Brolin was still a teenager when he landed his first major acting gig, in the 1985 classic, The Goonies. Early in his career, he was also considered for a starring role (which eventually went to Johnny Depp) in the series 21 Jump Street. (He did end up appearing in an episode during the first season.)
Television acting credits also include an episode of Highway to Heaven (1986), the role of Wild Bill Hickok in the series The Young Riders (1989-1992), and the starring role in the 2003 series Mister Sterling.
Brolin is known primarily for his movie work. Notable credits include Hollow Man (2000), American Gangster (2007), Milk (2008), Inherent Vice (2014), and starring roles in No Country for Old Men (2007) and W. (2008). More recently, Brolin has portrayed the voice (and motions) of the Marvel character Thanos, in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He also appeared as Cable (Nathan Summers) in 2018’s Deadpool 2.