Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

vulture lists

A Quantitative Ranking of Adam Sandler’s Movie BFFs

With actor cronies Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade mugging beside him in  Grown Ups 2, Adam Sandler continues the successful phone-a-friend casting strategy he’s employed ever since his theatrical breakout in 1995’s Billy Madison. But who else is on his speed dial, and in what order? To determine which of the Sandman’s many costars is truly his big-screen BFF, Vulture scoured IMDb to see which of his Hollywood pals has racked up the most credits in the twenty movies that Adam Sandler has both headlined and produced through his Happy Madison production company, the five other vehicles he has also co-produced and/or co-written (namely, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, and Hotel Transylvania), and The Wedding Singer, primarily because it’s The Wedding Singer, and thus pure Sandler-canon fodder. Not counted: Bulletproof, Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me, and Funny People, none of which, for better or for worse, fits the lofty criteria required to be called an Adam Sandler Movie (or ASM for short). Based on those highly scientific and yet entirely arbitrary parameters, here’s our rundown of the former Saturday Night Live goof’s nearest and dearest movie friends.*

1. Allen Covert (16 Adam Sandler Movie credits)
Relationship: A friend of Sandler’s since their days at New York University, Covert holds the distinction of being involved in more works of Sandlerian Cinema than anyone else currently roaming the Earth — and we’re not even counting his roles in Bulletproof and the many non-Sandler vehicles produced by Happy Madison (most notably, Grandma’s Boy).
ASM credits: Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Bedtime Stories, Just Go With It, Jack and Jill, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

2. Rob Schneider (12)
Relationship: You can figure this out. Seriously. You can do eeeet!
ASM credits: The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups

3. Jackie Sandler (11)
Relationship: She's the wife of Adam Sandler and, as such, a woman nuptially required to cameo in her husband’s films.
ASM credits: Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Eight Crazy Nights, 50 First Dates, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups, Just Go With It, That’s My Boy, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

4. Nick Swardson (8)
Relationship: An unsolicited call from Sandler gave this comic his big break in movie comedy (where “big break” equals co-writing and co-starring in Grandma’s Boy).
ASM credits: Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Bedtime Stories, Just Go With It, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Grown Ups 2

(tie) Dennis Dugan (8)
Relationship: Beginning with Happy Gilmore, Dugan has directed more Adam Sandler movies than any other filmmaker in Hollywood — and only has one Razzie to show for it! But the former actor (Moonlighting, et al.) also makes a cameo appearances in a few of them, too.
ASM credits: Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Grown Ups, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Grown Ups 2

(tie) Steve Buscemi (8)
Relationship: An unlikely yet frequent member of the traveling Sandler circus, Buscemi and Sandler most likely forged their friendship on the set of the vastly underrated 1994 comedy Airheads.
ASM credits: Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Grown Ups, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

7. Kevin Nealon (7)
Relationship: Among other things, Sandler was Cajun Man to Nealon’s SNL Weekend Update anchor.
ASM credits: Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, Eight Crazy Nights, Anger Management, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Just Go With It

(tie) Tim Herlihy (7)
Relationship: Another buddy from college and a former SNL writer, Herlihy mostly contributes on the writing and producing side. But surely we all recall his stirring performance as Singing Kangaroo in Big Daddy.
ASM credits: Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, Click, Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups

(tie) Robert Smigel (7)
Relationship: Got to know Sandler during their overlapping time on Saturday Night Live; made his feature screenplay debut by co-writing You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.
ASM credits: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Hotel Transylvania

(tie) Sadie Sandler (7)
Relationship: A daughter of Adam and Jackie Sandler, who hopefully won’t grow up to resemble Jill from Jack and Jill.
ASM credits: Bedtime Stories, Grown Ups, Just Go With It, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

11. Sunny Sandler (6)
Relationship: Ditto.
ASM credits: Grown Ups, Just Go With It, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

(tie) Kevin James (6)
Relationship: Frequent Sandler collaborator ever since they got fake-same-sex-married in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry.
ASM credits: 50 First Dates, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Grown Ups, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

(tie) John Farley (6)
Relationship: A frequent bit player in Sandler movies, he’s the brother of Chris Farley (who died having amassed just a single Sandler movie on his resume) and Kevin P. Farley (who has appeared in three Happy Madison or Happy Madison–esque productions).
ASM credits: The Waterboy, Little Nicky, Eight Crazy Nights, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Jack and Jill

14. David Spade (5)
Relationship: A member of the Gap Girl posse, whose bonds shall never break.
ASM credits: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Grown Ups, Jack and Jill, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

(tie) Jon Lovitz (5)
Relationship: Yet another fellow SNL alum still benefiting from the Sandler movie juggernaut.
ASM credits: The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, Eight Crazy Nights, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups 2

16. Henry Winkler (4)
Relationship: After coaching Bobby Boucher to victory in The Waterboy, the Happy Days stud came back for a few Sandler refills.
ASM credits: The Waterboy, Little Nicky, Click, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

(tie) Chris Rock (4)
Relationship: More SNL.
ASM credits: The Longest Yard, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2

(tie) John McEnroe (4)
Relationship: We’re not sure how this friendship started. All we know is that McEnroe has given tour de force performances as himself in several Sandler flicks, although we're still waiting for them to team up for a tennis-centric spin-off of Anger Management.
ASM credits: Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Jack and Jill

19. John Turturro (3)
Relationship: Like Buscemi, Turturro is another Coen Brothers kind of guy who somehow wandered into Sandler-vania.
ASM credits: Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

(tie) Norm MacDonald (3)
Relationship: SNL. A-GAIN.
ASM credits: Billy Madison, Grown Ups, Jack and Jill

(tie) Dave Matthews (3)
Relationship: It’s unclear how close these two are, or whether Sandler actually likes Matthews' music, or whether Matthews actually likes Sandler's comedy stylings. We just think it’s hilarious that half of the jam band frontman’s admittedly modest acting credits are rooted in the Sandler oeuvre. Can a DMB cover of “Lunchlady Land” be far behind?
ASM credits: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Just Go With It

* As a few astute commenters charmingly pointed out, we erroneously excluded four very frequent Sandler collaborators: Jonathan Loughran (12 ASMs), Peter Dante (12 ASMs), Blake Clarke (9 ASMs) and former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick (8 ASMs). Also, Colin Quinn and Tim Meadows both have 3 ASMs to their names.