5 Breakout 90s Movie Roles of Milla Jovovich

Here's where the iconic Resident Evil star got her start.

Milla Jovovich is an actress best known for her role as Alice in the long-running horror franchise, Resident Evil. She’s been working in film since the late 1980s, fast becoming a widely celebrated star. Here are 5 breakout 90s movie roles that got her on the map.

Return To The Blue Lagoon (1991)

Milla Jovovich
Return to the Blue Lagoon, 1991 © Columbia Pictures Corporation

Returning to a place few people wanted to see in the first place, this critically derided film is by no means a good movie, it’s script and direction both uninspired. Jovovich stars opposite Brian Krause, the two playing young castaways on a deserted tropical island who mature into lovers. Strikingly similar to the first, the film was trounced and was a box office flop, but there’s no forgetting the young Jovovich, who was only 16 at the time. The movie was bad but there was something about the green-eyed beauty that caught attention. She started getting work, but her break was still a few years off.

Chaplin (1992)

Milla Jovovich
Chaplin, 1992 © Carolco Pictures

This story of the Charlie Chaplin, the famous early film star, was a huge success, with Robert Downey Jr. giving a highly acclaimed turn as the titular character. The movie was quite large with a big ensemble cast, and nearly lost in them was Jovovich who plays Mildred Harris, a very young woman who falls in love with Charlie. She barely has any lines and is on screen for only a few minutes (part of that nude), but once again, she shook audience members who clamored to find out who she was, this radiant beauty who stole her scenes like a professional thief. She is very good and door began to open.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Milla Jovovich
Dazed and Confused, 1993 © Gramercy Pictures

A cult classic that has become kind of iconic of the times and for an early and memorable appearance by Matthew McConaughey, Dazed and Confused was a box office hit and critically praised for its themes and performances. Jovovich plays Michelle, a guitar playing girlfriend of one of the leads, and while her part was significantly reduced by director/writer Richard Linklater, her image was used a lot in the marketing and makes a strong impression on the film. Either way, the experience put her off acting for nearly four years but when she came back, she came back big. And orange.

The Fifth Element (1997)

Milla Jovovich
The Fifth Element, 1997 © Gaumont

After pursuing music and living in Europe for a time, Jovovich exploded back on the scene in this sci-fi cult favorite, written and directed by Luc Besson (with whom she briefly married). Playing an alien named Leeloo, donned in bright orange hair and running around in a few strips of white cloth, she made a big impression on audiences and critics, who praised her physical and emotional performance. Kicking butt and showing off some terrific athleticism, she gained a huge fanbase and practically cemented herself as the new queen of science fiction. No one disagreed and Jovovich was suddenly a household name. Or at least everyone remembered her face. And maybe some other bits.

RELATED: Listen to our Cinema Recall Podcast about That Moment In The Fifth Element

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

Milla Jovovich
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, 1999 © Gaumont

If you’re married to one of the hottest female action stars of the time, and you’re a renowned film director, it’s probably best to get your wife into an action movie and show off some skills. And that’s exactly what Besson did, his follow-up to The Fifth Element being a re-imagining of the real life story of Joan of Arc. In the fictionalized story, Joan has visions, sometimes violent, that tell her to support French King Charles VII and lead his army against the English invaders. Less intent to follow history and more about the emotional turmoil of the young fighter, the film met with mixed reviews and was only a minor box office success. Still, it wasn’t long before Jovovich was capitalizing on her celebrity, entering the new millennium bigger than ever as she landed the lead in Resident Evil, forever cementing her as one of the greatest female action star in cinema.