Vanessa Hudgens is one of Hollywood’s most versatile actresses. In addition to starring in the Disney High School Musical franchise, she has also acted in movies like Spring Breakers and TV shows like Powerless. she even appeared on Broadway in a revival of Gigi.
But despite her incredible versatility, we love her best when she combines all these talents into one epic movie or TV show.
And while some of our favorites are obvious (she’ll always have a permanent place on our list), other picks may surprise you!
The following 11 Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows are each special for their reasons.
1. High School Musical
High School Musical is a 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie. It was the first Disney Channel Original Movie to have a sequel and the first to have a third installment. The series was filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In this movie, you’ll follow the lives of your favorite actors as they star in this blockbuster hit! This is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
2. High School Musical 2
- $20 million budget
- 11 songs
- 13 characters
- 4 million viewers on its premiere night, with an additional 3.5 million watching it during the week of its premiere.
The plot involves a school dance and two love triangles: Sharpay Evans has her sights set on Troy Bolton, while Gabriella Montez is torn between him and Ryan Evans.
Meanwhile, Troy’s best friend Chad Danforth pursues Taylor McKessie while she tries to get over her ex-boyfriend Zeke Tucci.
Overcoming their differences and learning about themselves through song and dance along the way, our heroes take on their school’s annual musical competition for Gabriella to win a scholarship at Juilliard School of Music (which is also where Sharpay will be attending).
There are several plot twists here, too—for one thing, the lead roles were initially supposed to be played by Zac Efron as Troy and Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella (they were cast opposite each other instead), but when both got sick during rehearsals they had no choice but use stand-ins until they recovered; additionally there was an accident scene involving a prop malfunction which injured Kenny Ortega badly enough that he had to go through surgery afterward!
Reviews were generally positive, with some critics calling it “the most fun summer movie.” In contrast, others took issue with how unrealistic it seemed compared to what high schoolers experience today.”
A sequel called High School Musical 3: Senior Year was released in 2008, breaking worldwide after grossing more than $1 billion, thanks to its record-breaking opening weekend at theaters across America alone.
There was also another spinoff series called Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, which aired for three seasons from 2011 until 2014.” High School Musical 2 is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
If you’re a high school musical series fan, then you’re in luck. This third installment is easily one of their best movies.
The movie begins with Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) preparing to graduate from East High School.
While Troy works on organizing a dance for their last night at school, Sharpay plans to make her brother Ryan’s (Lucas Grabeel) senior year all about him by throwing him a huge graduation party with her father as the guest speaker and an extravagant light show that she hopes will attract investors for his future career as an architect.
Meanwhile, at school, Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) has been working extra hard so that she can pursue her acting dream after graduation.
With only two weeks left until graduation day, everyone’s plans are put into motion, but things don’t turn out quite how they had hoped… This is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
Bandslam is the brainchild of director Todd Graff, who also directed Camp and The Kids Are All Right. It was produced by Blumhouse Productions and premiered in 2010.
The film stars Vanessa Hudgens, Aly Michalka, Gaelan Connell, Ryan Guzman, and Alex Russell as a group of teenagers who form a band to compete in a local battle of the bands’ competition.
Its plot may seem familiar: after all, it’s a High School Musical for older audiences! But that doesn’t mean this film isn’t worth watching—the music is perfect!
The movie’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 77 percent fresh (good) from critics and 78 percent rotten (bad) from audiences.
Its budget was $15 million, with worldwide box office earnings totaling $8 million. It was released on August 20th, 2010, in theaters around America. Bandslam is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
5. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
The second film in this list, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, is also the second movie based on a book by Jules Verne.
This one is set in an alternate version of 1980s New York City, where you can fly through the air via jet packs, and airplanes are made from wood instead of metal.
So basically, it looks like a steampunk version of New York City rather than our reality.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island stars Vanessa Hudgens as Emma (who was named for her grandfather), Josh Hutcherson as Sean Anderson (the grandson of Hank), Dwayne Johnson as Lawrence Limberght III (the inventor/owner of Limberght Industries), Michael Caine as Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame, and Brendan Fraser returning to his role as Sean’s father Hank Anderson Jr., who Orlando Bloom played in the first movie.
The director is Brad Peyton, who also worked with Dwayne Johnson on San Andreas and Rampage!, while Brian Gunn wrote several episodes for Supernatural before going on to write Journey 2: The Mysterious Island with his brother Mark Gunn; both brothers had previously worked together as writers for Footloose Live! This is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
If you’re a fan of Vanessa Hudgens, you’ll want to check out this movie. It’s based on the novel Beastly by Alex Flinn.
The movie was released in 2011 and directed by Daniel Barnz. The movie was produced by Summit Entertainment, owned by Lionsgate Studios. Beastly is one of the best Vanessa Hudgens movies and TV shows.
7. The Knight Before Christmas
The Knight Before Christmas is a 2011 holiday film directed by Brian Levant and starring Vanessa Hudgens and Jonathan Bennett.
The film was released directly to DVD on November 1, 2011. The film is a sequel to The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
In the movie, it’s Christmas time in Genovia, and Mia (Vanessa Hudgens) is invited to stay at the palace with the royal family for one more week of vacation before she has to go back home to California.
However, her time at the palace isn’t as relaxing when they discover that someone has tried (and failed) to kidnap Princess Anastasia.
8. Tick, Tick…Boom!
You may remember this film from its 2003 release. It’s not a big-budget production like many other movies on this list, but it’s still fun to watch and has some great characters.
The plot follows a man who is about to turn 40 and struggling with his life. He has lived with his parents for years and has no girlfriend or friends.
As you can imagine, he’s feeling pretty low about turning 40 and how his life has turned out so far.
This movie deals with issues many people face when they reach middle age: what do I want out of my career? How do I want to spend my time? What should I do with my life? These are all questions that everyone experiences at one point in their lives—and often multiple times throughout their lives—and Tick…Tick…Boom!
Tackles these ideas head-on by following its main character as he chooses between two different paths: leaving home or staying put, getting married or remaining single, working hard vs. pursuing an artistic endeavor (in this painting).
If you’re looking for something lighthearted but thought-provoking simultaneously, then Tick…Tick…Boom! It might be right up your alley!
Powerless is a comedy series by Ben Queen and aired on NBC. The series follows employees’ lives at the DC Comics-inspired subsidiary of Wayne Security.
They are tasked with helping people with superhero-related problems in a world where crime is lower than average, thanks to superheroes.
The show stars Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, an insurance adjuster at this company. She does her best to help people out when they have issues related to their home or office demolished by a superhero’s fight.
You can watch Powerless online via Hulu or Amazon Prime Video!
10. The Princess Switch
The Princess Switch is a romantic comedy that tells the story of two women who switch places. The movie was released in 2018 and is based on the book of the same name by Cindy Rodriguez. It stars Vanessa Hudgens, who also serves as its director, alongside herself.
11. The Knight Before Christmas
The Knight Before Christmas is a 2017 American Christmas comedy film directed by Dan Gregor, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Doug Mand.
The film stars Finn Wolfhard, who also served as an executive producer, and Vanessa Hudgens, who also served as a producer.
The story follows a young prince (Wolfhard) who travels to Los Angeles to find his father’s lost sword before Christmas Day arrives.
While there, he meets a girl named Penny (Hudgens), and they team up to find the sword before Santa Claus.
The film was theatrically released on November 30th, 2018, in limited release across North America by Paramount Pictures.
Although Vanessa Hudgens has appeared in many projects throughout her career, there’s no denying that she’s best known for playing Gabriella Montez in High School Musical.
The Disney Channel movie is widely considered one of the network’s reinvention points and was a massive success when it premiered in 2006.
However, Vanessa has managed to branch out from her Disney roots and starred in various exciting projects.
With Tick, Tick… Boom! on Netflix now, we thought it was a good time to look back at some of Vanessa’s best work.
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