One of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars, Cuban-Spanish actress Ana De Armas made her on-screen debut at just sixteen in 2006 and gradually became known for her work in American films throughout the late 2010s. De Armas’ international breakout role came in 2019 when she played a shy and brainy nurse who crosses paths with Daniel Craig in the successful Whodunnit Knives Out. Ana De Armas is now commonly cast in action films but has repeatedly proved her talent in dramas. She can consistently deliver fresh and believable performances no matter the film’s budget, genre, or tone. This versatility, coupled with her unique looks, means that the actress is now in constant demand in Hollywood.

Her biggest upcoming project is a spin-off of the fan-favorite John Wick saga named Ballerina, due to be released in 2024. In it, De Armas will play a dancing assassin out to get revenge after her family gets brutally murdered. She will be meeting Keanu Reeves’ famous assassin on her way, and the film will expand on the unique universe of the saga. While we await this interesting spin-off, it is time to revisit the ten best performances in Ana De Armas’ extensive career.

10. Hands of Stone (2016)

This boxing biopic is more of a guilty pleasure than an epic cinematic experience, but it is one of those films that is simply perfect for enjoying a night at home. Hands of Stone follows the life of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, played by Edgar Ramirez, nicknamed “Hands of Stone” for his legendary punches. On-screen and in reality, Duran got caught up in an escalating rivalry with American boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard. Hands of Stone is fairly classic as far as boxing movies go, but it is undeniably pleasant to watch and has some great costumes from the 1970s and 1980s. Overall, it is a solid biopic despite not reinventing the genre.

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Ana De Armas here plays Duran’s girlfriend, Felicidad, in a relatively stereotypical role of the hero’s love interest, but she delivers a solid performance. The actress brings humanity to a rising athlete’s larger-than-life, well-known story. When she tries to keep it together during a phone call and hides her tears to reassure her boyfriend, she helps to make the film more than a simple sports flick. She adds a grounded, much more down-to-earth touch to the film universe. Overall, Hands of Stone is an intense biopic, and Ana De Armas’ presence alone helps to set it apart.

9. The Informer (2019)

Ana De Armas Moviie Perfomances - The Informer

Throughout her now extensive career, Ana De Armas has starred in many action movies, and thus it is not surprising that another one finds itself in the top 10 of her best films. In the high-paced thriller The Informer, a former special forces agent, Peter Koslow (Joel Kinnaman), purposefully gets incarcerated and becomes an FBI informant – but faces off with a fierce Polish mobster. As one can guess from this short pitch, The Informer is not the most original action flick, and its narration can get messy at times.

Yet the film benefits from a dynamic and fast-paced second half and some powerful performances by the lead actors. Among them are the charismatic Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, who is as excellent as always, and Ana De Armas as Koslow’s blonde wife, Sofia. Once again, De Armas portrays a woman able to hold her own against violent mob bosses and unafraid to put her life on the line in order to protect her husband’s secrets. She even saves the day – and Koslow’s life – in the film’s climax. Overall, The Informer is a good action film with a believable plot and yet another strong performance from the Cuban actress – which is the cherry on the cake.

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8. Wasp Network (2019)

Ana de Armas - Wasp Network

This Netflix-produced spy thriller is based on true historical events. It follows Cuban spies living in the 1990s USA who infiltrated local anti-Castro groups to thwart anti-regime plots but were captured by the FBI. As this pitch suggests, the film centers on all protagonists’ muddy loyalties and unclear allegiances and sometimes feels like it bites off more than it can chew. Wasp Network follows multiple spies and their relatives in the USA and Cuba and looks pretty much like a maze. Still, the film is well-directed by Olivier Assayas, and its five-star cast alone definitely makes it worth watching: it stars Edgar Ramirez as the intense spy Rene Gonzalez, who hides his double life from his family, and from his wife Olga (an excellent Penelope Cruz).

Meanwhile, fellow spy Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura) and his fiancée Ana Margarita Martinez (Ana De Armas) try to play off their complicated lives like movie stars. De Armas’ role as a bubbly young woman trying to run away from an abusive ex-husband owed her a lawsuit from the real Martinez, who considered that the film portrayed her as a lavish party girl. Despite the Wasp Network’s historical imperfections, Ana De Armas’ charming performance feels like a breath of fresh air in the movie.

7. The Gray Man (2022)

As far as action films go, The Gray Man offers a great take on a fairly classic story: the film follows Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six, a CIA operative who uncovers the agency’s dirty secrets and is thus chased by a former agent turned assassin, played by Chris Evans. Six is teaming up with Berlin-based agent Dani Miranda, played by Ana De Armas, who accepts to help him despite her higher-ups’ orders. It is great to see De Armas play a brilliant spy like in No Time to Die, and she already threw a dash of humor into the mix as Miranda: the agent has an unhealthy passion for explosive weapons.

The Gray Man offers some well-shot, fast-paced, and creative action scenes, including a two-against-one fight that sees De Armas and Gosling team up against ace assassin Avik San (Indian star Dhanush) in a brutal and relentless fashion. The actress also has some fun quips with Ryan Gosling, and overall, Miranda is both charismatic and a competent fighter – a formula the actress would bring into the Bond franchise. The movie received a mixed critical reception, but De Armas and Gosling’s performances, as well as the fast-paced, well-filmed action scenes, deserve praise and make it an excellent film, which will please fans of the genre.

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6. War Dogs (2016)

The 2016 movie, also based on an unbelievable but true story, follows two young arms dealers, David and Efraim (Jonah Hill and Miles Teller). The duo decided to make money off the War on Terror but eventually went too far by selling illegal weapons to the US government. Much like its protagonists, War Dogs is a wild and wicked ride, and despite offering a somewhat superficial critique of capitalism and the arms trade, it remains a delightful surprise. A spiritual successor to The Big Short and Lord of War, the film has a fun and mean-spirited tone, and Ana De Armas plays an essential part in it. She is Iz, the girlfriend of arms dealer David, who grows tired of her husband’s constant lies and chaotic lifestyle.

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Ana De Armas was still learning English while filming it and had to memorize all of her lines phonetically – but the on-screen result remains very impressive. The actress stated in an interview that she had chosen to do the movie because of director Todd Philipps and her co-stars, and her excitement and commitment transpire through the screen. Her part in the film is relatively small, but as always, De Armas makes herself a great addition to the cast.

5. Blonde (2022)

Ana De Armas - Blonde

Ana De Armas starred in another movie produced by Netflix, playing Marilyn Monroe at her most vulnerable in the drama Blonde. The biopic, loosely based on the world-famous star’s life, is imperfect. It focuses far more on Monroe’s insecurities and chaotic love life than on her talent and incredible power as a cultural icon. As a result, Blonde was accused of contributing to the very same Hollywoodian exploitation that it seeks to denounce, and director Andrew Dominik was criticized for poorly encapsulating Marilyn Monroe’s complexity. Still, the quasi-surreal style of some shots and the unique use of colors throughout the film make Blonde a gut-wrenching experience, which is only enhanced by Ana De Armas’ fantastic part as Marilyn.

Her performance is definitely the aspect of the film that all critics can agree on: De Armas perfectly embodies Monroe’s solar charisma while also portraying the star in her darkest moments. What truly makes Blonde part of De Armas’ best performances is the eeriness that surrounds her throughout the film. It reinforces the impression that Blonde is partly fictional yet perfectly illustrates the real Monroe’s larger-than-life aura. Overall, the movie is an interesting take on Marilyn’s life, which really shines thanks to De Armas’ performance as a star plays another.

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4. Corazón (2018)

This gripping short film is based on a true story: it follows Elena Ramirez, a struggling Dominican prostitute played by Ana De Armas, as she discovers that she has a life-threatening condition and will need a heart transplant in the USA. Corazón is a short film with only a runtime of 40 minutes, but it does contain some of Ana De Armas’ finest work. Here, she puts a face on social injustice when Elena desperately tries to get her visa for the USA – in one of the movie’s most powerful scenes. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous (though some scenes are dimly lit), and the film has an almost claustrophobic feel, perfectly mirroring the situation of Elena. Corazón is proof that Ana De Armas was already portraying powerful women stuck in terrible conditions before Knives Out.

The intensity of her acting reaches its peak in this movie, and she could easily have been an award nominee for her role as Elena. The short film ends up being a promotional video for organ donation and an actual medical center based in New York City. Still, it goes above and beyond to offer a robust, artistic experience. Corazón is available to watch on YouTube and can be recommended to fans of Ana De Armas as well as to those looking for a powerful, gritty drama.

3. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

While Knives Out solidified De Armas as a brilliant actress able to carry an entire movie on her shoulders, her breakthrough performance arguably happened two years earlier. In Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to the timeless sci-fi classic, she plays a thoroughly unusual part. Here, De Armas is an Artificial Intelligence called Joi. This AI is commercialized like an object by Wallace Corporation and is meant to act as a virtual girlfriend for protagonist K, played by Ryan Gosling. The officer does everything he can to make Joi feel human and loved. But her status as a hologram makes viewers question the genuineness of their interactions – primarily as the AI is restricted by her nature and cannot interact with most of her surroundings.

Blade Runner 2049 was a box-office bomb, possibly owing to its long runtime, but critics praised the film for its impressive cinematography and stunning visual effects. Once again, Ana De Armas delivered an excellent performance in a great movie, and she, too, received well-deserved praise for it. Joi is a minor – yet critical – character. Ana and her incredible translucent raincoat are remembered fondly by franchise fans. The actress adds an eerie yet touching element even to this supportive role.

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2. No Time To Die (2021)

NO TIME TO DIE, Ana de Armas, 2021. ph: Nicola Dove / © MGM / © Danjaq / Courtesy Everett Collection

The latest Bond film polarised fans of the British spy but fared very well at the box office and was a critical success. No matter whether one is an aficionado of the 007 franchise or a one-time viewer, it is widely admitted that De Armas is part of No Time to Die’s highlights. The actress here plays a Cuban CIA agent, Paloma, who is a highly competent fighter, but also has a bubbly and fun personality. Paloma is, in De Armas’ own words, “very irresponsible.” The character offers a very unique combination for a 007 sidekick: both hilarious and hyper-competent, she subverts expectations about Bond Girls and does not even fall for James Bond.

The part of Paloma was written with Ana De Armas in mind, and Daniel Craig apparently convinced the actress, who was worried about working on such a big-budget production, and whether she would be the perfect fit for it. De Armas’ witty back-and-forth and joyful chemistry with Craig are an absolute delight to watch, while her action scenes are well-choreographed and entrancing. The only downside of Ana De Armas’ performance is that she is in the film for a mere ten minutes, and her unique CIA agent deserves far more screen time. Paloma adds the perfect finishing touch to No Time To Die, which provides a distinct take on the James Bond universe, and features some gorgeous shots courtesy of director Cary Fukunaga.

1. Knives Out (2019)

10 Best Ana De Armas Movie Performances

The creative whodunnit centers on the murder of elderly bestselling novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) right after his 85th birthday. Harlan’s complex personality means that many of his relatives are immediately suspected of having slit the man’s throat and made it look like suicide. This mystery movie boasts a solid plot, a unique aesthetic, and a fantastic ensemble cast – led by a charismatic Daniel Craig as detective Benoît Blanc. Yet it definitely is Ana de Armas’ performance as Marta Cabrera which steals the show.

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Marta begins the film as the shy and unassuming nurse of the old writer, who might have played a part in Harlan’s death, and morphs into a powerful woman trying to keep her secrets at all costs throughout the movie. Her interactions and chemistry with Daniel Craig alone make Knives Out worth a watch. The actress brilliantly subverts the trope of the quiet Latina caretaker as Martha instead proves to be complex and quick-witted during her back-and-forth with the detective. It can safely be said that Ana De Armas offers an excellent performance in an already brilliant movie. The part of Marta solidified her status as a multi-faceted actress, able to portray strength and subtlety all at once. Overall, it is all the more enjoyable as it made Ana De Armas an international star.

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