10 Best Dakota Fanning Movies worth watching

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You may not know about all Dakota Fanning movies, but the girl having her career since she was just 7 years old has starred in some unforgettable roles. From big-budget blockbusters to indie films, Dakota Fanning’s movies never fail to impress us with her outstanding acting. Known for her shiny smile and vibrant presence, Dakota has grown up to be a remarkable actress. Having co-starred among Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, and many famous stars, Dakota has presented us with some of the most memorable performances of her career.

List of Dakota Fanning Movies

Dakota Fanning Movies list

Let’s have a look at her 10 best illustrious performances.

Movie Guide

Dakota Fanning Movies List

Career Debut

1999 (TV Commercial)

Total Dakota Fanning Movies Listed


Years Active

1999- Present

1. War of the Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds, released in 2005 and starring Dakota Fanning, is one of the most iconic Dakota Fanning movies ever made. Telling a thrilling story of an alien invasion on Earth, Dakota plays the daughter of Tom’s character. As they journey together to escape from the Aliens, Dakota’s performance as a terrified little girl trying to protect her family resonates with viewers all around the globe.

She gave an emotionally charged performance that earned her numerous nominations for Best Performance by a Young Actress at several prestigious awards shows.

2. I Am Sam (2001)

I Am Sam (2001)

Dakota Fanning made her debut in the Oscar-nominated film, Why I Am Sam opposite Sean Penn. Dakota Fanning portrayed Lucy Diamond Dawson, a seven-year-old girl with autism who is the daughter of Sam Dawson (Penn).

The movie follows Sam’s fatherhood struggles after his daughter’s birth, providing insight into what it means to be a single parent in an unconventional family dynamic. Dakota delivered a stunningly emotional performance, demonstrating maturity beyond her years while conveying the complexity of Lucy’s character. She was nominated for several awards for her role in this heartwarming drama, making it one of the best Dakota Fanning movies.

3. The Cat in the Hat (2003)

The Cat in the Hat (2003)

The Cat in the Hat is another Dakota Fanning classic many people fondly remember. Dakota plays Sally, a young girl who lives with her brother, Conrad, and their pet fish. When the mischievous Cat in the Hat shows up one day at their house, chaos ensues as he takes them on a wild, silly adventure. Dakota’s performance was fun and endearing, captivating audiences with her natural charisma and comedic timing.

4. Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005)

Only a few are familiar with Dakota Fanning’s role in Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, but it is one of her best performances. Dakota plays a young girl named Cale, who takes it upon herself to help her injured horse, Sonador, get back into racing shape. With the help of trainer Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) and her father (Kris Kristofferson), Cale helps Sonador make an incredible comeback and prove that anything is possible when you set your mind to something.

This moving family drama has Dakota playing a strong-willed young girl determined never to give up and proves why Dakota Fanning is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses. The film also features great performances from Kurt Russell and Kris Kristofferson, making it one of the inspiring Dakota Fanning movies.

5. Man on Fire (2004)

In the movie, Dakota plays a young girl named Pita, kidnapped by a criminal ring in Mexico City. Dakota shows tremendous emotional range and maturity in her portrayal as she moves from innocence to strength and courage while dealing with the abduction of her beloved friend.

The film also stars Denzel Washington as a mercenary hired to protect Pita and her family, who embarks on a mission of revenge against those responsible for kidnapping her. Not only does Dakota shine in her role, but Man on Fire also features great action sequences and an intense story that will keep you hooked until the credits roll.

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6. Hounddog (2007)

Hounddog (2007)

Hounddog is one of the reasons why you should watch Dakota Fanning movies. The movie features Dakota playing Lewellen, a young girl who lives in the deep south of America and dreams of being Elvis Presley. Her performance is emotionally charged as she struggles to face her family tragedy and protect herself by clinging to her musical dream.

While it may be quite disturbing for some viewers, Dakota’s portrayal in Hounddog is undoubtedly one of the best performances of her career. That’s why, it stands out as one of the most expressive films made during that period.

7. Charlotte’s Web (2006)

Charlotte's Web (2006)

Charlotte’s Web is a 2006 family movie starring Dakota Fanning and the late, great Julia Roberts. The story follows Fern Arable (Fanning), a young girl who rescues Wilbur, an orphaned piglet, from her father’s ex and raises him as her own. With the help of Charlotte A. Cavatica (Roberts), a spider living in the barn, they form an unlikely friendship that eventually saves Wilbur’s life.

It’s one of the best Dakota Fanning movies due to its heartwarming story and beautifully realistic animation. The movie has an uplifting message about friendship, loyalty, and selfless love that appeals to all ages.

8. Push (2009)

Push (2009)

Dakota Fanning has appeared in various movies over the years, and one of her best is Push (2009). The science fiction action-thriller follows characters with supernatural powers who fight against a covert government agency. Dakota Fanning stars as Cassandra, a young girl with telekinetic abilities who teams up with two other teens and an adult mentor to form an underground resistance movement.

Dakota shines in this role as she brings both intensity and vulnerability to her character, making for an engaging performance. The movie also features Chris Evans, Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Belle, Dakota’s real-life sister Elle Fanning and others. With its strong cast and exciting plot points, Push is definitely one of the best Dakota Fanning movies and is worth watching.

9. Now is Good (2012)

Now is Good (2012)

This one is among the best Dakota Fanning movies for many reasons. This British-American romantic drama tells the story of two teenagers, a young man named Adam (Jeremy Irvine) and a young woman named Grace (Dakota Fanning). Both deal with life-altering illnesses: Adam has leukemia, while Grace suffers from cystic fibrosis. Despite their different conditions, they find solace in each other’s company as they explore the joys of love and friendship during the time they have left together. Dakota portrays an adolescent struggling to come to terms with her own mortality, giving viewers a warm and honest performance that will stay with them long after watching this movie.

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10. The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

The film follows two sisters, Lily and Rosaleen (Fanning), who escape their oppressive home after the death of their mother. During their journey, they find refuge with three remarkable African-American beekeeping sisters living in South Carolina. Dakota delivers an outstanding performance as young Lily, playing her character with a mix of innocence and strength that will leave you moved.

This often-overlooked classic features an incredible cast, including Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo, and more. The story is full of heart-warming moments and touching conversations about identity and family bonds, making it one of the memorable Dakota Fanning movies.

Wrap up on Dakota Fanning Movies

From family films like Charlotte’s Web to more intense stories like Push, Dakota has had the opportunity to showcase her acting skills in various roles and genres. We hope you enjoy watching these Dakota Fanning movies and recommend some of them to your friends.

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