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10 Zac Effron Movies That Defined His Career | Must Watch Zac Effron Movies

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Zac Efron has been one of the most popular teen movie actors in recent years, but his recent career has taken an unexpected turn toward more adult, off-the-radar films that truly highlight his talent. To commemorate his career, Ranker has compiled a list of his top films, as voted on by fans.

Efron has been in a number of major films throughout the years, including studio comedies, popular teen musicals, and, more lately, crime dramas and horror thrillers. He has a wide range of abilities, and his career has been fascinating to follow in recent years.

17 Again (2009)


You’ll be hard pressed to find another rom-com that has as much fun with its own tale as 17 Again. Mike O’Donnell, a man who wishes to return to his teenage years, wakes up to find that his wish has come true.
Although 17 Again isn’t the most intellectual or thought-provoking picture out there, its amusing premise allows for so many hilarious moments and outrageous performances that it truly stands out. It’s a fantastic film to turn on and let your thoughts wander for a couple of hours, which is a major compliment.

Baywatch (2017)


After his career-defining appearance in HSM, Zac Efron’s first return to mainstream filmmaking was Baywatch, and the difference is night and day. From beginning to end, Baywatch is a pure joy, never taking itself too seriously and constantly having a good time with its wild tale.

In Baywatch, Efron co-stars with Dwayne Johnson and Alexandra Daddario, and the three have great chemistry onscreen. They breathe life into every scene, elevating the film above and beyond its admittedly simple screenplay and direction. Many believe the picture to be one of Dwayne Johnson’s greatest, and his captivating lead performance makes it tough to disagree.

Charlie St. Cloud (2010)


Burr Steers’ Charlie St. Cloud stars Zac Efron as the main protagonist, a delightful romance/fantasy picture about a young guy who works in a cemetery and has a mystical link to his deceased brother Sam. Charlie is forced to choose between his new love and his lost sibling when Amanda Crew’s character Tess enters his life.

Along with its captivating romance, Charlie St. Cloud also offers a wealth of complex and philosophical thoughts about death and the afterlife, elevating its script above many others in the genre. Efron gives a fantastic performance, demonstrating all of the qualities that make him such a captivating protagonist.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile (2019)


Zac Efron’s unsettling portrayal of serial killer Ted Bundy was a career-defining performance for the actor, who stunned audiences with his believable portrayal of the real-life psychopath. Despite the film’s lack of critical recognition, Efron’s performance has been talked about for quite some time.
Although Efron isn’t the first actor who springs to mind when you think of Ted Bundy, he does a remarkable job of portraying the serial killer. Bundy’s narrative has been repeated several times this year, but this may be the most gripping and frightening version yet.

High School Musical (2006)


High School Musical has essentially established the gold standard for teen musicals, with several films striving but failing to imitate its unique approach. The film does an excellent job of constructing a riveting plot that actually pulls you in and gets you invested, in addition to the catchy music and engaging acting.

High School Musical as a whole also does a fantastic job of capturing the distinct style of filmmaking that marked the late 2000s, operating almost as a time capsule of a very specific era that’s a lot of fun to rewatch. This is why, due to its appeal and nostalgia, so many people hold this picture in such high respect.

High School Musical 2 (2007)


Despite the fact that High School Musical 2 has become an embarrassing movie to confess you adore, there are still many fans who defend the teen musical and its sequels. Zac Efron reprises his role as Troy Bolton, delivering the same lighthearted energy that made the first film so popular.

Although most fans think that the second installment is the poorest of the original trilogy, there are still many moments that viewers can relate to and appreciate. This sequel achieves almost everything well, with most of the original cast returning and a new set of songs.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)


The High School Musical franchise is full of unique characters who many fans have grown to adore over the years, and Senior Year understands how to bring these characters back to life. There’s plenty of exciting and dramatic moments, as well as engaging music and set pieces that fans will enjoy.

It’s no wonder that Zac Efron has become most associated with the character of Troy Bolton throughout the years. He lends a lot of enthusiasm to the job, and it’s hard to envision anyone else playing the part.

Neighbors (2014)


In the entertaining Neighbors, Zac Efron stars opposite Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a suburban couple whose lives are flipped upside down when a college fraternity moves in next door. The film contains some instantly memorable scenes and statements that rank among the funniest in both Rogen and Efron’s filmographies.

Neighbors received a sequel, Sorority Rising, which many consider to be one of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s best collaborations to date. The two have collaborated on numerous films, but their contributions to this series are among their greatest.

The Greatest Showman (2017)


The Greatest Showman, starring Zac Efron, Hugh Jackman, and Zendaya, became one of the most popular movie musicals of the 2010s, apparently taking over a whole corner of pop culture with its catchy music and fascinating tale.

Few films have gained as much acclaim as The Greatest Showman, which depicts the entertaining story of P.T. Barnum, America’s first circus showman, and his ascent to the top of his game. In the starring part, Jackman gives a wonderfully entertaining performance, infusing the film with a thrilling burst of energy that makes it extremely likable.

The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One is one of Zac Efron’s most well-known romantic comedies, presenting the story of a lonely marine who returns home from war to find his long-lost love. In this moving narrative based on Nicholas Sparks’ romantic novel of the same name, he appears opposite Taylor Schilling.

There are many Nicholas Sparks adaptations with memorable quotes and charismatic couples, and The Lucky One is no exception. Efron and Schilling have a great chemistry with each other, and spectators will quickly get into their connection.

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