John Cena’s 10 Most Memorable Movie Roles, Ranked

From the minute he stepped into the ring with Kurt Angle, John Cena had a star quality that couldn’t be ignored. He parlayed his “hustle, loyalty, respect” motto into 16 world championship reigns. Though WWE fans may miss seeing him in the squared circle, his successful movie career means we may not see him headline WrestleMania again anytime soon.

Lately, Cena has become known for his comedic skills, but his filmography includes action, drama and even animated family fare. Before his upcoming films in Fast & Furious 9 and The Suicide Squad join an interesting list of credits, check out John Cena’s 10 most memorable movie roles.


This thriller has John Cena as Staff Sergeant Matthews, one of two soldiers trapped by a sniper in Iraq. It’s a fascinating psychological study that doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending. The story really takes place between Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Sergeant Isaac and the unseen sniper, voiced by Laith Nakli.

With Matthews injured early in the film, Cena doesn’t get much to do here. It’s essentially a two hander between Taylor-Johnson and Nakli. Though, he’s very good in the limited moments he has.


In only his second leading role, John Cena starred in this revenge thriller as a cop whose girlfriend has been kidnapped by a dangerously brilliant criminal. Cena’s Detective Fisher is forced to play 12 rounds of a sick game to get his girlfriend back.

This is a paint by numbers action movie. It features everything you expect, including lots of explosions, Fisher’s partner getting blown up by the bad guy, and the whole thing being a diversion from a bigger crime. Seeing Game of Thrones’ Aiden Gillen perfect his bad guy manipulation is the only reason to watch this.


Coming early in his career, this family drama showed Cena’s potential to be more than just an action hero. Working opposite an experienced pro like Patricia Clarkson allowed him to find his emotional range.

The story of a bullied nerd who decides to stand up for himself has been told since the beginning of time, so even Cena and Clarkson couldn’t hide the movie’s predictability. Despite his strong work, this film is really focused on young actor Devon Graye. Cena is there strictly to support his character and storyline.


WWE fans have known for a long time that John Cena is very funny. In Sisters, he goes completely against his clean cut wrestling persona to play a drug dealer working Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s wild party.

Though his part is very small, he nearly steals the movie from two of Hollywood’s funniest women. Pazuzu may be a huge, tattooed drug dealer, but he also takes his business seriously in the most hilarious way possible. Coupled with Trainwreck, this is the movie that let everyone know Cena was a comedy star.


Daddy’s Home had Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell fighting to see who the best dad really is, and just when they finally resolved their issues, John Cena shows up as Roger to torment Wahlberg.

In the sequel, Cena’s Roger is the epitome of an obnoxious dad who just wants to make his ex’s new boyfriend look bad. The gift of this Christmas movie is the cast, including Cena, singing “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” We all know what a nice guy Cena is, so him playing a jerk is quite the acting stretch.


the marine-john cena

In his first major role, John Cena didn’t try to shock audiences with something unexpected. In The Marine he plays former marine John Triton, whose wife is kidnapped by thieves while they’re on vacation. He then spends the rest of the movie hunting the bad guys, so he can save his wife.

For his first time leading a movie, Cena does a good job of keeping the audience interested, and making John feel like more than a one note character. Obviously, there are still first movie miscues, but overall it’s a solid debut.


Three bulls stnand together in Ferdinand

The story of Ferdinand the Bull is a popular children’s tale about a gentle bull who just wants to be himself. In the animated version Ferdinand, John Cena voices the bull in a charming movie that has a nice lesson for the kids.

It can be hard to compare animation with live action, but here Cena delivers a fun performance that can appeal to his young fans and their parents. Considering how much kids love him, we’re surprised it took so long for Cena to do a big budget animated movie.


Playing Amy Schumer’s closeted boyfriend in Trainwreck is really where the rest of the world discovered John Cena’s comedy chops. He did a great job of showing everyone who only knew him as a wrestler, that he’s so much more than a big, strong guy who punches people.

With Schumer, Bill Hader and LeBron James all in the cast, Cena repeatedly stole every scene he was in. His willingness to say and do whatever it takes for the laugh was admirable. With this performance, he instantly established himself as a reliably funny comedic actor.


We can’t say we were surprised to hear John Cena was joining the Transformers franchise. However, Bumblebee wasn’t the usual all action, no story movie that we’d become accustomed to. Having previously encountered the machines when he and his soldiers got caught in the middle of a battle, Cena’s Burns is ready to eliminate any Transformer he sees.

Ultimately, he realizes Bee isn’t one of the bad ones and he lets the pair escape. Despite all the explosions and effects, Cena’s nuanced performance adds character and depth to a franchise where that doesn’t normally matter.


John Cena and Leslie Mann's characters smiling in Blockers

By the time he co-starred in Blockers, audiences were used to seeing John Cena in outrageous comedies. As an overprotective dad who wants to stop his athletic daughter from having too much fun on prom night, he’s flat out hilarious.

While he has some very funny scenes, he excels as the straight man for Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz. He gets to show heart, as well as hilarity in his strongest, most well rounded performance. Blockers and Bumblebee coming back to back made Cena a true movie star.

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