Best Fantasy Movies of All Time

Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes’ compendium of cinema’s best-reviewed tales of swords and sorcery, fire and ice, and dungeons and…you get the idea. The swirling mythic cauldron (i.e. our database) reveals to all the best-reviewed live-action fantasy movies of all time, sorted by our ranking formula with at least 20 reviews each!

#84

The Fall (2006)
62%

#84
Adjusted Score: 65022%
Critics Consensus: More visually elaborate than the fragmented story can sometimes support, The Fall walks the line between labor of love and filmmaker self-indulgence.
Synopsis: A bedridden patient (Lee Pace) captivates a hospitalized girl (Catinca Untaru) with a fantastic tale involving heroes, mystics and villains... [More]
Directed By: Tarsem

#83

Solomon Kane (2009)
66%

#83
Adjusted Score: 67238%
Critics Consensus: Solomon Kane's formulaic and bleak narrative is overcome by an entertaining, straightforward adherence to its genre, exciting gore, and a gratifying lead performance by James Purefoy.
Synopsis: A man (James Purefoy) must renounce his newly taken vows of peace to rescue a young woman (Rachel Hurd-Wood) from... [More]
Directed By: Michael J. Bassett

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 67857%
Critics Consensus: Though Conan may take itself too seriously for some, this adventure film about a former slave seeking vengeance is full of quotable Schwarzenegger lines and gritty action.
Synopsis: Orphaned boy Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is enslaved after his village is destroyed by the forces of vicious necromancer Thulsa Doom... [More]
Directed By: John Milius

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 67870%
Critics Consensus: This hotly-anticipated pairing of martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li features dazzling fight scenes but is weighed down by too much filler.
Synopsis: Jason (Michael Angarano), an American teenager, is a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema and old kung-fu movies. While browsing... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#80

Ladyhawke (1985)
68%

#80
Adjusted Score: 69438%
Critics Consensus: There's pacing problems, but Ladyhawke has an undeniable romantic sweep that's stronger than most fantasy epics of its ilk.
Synopsis: Upon breaking out of a dungeon, youthful thief Phillipe Gaston (Matthew Broderick) befriends Capt. Navarre (Rutger Hauer), a man with... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#79
Adjusted Score: 70373%
Critics Consensus: Terry Gilliam remains as indulgent as ever, but The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus represents a return to the intoxicatingly imaginative, darkly beautiful power of his earlier work, with fine performances to match all the visual spectacle.
Synopsis: Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), the leader of a traveling show, has a dark secret. Thousands of years ago he traded... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 67590%
Critics Consensus: A goofy, old-school sword-and-sandal epic, Clash of the Titans mines Greek mythology for its story and fleshes it out with Ray Harryhausen's charmingly archaic stop-motion animation techniques.
Synopsis: Perseus (Harry Hamlin), son of the Greek god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), grows up on a deserted island. His destiny is... [More]
Directed By: Desmond Davis

#77

Godmothered (2020)
68%

#77
Adjusted Score: 72342%
Critics Consensus: More bippity boppity than boo, Godmothered tweaks fairytale conventions with just enough self-aware humor to overcome a disappointing deficit of genuine magic.
Synopsis: Set at Christmas time, "Godmothered" is a comedy about Eleanor, a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training (Jillian Bell), who upon hearing... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#76

Highlander (1986)
70%

#76
Adjusted Score: 73015%
Critics Consensus: People hate Highlander because it's cheesy, bombastic, and absurd. And people love it for the same reasons.
Synopsis: When the mystical Russell Nash (Christopher Lambert) kills a man in a sword fight in a New York City parking... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#75
Adjusted Score: 73674%
Critics Consensus: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an entertaining family adventure worthy of the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: One year after their previous adventure, the Pevensie children (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell) return to the... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#74

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
69%

#74
Adjusted Score: 74377%
Critics Consensus: It isn't Tim Burton's best work, but Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Set in 1799, "Sleepy Hollow" is based on Washington Irving's classic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Faithful to the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#73
Adjusted Score: 77349%
Critics Consensus: Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.
Synopsis: Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) lives a simple life with his fellow hobbits in the shire, until the wizard Gandalf (Ian... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#72
Adjusted Score: 78135%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining PG detour for gore maestro Eli Roth, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a family-friendly blend of humor and horror with an infectious sense of fun.
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Lewis goes to live with his oddball uncle in a creaky old house that contains a mysterious ticktock noise.... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 78265%
Critics Consensus: A wickedly funny tale of three witches and their duel with the Devil, fuelled by some delicious fantasy and arch comedic performances.
Synopsis: Three small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), each having lost the man in their lives,... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#70

Labyrinth (1986)
74%

#70
Adjusted Score: 78422%
Critics Consensus: While it's arguably more interesting on a visual level, Labyrinth provides further proof of director Jim Henson's boundless imagination.
Synopsis: Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson

#69

Nanny McPhee (2005)
74%

#69
Adjusted Score: 78479%
Critics Consensus: A bit alarming at first, Nanny McPhee has a hard edge to counter Mary Poppins-style sweetness, but it still charms us and teaches some valuable lessons.
Synopsis: Widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) hires Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) to care for his seven rambunctious children, who have chased... [More]
Directed By: Kirk Jones

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 79143%
Critics Consensus: Emma Thompson's second labor of love with the Nanny McPhee character actually improves on the first, delivering charming family fare with an excellent cast.
Synopsis: Enigmatic Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives on the doorstep of a harried mother, Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying... [More]
Directed By: Susanna White

#67
Adjusted Score: 79949%
Critics Consensus: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children proves a suitable match for Tim Burton's distinctive style, even if it's on stronger footing as a visual experience than a narrative one.
Synopsis: When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#66

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#66
Adjusted Score: 80573%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#65

Peter Pan (2003)
77%

#65
Adjusted Score: 80694%
Critics Consensus: Solid if far from definitive, this version of Peter Pan is visually impressive, psychologically complex and faithful to its original source.
Synopsis: As Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) recounts stories to her brothers, John (Harry Newell) and Michael (Freddie Popplewell), she is visited... [More]
Directed By: P.J. Hogan

#64

Zathura (2005)
76%

#64
Adjusted Score: 81193%
Critics Consensus: Dazzling special effects for the kids + well-crafted storytelling for the 'rents = cinematic satisfaction for the whole family.
Synopsis: After their father (Tim Robbins) is called into work, two young boys, Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo), are... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 81428%
Critics Consensus: Not all of its many intriguing ideas are developed, but The City of Lost Children is an engrossing, disturbing, profoundly memorable experience.
Synopsis: Old and decrepit Krank (Daniel Emilfork) has lost his capacity for dreaming and is attempting to fight death by stealing... [More]

#62

The Dark Crystal (1982)
79%

#62
Adjusted Score: 81770%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Crystal's narrative never quite lives up to the movie's visual splendor, but it remains an admirably inventive and uniquely intense entry in the Jim Henson canon.
Synopsis: Jen (Stephen Garlick), raised by the noble race called the Mystics, has been told that he is the last survivor... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

#61

Big Fish (2003)
76%

#61
Adjusted Score: 82679%
Critics Consensus: A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes, Big Fish is an impressive catch.
Synopsis: When Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) becomes ill, his son, William (Billy Crudup), travels to be with him. William has a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 82899%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#59
Adjusted Score: 83239%
Critics Consensus: While still slightly hamstrung by "middle chapter" narrative problems and its formidable length, The Desolation of Smaug represents a more confident, exciting second chapter for the Hobbit series.
Synopsis: Having survived the first part of their unsettling journey, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his companions (Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage)... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#58
#58
Adjusted Score: 83276%
Critics Consensus: Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.
Synopsis: Feeling misunderstood at home and at school, mischievous Max (Max Records) escapes to the land of the Wild Things, majestic... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#57

Excalibur (1981)
74%

#57
Adjusted Score: 80415%
Critics Consensus: John Boorman's operatic, opulent take on the legend of King Arthur is visually remarkable, and features strong performances from an all-star lineup of British thespians.
Synopsis: The magical sword of Excalibur starts off in the hands of British lord Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) and then, years... [More]
Directed By: John Boorman

#56
Adjusted Score: 83784%
Critics Consensus: With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#55
Adjusted Score: 84120%
Critics Consensus: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is an old-school adventure yarn with a distaff European - and generally rather delightful - spin.
Synopsis: A popular novelist deals with her would-be suitors, the cops, monsters, and other distractions.... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#54

Dragonslayer (1981)
82%

#54
Adjusted Score: 84251%
Critics Consensus: An atypically dark Disney adventure, Dragonslayer puts a realistic spin -- and some impressive special effects -- on a familiar tale.
Synopsis: A terrible dragon is terrorizing the medieval land of Urland in the 6th century. Representatives from the kingdom seek the... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Robbins

#53

Stardust (2007)
77%

#53
Adjusted Score: 84384%
Critics Consensus: A faithful interpretation that captures the spirit of whimsy, action, and off-kilter humor of Neil Gaiman, Stardust juggles multiple genres and tones to create a fantastical experience.
Synopsis: To win the heart of his beloved (Sienna Miller), a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) ventures into the realm... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 84665%
Critics Consensus: A visual treat rich in symbolism, The Holy Mountain adds another defiantly idiosyncratic chapter to Jodorowsky's thoroughly unique filmography.
Synopsis: A Mexican master (Alexandro Jodorowsky) leads a Christ figure (Horacio Salinas) and other disciples to a mountain of immortal wise... [More]
Directed By: Alexandro Jodorowsky

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 85678%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 86153%
Critics Consensus: Like many classic games, Jumanji: The Next Level retains core components of what came before while adding enough fresh bits to keep things playable.
Synopsis: When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#49

Pinocchio (2019)
83%

#49
Adjusted Score: 86378%
Critics Consensus: Sticking closely to Carlo Collodi's original story, Matteo Garrone's Pinocchio pulls every string to create a visually stunning film that proves some tales really are timeless.
Synopsis: Geppetto's puppet creation, Pinocchio, magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Easily led astray, Pinocchio tumbles... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#48
Adjusted Score: 86718%
Critics Consensus: May leave you exhausted like the theme park ride that inspired it; however, you'll have a good time when it's over.
Synopsis: Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives at Port Royal in the Caribbean without a ship or crew. His timing is... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#47

Tale of Tales (2015)
83%

#47
Adjusted Score: 87984%
Critics Consensus: Visually splendid and narratively satisfying, Tale of Tales packs an off-kilter wallop for mature viewers in search of something different.
Synopsis: Three fairy tales revolve around a king (John C. Reilly) who must slay a sea monster, a giant flea and... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#46
Adjusted Score: 88144%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#45
Adjusted Score: 88353%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#44
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#43
Adjusted Score: 90062%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#42

Matilda (1996)
90%

#42
Adjusted Score: 90504%
Critics Consensus: Danny DeVito-directed version of Matilda is odd, charming, and while the movie diverges from Roald Dahl, it nonetheless captures the book's spirit.
Synopsis: This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#41
Adjusted Score: 91320%
Critics Consensus: Closer to the source material than 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is for people who like their Chocolate visually appealing and dark.
Synopsis: Based on the beloved Roald Dahl tale, this comedic and fantastical film follows young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore) and his... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 91756%
Critics Consensus: Bridge to Terabithia is a faithful adaptation of a beloved children's novel and a powerful portrayal of love, loss, and imagination through children's eyes.
Synopsis: The life of Jesse (Josh Hutcherson), an adolescent, changes when he befriends Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), the class outsider. The children... [More]
Directed By: Gabor Csupo

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 92322%
Critics Consensus: Don Chaffey's Jason and the Argonauts is an outlandish, transportive piece of nostalgia whose real star is the masterful stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen.
Synopsis: After saving the life of his royal father's usurper, Pelias (Douglas Wilmer), whom he fails to recognize, Jason (Todd Armstrong)... [More]
Directed By: Don Chaffey

#38

Time Bandits (1981)
90%

#38
Adjusted Score: 92686%
Critics Consensus: Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.
Synopsis: Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#37

The BFG (2016)
74%

#37
Adjusted Score: 93273%
Critics Consensus: The BFG minimizes the darker elements of Roald Dahl's classic in favor of a resolutely good-natured, visually stunning, and largely successful family-friendly adventure.
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#36

Cinderella (2015)
84%

#36
Adjusted Score: 93473%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella proves Disney hasn't lost any of its old-fashioned magic.
Synopsis: After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett)... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#35
Adjusted Score: 93638%
Critics Consensus: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey celebrates the yuletide season with a holiday adventure whose exuberant spirit is matched by its uplifting message.
Synopsis: Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toymaker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on... [More]
Directed By: David E. Talbert

#34
Adjusted Score: 93704%
Critics Consensus: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.
Synopsis: Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 94230%
Critics Consensus: The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Synopsis: A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being -- the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#32
Adjusted Score: 94780%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#31
Adjusted Score: 95387%
Critics Consensus: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is strange yet comforting, full of narrative detours that don't always work but express the film's uniqueness.
Synopsis: The last of five coveted "golden tickets" falls into the hands of a sweet but very poor boy. He and... [More]
Directed By: Mel Stuart

#30

The Witches (1990)
93%

#30
Adjusted Score: 95740%
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#29
Adjusted Score: 95881%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#28
Adjusted Score: 96050%
Critics Consensus: Bursting with Terry Gilliam's typically imaginative flourishes, this story of a possibly deranged Baron recounting his storied life is a flamboyant and witty visual treat.
Synopsis: During the "Age of Reason" of the late 18th century, the Turkish army lays siege to a European city where... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#27

Life of Pi (2012)
86%

#27
Adjusted Score: 96903%
Critics Consensus: A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.
Synopsis: After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#26
Adjusted Score: 97482%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 97776%
Critics Consensus: El Espíritu de la Colmena uses a classic horror story's legacy as the thread for a singularly absorbing childhood fable woven with uncommon grace.
Synopsis: In an allegory of life after Gen. Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War, life in a remote village in... [More]
Directed By: Víctor Erice

#24

Snow White (2012)
95%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98060%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written and beautiful to behold, Blancanieves uses its classic source material to offer a dark tale, delightfully told.
Synopsis: Rescued from her evil stepmother (Maribel Verdú) by dwarves, a young woman (Macarena García) becomes a bullfighter like her late... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Berger

#23

Orpheus (1950)
97%

#23
Adjusted Score: 98459%
Critics Consensus: Heavy with symbolism and deliberately paced, Orpheus may not be for everyone -- but as an example of Jean Cocteau's eccentric genius, it's all but impossible not to recommend.
Synopsis: At the Café des Poètes in Paris, a fight breaks out between the poet Orphée (Jean Marais) and a group... [More]
Directed By: Jean Cocteau

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 98942%
Critics Consensus: With an enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs, and a painterly eye for detail, Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honors its beloved source material.
Synopsis: Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#21

The Seventh Seal (1957)
94%

#21
Adjusted Score: 99163%
Critics Consensus: Narratively bold and visually striking, The Seventh Seal brought Ingmar Bergman to the world stage -- and remains every bit as compelling today.
Synopsis: When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the... [More]
Directed By: Ingmar Bergman

#20
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 100059%
Critics Consensus: It requires some viewing commitment, but this beautifully assembled showcase for Douglas Fairbanks' acting offers some splendid treats for classic film fans.
Synopsis: A thief sneaks into a royal palace, where he sees and falls instantly in love with a beautiful princess. Pretending... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Walsh

#18

Enchanted (2007)
93%

#18
Adjusted Score: 100288%
Critics Consensus: A smart re-imagining of fairy tale tropes that's sure to delight children and adults, Enchanted features witty dialogue, sharp animation, and a star turn by Amy Adams.
Synopsis: Banished by an evil queen, Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) from a fairy-tale world lands in modern Manhattan, where music, magic... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Lima

#17
Adjusted Score: 100587%
Critics Consensus: Full of eye-popping special effects, and featuring a pitch-perfect cast, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring brings J.R.R. Tolkien's classic to vivid life.
Synopsis: The future of civilization rests in the fate of the One Ring, which has been lost for centuries. Powerful forces... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 101997%
Critics Consensus: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.
Synopsis: Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#15

Mary Poppins (1964)
96%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100939%
Critics Consensus: A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews's legendary performance in the title role.
Synopsis: When Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar -- but still solidly effective -- family-friendly spell.
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#13

Pete's Dragon (2016)
88%

#13
Adjusted Score: 102285%
Critics Consensus: Pete's Dragon continues Disney's current live-action winning streak with an update that gives the original a visual overhaul without overwhelming its sweet, soulful charm.
Synopsis: Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the... [More]
Directed By: David Lowery

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 102716%
Critics Consensus: Dashing, dazzling, and altogether magical, The Thief of Bagdad is an enchanting fantasy for children of all ages.
Synopsis: Deceived and deposed by his sinister adviser, Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), Ahmad (John Justin), the King of Bagdad, must find a... [More]

#11

Ugetsu (1953)
100%

#11
Adjusted Score: 102704%
Critics Consensus: With its thought-provoking themes, rich atmosphere, and brilliant direction, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu monogatari is a towering classic of world cinema.
Synopsis: In 16th century Japan, peasants Genjuro (Masayuki Mori) and Tobei (Sakae Ozawa) sell their earthenware pots to a group of... [More]
Directed By: Kenji Mizoguchi

#10
Adjusted Score: 102799%
Critics Consensus: Visually breathtaking and emotionally powerful, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King is a moving and satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.
Synopsis: The culmination of nearly 10 years' work and conclusion to Peter Jackson's epic trilogy based on the timeless J.R.R. Tolkien... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#9
Adjusted Score: 103669%
Critics Consensus: The Two Towers balances spectacular action with emotional storytelling, leaving audiences both wholly satisfied and eager for the final chapter.
Synopsis: The sequel to the Golden Globe-nominated and AFI Award-winning "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 103682%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#7

The Green Knight (2021)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 106376%
Critics Consensus: The Green Knight honors and deconstructs its source material in equal measure, producing an absorbing adventure that casts a fantastical spell.
Synopsis: An epic fantasy adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, THE GREEN KNIGHT tells the story of Sir Gawain (Dev... [More]
Directed By: David Lowery

#6

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 104443%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 104897%
Critics Consensus: With its magical optical effects and enchanting performances, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast remains the most surreal -- and soulful -- of the fairy tale's film adaptations.
Synopsis: The story of a gentle-hearted beast in love with a simple and beautiful girl. She is drawn to the repellent... [More]
Directed By: Jean Cocteau

#4

A Monster Calls (2016)
86%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105983%
Critics Consensus: A Monster Calls deftly balances dark themes and fantastical elements to deliver an engrossing and uncommonly moving entry in the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His beloved and devoted mother (Felicity Jones)... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#3
Adjusted Score: 109303%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#2

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114751%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#1

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115182%
Critics Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
Synopsis: When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to... [More]
Directed By: Victor Fleming

Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

All Harry Potter Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series. But while the first Fantastic Beasts continue the Certified Fresh streak, the second became the first Rotten entry in this cinematic Wizarding World. The third Beasts film, The Secrets of Dumbledore, releases April 2022. Now, we’re ranking all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies by Tomatometer!

#10
Adjusted Score: 56399%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments.
Synopsis: In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#9
Adjusted Score: 95881%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#8
Adjusted Score: 88144%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#7
Adjusted Score: 88353%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#6
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#5
Adjusted Score: 90062%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#4
Adjusted Score: 94780%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#3
Adjusted Score: 97482%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#2
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#1
Adjusted Score: 109303%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

(Photo by Marvel Studios / Disney, 20th Century Fox, Miramax, TriStar)

For their bravery, wit, general badassery, and unbroken spirit in the face of enormous challenges (be they gender discrimination or acid-hissing aliens), we pay tribute to 87 Fearless Movie Women Who Inspire Us.

How did we arrive at our top 87? With the help of a fearless panel of women critics made up of some of the best writers in the industry, including a few on the Rotten Tomatoes staff. Starting with a long list of candidates, they whittled down the list to an initial set of 72 amazingly heroic characters and ordered them, crowning the most fearless woman movie hero in the process. Want to know more about the ladies who voted? We included their bios at the end! Then, in addition to their contributions, which make up the bulk of the list, we also added a handful of more recent entries chosen by the RT staff.

The final list (you can watch every movie in a special FandangoNOW collection) gives compelling insight into which heroes have resonated through the years, women whose big-screen impact remains even as the times change. We have the usual suspects along with plenty of surprises (Working Girl, your day has come!), and the only way to discover them all is reading on for the 87 fearless women movie heroes — and groups of heroes — who inspire us!


ALIEN, Sigourney Weaver, 1979, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

 

Alien (1979) 98%

#1One of the appeals of science-fiction is the luxury to comment on modern issues and social mores, or even eschew them completely. Take a look at the diverse space crews in Star Trek, Sunshine, or Alien, where people are hired based on nothing but competence, and none have proven their competence under extreme pressure as well as Ellen Ripley. She’s tough, pragmatic, and cunning in Alien. Journey with Ripley into Aliens and we get to see her in a new light: mothering and nurturing with hints of deep empathy (Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this performance), which only makes the Xenomorph-stomping side of her even more badass.


WORKING GIRL, Melanie Griffith, 1988 (20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

 

Working Girl (1988) 84%

#2And on the other side of the Sigourney spectrum, Weaver here plays Katharine, a particular kind of woman who’s nasty to the competition: other women. The object of her scorn is her secretary, Tess McGill (played by Melanie Griffith), who has her great ideas stolen by Katharine. The plucky Tess in turn pretends to be her boss’s colleague, and proceeds to shake things up in this corporate Cinderella story. Who doesn’t dream of one day suddenly arriving in a higher echelon of society? Of course, it’s what you do once you get there that’s important, and the glowing and tenacious Tess makes the most of it.


Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel)

 

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 93%

#3Hard-drinking, ass-kicking Valkyrie makes no apologies for her choices and draws solid boundaries. Sure, she’s flawed, but that’s what makes her successes so sweet. That she’s played by Tessa Thompson doubles the fun.


Letitia Wright as Shuri (Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

 

Black Panther (2018) 96%

#4Letitia Wright proved that a sister doesn’t have to sit in the shadow of her sibling simply because he’s king. Her Shuri has the smarts and the sass to cut her own path, making her technical genius essential not only to the Kingdom of Wakanda, but also the Avengers’ recent efforts to take down the tyrant Thanos.


Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures (Fox 2000 Pictures)

(Photo by Fox 2000 Pictures)

 

Hidden Figures (2016) 93%

#5Don’t ask us to choose a favorite among Hidden Figures’ Space Race heroines: Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. The Oscar-nominated drama tells the story of a real-life team of female African-American mathematicians crucial to NASA’s early space program.


Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road (Jasin Boland/Warner Bros)

(Photo by )

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 97%

#6As Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron blazed a trail for enslaved post-apocalyptic cult wives in skimpy clothing – literally. With an assist from Max (Tom Hardy), soldier Furiosa set the road on fire to rescue her charges from madman Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), leader of the Citadel.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Daisy Ridley as Rey (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd)

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd)

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 91%

#7Daisy Ridley gave girls everywhere – and full-grown women, in truth – a fresh new hero to adore when she debuted in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of humble origins, scrappy Rey overcomes her circumstances living as an orphan in a harsh environment to become an essential component in the Resistance. It helps, of course, that The Force is with her.


 

WONDER WOMAN, Gal Gadot (Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures)

(Photo by Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

Wonder Woman (2017) 93%

#8Despite her superpowers and privileged background, Gal Gadot as Diana – princess of Themyscira and the Amazons, daughter of Queen Hippolyta and King of the Gods Zeus – retains her humility and a genuine care for humanity. She’s also the most rock solid member of DC’s boys club of Justice League superheroes.


Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Carrie Fisher as Leia (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

 

Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi (1983) 82%

#9Come on…she’s Princess Leia. She leads the Rebel Alliance. She saves the galaxy again and again (with a little help from Luke, and Han, and Chewy). She eventually becomes a revered general, but from the very start – when she first confronts Darth Vader at the beginning of Episode IV – A New Hope – she shows a defiant, fiery nature that never dims. In her defining film role, Carrie Fisher brings impeccable comic timing to this cosmic princess.


Jennifer Lawrence as Ree, Winters Bone (Roadside Attractions)

(Photo by Roadside Attractions)

 

Winter's Bone (2010) 94%

#10Before she was Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence was Ree, the role that made her a star and earned her the first of four Oscar nominations. A no-nonsense teenager, Ree dares to brave the dangers lurking within the Ozark Mountains to track down her drug-dealing father and protect her siblings and their home. With each quietly treacherous encounter, she shows depth and instincts beyond her years, and a willingness to fight for what matters.


 

Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster as Clarice (Orion Pictures Corporation)

(Photo by )

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 96%

#11You can’t have any fear when you’re going up against Hannibal Lecter – or at least you can’t show it. He’ll sniff it out from a mile away. But what’s exciting about Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the young FBI cadet is the way she works through her fear, harnessing that nervous energy alongside her powerful intellect and dogged determination. Clarice Starling is a hero for every little girl who thought she wasn’t good enough.


Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich (Universal Pictures)

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

 

Erin Brockovich (2000) 85%

#12Julia Roberts won a best-actress Oscar for her charismatic portrayal of this larger-than-life, real-life figure. Erin Brockovich is repeatedly underestimated because of the flashy way she dresses and the brash way she carries herself. But as a single mom who becomes an unlikely environmental advocate, she’s a steely fighter. What she lacks in book smarts, she more than makes up for with heart. Steven Soderbergh’s film is an inspiring underdog story.


BROADCAST NEWS, Holly Hunter (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

 

Broadcast News (1987) 98%

#13Jane Craig is the toughest, sharpest, most prepared woman in the newsroom at all times, but she isn’t afraid to cry to let it all out when the pressure gets too great. Writer-director James L. Brooks created this feminist heroine, this workplace goddess, but Holly Hunter brilliantly brings her to life. She’s just so vibrant. Even when she’s sitting still (which isn’t often), you can feel her thinking. And while two men compete for her attention, no man could ever define her.


FARGO, Frances McDormand (MGM Studios)

(Photo by MGM Studios)

 

Fargo (1996) 94%

#14It would be easy to underestimate Marge Gunderson. Sure, she’s in a position of power as the Brainerd, Minnesota, police chief. But with her folksy manner – and the fact that she’s so pregnant, she’s about to burst – she’s not exactly the most intimidating figure. But in the hands of the brilliant Frances McDormand, she’s consistently the smartest and most fearless person in the room, and she remains one of the Coen brothers’ most enduring characters. You betcha.


AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Danai Gurira as Okoye (Marvel/Walt Disney Studios)

(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios)

 

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%

#15Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje who specializes in spear fighting and strategic wig flipping. Of late, Okoye has been seen keeping company with Avengers.


Bridget Jones's Diary, Renée Zellweger (Miramax Films)

(Photo by Miramax Films)

 

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) 79%

#16Things Bridget Jones is prone to: accidents, fantasizing about sexy coworkers, worrying about her weight, and running mad into the snow wearing tiger-print underwear. All totally relatable things, so it’s no surprise she’s the highest-ranked romcom heroine on this list. It also doesn’t hurt that, at their best, Bridget’s movies are what romantic comedies aspire to: They’re fun, cute, and just when it feels like everything’s about to fall apart, there’s the exhilarating little twist at the end that leaves watchers feel like they’re floating on air.


CLUELESS, Alicia Silverstone as Cher (Paramount Pictures)

(Photo by Paramount Pictures)

 

Clueless (1995) 81%

#17It’s true that Cher is a little oblivious to the world at large, but she’s just so earnest and she tries so hard. She discovers a passion for doing good after successfully matchmaking a pair of teachers, and after a series of difficult lessons learned, she makes an honest effort to escape her privileged bubble and become a better person. Like we all should.


THELMA & LOUISE, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis (MGM Studios)

(Photo by MGM Studios)

 

Thelma & Louise (1991) 85%

#18Thelma and Louise, best friends who stick by each other no matter what. And when their girls’ getaway weekend quickly turns from frivolous to frightening, they find even deeper levels of loyalty to each other. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon have an effortless chemistry with each other, and Ridley Scott’s intimate and thrilling film never judges these women for the decisions they make — or for the lengths to which they’ll go in the name of freedom.


THE COLOR PURPLE, Whoopi Goldberg (Warner Brothers)

(Photo by Warner Brothers)

 

The Color Purple (1985) 81%

#19Enduring racism, misogyny, and emotional, physical, and sexual violence, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg in her film debut) transcends her traumatic life in the rural South, finding friends, strength, and her own voice.


A FANTASTIC WOMAN, (UNA MUJER FANTASTICA), Daniela Vega (Sony Pictures Classics)

(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)

 

A Fantastic Woman (2017) 94%

#20As a transgender waitress, Marina constantly endures cruelty and confusion from the ignorant people around her. When the one man who loves her for who she truly is dies unexpectedly, she finds herself in the midst of an even more emotional, personal fight. Transgender actress Daniela Vega initially was hired as a consultant on Sebastian Lelio’s film; instead, she became its star, and A Fantastic Woman deservedly won this year’s foreign-language Oscar.


Terminator 2, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor (TriStar Pictures)

(Photo by TriStar Pictures)

 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 93%

#21Sarah Connor makes many want to be a better mother – or at least get to the gym and work on our triceps. The once-timid waitress crafts herself into a force of nature, a fearsome and visceral manifestation of pure maternal instinct. Played most memorably by Linda Hamilton in the first two Terminator movies, Sarah may seem unhinged, but she’s got laser-like focus when it comes to protecting her son, John, from the many threats coming his way.


Jackie Brown, Pam Grier (Miramax Films)

(Photo by Miramax Films)

 

Jackie Brown (1997) 87%

#22The return of blaxploitation queen, Pam Grier! What’s not to love? Especially in Quentin Tarantino’s killer love letter to South Bay Los Angeles. As Jackie Brown, Grier exudes classic cool with a tough exterior.


Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain (Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures)

(Photo by Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures)

 

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) 91%

#23Jessica Chastain has made a career of playing quick-witted characters with nerves of steel. Nowhere is this truer than in her starring role in Kathryn Bigelow’s thrilling depiction of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Maya is obsessively focused in her pursuit of the al Qaeda leader. She’s a confident woman who has to be extra prepared to survive in a man’s world. But when the mission is over and she finally allows some emotion to shine through, it’s cathartic for us all.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Brothers/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Warner Brothers/ Everett Collection)

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

#24She’s the smartest kid in the class, regardless of the subject. The hardest worker, too. And she’s proud of those qualities, making her an excellent role model for girls out there with an interest in math and science. But Hermione isn’t all about the books. Over the eight Harry Potter films, in Emma Watson’s increasingly confident hands, Hermione reveals her resourcefulness, loyalty, and grace. She’s a great student but an even better friend.


Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (Columbia Pictures/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ Everett Collection)

 

His Girl Friday (1940) 99%

#25Howard Hawks’ celebrated screwball comedy benefited from a not-so-small change to the stage play it was based on: In the original The Front Page, Hildy Johnson was a male. But thanks to Rosalind Russell’s lively performance, as well as a few script changes she personally insisted upon, the character blossomed into an early icon of the independent working woman who’s not only just as effective at her job as her male counterparts, but also equally adept with a witty comeback.


The Incredibles (Walt Disney/ Everett Collection)

(Photo by Walt Disney/ Everett Collection)

 

The Incredibles (2004) 97%

#26Elastigirl takes on all the trials of motherhood: She’s got hyper kids, a bored husband, and has to witness certain parts of her body unperkify. Elastigirl also just happens to be a superhero, with the fate of the world resting on her shoulders.


Gina Torres in Serenity (Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Serenity (2005) 82%

#27Fans of the short-lived but beloved Fox sci-fi series Firefly were already familiar with Gina Torres‘ badassery as Zoe Washburne in Serenity. A veteran of the Unification War and second in command of the ship, Zoe is a strong and loyal ally who rarely pulls punches, whether she’s stating a controversial opinion or engaged in a literal fistfight. With her free spirit and deadly skills, it’s no wonder she became a fan favorite.


Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

9 to 5 (1980) 83%

#28Dolly Parton is a national treasure, and 9 to 5 allows her to light up the screen with her sparkling, charismatic personality. But while Doralee may seem like a sweet Southern gal, she’s got a stiff backbone and a sharp tongue, and she isn’t afraid to use them when she’s crossed. When she finally stands up to her sexist bully of a boss alongside co-workers Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, it’s nothing short of a revolution – one that remains sadly relevant today.


Geena Davis in A Legaue of Their Own (Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

A League of Their Own (1992) 80%

#29The story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is one that deserves to be told, and it’s Geena Davis Dottie Hinson who grounds this fictional account. She’s a talented local player who becomes the star of the Rockford Peaches, and it’s her quick thinking that brings publicity to the sport. When her decision to play in the World Series leads to a spectacular finish, she also demonstrates a very human vulnerability, making her a strong but relatable heroine.


Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice (Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Pride & Prejudice (2005) 86%

#30Jane Austen’s classic heroine Elizabeth Bennet jumps off the page in the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley, who gives audiences an intelligent, down-to-Earth, sometimes literally dirty, but uncompromisingly steadfast leading lady.


Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde (courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Everett Collection)

 

Legally Blonde (2001) 70%

#31Never underestimate a sorority girl. They are organized and they know how to get what the want. In the case of Elle Woods, she goes after her law school goals with a smile on her face, a spring in her step, and an impeccably coordinated wardrobe. Reese Witherspoon is impossibly adorable in the role, with a potent combination of smarts and heart to shut down the naysayers who are foolish enough to judge her simply by her looks.


Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) 91%

#32Talk brashly and carry a big sword. As Tom Cruise’s character unravels a complex time travel sci-fi story, a constant in his fluctuating world is Rita Vrataski aka the killer Angel of Verdun. But Emily Blunt gives life to Rita beyond burgeoning love interest. She takes the lead and makes the movie just as much her’s.


Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

 

Captain Marvel (2019) 79%

#33When Nick Fury sent that mysterious intergalactic text message right before disappearing into dust at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, eager fans knew what was in store. As played by Brie Larson, Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU — if not THE most powerful — and she’s in such high demand that she spends most of her time battling evil on other planets. She shows up when it counts, though, and she can rock a mowhawk like nobody’s business.


Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds in A Quiet Place (Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection)

 

A Quiet Place (2018) 96%

#34Though hit hard by tragedy and seemingly insurmountable odds of surviving an alien invasion, mother and daughter duo Evelin and Regan Abbott prove their mettle in A Quiet Place.


Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek: The Motion Picture Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

(Photo by Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

 

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) 44%

#35Played first in film by the groundbreaking star of the Star Trek TV series, Nichelle Nichols, the role was passed on to Zoe Saldana in the 2009 reboot film. Uhura, the USS Enterprise chief communications officer, was a critical crew member throughout the franchise in both TV and film.


Dafne Keen in Logan (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Logan (2017) 94%

#36Who can stand up to Hugh Jackman’s fierce Wolverine without flinching? His cloned daughter X-23. Dafne Keen imbued the preteen mutant, a.k.a. “Laura,” with a volatile mix of anger, despondency, obstinance, and hope – that we would very much like to see more of.


Kristy Swanson in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) 36%

#37She’s Buffy. She slays vampires while juggling cheerleading and the SATs. But while Kristy Swanson gives the character a satricial bent, it’s the legendary TV adaptation that gives this character a lasting legacy. But the movie ain’t a bad place to start.

(Photo by WB/ courtesy Everett Collection)

How to Watch Harry Potter Movies In Order

Everyone came into the Wizarding World through the Harry Potter books and movies, which introduced us to a gifted 11-year-old, his friends Ron and Hermione, and their hallowed school of magic, Hogwarts. Watching the Harry Potter movies in order, seeing the story unfold chronologically in-universe, used to be as easy as finding the one where Daniel Radcliffe looks youngest and starting from there.

But the series has expanded now with the Fantastic Beasts movies, set some 70 years before The Sorcerer’s Stone. So to watch the Harry Potter movies in order, your journey now begins with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set in 1926 and starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scarmander. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927. The third Fantastic Beasts intends to release July 2022, with two more movies to close out the Scarmander and Grindelwald saga.

Then the story of Harry himself begins, starting with Sorcerer’s Stone and concluding in the second-part of The Deathly Hallows, for eight Certified Fresh movies in a row. There’s also a Harry Potter series early in development for HBO Max. For now, see our guide below on how to watch all Harry Potter movies in order.

#10
Adjusted Score: 95881%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#9
Adjusted Score: 56399%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments.
Synopsis: In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#8
Adjusted Score: 89062%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#7
Adjusted Score: 90062%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps more enchanting for younger audiences, Chamber of Secrets is nevertheless both darker and livelier than its predecessor, expanding and improving upon the first film's universe.
Synopsis: The follow-up to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" finds young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends, Ron... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#6
Adjusted Score: 99790%
Critics Consensus: Under the assured direction of Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban triumphantly strikes a delicate balance between technical wizardry and complex storytelling.
Synopsis: Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#5
Adjusted Score: 97482%
Critics Consensus: The main characters are maturing, and the filmmakers are likewise improving on their craft; vibrant special effects and assured performances add up to what is the most complex yet of the Harry Potter films.
Synopsis: The fourth movie in the Harry Potter franchise sees Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#4
Adjusted Score: 88353%
Critics Consensus: It's not easy to take the longest Harry Potter book and streamline it into the shortest HP movie, but director David Yates does a bang up job of it, creating an Order of the Phoenix that's entertaining and action-packed.
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#3
Adjusted Score: 94780%
Critics Consensus: Dark, thrilling, and occasionally quite funny, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is also visually stunning and emotionally satisfying.
Synopsis: As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students.... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#2
Adjusted Score: 88144%
Critics Consensus: It can't help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows: Part I is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.
Synopsis: Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

#1
Adjusted Score: 109303%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Deathly Hallows Part II brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying -- and suitably magical -- conclusion.
Synopsis: A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) prepare... [More]
Directed By: David Yates

It’s the Super Bowl of fantasy series showdowns in the latest edition of Vs., in which we’re pitting the Lord of the Rings movies against the Harry Potter films – including, for both franchises, the prequels. (And no, this does not help either side on the scoreboard.) Do Peter Jackson’s big-screen takes on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels walk all over the movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s books like so many Ents stampeding through a forest? Or does the Boy Who Lived snatch up victory as if it were some quick-darting Golden Snitch? Find out as Rotten Tomatoes Contributing Editor Mark Ellis breaks down each franchise by Tomatometer and Audience Score, box office, heroes and villains, and one special wild card category.


The Lord of the Rings films are available to rent or buy on FandangoNOW, Vudu, iTunes, and AmazonThe Harry Potter films are available to rent or buy on FandangoNOW, Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon


Thumbnail images by Universal courtesy Everett Collection

As we all settle in to stay at home and socially distance ourselves, the planet has been given a unique resource not often afforded in the modern world: time. With no place to go, what shall we do with this new abundance of free hours? Time to finish that book you have had on your bedside table? Maybe take an online French class or learn to play an instrument? Time to binge every series that ever was? Or perhaps, like us, you’re thinking of all the films you wished you’d seen but never had the time to before.

Maybe one of those epic movie franchises that seemed too daunting to jump into late in the game – don’t ever admit you’ve never seen an MCU movie, ever – or a series of which you’ve caught a few entries but want to fill in the gaps. Fear not  we have you covered with our Epic Franchise Movie Binge Guide. Read below as we break down some of the most beloved long-running movie franchises – like The Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, or the granddaddy of them all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and tell you the best way to approach watching them, how long the binge will take, and which titles you can skip. Because hey, even all the time in the world may not be enough time to make you sit through A Good Day to Die Hard.

Disagree with our picks or have a suggestion for a franchise movie binge? Let us know in the comments. 


The Lord of the Rings

What is it: The film adaptations of the fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, set in ”Middle-earth,” the fictitious medieval land where elves, men, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits co-exist, often not so peacefully. Over the course of several films, we follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins and later his young heir Frodo Baggins as they go on adventures and battle against the forces of evil. 

How many hours: Extended editions: 20 hours 30 minutes; Theatrical cuts: 17 hours and 12 minutes.

Starts with:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)  

Ends with: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)  

Best way to watch: Some would argue the second trilogy – though the first by story chronology – from Peter Jackson was an unnecessary and bloated cash grab that should be avoided at all costs, but we have a better suggestion. We suggest you begin with the LOTR animated film from 1978, which will give you all the events of the films in a quicker and to-the-point format. Then, if you are compelled to see the best of The Hobbit live-action series, we would say check out the standard edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is the best of the three. We would also suggest you try to watch the extended editions of the original live-action LOTR series – they are more than worth it for the extra content. This recommendation would make for a shorter, 16-hour watch, which could be broken up easily over two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. The Two Towers and The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King standard editions are streaming on Netflix.


Marvel Cinematic Universe

What is it: The 23-film saga that chronicles the epic adventures of various superheroes, based on the comics first distributed by Marvel and its subsidiaries. 

How many hours: 50 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Iron Man (2008)  

Ends with:  Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Best way to watch: Not surprising for a franchise that grossed over $22 billion at the global box office, but Marvel Studios’ 23-film, decade-long opus is quite watchable as is. Some folks would have argued in 2010 that Avengers: The Age of Ultron is a skippable mess, but as we detail here, it is essential viewing to truly appreciate the first four phases of the saga that culminated with Avengers: Endgame. Sorry for those looking for a shortcut, but watching it all is worth it. Viewing all 23 movies straight through, without breaks, however, is not the way to do it.

Instead, we suggest you go in release order and complete each day as follows: day one after Avengers; day two after Ant-man; day three after Black Panther; and finish on day four with Spider-Man: Far From Home. If you’ve previously watched the MCU and are looking to watch it in a new way, use our guide here to watch in chronological order based on the events of each film. If the thought of 50 hours of superheroes is still too intimidating for you, but you want to understand enough to get by, watch these character introduction films (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy) and these team-up films (Civil War, Winter Soldier, Avengers, Ultron, Infinity War, Endgame). Once you have finished that, check out our Oral Histories of the MCU, in which the directors, producer, and casting director who worked on the epic franchise break down all the behind-the-scene secrets.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. All of the films save The Incredible Hulk and the Spider-Man films are streaming on Disney+. The Avengers: Infinity War and The Avengers: Endgame are streaming on Netflix; and Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Thor are streaming on Amazon Prime.


Die Hard Franchise

What is it: Follow John McClane, a police detective who seems to be a magnet for maniacal criminals no matter which city/structure he is in, and proves to be a tough man to kill.

How many hours: 10 hours and 14 minutes.

Starts with:  Die Hard (1988)

Ends with: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Best way to watch: The original Die Hard is so beloved that many argue it’s the greatest action film ever made – or maybe the greatest Christmas movie, but that is a debate for another day. The film and its follow-ups have a loyal fanbase, and though the second and third entries pale in comparison to the first, we still say they’re worth a watch. The fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard, is a true return to form and, frankly, it’s where you should stop unless you are a true completist. The series’ most recent film, A Good Day to Die Hard, is the only PG-13 entry on the list, and without McClane’s iconic “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf–ker,” there’s really no point pushing play.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discounted Bundle), Amazon,  iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance are streaming now on CinemaxGoLive Free or Die Hard is streaming on the Starz app.


The Fast & Furious Franchise

What is it: Follow Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew, which he calls his family, as they shift from illegal street-racing criminals to heist experts and then finally emerge as a new crime-fighting unit that tackles the world of espionage.

How many hours: 15 hours and 57 mins. 

Starts with: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Ends with:  Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Best way to watch: As Dom and everyone in the Fast franchise says – quite often – this is about family. So, if you’re looking for something to skip, it’s hard to imagine who you’d want to kick out one of the family – though, let’s be honest, 2 Fast 2 Furious is definitely not Dad’s favorite. Without Vin Diesel, that entry can barely call itself a Fast and Furious movie, and the 2009 series soft reboot, Fast & Furious, is not much better and an easy call to skip, as well. We would caution against skipping third entry Toyko Drift; its charms are significantly more than its 37% Tomatometer score would suggest (something we wax about in our book Rotten Movies We Love). Not to spoil anything, but when we finally get Fast 9 in 2021, you’ll need to have seen Tokyo Drift to understand everything fully – check out #JusticeForHan after you finish the series, and you will understand. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Hobbs & Shaw and Fast Five are streaming on HBOnow; Fast 6 is streaming on FXnow.


Rocky Franchise

What is it: Follow Philly underdog boxer-turned-champion, Rocky Balboa, as he battles various fighters in the ring, as well as his own issues outside of it, and later trains the next generation of champions.

How many hours: 14 hours and 55 minutes. 

Starts with: Rocky (1976)

Ends with:  Creed II (2018)

Best way to watch: This one’s real simple: trust us and skip Rocky V. Just pretend it didn’t happen; we’re pretty sure Sylvester Stallone did. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, VuduGooglePlayRocky Balboa is streaming on the Starz appCreed II is streaming on Hulu and Amazon.


Harry Potter / Wizarding World Franchise

What is it: The franchise based on JK Rowling’s phenomenally successful novels follows the adventures of Harry Potter, an orphan-turned-famed wizard, the evil He Who Must Not Be Named, and the Wizarding World they inhabit.

How many hours: 24 hours and 6 minutes. 

Starts with:   Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Ends with:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Best way to watch: As this is a British series, allow us to put this as politely as possible: Fantastic Beasts is simply not quite on form. The first entry is saved by Eddie Redmayne and mesmerizing magical effects; the second entry is the first and only Rotten flick from the Wizarding World and very skippable at this stage. The original seven films are near perfect, but if you wanted to pass over The Chamber of Secrets you wouldn’t miss much – you won’t be too confused later in the series. (Though if watching as a family, this is one the kids tend to like.) If you follow that suggestion, you can finish the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlayFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is streaming on HBONow.


X-Men Franchise

What Is It: Follow Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men as they try to save the world and the lives of their fellow Mutants. Professor X and co. work with, and sometimes against, mutants like the powerful Magneto, Wolverine, and the wisecracking mercenary Deadpool.
How many hours: 21 hours and 43 minutes.

Starts with:   X-Men: First Class (2011)

Ends with:  Logan (2017)

How to watch: The critics will tell you that both X-Men: The Last Stand (the third of the original films) and X-Men: Apocalypse (the third of the rebooted, second-gen films) are shells of their brilliant predecessors. And with the last X-Men film to enter theaters, Dark Phoenix, disappointing on the Tomatometer and at the box office, you should essentially skip any film that has anything to do with Jean Gray’s Dark Phoenix. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is admittedly a hard watch to suffer through, but you kinda have to just to appreciate the brilliance of Deadpool and its sequel, if only for what they did differently with the character. Every film that character is in after Origins highlights why Ryan Reynolds was born to play the “Merc with a Mouth.”

Watching in the order of events is the best way to approach things if you don’t want to be confused by the time travel that happens later in the series. That order is: First Class, Days of Future Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix, X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Logan. If you leave off the aforementioned weakest entries (The Last Stand, Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix) you can complete the entire series in one day.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool are streaming on FXNowX-Men Origins: Wolverine is available to stream on the Starz app. 


Jurassic Park Franchise

What is it: In these films, we welcome you to Jurassic Park, a theme park – and eventually various associated islands, mansions, West Coast cities – where dinosaurs have been genetically recreated to walk the Earth alongside humans. Over the course of series we watch as that combination invariably doesn’t work out well for the humans.

How many hours: 10 hours and 1 minute.

Starts with:  Jurassic Park (1993)

Ends with:  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Best way to watch: This was a subject of contentious debate among the RT staff: some thought the Jurassic World part of the franchise is unwatchable, while others had strong takes on Jurassic Park 3 and The Lost World. As this is only a five-film series so far, we compromised: Watch them all and make your own determinations. Either way, we all agreed that the original Jurassic Park is a bona fide classic, and if you haven’t seen it, please remedy this injustice as soon as possible. It only takes a day to watch them all. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is streaming on CinemaxGo.


Mission Impossible Franchise

What is it: Watch secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew of talented spies as they battle the world’s most dangerous criminals along with the bureaucracy of his own organization, the IMF. The films are based on the 1960s television show.

How many hours: 13 hours and 3 minutes.

Starts with:   Mission: Impossible (1996)

Ends with:  Mission: Impossible -- Fallout (2018)

Best way to watch: It’s apparent after six films (with a seventh on the way): Tom Cruise really likes playing Ethan Hunt. And with every film, Cruise looks to top the jaw-dropping stunts from the last. Still, there is a stark contrast between the first three films and the rest, in regards to quality and scope. Many will tell you the second film, directed by John Woo, and the third, directed by J.J. Abrams, are the weakest of the set, but they’re still thoroughly enjoyable and feature some truly astonishing stunts – so we suggest you watch them all. And thankfully this is not – yes, we’re gonna say it – impossible to do in one or two days. 

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Mission Impossible: Fallout is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation are streaming on FXNow.


James Bond Franchise

What is it: James Bond, MI6 intelligence officer and international playboy, charms women, thwarts terrorist plots, and sips a shaken martini in well-tailored suits. Based on Ian Fleming’s iconic novels.

How many hours: 55 hours and 11 minutes.

Starts with:  Dr. No (1962)

Ends with:   Spectre (2015)

Best way to watch: For completists, we recommend you start with the Connery films on day one, then do a day of Timothy Dalton, David Niven (the satire Casino Royale from 1967), and George Lazenby’s films, adding one or two of Roger Moore’s. Finish with Moore on day three, then do a full day of Pierce Brosnan for day four, and end the series on day five with Daniel Craig. If that’s a bit too daunting, you can break up the films we suggested for one day across two days instead. If you’re looking for a few to skip, we’d suggest A View to Kill and Octopussy. We’d also suggest you skip Never Say Never Again, as it is a shadow of Connery’s older work; Moonraker is only enjoyable for how laughable it is; and there’s not enough vodka on earth to make The World is Not Enough a good time. Quantum of Solace is another one you can miss, but at least watch the opening scene – it’s fantastic.

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, Itunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day are streaming on NetflixQuantum of Solace and Casino Royale (1967) are streaming on HBONow.


Star Trek Franchise

What is it: These are the stories of the USS Enterprise, crafted for the silver screen. Watch Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and later Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) as they lead their crews to the furthest reaches of the universe on a peacekeeping mission to discover new worlds. The films are based on the Star Trek television series and its subsequent spin-offs.

How many hours: 25 hours and 17 minutes.

Starts with:  Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Ends with:  Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Best way to watch: At the risk of angering the original series Trekkies, the first film – Star Trek: The Motion Picture – is simply not very good (it’s 42% on the Tomatometer). The same can be said of The Final Frontier. When we shift into The Next Generation part of the franchise, the series starts off strong but fizzles with Star Trek: Nemesis. We suggest you should skip those four. When you start the reboot franchise, some would advise you to skip Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was much maligned by the fandom but which we say is worth seeing for Benedict Cumberbatch, if nothing else. As far as ordering your binge, watching the series as the films were released is the way to go. Begin with the first set of films featuring the original series characters, followed by the films centering on the cast of The Next Generation, and finish with the reboot films that started in 2009. If you are skipping films following our advice, the new order is original series (The Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, The Voyage HomeUndiscovered Country), followed by the Next Generation films (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection), and finishing with the 2009 reboot films (Star Trek, Into Darkness, Beyond).

Where to watch: FandangoNOW (Discount Bundle), Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay. Star Treks 1-6, First Contact, Insurrection, and Generations are streaming AmazonStar Trek: Into Darkness is streaming on FXnow; and Star Trek Nemesis, First Contact, Generations are streaming on Crackle.


Thumbnail image: yParamount, Paramount, courtesy of the Everett Collection 

Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to creating female characters, routinely giving them smaller parts and less screen time according to research collected by resource center Women and Hollywood. But what they do with that screen time? That is increasingly becoming more interesting. From Danai Gurira’s fierce Okoye tossing her wig so that she can better fight the enemy in Black Panther to Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince not thinking twice about entering No Man’s Land in Wonder Woman (or just some sassy lip service from old Hollywood greats like Mae West and Katharine Hepburn), there are quite a few moments of women in film that make us say “f–k yeah.” So we rounded up a few of our favorites for this list.


A+ innuendo in I'm No Angel (1933) 93%

With her sultry purrs, swaying hips, and mastery of the double entendre, Mae West could easily take up 90-percent of the spots on this list. But the sheer moxie of her role in 1933’s I’m No Angel is an inspiration to us all. “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better,” she flaunts to Cary Grant’s wealthy Jack Clayton in director Wesley Ruggles’ salty romp. Here’s hoping HBO is still working on that biopic about West because the world needs her right now.


Catching a lift in It Happened One Night (1934) 99%

Never underestimate the cunning of a determined heiress. In this famous hitchhiking scene from director Frank Capra’s screwball comedy, Claudette Colbert’s headstrong Ellie Andrews shows Clark Gable’s washed-up reporter Peter Warne a much more effective way to stop traffic than the old waving thumb routine. The film – the first of three movies to win all of the five major Academy Awards – is adored by cinephiles and continues to be celebrated in current popular culture (perhaps you might remember it referenced in the modern-day cinematic classic, Sex and the City 2?).


Putting your ex in his place in The Philadelphia Story (1940) 100%

Many old Hollywood films suffer from the virgin vs. temptress depiction of women, but Katharine Hepburn was not typically one for such simplicities. This film was her first big hit and the one that cemented the public’s knowledge of her unmistakable mid-Atlantic accent. “Dexter, would you mind doing something for me? Get the heck out of here,” she demands as shuts down her ex-husband, played by Cary Grant, who is intruding upon the celebration for her upcoming second marriage. (Because this is a 1940 romantic comedy, he will also become her new husband by the time the credits roll.)


Tell us how you really feel in Kiss Me Kate (1953) 92%

This film adaptation of the Cole Porter play (itself an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew) was a celebration of female independence disguised as a cheery musical comedy. Take, for example, the bluntly titled solo “I Hate Men,” which is meant to represent one character’s complete and total side-eye to the concept of courtship. Lines like, “of all the types I’ve ever met within our democracy / I hate the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy!” make it seem like not much has changed since the show hit Broadway in 1948 and then, eventually, theaters in 1953.


Don’t judge a book by its cover in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) 98%

Never judge a movie by its title and never underestimate the craftiness of a buxom bombshell. There are so many great moments in director Howard Hawks’ musical comedy, but we love the way that Marilyn Monroe’s showgirl, Lorelei Lee, doesn’t raise her voice an octave above her trademark whisper when she tells off her intended’s disrespectful father, who dismisses her as another gold-digger. “Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty?,” she says. “You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?” Well, we do all lose our charms in the end …


Never bow down to tyrants in The King and I (1956) 93%

It takes a lot of gumption to stand up to the King of Siam. After all, all you risk losing is a little self respect (and balance) if you agree to squat lower than his height whilst wearing a hoop skirt. But Anna (Deborah Kerr) did it, and she got through to the hard-headed monarch played by Yul Brynner. It eventually led to some pretty remarkable dancing and romance (with a clear understanding that this kind of thing can happen, of course).


Empathy doesn’t mean “kiss me” in Funny Face (1957) 87%

A #MeToo moment long before the hashtag went mainstream, Audrey Hepburn’s bookshop owner and budding philosopher Jo Stockton is quite clear that teaching Fred Astaire’s older fashion photographer, Dick Avery, about empathy doesn’t mean that she wants to be kissed – “by you or anyone else.” They do lock lips at the end of the Stanley Donen-directed film, but by then it’s a mutually agreed-upon action.


A dance for independence in West Side Story (1961) 93%

With a flash of fuchsia ruffles and some fancy footwork, Rita Moreno’s Anita and her gal pals offer a piece of hope during the dance number for Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s song “America” in directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ 1957 film adaptation of the popular musical. This moment isn’t just for immigrants to this country with dreams of success (or just having your own washing machine); it symbolizes the ability to stand up to the bothersome men who might be holding you back.


Reveling in being a bad girl in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) 88%

So much of the legacy of outlaw Bonnie Parker is tied up in Faye Dunaway’s Oscar-nominated depiction of her in director Arthur Penn’s 1967 film: A bored young girl from a nowhere town who jumps at a chance to break from the rulebook that fate set out for her — even if it means going whole hog into a life of crime. The way she taunts this power and revels in the danger of it by telling Michael J. Pollard’s C.W. Moss that “we rob banks” is so brazenly anti-heroine that it makes even the most stringent pearl-clutchers pause and consider adding some excitement to their lives.


Enacting vigilante justice in Coffy (1973) 79%

Maybe the world needs more vigilantes like Pam Grier’s eponymous crime fighter in writer-director Jack Hill’s 1973 blaxploitation film. A nurse who is sick of seeing her neighborhood (and, specifically, her own sister) destroyed by drug use, Coffy goes rogue to take down any and all responsible parties – especially the ones who double-cross her. Car-jacking, faking a drug-induced stupor, and the killing of corrupt cops ensue.


Not quivering in the face of death in Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope (1977) 92%

Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa may be a princess, but she for sure isn’t a damsel waiting to be rescued. In the first few minutes alone of the 1977 Star Wars movie, A New Hope, she acts quickly to hide the blue prints for the Death Star space station, is so over the threat of an uber-villain like Darth Vader, and mouths off to Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), even though she seems headed for certain death. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo could never.


Standing up for what’s right in Norma Rae (1979) 90%

Sometimes all it takes is one woman who is willing to risk it all. Sally Field’s Oscar-winning turn in the role inspired by union activist Crystal Lee Sutton brought increased public attention to the need for safe and healthy working conditions. In the film’s stressful climax, we see her strongly and silently stand on her work table and hold up a sign with a single, solitary message: UNION. It works, even if she is hauled off to jail.


Putting your pervy boss on blast in 9 to 5 (1980) 83%

With all the workplace revenge fantasies about lecherous bosses that have been made, we really could just name director Colin Higgins’ seminal film and be done with it. But let’s concentrate on Dolly Parton’s fed-up Doralee Rhodes. Sick of being sexually harassed and gossiped about by her boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Dabney Coleman), she takes advantage of his current moment of immobility (he’s been kidnapped and tied up) to make him think she’s willing to change him from a “rooster to a hen in one shot” of her gun.


Creating quite a headache in The Terminator (1984) 100%

Apparently messing with fate is just asking to get your head squashed. By the end of director James Cameron’s first Terminator movie, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) has embraced her inner badass and is ready to finish the job that resistance fighter Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) was sent from the future to do: Take down the killer robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and save humankind. How does she do this when pipe bombs aren’t enough? Flattening its head in a hydraulic press and uttering one obvious-but-mighty catchphrase (“you’re terminated, f—er!”).


Calling out women who don’t help other women in The Color Purple (1985) 81%

There is so much pain and suffering in director Steven Spielberg’s 1985 period drama (and Alice Walker’s novel, which serves as its basis), but the idea of a woman encouraging a man to abuse another woman? That is squashed in one wrenching scene. “All my life I had to fight … but I ain’t never thought I’d have to fight in my own house!,” the hardened Sofia (Oprah Winfrey) challenges her step mother-in-law Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), who had herself become weak and submissive after a lifetime of abuse.


Telling a boyfriend that you’re smart enough to do it on your own in The Last Dragon (1985) 59%

There comes a time when a woman can no longer handle the put-downs and harassments; a moment when she (hopefully) dares to prove her naysayers wrong and that she can (and will) amount to something without them. For Angela Viracco (Faith Prince), that moment came when she accepted that her lousy, kidnapping crook of a boyfriend Eddie (Chris Murney) was more interested in his own ego than her feelings. She calls him a “misguided … asshole” before walking out for “elocution class.”


Fighting a queen in Aliens (1986) 97%

“Get away from her, you bitch!” The phrase that will be forever associated with Alien franchise star Sigourney Weaver also works for so many of us who have never had the pleasure of battling an alien queen while wearing an exo-suit (try it the next time you’re at a club, a grocery store, or a dog park when someone gets inappropriately close to your friend). To her credit, Weaver has said that she thinks she got the line in one take. You better just start dealing with it, Hudson.


Defending your grouchiness in Steel Magnolias (1989) 70%

Burned out by life and distrustful of everyone and everything? Shirley MacLaine’s Ouiser understands. At this point in director Herbert Ross’ 1989 film adaptation of Robert Harling’s play, Ouiser has zero qualms about telling Julia Roberts’ Shelby that, in no uncertain terms, she does not want to be fixed up with some seemingly kind-hearted widower. Don’t take it personally, though. As Ouiser says, “I’m not crazy. I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.”


Having no time for street slang in Boyz N the Hood (1991) 96%

Even though Murray (Donald Faison) would eventually school Dionne (Stacey Dash) about the cultural significance of street slang in Clueless, Regina King has zero time for the vernacular in her breakout role as Shalika in director John Singleton’s 1991 coming-of-age dramedy Boyz n the Hood. As she blatantly puts it during a party, she “ain’t no ho.” All the respect for my future Oscar winner.


Being the purr-fect villainess in Batman Returns (1992) 80%

Meow. The battle of wits between Batman (Michael Keaton) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito) was getting kind of droll before Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman Simone Bileses her way into it in all her red-lipsticked glory. They would also soon learn that she’d turned the department store behind them into a powder keg (after lassoing guns out of the hands of two underpaid night security guards). Because that’s how you make an entrance.


Fighting back in What's Love Got to Do With It (1993) 97%

Domestic abuse is so often a hidden crime, and it’s not something we should celebrate. But Tina Turner’s brave admittance of her own suffering (and Angela Bassett’s Oscar-nominated depiction of it in director Brian Gibson’s 1993 biopic) did wonders for mainstreaming a previously taboo topic. The scene where she fights in a limo, after so many people ignored her pain because of Ike Turner’s power, resonated with an unfortunate number of audience members.


Taking a stab at the Final Girl trope in Scream (1996) 79%

The ’90s ultimate Final Girl, played by Neve Campbell, finally puts an end to Billy (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu’s (Matthew Lillard) murder spree when she shoots the former square between the eyes. Warned that the killer always comes back, our heroine – who would go on to survive three more movies and a total of seven killers overall – pulls the trigger and declares, “Not in my movie.” Sidney Prescott: Breaking horror-movie rules since 1996.


Declaring that no one owns you in The First Wives Club (1996) 49%

Female empowerment sing-alongs are a trope in and of themselves. But a group of middle-aged women played by Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn who have been wronged by love and life rocking out in three-part harmony to a Lesley Gore staple in matching white suits? Yes, we would very much like to be invited to that party. We promise not to tell them what to do, what to say, and we will certainly not put them on display.


Saving humankind in The Fifth Element (1997) 71%

In the future, combat is still clearly required to survive. Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo, a humanoid reconstructed by scientists in 2263 from remaining cells in a sarcophagus, isn’t always sure if she likes people and the harm that they’ve done to the planet, but she is quite good at protecting us – especially when the bad guys come at her. She also made a collection of ‘90s mall rats (well, me) want red hair and white midriff tops.


Defying gender stereotypes in Mulan (1998) 86%

Disney heroine Mulan (who is voiced by Ming-Na Wen) accomplishes quite a feat in directors Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft’s 1998 animated hit. Not only is she brave enough to masquerade as a man and enlist in the Chinese army in the name of sparing her father, a great warrior who is now in weakened health, but she and her trusty sidekicks are able to save the emperor from a bloody attack by the Huns – and get the entire city to put sexism aside and bow down to her.


Defying the laws of physics in The Matrix (1999) 88%

Before Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman entered No Man’s Land or Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen braced for the Hunger Games arenas, Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity was bending the rules of time and space without breaking a sweat in her Latex for the Wachowskis’ cyber-punk dystopian thriller. She came with quite an introduction, after all. In the beginning few moments of the first Matrix, we see her sail onto rooftops, take down a fleet of police officers and stare death in the face as she gets out just in time. A role model to us all.


Daring an adult to cross you in Election (1999) 92%

It’s easy to hate Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) in writer-director Alexander Payne’s 1999 adaptation of novelist Tom Perrotta’s political farce. She is a Type-A grating perfectionist and, chances are, she reminds you of some obnoxious overachiever who went to your high school. But she deserves her success and, in a spectacular art of verbal emasculation during one scene, you can see why: Matthew Broderick’s otherwise beloved high school teacher, Jim McAllister, thinks he’s cornered her into admitting she destroyed a rival candidate’s election campaign posters while implying that his true frustration with her is that she had an affair with his married, adult friend. Tracy goes on the attack and you instantly end up rooting for her.


Putting it all out on the table in Erin Brockovich (2000) 85%

Much of the beginning of director Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 biopic sets up why polite society should hate Julia Roberts’ Oscar-winning portrayal of the eponymous heroine. She’s got kids from different dads, has street smarts instead of framed diplomas, and used to be a beauty queen (“Oh, the horror!” to all of the above). But Erin’s able to get answers that others can’t by playing up her other, ahem, assets. “They’re called boobs, Ed,” she smirks when her boss (Albert Finney) asks how she acquired such necessary and privileged information.


Testing your skills in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) 97%

Even if martial arts isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to ignore the beauty in director Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning film. The 2000 movie is also a feminist mantra, as it concentrates on fighting techniques traditionally employed by women. No matter if you’re rooting for Michelle Yeoh’s skilled warrior or Zhang Ziyi’s governor’s daughter who secretly trained in the art of Wudang fighting, it is empowering to see them duel each other in one of the most thrilling sequences of the film, as it demonstrates exactly how deadly each of these ladies is.


Dragging racers in The Fast and the Furious (2001) 54%

Does Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty really look like someone who isn’t prepared to burn rubber in a drag race? Nope. And the opposing driver should have heeded her advice to “hit Hollywood Boulevard” if he was looking for a hook-up. All she was willing to offer him was an “adrenaline rush” and a chance to lose a chunk of change. She made good on both of those.


Making a permanent mark on the legal profession in Legally Blonde (2001) 70%

Reese Witherspoon’s pink-partial Elle Woods showed that one could care about the law and time-consuming hair and beauty regimens in director Robert Luketic’s brightly-colored comedy. All she had to do to get her client (Ali Larter) off the hook for murdering her husband is prove that the prosecution’s star witness’s alibi that she wasn’t around to see the gun go off was a bit frizzy at the ends (perms take a couple days without shampooing to set, don’t ya know?).


Taking on an army of assassins in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 85%

It’s complicated to watch the Kill Bill movies now, in the wake of star Uma Thurman’s allegations that Quentin Tarantino mistreated her on set. But, the writer-director’s 2003 ode to martial arts films still has a message about a woman’s revenge plot to take down her former colleagues and mentor/boss. The climax in the first movie happens after she murders a nemesis’ young protégé (after begging the girl to leave her be) and involves the epic, bloody slaying of a menagerie of swordfighters and knife throwers in suits. Hell hath no fury …


Protecting those who can’t protect themselves in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

While condoning violence should not be encouraged, it’s easy to understand why Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) felt the need to punch the “foul, loathsome, evil little cockroach” Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) in the nose. The sniveling little rich brat had it coming; he’d just got an innocent hippogriff sentenced to death because he’d lied to his powerful father about why the animal attacked him.


Cooking with fire in Hellboy (2004) 81%

It’s not difficult to be badass when you possess the ability to control blue fire, and Selma Blair’s Liz Sherman from the Hellboy films proved more than once that she was a force to be reckoned with. Sure, she came close to burning down a hospital (not her fault, really), but who comes to Hellboy’s aid when he’s being overwhelmed by demon pups? Liz flames on and incinerates the beasties — and fries a few demon eggs in the process — proving that behind every good man (or Hellboy), there’s an equally good woman.


Beating the system in The Hunger Games (2012) 84%

The only true way to survive The Hunger Games’ eponymous cruel, futuristic gladiator arenas isn’t to kill a bunch of other teenagers – it’s to outsmart the people who forced you into them and then changed the rules at will so that the odds were never going to be in your favor. When killing her ally (and budding crush) Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) seems to be the only option for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) bets big and pivots to suggest a double suicide pact on national television. It works, and they’re safe – for a while.


Defending yourself in Brave (2012) 78%

Who says a princess has to have a suitor? Tearing her constricting dress, Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) shows she’s a better shot than all of the “eligible” bachelors fighting for her hand in an archery contest. Much like her bouncy red curls that flow in all their glory, this medieval Scottish princess from directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman’s 2012 animated Disney film cannot be contained.


Unleashing your primal roar in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) 86%

Sometimes the pressure is too much and you have to roar with all your might. This is especially true if you’re a little girl in the Louisiana bayou and you desperately want to please your father. Quvenzhané Wallis received an Oscar nomination for playing Hushpuppy, the six-year-old who is mighty enough to find her own means of survival as her world crumbles around her in director Benh Zeitlin’s 2012 drama.


Taking a  car chase up a notch in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 97%

It’s one thing to kill your deranged, megalomaniac captor. It’s quite another to do it during a dusty, gritty car chase in a post-apocalyptic action film, like director George Miller’s 2015 OScar-winner. Here, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa finally destroys Hugh Keays-Byrne’s Immortan Joe after his years of abuse and horrendous crimes on her community, particularly the five women he’s kept for “breeding.”


Being unafraid to talk about delicate matters in Hidden Figures (2016) 93%

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) was one of the smartest mathematicians at NASA. She knew she had to choose her words carefully when her boss, Kevin Costner’s Al Harrison, asked her why she kept disappearing during her shift in front of co-workers who didn’t really trust her that much already. The answer to her problem was a simple enough one; she just needed someone else to solve it – in the still-segregated building, she needed a lavatory she was allowed to use to be near her office. And she got it.


Telling your boss to f-off in The Shape of Water (2017) 92%

Timid-seeming Elisa (Sally Hawkins) gets “moments” aplenty in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape Of Water: a gorgeous dance sequence, a wonderfully matter-of-fact masturbation scene, a dreamy underwater awakening. But the one that had audiences cheering – and still does – is the scene in which she tells Michael Shannon’s cartoonishly awful Colonel Strickland “F–k you” in sign language.


Rethinking your workwear in Atomic Blonde (2017) 79%

As Charlize Theron’s MI6 field agent Lorraine Broughton deadpans to her interrogators in a debriefing, if she knew she’d be walking into a police ambush when she searched their dead colleague’s apartment, she would have “worn a different outfit.” Instead, she takes on a group of thugs like a real-life game of Whac-A-Mole – if, of course, that arcade game was traditionally played in over-the-knee black boots, a miniskirt, and a white trench coat.


Deciding who you can trust in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 91%

It isn’t so much that Daisy Ridley’s Rey is able to hold her own in a fight with armed guards after Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren chooses her over his master, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Everyone knew that was coming. It’s when she realizes that Kylo still hasn’t come back to the light side of the Force and they battle for Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber so hard that it splits in two that things really get interesting.


Taking sibling rivalry to the next level in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 93%

Sometimes you want to emphasize with the villain – especially when she’s played with such vindictiveness as Cate Blanchett plays Thor’s big sister, Hela. And like so many other older siblings, she took away her brother’s favorite toy (his hammer!) when he refused to obey her. Sorry, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). You can’t win them all. But at least you still have chiseled arms and pretty blonde hair.


Taking bullets for the team in Wonder Woman (2017) 93%

Well, they did call it No Man’s Land. Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince doesn’t care that soldiers haven’t been able to get the Germans to retreat from this bloody war zone. She only cares that people are suffering and they need her help. The scene, which some called the best superhero moment of the year when director Patty Jenkins’ film came out in 2017, showed a fearless, determined heroine courageously throw herself into battle in the name of protecting the innocent.


Having no time for Western beauty standards in Black Panther (2018) 96%

Danai Gurira’s Okoye can fight in an evening gown, but in a major act of toppling the patriarchy she feels more comfortable going into battle without her wig. This no-nonsense moment is both practical (why hold onto anything that’s a liability when things are about to get real?) and also an educational tool to teach mass audiences a lesson about Black womens’ hair.


Banding together in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%

Because one female superhero is great but three is even better, there’s this moment of comradery in Anthony and Joe Russo’s 2018 comic-book film: Danai Gurira’s Okoye had just gotten used to fighting with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow when Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch descended from the skies to help them finish the fight. Okoye does ask an important question, though: “Why was she up there all this time?”


Not throwing away your shot in The Favourite (2018) 93%

Want to prove your loyalty? Then don’t allude to the things better left unsaid. Emma Stone’s Abigail learned this lesson well when she attempted to bond with her cousin, Sarah (Rachel Weisz) over some casual bird shooting in the lawn belonging to their mistress, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne. Given Sarah’s not-so-veiled threats, perhaps Abigail should have waited to have this conversation at a place where firearms weren’t involved.


Mastering the rules of the game in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) 90%

The clacking of the mahjong tiles. The two random ladies who don’t appear to speak English. The unflinching courage of Constance Wu’s economics professor Rachel Chu in the face of her most fearsome adversary: Michelle Yeoh’s Eleanor Young, the stoic mother of her love, Nick (Henry Golding). This battle of wits at the end of director John M. Chu’s smash 2018 rom-com, Crazy Rich Asians, displays so much deep-seated aggression. But if you think this is about which side Henry will choose, you’re only seeing half the picture.


Readying to make some noise in A Quiet Place (2018) 96%

Lock and load. By the end of director John Krasinski’s 2018 horror film, Emily Blunt’s Evelyn Abbott has lost her husband, given birth in a tub as monsters stalked her, and just watched her deaf daughter’s hearing aid make another monster explode while also sending out the signal for more of them to come. No wonder she’s ready to take charge and survive.


Having no mercy in Alita: Battle Angel (2019) 61%

In this futuristic dystopia, there’s no room for love or mercy when you’re a Hunter-Warrior (or bounty hunter). So why should cyborg Alita (Rosa Salazar) show mercy to Jackie Earle Haley’s nefarious Grewishka when she finally gets the upper hand after he sliced up her body? As she tells him in director Robert Rodriguez’s 2019 action thriller, “F–k your mercy.”


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It’s been seven years since Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley, but it could be 70 and Harry Potter fans won’t forget him. So when Grint found himself filming the second season of his Crackle series Snatch in Costa del Sol, Spain, he met Harry Potter fans unlike any he’d met before.

“[They’re] touching, quite tactile,” Grint said. “Hugs are a big thing down there.”

The hands-on fans didn’t hold up filming at all, however. Most of the scenes in Snatch occur in remote beachfront settings. And when the crew ventured into the city proper, Grint was impressed by the Harry Potter devotion he’d see — plenty of fans he encountered had their HP love inked on their bodies.

“The most classic tattoo I see is the Deathly Hallows symbol,” Grint said. “It was nice. They’re quite passionate fans over there. It’s kind of big in Spain. It really sparked something in that culture, I guess.”

Grint shouldn’t have been too surprised, since the off-the-grid actor — he’s not on social media at all — still gets snail mail from fans, many of them located in Spain. But hugs, tattoos, and fan mail are the closest Grint gets to Harry Potter these days. The movie franchise has moved on to Fantastic Beasts, Grint has pretty much ruled out a return. By the time the timeline catches up with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Grint would be old enough to play a Hogwarts teacher.

“I’ve kind of really closed that book, I think,” Grint said. “I mean, I never say never.  I saw the play a few years ago, and it was very strange seeing someone else embody a character that you know so well. I’m very emotionally connected to that character so it was a very strange experience.

“If they made a film about The Cursed Child, I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw someone else play Ron,” Grint continued. “That’d be quite weird. A weird experience.”


Snatch (Sony Crackle)

(Photo by Crackle)

With 20 total hours of Snatch over two seasons, Grint has racked up about as much screen time as Charlie as he did as Ron Weasley. Although the Hogwarts crew reunited every year to make another film, they had the job security of seven books to assure them they were coming back. Season 2 of Snatch was more of a gift.

“This was a little bit more unexpected,” Grint said. “With Potter we always knew that was coming around the corner. It was a much more intense process. Plus I was in school as well, so it was a whole other kind of thing. It’s a very similar experience on Potter really, really getting to know one character you can grow over a long period of time. I really enjoy that.”

The second season of the Crackle series was delayed, and its location was changed several times before the details came together. Series creator Alex De Rakoff considered seasons in Colombia, Fiji, and the Dominican Republic, and each would have told a different story. But something about Spain just made the most sense.

“That is a perfect place to set Snatch, I think: the Costa del Sol,” Grint said. “A lot of British criminals, it’s their first port of call when they leave the country. They go to the Costa Del Sol and hide out. You can really feel that in the air. This place is probably, at that very moment, hiding a lot of bank robbers.”

Season 2 reveals that, after the gang sailed away from England with the money at the end of season 1, hijackers attack the boat on the way to Spain and make off with the score. The group washes up on the beach and subsequently attempts to go straight by running a beachside bar. Albert (Luke Pasqualino) especially wants to run a legitimate business, but it’s not long before the life of crime comes calling again.


(Photo by Sony Crackle)

This restart means it’s a perfect entry point for people who didn’t see season 1.

“The first season is rarely referenced really,” Grint said. “I think it helps to know these characters but it’s a good point because we have nothing. We have to start again. Now Albert is in control, and he’s telling us all what to do, which is kind of great for Charlie.”

Charlie isn’t necessarily made for the criminal life, which made him a very difficult character for Grint to wrap his head around.

“He’s a very strange character,” Grint said. “You never really know where it’s going to go. He is kind of an illusion. Charlie’s just not a very natural fit for this kind of world. He’s just not made for this. He hates violence. He hates guns, which is kind of a problem with this vocation. It’s quite interesting watching him struggle.

“I think in this season he’s very much desperate to take charge,” Grint continued. “That’s why he and Albert butt heads a lot. They’ve got very different strategic plans.”


(Photo by Sony Crackle)

Adapting to the Spanish lifestyle was a major task for both the actors and the characters of Snatch — style included. Charlie still wears suave suits, but they’re much more colorful and bright.

“It’s something I’d never wear myself,” Grint admitted. “It wasn’t the most practical thing to wear in this really hot season, but it was fun. There was a light blue one that was quite cool. The cravats were a new thing as well. Quite an accessory. Whenever you can get as much costume as you can possibly get, it’s more layers, the more of a mask to escape into.”

Even less comfortable was the fake tan they painted on Grint to simulate having spent months luxuriating on the beach.

“They’ve bronzed me up, because he’s supposed to be there for six months, and I am the most palest, transparent person,” Grint said. “They used a lot of fake tan.”

Television has been a fruitful place for the former Hogwarts class. Tom Felton did Murder in the First, an arc on The Flash and the upcoming Origin. Even Daniel Radcliffe has the upcoming comedy Miracle Workers. While separate careers have kept them apart, Grint says the Harry Potter cast will always have a bond.

“We all experienced such a unique way of growing up, there’ll always be a bond there,” Grint said. “Whenever we do see each other, it’s very quick and very easy to reconnect, just like we never left. It was a mad, mad time in our lives, and I think it’s been nice to do new things and unwind from that. We’re still very proud to be a part of it. It’s great to see it live on in lots of different ways.”

Snatch season 2 hits Crackle on Thursday, September 13.


The Harry Potter film franchise ruled the box office for a decade, but it also managed the uncommon feat of earning Certified Fresh status for every single one of its installments. It remains one of the most successful movie sagas of all time, and it’s even spawned a spinoff series — currently in progress — with the Fantastic Beasts franchise. With all of that in mind, we decided to take a look back at every Harry Potter movie ranked, Total Recall style!


8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) 77%

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

After struggling for years to trim J.K. Rowling’s increasingly unwieldy books down to feature length, Warner Bros. decided to split the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, into two films — a controversial move that was applauded by those who felt it would give the filmmakers an opportunity to spend more time fleshing out the story, and derided by others, who saw it as a money-grubbing move by the studio. Whatever the reasons for the split, it meant that Deathly Hallows, Part 1 would end roughly in the middle of the book, which finds Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the run from Voldemort and his minions while they struggle to find and destroy the Horcruxes — bits of the Dark Lord’s soul, magically preserved in a series of artifacts, granting him immortality as long as they exist. It all adds up to a film that couldn’t help but feel like a setup for the final chapter, which had a definite dampening effect on some critics’ enthusiasm. For others, though, the penultimate Potter stood on its own merits: “Even though it ends in the middle,” argued the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, it “finds notes of anxious suspense and grave emotion to send its characters, and its fans, into the last round.”


7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 78%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

As the curtain rises on the fifth Potter film, the wizarding world is in a tizzy over Lord Voldemort’s return, split between two factions: those who believe Harry’s contention that He Who Must Not Be Named is back for vengeance, and those who think the whole thing is nonsense. Unfortunately, Hogwarts’ newest professor, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), falls squarely into the latter camp — and when Harry, Ron, and Hermione take it upon themselves to lead a group of students through secret self-defense courses, she makes it her mission to keep them in line by any means necessary. New director David Yates and incoming screenwriter Michael Goldenberg had their work cut out for them when it came to whittling down the 870-page book, and ultimately, plenty of fans and critics felt Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix suffered in its screen translation — at 78 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s the worst-reviewed in the series. But even if it wasn’t quite on par with its predecessors, Phoenix was enough for critics like Desson Thomson of the Washington Post, who said Yates and Goldenberg “have transformed J.K. Rowling’s garrulous storytelling into something leaner, moodier and more compelling, that ticks with metronomic purpose as the story flits between psychological darkness and cartoonish slapstick.”


6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 81%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

By 2001, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books were a worldwide phenomenon, with the first four installments in the series selling millions of copies and helping reignite the market for young adult literature along the way — but that was still no guarantee that filmgoers were going to turn out when the Hogwarts gang showed up on the big screen. Of course, we all know what happened next: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone kicked off our ten-year cinematic infatuation with Ron, Hermione, and the Boy Who Lived, grossing nearly $975 million while doing an impressive job of managing the nearly impossible balancing act between staying true to the book and offering a reasonably streamlined film. It entertained audiences while piquing the curiosity of critics like Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader, who wrote, “I hear the J.K. Rowling books are great, and on the basis of this 2001 movie I’m ready to believe it.”


5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 82%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

After setting up the war between Harry and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) with Sorcerer’s Stone, the Potter series set about untangling the mysteries of the Dark Lord’s past with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which posed a crucial riddle (Tom Riddle, to be exact) regarding the evil wizard’s true identity while foreshadowing Harry’s eventual romance with Ginny Weasley. Along the way, Chamber served up a deft blend of comedy and drama, plenty of magical thrills, and a terrific supporting cast that included John Cleese and Kenneth Branagh. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is superior to its predecessor in every way,” wrote Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press, calling it “more thrilling, more entertaining and, yep, more magical.”


4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 84%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

For most of the Harry Potter films, Voldemort lurked in the peripheral darkness, gathering his forces and getting ready to strike — but after the climactic battle that closed The Order of the Phoenix, everyone was aware of his return, and all bets were off. As Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens, Voldemort’s campaign of terror has begun in earnest, and his army is everywhere — even within the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, where Harry and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) are working overtime to thwart a plan involving Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and Harry’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Calling it “the franchise’s best so far,” David Germain of the Associated Press praised Prince for “blending rich drama and easy camaraderie among the actors with the visual spectacle that until now has been the real star of the series.”


3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 88%

(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)

At a whopping 734 pages, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire nearly doubled the length of Prisoner of Azkaban, leaving screenwriter Steve Kloves the more-difficult-than-usual task of pruning away all but the most essential bits of story for the film. The final result clocked in at more than two and a half hours, but still skipped over or condensed quite a bit of the book. Fortunately, the story that remained — an account of an underage Harry’s surprise entry in the Triwizard Tournament, his struggles to overcome the challenges of the contest, and his first showdown with an ever-more-powerful Voldemort — was more than enough for filmgoers, who shelled out more than $895 million at the box office, as well as critics like Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote, “It’s not until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that a film has successfully re-created the sense of stirring magical adventure and engaged, edge-of-your-seat excitement that has made the books such an international phenomenon.”


2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

In Harry Potter’s world, things are often not as they seem — whether they’re magical train stations, flying cars, talking paintings, or even the legends of long-lost family friends who have been locked away in wizard prison for murdering one’s parents. It’s a lesson Harry learned in Prisoner of Azkaban, which introduced filmgoers to the menacing Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a shapeshifting convict whose escape is of grave importance to Harry and his friends — but not for the reasons they might think. The recipient of the Potter films’ best reviews (until Deathly Hallows, Part 2 came out, anyway), Azkaban found things getting mighty dark for our young wizards — and gave Alfonso Cuarón a turn in the director’s chair, taking over after Chris Columbus handled the first two installments. As far as Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was concerned, it was “The first true Harry Potter movie — the first to capture not only the books’ sense of longing, but their understanding of the way magic underlies the mundane, instead of just prancing fancifully at a far remove from it.”


1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) 96%

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

After teasing all that pent-up demand for the final showdown between the Boy Who Lived and He Who Must Not Be Named, there was a lot riding on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 — and director David Yates delivered with aplomb, using Hallows‘ halved structure to leave himself more than two hours to play with in an action-packed final chapter. Everyone knew it was going to be a hit long before it arrived in theaters, but few would have dared predict just how successful Part 2 would be on a critical level: at 96 percent on the Tomatometer, it outpaced every other entry in the series, sending the franchise out on a triumphant high note. “It has been extraordinarily fun, and now the decade-long saga has reached its grand finale. The best,” wrote Claudia Puig for USA Today, “has been saved for the last.”

While there would’ve been a certain amusement in watching a surly, 75-year-old Harrison Ford pretending to meet Lando for the first time and winning the Millennium Falcon, Disney went with the age-correct Alden Ehrenreich for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Though a few were up-in-blasters over casting someone besides Ford in the Han Solo role, that fervor has died down now that the reviews are out claiming the movie to be moderately neat-o. And that makes it the right time to look at 24 more movie characters replaced and recast with new actors, and how that turned out on the Tomatometer.

Young Asa Butterfield embarks on an interplanetary quest in this weekend’s The Space Between Us, but we’re just as intrigued by the involvement of a certain Mr. Gary Oldman, whose appearance adds another chapter to one of Hollywood’s most fascinating careers. From indie flicks to blockbuster franchises, Oldman’s done it all, and we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look back on some of his filmography’s brightest critical highlights.  It’s time for Total Recall!


Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 75%

By 1992, the world had seen so many Dracula adaptations — many of them sadly subpar — that the character was in desperate need of a fresh, suitably creepy start. Enter Francis Ford Coppola and his lavishly mounted Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which pitted Oldman as the titular vampire against Anthony Hopkins as his arch-nemesis Van Helsing and threw in a marquee cast that included Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, as well as an Annie Lennox song over the closing credits, for added megaplex appeal. Given its impeccable pedigree, the fact that Coppola’s Dracula was a financial success didn’t come as much of a surprise — but unlike a lot of previous adaptations, particularly those of recent vintage, it was also a success with critics, many of whom welcomed the opportunity to see a director as talented as Coppola interpret the vampire’s classic tale. In the words of the Washington Post’s Hal Hinson, “It is Coppola’s most lavish and, certainly, his most flamboyant film; never before has he allowed himself this kind of mad experimentation.”

Watch Trailer


Air Force One (1997) 78%

By the late ’90s, the “action movie in a confined space” subgenre looked like it was pretty much played out, but as Air Force One forcibly demonstrated, there were still thrills yet to be wrung from its seemingly played-out premise. In this case, all it took was adding one last novel twist — namely, putting the action on a moving plane and making the sitting President our terrorist-bustin’ hero — and building the whole thing around a stellar cast led by Harrison Ford as the POTUS and Oldman as the villainous, perfectly named Ivan Korshunov. It all adds up, in the words of ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, to “a roller coaster ride for those who prefer not to think once the theater lights have dimmed.”

Watch Trailer


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) 84%

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Nearly 30 years after making his film debut, Gary Oldman earned his first Academy Award nomination for his work in Tomas Alfredson’s impeccably cast adaptation of the classic John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Alfredson’s comma-free screen version surrounded Oldman with an impressive array of talented actors, including Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong — and while its languid pace and 127-minute running time annoyed critics accustomed to a little more bang for their spy-thriller buck, the majority agreed with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, who enthused, “Just watching Gary Oldman and his trenchcoated brethren march down the damp, ill-lit streets of Cold War London is enough to make you shiver.”

Watch Trailer


State of Grace (1990) 84%

Director Phil Joanou opened his career with a better-than-average teen comedy (Three O’Clock High) and a well-intentioned, albeit indulgent rockumentary (U2: Rattle and Hum) — which is to say that few could have expected that he had it in him to helm a drama as tense and gripping as 1990’s State of Grace. Starring Sean Penn as an undercover cop whose latest case tests his loyalty to his best friend (played by Oldman) — not to mention his affection for his friend’s sister (Robin Wright) — Grace exploited an instantly recognizable formula while transcending it thanks to outstanding acting from its leads. Janet Maslin of the New York Times singled Oldman out in particular, writing that he “gives an electrifying performance that both establishes a tragic, terrifying character and explains why that character’s world is such a perilous place.”

Watch Trailer


JFK (1991) 84%

Oldman has made a habit of playing real-life people during his film career, but none of them have been more notorious than the role he took in Oliver Stone’s JFK. Just one in a series of famous faces to pop up during the 189-minute political conspiracy epic, Oldman appeared as Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin whose bullet murdered our 35th president… Or did it? Stone’s undeniably well-crafted film may not have answered any questions, but it was an unqualified hit at the box office and the Academy, where it garnered eight Oscar nominations. Observed Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, “If Stone hasn’t exactly solved the Kennedy assassination, he has captured — with a dark cinematic flair that leaves you reeling — why it still looms like a sickening nightmare.”

Watch Trailer


The Harry Potter Franchise

After helming the first two films in the Harry Potter series, director Chris Columbus departed — leaving the chair empty for Alfonso Cuarón, who stepped in just in time to take the reins for what was then the franchise’s darkest installment yet, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Introducing Oldman as the mysterious Sirius Black, whose prison escape sets the events of the movie’s plot into motion, Azkaban marked the first of four Potter appearances for Oldman while establishing a new critical benchmark for the franchise. Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was just one of many to praise Azkaban, calling it “The first true Harry Potter movie — the first to capture not only the books’ sense of longing, but their understanding of the way magic underlies the mundane, instead of just prancing fancifully at a far remove from it.”

Watch Trailer


The Dark Knight Trilogy

Part of the same career resurgence that found Oldman appearing in the Harry Potter franchise after a few fallow years, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy made fine use of Oldman as Jim Gordon, the Gotham policeman whose rise to commissioner dovetails with Batman’s arrival as the city’s protector. Offering an everyman’s moral compass and sense of virtue to counterbalance the Caped Crusader’s vigilantism, Oldman’s Gordon helped shine a light in an increasingly bleak franchise — and eventually paid the price for going against his own conscience in the blockbuster finale. Calling The Dark Knight Rises “A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch,” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.”

Watch Trailer


Sid & Nancy (1986) 88%

One of rock’s most infamous love stories got the biopic treatment with Alex Cox’s 1986 drama Sid & Nancy, starring Oldman as former Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and Chloe Webb as his equally ill-fated girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Initially largely ignored by audiences — and derided by former Pistol John Lydon, who described himself as “appalled” by its many alleged inaccuracies — Sid & Nancy has acquired a cult audience over time, thanks to film fans lured in by its titular duo’s enduring mystique. Derailed by heroin, unfolding in a series of squalid apartment buildings and motel rooms, and ending with Sid being hauled off by police after Nancy’s stabbing death, their tale wasn’t exactly cheerful — but it resonated with critics like Rita Kempley of the Washington Post, who observed, “Though dark and harrowing, explicit and unsparing, the movie proves a riveting biography of these burnt-out icons and their iconoclastic half-decade.”

Watch Trailer


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) 90%

CG spectacle is great, but it can only take a movie so far. To really make audiences feel something, it helps to have some recognizably human drama on the screen — and part of the genius of Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the impressive array of old-fashioned acting talent brought to bear on the mo-cap heavy second installment in this rebooted post-apocalyptic saga. Oldman spearheaded the cast’s human contingent as Dreyfus, leader of the frightened band of survivors who find themselves in a life-or-death struggle for survival with the planet’s newly advanced simian civilization, helping anchor all the incredibly lifelike action with palpably poignant emotional stakes. “This,” marveled Richard Roeper, “just might be the most engrossing, the smartest and the most daring Apes movie ever put on film.”

Watch Trailer


Prick Up Your Ears (1987) 94%

Oldman earned a BAFTA Best Actor nomination for his widely acclaimed work in Prick Up Your Ears, director Stephen Frears’ biopic about British playwright Joe Orton — and his tragic murder at the hands of his mentor-turned-lover, Kenneth Halliwell, played here by Alfred Molina. Neither the subjects nor the subject matter had much draw for American audiences, but for critics, it presented an irresistible collection of acting talent, working at their peak. “The great performances in the movie are, of course, at its center,” argued Roger Ebert. “Gary Oldman plays Orton and Alfred Molina plays Halliwell, and these are two of the best performances of the year.”

Watch Trailer

It’s Kevin Costner’s face we see on the poster for this weekend’s Criminal, and we certainly don’t have anything against him — but we’re just as intrigued by the involvement of a certain Mr. Gary Oldman, whose appearance adds another chapter to one of Hollywood’s most fascinating careers. From indie flicks to blockbuster franchises, Oldman’s done it all, and we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look back on some of his filmography’s brightest critical highlights. It’s time for Total Recall!


The Contender (2000) 76%

Political intrigue meets the battle of the sexes in The Contender, director Rod Lurie’s 2000 thriller about a sitting President (Jeff Bridges) who needs to pick a new VP after his first one suddenly dies — and throws the government’s power dynamics into disarray after he nominates a senator (Joan Allen) whose gender rubs more than a few people the wrong way. Leading the charge against the would-be veep is a congressman (Oldman) who firmly believes she’s unqualified, and is willing to resort to all kinds of dirty politics to get his way. The end result, wrote Eleanor Ringel Gillespie of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was “a vivid, juicy, thoroughly entertaining movie.”

Watch Trailer


Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 75%

By 1992, the world had seen so many Dracula adaptations — many of them sadly subpar — that the character was in desperate need of a fresh, suitably creepy start. Enter Francis Ford Coppola and his lavishly mounted Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which pitted Oldman as the titular vampire against Anthony Hopkins as his arch-nemesis Van Helsing and threw in a marquee cast that included Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, as well as an Annie Lennox song over the closing credits, for added megaplex appeal. Given its impeccable pedigree, the fact that Coppola’s Dracula was a financial success didn’t come as much of a surprise — but unlike a lot of previous adaptations, particularly those of recent vintage, it was also a success with critics, many of whom welcomed the opportunity to see a director as talented as Coppola interpret the vampire’s classic tale. In the words of the Washington Post’s Hal Hinson, “It is Coppola’s most lavish and, certainly, his most flamboyant film; never before has he allowed himself this kind of mad experimentation.”

Watch Trailer


Air Force One (1997) 78%

By the late ’90s, the “action movie in a confined space” subgenre looked like it was pretty much played out, but as Air Force One forcibly demonstrated, there were still thrills yet to be wrung from its seemingly played-out premise. In this case, all it took was adding one last novel twist — namely, putting the action on a moving plane and making the sitting President our terrorist-bustin’ hero — and building the whole thing around a stellar cast led by Harrison Ford as the POTUS and Oldman as the villainous, perfectly named Ivan Korshunov. It all adds up, in the words of ReelViews’ James Berardinelli, to “a roller coaster ride for those who prefer not to think once the theater lights have dimmed.”

Watch Trailer


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) 84%

Nearly 30 years after making his film debut, Gary Oldman earned his first Academy Award nomination for his work in Tomas Alfredson’s impeccably cast adaptation of the classic John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Alfredson’s comma-free screen version surrounded Oldman with an impressive array of talented actors, including Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong — and while its languid pace and 127-minute running time annoyed critics accustomed to a little more bang for their spy-thriller buck, the majority agreed with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, who enthused, “Just watching Gary Oldman and his trenchcoated brethren march down the damp, ill-lit streets of Cold War London is enough to make you shiver.”

Watch Trailer


State of Grace (1990) 84%

Director Phil Joanou opened his career with a better-than-average teen comedy (Three O’Clock High) and a well-intentioned, albeit indulgent rockumentary (U2: Rattle and Hum) — which is to say that few could have expected that he had it in him to helm a drama as tense and gripping as 1990’s State of Grace. Starring Sean Penn as an undercover cop whose latest case tests his loyalty to his best friend (played by Oldman) — not to mention his affection for his friend’s sister (Robin Wright) — Grace exploited an instantly recognizable formula while transcending it thanks to outstanding acting from its leads. Janet Maslin of the New York Times singled Oldman out in particular, writing that he “gives an electrifying performance that both establishes a tragic, terrifying character and explains why that character’s world is such a perilous place.”

Watch Trailer


JFK (1991) 84%

Oldman has made a habit of playing real-life people during his film career, but none of them have been more notorious than the role he took in Oliver Stone’s JFK. Just one in a series of famous faces to pop up during the 189-minute political conspiracy epic, Oldman appeared as Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin whose bullet murdered our 35th president… Or did it? Stone’s undeniably well-crafted film may not have answered any questions, but it was an unqualified hit at the box office and the Academy, where it garnered eight Oscar nominations. Observed Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman, “If Stone hasn’t exactly solved the Kennedy assassination, he has captured — with a dark cinematic flair that leaves you reeling — why it still looms like a sickening nightmare.”

Watch Trailer


The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 87%

Part of the same career resurgence that found Oldman appearing in the Harry Potter franchise after a few fallow years, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy made fine use of Oldman as Jim Gordon, the Gotham policeman whose rise to commissioner dovetails with Batman’s arrival as the city’s protector. Offering an everyman’s moral compass and sense of virtue to counterbalance the Caped Crusader’s vigilantism, Oldman’s Gordon helped shine a light in an increasingly bleak franchise — and eventually paid the price for going against his own conscience in the blockbuster finale. Calling The Dark Knight Rises “A disturbing experience we live through as much as a film we watch,” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “this dazzling conclusion to director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is more than an exceptional superhero movie, it is masterful filmmaking by any standard.”

Watch Trailer


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 90%

After helming the first two films in the Harry Potter series, director Chris Columbus departed — leaving the chair empty for Alfonso Cuarón, who stepped in just in time to take the reins for what was then the franchise’s darkest installment yet, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Introducing Oldman as the mysterious Sirius Black, whose prison escape sets the events of the movie’s plot into motion, Azkaban marked the first of four Potter appearances for Oldman while establishing a new critical benchmark for the franchise. Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was just one of many to praise Azkaban, calling it “The first true Harry Potter movie — the first to capture not only the books’ sense of longing, but their understanding of the way magic underlies the mundane, instead of just prancing fancifully at a far remove from it.”

Watch Trailer


Sid & Nancy (1986) 88%

One of rock’s most infamous love stories got the biopic treatment with Alex Cox’s 1986 drama Sid & Nancy, starring Oldman as former Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and Chloe Webb as his equally ill-fated girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Initially largely ignored by audiences — and derided by former Pistol John Lydon, who described himself as “appalled” by its many alleged inaccuracies — Sid & Nancy has acquired a cult audience over time, thanks to film fans lured in by its titular duo’s enduring mystique. Derailed by heroin, unfolding in a series of squalid apartment buildings and motel rooms, and ending with Sid being hauled off by police after Nancy’s stabbing death, their tale wasn’t exactly cheerful — but it resonated with critics like Rita Kempley of the Washington Post, who observed, “Though dark and harrowing, explicit and unsparing, the movie proves a riveting biography of these burnt-out icons and their iconoclastic half-decade.”

Watch Trailer


Prick Up Your Ears (1987) 94%

Oldman earned a BAFTA Best Actor nomination for his widely acclaimed work in Prick Up Your Ears, director Stephen Frears’ biopic about British playwright Joe Orton — and his tragic murder at the hands of his mentor-turned-lover, Kenneth Halliwell, played here by Alfred Molina. Neither the subjects nor the subject matter had much draw for American audiences, but for critics, it presented an irresistible collection of acting talent, working at their peak. “The great performances in the movie are, of course, at its center,” argued Roger Ebert. “Gary Oldman plays Orton and Alfred Molina plays Halliwell, and these are two of the best performances of the year.”

Watch Trailer

Alan-Rickman

(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

 

Alan Rickman, whose dramatic breadth and distinctive vocal delivery made him a legend among cinematic villains and a versatile supporting player in a long list of critically acclaimed films, has passed away at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer.

Born in the Acton ward of London’s Ealing borough, Rickman gained his first acting experience as a teenager, although his working-class background prevented him from immediately seeking it out as a profession. Initially pursuing a career in graphic design, he eventually auditioned with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, earning a spot among the student body and winning several awards during his tenure at the school.

Initially focusing his efforts on the stage, Rickman picked up some early TV credits — including an appearance in the 1982 BBC program The Barchester Chronicles — but his first taste of widespread acclaim came courtesy of his Tony-winning portrayal of the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a role he held during the play’s 1985 Royal Shakespeare Company run and reprised when the production moved to Broadway in 1987.

Rickman’s first major film appearance arrived in 1988’s Die Hard, in which he played Hans Gruber, the delightfully snide terrorist whose takeover of a Los Angeles high rise is foiled by the indefatigable efforts of New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) — but not before hero and heavy engage in a battle of wits and one-liners that spawned several sequels and a legion of countless action-thriller imitators. It was followed by a number of memorable roles that included eminently loathable bad guys (like the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), comedic turns in films such as Dogma and Galaxy Quest, and several appearances as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

Along the way, Rickman continued to compile a varied list of stage and television credits. He moved into directing, helming The Winter Guest (1995) and A Little Chaos (2015). His voice could be heard in episodes of King of the Hill and Back at the Barnyard. He won a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in the 1996 HBO movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny — and as a recent testament to his range, in 2013, he portrayed Ronald Reagan (in The Butler) as well as legendary club owner Hilly Kristal (in CBGB).

One of Rickman’s most frequent collaborators, Emma Thompson, was among the first to pay tribute after news of his passing broke, sharing that she’d “just kissed him goodbye” and offering a tender eulogy filled with fond memories of their relationship. “He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics,” wrote Thompson. “I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”


75 Best Summer Blockbusters of All Time

In defense of the blockbuster, Rotten Tomatoes offers you Best Summer Movies, a countdown of the highest-rated wide releases to hit theaters during the hot season since the release of Jaws in 1975. We’re using a weighted formula that takes the Tomatometer, the number of reviews, and the year of release into account. In order to qualify, each movie needs at least 20 reviews, and to have been released wide in the months between May and August. Enough talk: grab an extra large soda and a bucket of popcorn and dive into RT’s Best Summer Movies!

 

 

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