoming one of the biggest teen film stars in the 2000s. He has more recently appeared in crime dramas and horror thrillers, showing his talent in other areas as well. To celebrate his career, TechTrends made a list of the best Zac Efron movies of all time.

Zac Efron is an example of making a vibrant acting career out of Disney Channel prior to the likes of Ryan Gosling and Zendaya. He had his breakout performance in the High School Musical franchises before appearing in other genres of movies. Although he returned to musical films in the movie The Greatest Showman, he managed to establish a career in a wide variety of genres, such as R-rated comedies and indie dramas. He has become a big name in Hollywood with his acting and singing talent. He gradually appeared in more mature roles like in the movie The Lucky One, The Awkward Moment, and more recently in Baywatch. We made a list of the best must-see Zac Efron performance based on their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.

Best Zac Efron Movies of All Time

Zac Efron has appeared in many successful films over the past two decades, from comedies to iconic teen movies. In the mid-2000s, he cemented his career and became a heartthrob of his generation. Here are the best Zac Efron movies of all time. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

12. Baywatch 2017

  • Genre: Comedy/Action
  • Director: Seth Gordon
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, Alexandra Daddario
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 17%, IMDb 5.5

In the movie Baywatch, Zac Efron has one of his first returns to mainstream film-making following his defining role in the High School Musical trilogy. The film is a total blast from the beginning to the end, with a lot of fun and a wild story. Efron plays alongside Dwayne Johnson and Alexandra Daddario, with their chemistry being praised by the audience and the critics. They were able to bring the movie to life despite its simple screenplay and direction. Many believe that this is one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time, and he showcases his charismatic performance in the lead character.

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11. The Lucky One 2012

  • Genre: Romance/Drama
  • Director: Scott Hicks
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 20%, IMDb 6.4

One of the best Zac Efron films of all time is The Lucky One, which follows the tale of a lonely marine who goes back home from the war to find his lost love. Zac Efron plays opposite Taylor Schilling in this romance movie that is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ romance novel of the same name. There are many memorable quotes in the film about this charismatic couple, who were perfectly cast. The movie is quite engaging, and the audience can easily buy into their relationship. We strongly recommend this romance drama. You don’t want to miss it.

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10. Charlie St. Cloud 2010

  • Genre: Romance/Drama
  • Director: Burr Steers
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew, Ray Liotta, Kim Basinger, Dave Franco
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 28%, IMDb 6.4

Zack Efron appears as the titular protagonist in this movie, which is a quite charming romance about a man who works in a cemetery. He has a supernatural connection with his brother Sam, who passed away. However, when Tess, played by Amanda Crew, and Charlie meet, he has to choose between his late brother and his new love. The movie Charlie St. Cloud is about ideas regarding death and the afterlife, and Efron was able to perform outstandingly, showcasing all his talent in portraying this compelling protagonist. This is indeed another one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time that we recommend. Although critics did not like it as much as the audience, it is still worth watching.

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9. The Paperboy 2012

  • Genre: Thriller/Drama
  • Director: Lee Daniels
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 45%, IMDb 5.7

Matthew McConaughey plays the role of Ward Jansen, who is a reporter for the Miami Times. His friend Yardley goes back to his hometown to work on a homicide case. Jack, played by Zac Efron, is Ward’s brother, who is a college dropout and joins hands with the duo as he doesn’t have anything else to do. However, things begin to take a turn and get complicated when Ward and Yardley find out about a deeper conspiracy that is filled with racism and violence. Jack also starts to fall for the perpetrator’s possible fiancé, and things start to get more complicated. The Paperboy is one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time.

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8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile 2019

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Director: Joe Berlinger
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 55%, IMDb 6.7

Zac Efron had a defining moment in his career as an actor when he played the role of a serial killer named Ted Bundy in the movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. His performance as a real-life psychopath surprised the audience. Although the movie was not very well-received by the critics, the amazing actor attracted the attention of many critics and the audience for a long time. Although Efron would not be the first actor to come to mind for the role of Ted, he perfectly portrayed the killer. The story of this killer has been told many times, but this one is the most shocking and engaging one.

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7. 17 Again 2009

  • Genre: Comedy/Romance
  • Director: Burr Steers
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Michelle Trachtenberg, Sterling Knight, Kat Graham
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 56%, IMDb 6.4

The movie 17 Again is very fun if you are looking for a great rom-com, and the story is quite unique. The film revolves around Mike O’Donnell, who is a man wishing he could go back to his teenage years. Unexpectedly, his dream comes true when he wakes up and sees himself being 17 again. Although the movie is not very thought-provoking, some moments are quite hilarious and make the film stand out. Zac Efron plays the leading role of the 17-year-old Mike, and he performs amazingly, making the audience keep their eyes on the actor. 17 Again is one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time.

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6. The Greatest Showman 2017

  • Genre: Musical/Drama
  • Director: Michael Gracey
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Hugh Jackman, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Michelle Williams
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 56%, IMDb 7.5

The Greatest Showman is the tale of P.T. Barnum and how he makes one of the greatest musical spectacles ever. Zac Efron played alongside fellow Disney Channel star Zendaya in this movie. The two are a couple in the movie, and Efron has joked that Zendaya has been the best kiss he has ever had in acting. Zendaya played the role of an acrobat called Anne Wheeler. Moreover, her relationship with Phillip Carlyle, played by Efron, also angers his racist parents. This is indeed among the best Zac Efron Movies of all time.

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5. High School Musical 3: Senior Year 2008

  • Genre: Musical/Family
  • Director: Kenny Ortega
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 64%, IMDb 4.9

Senior Year was the only film in the High School Musical franchise to come out theatrically, and it revolves around the ensemble stars of the previous two movies. Zac Efron continues her role as Troy, and the story focuses on how Troy and Gabriella deal with the approaching separation that will happen when they leave high school for college. They decide to deal with their insecurities by going on the stage for the one last time. The massive spectacle focuses on their views on the future. The movie was quite successful, and it was a hit at the box office. Moreover, the audience and the critics praised the film and the acting, making this one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies ever.

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4. Gold 2022

  • Genre: Thriller/Survival
  • Director: Anthony Hayes
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 65%, IMDb 5.4

One of the most recent and best Zac Efron movies of all time is Gold, where he plays the role of Virgil. The story revolves around two drifters in the future who travel in the desert, coming across the biggest gold nugget ever found. Following that, it comes the dream of immense wealth and greed. They plan on excavating it and one of them goes to take the important tools necessary. The other one stays and has to endure the harsh elements of the desert, like wild dogs and intruders, while also dealing with the idea that he might be left behind. The story is very entertaining and engaging; we strongly recommend it.

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3. High School Musical 2006

  • Genre: Musical/Comedy
  • Director: Kenny Ortega
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 65%, IMDb 5.5

One of the first major roles Zac Efron took was in the movie High School Musical, where he played alongside Vanessa Hudgens’ Gabriella as Troy. Troy was a basketball star while she was a talented academic, but the two audition to sing in the school musical when they figured out how talented each of them are. Their pairing leads to rivalry in the school in the type of Romeo and Juliet. Troy and Gabriella have to cope with Sharpay, who is a jealous starlet hoping to get Gabriella’s place. This is indeed one of Zac Efron’s greatest movie roles, and we strongly recommend it if you haven’t seen it already.

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2. Neighbors 2014

  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Nicholas Stoller
  • Stars: Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Halston Sage
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 73%, IMDb 6.3

Zac Efron plays alongside Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne in the comedy movie Neighbors, which follows the tale of a couple whose lives get changed when a college fraternity becomes their neighbors. The movie has many iconic moments and quotes that entered both main actors’ filmography. There was also a sequel to the film, Sorority Rising. Neighbors is considered one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time after the High School Musical period. Efron’s portrayal in this comedy movie was as amazing as expected. We strongly recommend this movie if you are in the mood for a good laugh.

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1. High School Musical 2007

  • Genre: Musical/Family
  • Director: Kenny Ortega
  • Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, Miley Cyrus
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 83%, IMDb 5.1

In the second movie from the High School Musical franchise, the character Troy, played by Zac Efron, takes a job at Lava Spring, which is a club owned by Sharpay’s family. He is worried about the college payments and he starts working there. Sharpay sets up the job for him as she is gunning for his affection, notwithstanding what happened in the first movie. This movie was an even bigger hit than the previous one as it became one of the best Zac Efron movies of all time and it was critically successful. For a movie for teenagers, a rating of 83 on Rotten Tomatoes is really high and exceptional. The audience also praised the acting, sets, and music.

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