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Every Tom Selleck Movie Ranked Worst To Best

With a career spanning many decades and almost too many projects to count, Tom Selleck has proved himself to be a talented and versatile actor. He's undoubtedly best known for his many TV roles, especially his star turns on "Magnum P.I." and "Blue Bloods." While he might always be a Hawaiian shirt-wearing private eye to millions, he's also been the star of a number of feature films. What's more, these silver screen roles are enormously diverse in terms of everything from genre to morality.

What sort of characters has Selleck played on the big screen? He's been a convicted criminal, a wanderlust-driven adventurer, an aging baseball star, and even the love interest in a number of romcoms. These films have left Selleck with a well-rounded career even his passionate fans might not grasp the extent of. That's not to say they're all great movies, however. In fact, we highly suggest you steer clear of some of them. Which are worth your time and which should be skipped? We're here to find out by ranking every Tom Selleck movie from the downright awful to the truly great, according to IMDb score.

17. Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

With a cast featuring legendary actors like Marlon Brando and a hook like Christopher Columbus' famous journey to the Americas, you'd expect "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery" to have earned at least a lukewarm response. But in fact, this 1992 release was an undeniable flop. Selleck plays a pivotal supporting role as King Ferdinand V, but it's not enough to rescue this troubled production. In all likelihood, Selleck and Brando both probably wanted to quickly put this one behind them — just look at the film's downright terrible rating on IMDb

You'd expect a historical film to get at least some of the basics right, but in truth, "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery" is so loosely accurate, it's best to put the word "historical" in quotations when referring to it. If there is a silver lining, it's that no one probably thinks it's a great teaching tool — the Christian Science Monitor's David Sterritt specifically dragged the flick for being "so hilariously Hollywooden that nobody could mistake it for real history." The forgettable performances on display, combined with a blatant disregard for  historical truth, make this movie an easy pick for the bottom of our list.

16. Daughters of Satan

One of the very first movies Tom Selleck was cast in and now roughly half a century old, 1972's "Daughters of Satan" isn't the worst film in Selleck's filmography, but it's close. Selleck plays James Robertson, a museum curator who finds himself in an antiques store while on the hunt for new display pieces. After discovering a terrifying painting depicting women being burned at the stake, he quickly descends down a rabbit hole of witchcraft, grisly murders, and terrible acting.

"Daughters of Satan" is about as dated as you would expect, and full of scenes featuring some of the most over-the-top exploitation imagery you can imagine. But believe it or not, it's worth checking out — as part of a weekend marathon of bad movies. In that capacity, its cheesy acting and corny storyline can be a lot of fun, especially for people who are already into classic horror movies and guilty pleasures. Still, it definitely counts as one of Selleck's worst-ever films.

15. Terminal Island

What do you get when you combine John Carpenter's "Escape From New York" with Kinji Fukasaku's "Battle Royale"? Whatever this R-rated 1973 film is. The death penalty has been abolished in the world this movie depicts, which means the government exiles its murderers to the remote Terminal Island. The mayhem of this lawless land is the film's draw, and indeed, brutal kills, unnecessary nudity, and comically ridiculous traps which inevitably get put to good use are on full display.

While Selleck doesn't have a very big role in the proceedings, his character, Dr. Milford, helps provide some crucial exposition to the film's lead and the audience. As he explains, this island full of hardened criminals quickly descended into anarchy, and two rival factions have been forged from the bloodshed. While this premise works in "Escape From New York" and "Battle Royale," it falls flat in "Terminal Island." The glossy appearance of just about every actress, despite their existence on a desolate island, never stops being distracting, and neither does the uncomfortable sexual tension suffusing the entire film. "Terminal Island" has potential, but it goes unexplored.

14. The Washington Affair

Before he became the titular investigator on "Magnum P.I.," Selleck faced a very different sort of crime in 1977's "The Washington Affair." He portrays Jim Hawley, an engineer who refuses to appease an immoral businessman named Walter Nicholson. When Walter tries to entice Jim with a handsome bribe, he doesn't take the bait. From that point on, Walter employs increasingly deplorable techniques to try and blackmail Jim into compliance, even going so far as to ask his own wife to try to seduce him. What he doesn't expect, however, is just how far she's willing to go to end up with her target.

While "The Washington Affair" is categorized as a thriller, it proves to be anything but. Taking place almost entirely in one room and subjecting its audience to scene after scene of flat and uninspired dialogue, it's easily one of the most forgettable entries in Selleck's filmography.

13. Three Men and a Little Lady

Despite the good grace 1987's "Three Men and a Baby" instills in audiences, its 1990 sequel, "Three Men and a Little Lady," undeniably falls flat. The same three leads reprise their roles, and are once again caring for young Mary, some five years after the events of the first film. This time, the trio finds themselves at risk of losing Mary for good when her mother Sylvia falls in love and plans to move to the United Kingdom with her new beau.

There's a new director at the helm in Emile Ardolino, and sadly, he doesn't repeat Leonard Nimoy's success. More than a few stereotypically tired jabs at British culture are to blame for this flick failing to achieve the same lighthearted magic that defines the first film, even though the comedic skills of Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson are effective enough. Unless you finished the first film and are dying to see where the story goes, you can skip this one — it just ends up feeling like more of the same thing.

12. Killers

In 2010's "Killers," his most recent feature film, Selleck plays a lead role as a classic comedic archetype: The gorgeous female love interest's intimidating father. Protagonist Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) isn't totally adrift, as he's a professional assassin, but hey — if Selleck were your future father-in-law, you'd be scared no matter what. Despite the title, this release sure didn't kill it: It flopped with critics about as brutally as a movie can, and earned just $98 million on a $75 million budget.

While Tom Selleck's role as the scary Mr. Kornfeldt is a fairly modest one, what he does bring to the table is decent. The part calls for presence, and no one can ever claim he doesn't have that in spades. Sadly, "Killers" gets bogged down in its downright terrible attempts at comedy and utterly lackluster romance. This leaves audiences with a truly underwhelming experience that's straight-up tough to sit through.

11. The Love Letter

After Helen (Kate Capshaw) finds a mysterious love letter in her mailbox in this 1999 film, she is driven to figure out who her secret admirer might be. Among the possibilities is Tom Selleck's George, who quickly finds himself competing with other suspected suitors for Helen's affection. Along the way, the letter passes through more and more people's hands. Each person assumes it's intended for their eyes only, and promptly jumps to conclusions. Hilarious mishaps, awkward dates, and much romance ensue.

With a solid cast and an intriguing premise ripe for classic comedy, you'd assume "The Love Letter" would be a hit. But in fact, this film ended up with abysmal box office returns and dismal reviews. Critics slammed it for uncharacteristically poor acting from most of the (typically talented) cast, as well as uninspired writing. Diehard Selleck fans might still enjoy seeing him in such a charming role, however — as long as they adjust their expectations for the film around him.

10. Folks!

In the late '80s and early '90s, Selleck began to try his hand in more comedic roles. While you might think this would mark a departure from the sort of clumsy projects that mark his earlier career (we're looking at you, "Daughters of Satan"), especially after his work on 1987's light-hearted "Three Men and a Baby," you would be wrong. 1992's "Folks!" is the proof.

This unimpressive flick sees Selleck play Jon, a hot-shot stockbroker forced to take his aging parents in. "Folks!" subjects audiences to scene after scene of Selleck suffering bodily harm at the hands of his father, whose dementia is portrayed with a total lack of respect. It never gets funny — it only gets more and more uncomfortable. The film was absolutely reviled by critics for its lackluster script, iffy acting, and the clumsy handling of its sensitive subject matter. While it definitely misses the mark, Selleck fans can take heart: At least his other ventures into the comedy genre proved less disastrous.

9. Her Alibi

Another comedy that proved to be ill-fated, 1989's "Her Alibi" was met with contempt by pretty much everyone who saw it. While Selleck himself does a decent job as the film's lead, the story he's ensconced within is a groan-worthy romp through one increasingly asinine event after another. 

Selleck plays Phil Blackwood, a currently uninspired writer who might be past his best-selling prime. While sitting in at an ongoing trial, he becomes smitten with a stunning defendant who is being charged with murder. Drunk on love, he convinces himself there's no chance she's actually guilty of the crime, and helps her forge an alibi to escape conviction. As the two become more and more deeply entrenched in their relationship, however, Blackwood becomes increasingly skeptical of her innocence. This conflict doesn't amount to much — it feels more like a TV movie than a theatrical release. But Selleck does good work here, balancing charm, humor, and anxiety to winning effect. Watching it for him is worth it, if not for any other reason.

8. Runaway

Selleck's 1984 sci-fi film "Runaway" gets a lot of things right ... and just as many dead wrong. He portrays Sergeant Jack Ramsay, an experienced cop with a troubled past living in a world where advanced robots have become a commonplace facet of society. His bumbling of a previous assignment has led to his transfer to the city's "runaway" squad, which is tasked with hunting down and destroying malfunctioning robots.

While this plot sounds like a blatant rehash of Ridley Scott's iconic "Blade Runner," which was released just two years prior, "Runaway" establishes a distinct difference right away: There's nothing glamorous or even all that exciting about being on the runaway squad. Of course, in classic '80s action movie fashion, this notion gets disproved after the first runaway bot commits some grisly murders. Moreover, as Sergeant Ramsay investigates the motives behind the attack, he begins to unravel a much deeper conspiracy at play. But still, "Runaway" attempts to make its hook seem mundane, and that counts for something.

Although the film succeeds in forging its own identity, it received mixed reviews for its execution. This is a real shame — one gets the distinct feeling that with slightly better handling, "Runaway" had the potential to become a genuine '80s classic. Though this was not to be, there are definitely worse ways to spend an afternoon that watching this lesser-known Selleck project.

7. Lassiter

"Lassiter" might not dazzle, but it's worth your time. Selleck stars in this 1984 spy flick as the titular Nick Lassiter, a high-class thief operating in the late '30s. His criminality has finally caught up with him, and the British and American authorities are determined to use his talents towards their own ends: They want him to find and steal a treasure trove of Nazi diamonds. Naturally, Lassiter has his own plans — but can he pull them off?

"Lassiter" just barely failed to turn a profit, and critics were divided on how well it accomplished its aims. Some, like Roger Ebert, commended Selleck's performance in the film. Others were less enthused, however: Empire Magazine's Kim Newman decried the film as flat and dull, perhaps the worst things a heist flick can be. But if you're willing to take a chance on a film with a few corny scenes, "Lassiter" is worth checking out. It's hard to go completely wrong when you cast Tom Selleck to play a '30s cat burglar, after all.

6. High Road to China

If "Runaway" is Tom Selleck's "Blade Runner," then 1983's "High Road to China" is his "Indiana Jones." This is especially notable, as Selleck missed the chance to star in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which remains one of his biggest regrets. This globe-trotting adventure sees him play Patrick O'Malley, an alcoholic biplane pilot and World War I ace, who takes on a mission to reunite Eve (Bess Armstrong), a wealthy heiress, and her father. This isn't as wholly sentimental as it appears — she's out to prove he's alive before she's cheated out of an inheritance.

Taking off from Istanbul, the duo sets off together in a pair of biplanes (Eve is a pilot in her own right). Along the way, a budding romance develops between the two. This innocent and enjoyable adventure film admittedly can't compete with the exploits of a certain whip-wielding relic hunter, but it does stand on its own merits. It isn't afraid to defy a few conventions either, boasting an ending that isn't what you'd expect.

5. Mr. Baseball

Selleck portrays fictional New York Yankees player Jack Elliot in this 1992 comedy. Nearing the end of his career, cynical Jack is suddenly traded to a Japanese baseball team. He has to adapt to both a new baseball culture and a new way of life, but being a Chunichi Dragon might not be the disaster he assumes. The competition is fierce, the people are friendly, and winning the pennant is an enticing prospect — but is Jack capable of becoming a true team player?

A straightforward plot and a solid performance by Selleck elevates this charming movie above his less successful comedies. The rest of the cast is nothing to sneeze at either, delivering a winning combination of humor and heart. Critics like Roger Ebert celebrated the film as an enjoyable sports flick that uses it tried-and-true formula to tell a genuinely fresh story. It's all thanks to the characters, who are as well-written as they are skillfully performed.

4. Three Men and a Baby

One of the top-grossing movies of 1987 and certainly one of his most memorable films, "Three Men and a Baby" exemplifies Selleck's talents. He's joined in the titular trio by Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson, who must navigate the unexpected challenge of raising a baby who is literally dropped on their doorstep. To make matters even more comically absurd, a drug hand-off involving a container of heroin leads to a misunderstanding with the worst possible crowd. What are three bachelors to do? Fall in love with the adorable infant, of course.

Best known for his storied acting career, "Three Men and a Baby" is one of a handful of movies directed by Leonard Nimoy. It proved to be such a success with both critics and audiences, it's hard not to wish he'd spent more time behind the camera. This film fires on all cylinders: The script is funny, the actors' chemistry is off-the-charts, and the premise is irresistible. While some of Selleck's film endeavors are a mixed bag, "Three Men and a Baby" gets pretty much everything right.

3. In and Out

Even though Selleck isn't the star of this 1997 romantic comedy, his role is an integral part of its story. High school teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) is shocked when a former student wins an Academy Award and praises him for being an inspiration. At the end of his speech, he ups the ante by announcing that Howard is gay. This comes as a surprise to everyone watching, including Howard himself, who insists he's straight. The bewildered teacher is forced to deal with sudden changes in how people treat him and a pack of paparazzi who invade his small town. Things get even more complicated when he meets Selleck's character, reporter Peter Malloy, who makes Howard wonder if his student might have been onto something after all.

While "In & Out" uses Howard's identity as the anchor for its comedy, it does so in a way that remains tasteful. What results is a truly enjoyable film full of expertly portrayed characters. "In & Out" was hailed by critics as a sweet-natured story full of strong performances, Selleck's turn as Peter chief among them. This isn't just an entertaining film — it's a groundbreaking one.

2. An Innocent Man

Released in 1989, this crime drama puts Selleck in the genre that defines some of his most successful television roles. While his famous performances as Thomas Magnum on "Magnum P.I." and Commissioner Frank Reagan on the long-running "Blue Bloods" have given us years of seeing Selleck on the right side of the law, however, "An Innocent Man" flips the script. Here, it is Selleck who is pitted against law enforcement — and some of its more disreputable players at that.

An everyday aeronautics engineer, Selleck's Jimmie Rainwood sees his life turned upside down by a drug bust gone bad. Two corrupt cops are to blame, and they have no issue framing an ordinary citizen for their mistakes. Thus, Jimmie is found guilty of a crime he never committed, and forced to adjust to a cruel life behind bars. After he's finally released some time later, he makes it his mission to right the wrongs committed against him and unravel the conspiracy put in place. Selleck proves to be just as engaging on this side of the law, delivering an impassioned performance that stands as one of his greatest-ever turns.

1. Quigley Down Under

While it might not boast the kind of fame Westerns like "Unforgiven" and "The Searchers" enjoy, 1990's "Quigley Down Under" is nevertheless a commendable addition to the genre. Notably, when it was released, Westerns had been in decline for some time. You'd never know it by Selleck's performance: He does a phenomenal job as Matthew Quigley, an American sharpshooter looking for a paycheck.

Soon enough, Quigley finds himself taking a lucrative job offer in the British-controlled Australian outback. But this mission is eventually revealed to be morally reprehensible: Quigley has been hired to persecute Aboriginal Australians. After the gunslinger refuses to take part in this mass murder, he's beaten and left for dead in the desert. But Quigley survives, and before long, he's aiming to take down his fiendish employer for good. "Quigley Down Under" tells a compelling and unique story that balances exciting action with affecting romance. Selleck fans are sure to appreciate his star turn, but anyone looking for an old-fashioned adventure will enjoy this energetic film.