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: 67239%
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: 67873%
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: 69437%
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: 70362%
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: 73698%
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: 74380%
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: 77350%
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: 79959%
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: 82898%
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: 83284%
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: 83788%
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: 84664%
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: 85681%
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: 86151%
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: 86377%
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: 87983%
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: 88149%
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: 88352%
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: 90503%
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: 91751%
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: 93284%
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: 93476%
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: 94789%
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: 95392%
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: 94944%
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: 96906%
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: 97775%
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: 98469%
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: 100283%
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: 100935%
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: 102222%
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: 102714%
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: 102698%
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: 106354%
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: 104442%
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: 56396%
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: 94944%
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: 88149%
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: 88352%
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: 94789%
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 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: 94944%
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: 56396%
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: 88352%
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: 94789%
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: 88149%
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

Walt Disney Pictures and FX

(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures and FX)

Know Your Critic” is a column in which we interview Tomatometer-approved critics about their screening and reviewing habits, pet peeves, and personal favorites.

Clarisse Loughrey describes her approach to criticism as “open and inviting.” She favors exploratory viewing over required viewing. She sits front-row at the theater to be as close to the film as possible – no distractions from her fellow audience members, no popcorn-crunching, just her and the movie on a journey together.

“The thing I always encourage people to do is go on a little adventure with movies,” Loughrey said. “Go on Tumblr and try and find some film that no one else has watched, that you will absolutely fall in love with – it will be your new favorite film, and you’ll be obsessed with it forever.”

Like many movie and television fans, she likes to be challenged and appreciates authenticity. Her favorite Rotten movie is one she saw as a teenager and simply couldn’t shake: King Arthur, starring Keira Knightly and Clive Owen.

“It’s just all swords and sandals, and every line is ridiculous and over the top,” she said. “It’s all like, ‘Scatter my ashes to a strong west wind.’ I love it because it’s just trying so hard, and I appreciate that.”

Clarisse Loughrey is chief film critic at The Independent, appears on Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC Radio), and co-hosts The Next Supremes podcast. Find her on Twitter: @clarisselou.


What have you been watching while sheltered-in-place?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of options now that I’m just home and I only have the internet – and the internet is filled with unlimited opportunities and every movie ever made on the planet is suddenly at my feet.

I’ve got a subscription to MUBI, and that’s been very helpful because MUBI can tell you each day what film to watch. They always have a film of the day, and I love having that choice made for me. Also, it’s been great to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit because they have such a really eclectic mix of films. I’ve been watching stuff I probably normally wouldn’t seek out.

What was the last film that you saw in a theater?

In the UK, we’ve had a bit of a going back and forth with the cinemas being open and the cinemas being closed. I think the last film I saw in a cinema was a preview showing of Pixar’s Soul, which was at the London Film Festival.

What is your preferred seat in a theater?

I love to be right at the front so that the screen is so huge, and it’s taking up my entire viewpoint I can’t see anything else but the movie. I can’t see other people. It’s just me alone with the film.

I love to feel small. I know that’s such a strange thing to say, but I love when you just feel like a little tiny speck in the universe. I love that movies do that sometimes, especially when you go see something epic and grand. To be right at the front going, “Oh, yeah. Nothing matters.” It’s great. It’s kind of freeing.


Warner Bros.

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

What is your personal record for the most movies you’ve watched in one day?

I’ve done some all-day marathons, so it probably would be one of those. I watched all the Harry Potter movies just at once. Even if you’re a huge fan, don’t do it. It’s not humanly possible.

I had a bad time around the point I got to the Half-Blood Prince. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Everything irritated me. Dumbledore irritated me. Hermione … Yeah. I feel like it was an experience, and I learned a lot from it. But, I’m now a “don’t try and cram a million movies in one day” kind of person.

I respect that. I’m in awe that you got to the sixth movie before being like, “All right. I’m done with you all.”

It’s when they do Dumbledore’s army. I was like, “This is annoying. Why can’t he just phone somebody? You are children. You’re children. You’re not going to beat Dumbledore.” … I don’t know. Get some adults. What is going on?

Do you have a favorite childhood film?

I was only shown Disney movies when I was a kid, which has been very strange in adulthood because people are so shocked that I haven’t seen Labyrinth. People are very angry that I haven’t seen Labyrinth, and I only saw Princess Bride recently because they were not Disney, so I was not shown them. It would have to be a Disney movie. I think the one I was most obsessed with was Hercules. I think it just came out at the right time, and I got so obsessed with it that I went to university to study ancient history.


Is there an under-the-radar director or screenwriter that you think more people should know about?

The first person I thought of was this director/actor/screenwriter called Gillian Wallace Horvat.

I remember watching this short that she did called “Kiss Kiss Fingerbang.” It had Anton Yelchin and Kate Lyn Sheil in it… It is really dark but really funny; it takes this very, very surreal, incredibly dark turn. I just love the way that it felt so outrageous, but the moment you started unpacking it, you go, “That’s cool.” It’s actually a weirdly great metaphor for ideas of closing and control, and what does abuse look like in a relationship? It really stuck with me. Years and years and years have passed since I watched it.

Since then, she’s directed her feature debut called I Blame Society, which just never arrived in the UK, so I haven’t been able to watch it. I’ve just been waiting. I’m like, “One day, she’s going to break out and do great things.”

Who’s an up-and-coming critic that you want people to check out?

The person that I have been reading the most at the moment is a critic and writer called Jack King (@jackarking), who is based in the UK. He writes a lot about queer cinema and especially the AIDS crisis and how that’s been depicted on film. He did these pieces on The Normal Heart and Boys in the Band that I found fantastic.

What I’m really into at the moment from criticism is people who can find that balance between personal passion and insight and also historical and social context, which is really hard to do. This guy Jack, he’s really good at doing it, where you come away from the pieces always feeling like, “I have a greater understanding of the world, but also of this writer.” That, to me, is just one of the most impressive things you can do.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about critics?

Oh, I think that critics are telling you what to watch or telling you what to like.

Every critic is just giving their opinion – and every opinion, I think, is informed by so many different things. It’s informed by your tastes, your perspective and your upbringing and your beliefs and a million things. And so, obviously, that’s why we see so many differences in what critics are writing, because they’re all coming from completely different places. That’s what I think is really cool about film criticism. You learn about the world as you read all these people’s opinions because you see where everyone’s coming from.

I love reading somebody who is coming from a completely different position from me and sees the film in a completely different way, and reading it, you go, “I never thought about it that way before.”

I think that’s what we should all be taking away from film criticism instead of looking at a review and going like, “Oh, this person told me that I should like this Star Wars movie.” That is not what we’re doing.


Walt Disney Pictures

(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I’m one of the guest critics on a BBC radio show here called Mark Kermode’s and Simon Mayo’s Film Review. It’s live radio.

My whole life, I have suffered from pretty bad anxiety and stage fright. I, at one point, wanted to be an actor, and I think the fear really stopped me from pursuing that properly. And so, being able to do that and go on live radio and speak to many, many people at the same time is terrifying but satisfying beyond words. It has been such an amazing, surreal experience. I just feel very proud of myself that I’m able to do that.

I’d imagine that, as a writer, you spend so much time delicately thinking over your words – to be live sounds terrifying.

Yeah. You can’t take it back, that’s the thing. If you write something and you hate it, you delete it. Radio, you say something, you can’t take it back. It’s totally terrifying.

What is the hardest review that you’ve ever written – or, if it was on the radio, delivered live?

The one I immediately thought of was just last year: I saw Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – it was a double bill. My deadline for both of the reviews was the next morning. I really had to stay up all night writing about what, for me, were two incredibly surreal experiences.

Cats, on a very obvious level – I feel like everyone had a very strange experience with that. But, also, I am a huge, huge Star Wars fan, and so, Rise of Skywalker was like three Christmases at the same time. But, then, the film didn’t really do the things I was hoping it would do, so I was dealing with all the emotions of that. That was just a really strange night.


What’s your favorite classic film?

Wilder’s The Apartment, because there’s something I love about just semi-optimistic endings – because that also has that feeling of everything could be terrible.

You could be a loser and have nothing. You just feel like you’ve got nothing going on. But, there’s other people just like you, and maybe you’ll find them, and together you can be a little bit less of a loser. I don’t know why, but that, to me, is just like “yes.” That is how I want to see the world. That makes me feel great about everything.

Do you have advice for critics who are still finding their voice?

I think just try to be honest with yourself, because that’s what I find so hard about this industry.

This is the thing. You are on a weekly basis exposing yourself to the world – not exposing yourself, because that sounds really dodgy, but exposing your soul to the world every week. You have to be quite vulnerable to do that. It’s scary, especially when it’s a film that is about something very personal or something controversial, and you’re really having to make your stand with it.

It’s so easy to feel trapped by that and to feel scared, that you don’t want to be honest with yourself because you’re worried that, “Oh, that’s going to be different from how everyone else thinks. I’m going to go against the status quo. I’m going to stand out in a good way or a bad way.”

Just have the courage to be like, “This is my honest opinion. I stand by it. I am being true to myself. This is my voice.” Stick by it. If people are being mean, just block them on Twitter, and find nice people who will support you.

Is there someone in your life who isn’t a critic, whose opinion on movies you really admire?

I would say my best friend, because when I’m having those anxieties about a review – and I think that my opinion might be terrible and stupid, and everyone will make fun of me – I go to my best friend. I will describe my opinion, and even if he hasn’t seen the film, he’s so good at listening and giving his take. We have quite similar taste in films, but in the ways that they vary, I find really interesting. We’re always wanting to talk about that because we have quite similar personalities. But, it’s like, why do we have such different tastes on a handful of specific movies?


Paramount Home Media Distribution

(Photo by Paramount Home Media Distribution)

Is there an actor, director, or screenwriter whose work you always love?

I’m a very big fan of Taika Waititi. Boy is, well, I think, my favorite movie, period, because there is something about his outlook on the world that I find so comforting. I could be having the worst day, and I just watch one of his films, particularly Boy, and it’s not so much the feeling that “everything’s going to be all right, don’t worry.” It’s more the feeling of “you can handle this,” which I think all of his movies have that kind of ending.

Who are three people that you think everyone should follow on Twitter?

I quite obsessively follow an account called Dancer on Film (@DancerOnFilm). It’s just clips of scenes of dancing in movies… It’s so fascinating how this tiny human action is just universal across time, country, language, genre. You’re always just going to find scenes of people dancing. I just find that really comforting for some reason.

@TheFinalGirlsUK, which is run by my friend Anna Bogutskaya (@annabdemented). She is just my go-to expert for horror and feminism and those two things combined. She just runs an absolutely brilliant podcast, and also now expanding into a journal that explores those things. I always feel like I’m learning so much from her.

Grace Barber-Plentie (@GraceSimone). She is one of these brilliant, all-around, people. She does marketing. She does programming. She does writing. I find her insights really useful because I think, as a film critic, I just sit and watch movies. … Sometimes I feel like I’m in a little bit of a bubble. So, I just always find her insights fascinating, from somebody who’s seeing the industry from all angles.


What is the movie or show that you’ve seen more than anything else?

I have watched American Horror Story so many times.

When I mentioned my friend Anna [Bogutskaya], we have a podcast now about American Horror Story, where we’re now re-watching it from the beginning. We’re up to “Coven” at the moment.

We’re both just really obsessed with it because it’s so ridiculous. It always feels like Ryan Murphy is trying to mess with the audience or troll his audience. I just find that great. I love a show creator who has some weird disdain for his own audience, where it’s like “how can I just make you really angry?” But, also, you love it.

You’re angry, and you’re obsessed and in love with it. That, to me, is a Ryan Murphy show. If you have those two conflicting feelings, you’re watching a Ryan Murphy show. It’s kind of my comfort TV, but also my TV I like to yell at.

The new season is Mermaids, I think, and I’m so excited. I’m so excited. Mermaids. Mermaids.

He really knows how to deliver exactly what we want in exactly the way we don’t want it.

You nailed it. You want it, but you’re like, “Why are you doing it this way?”

Do you have a favorite season?

My favorite is “Hotel” because it’s the most ridiculous of them all.

The Rudolph Valentino storyline … I think he’s a fan of classic cinema. I nearly threw my laptop out of the window when I saw that. When it’s like, “It’s Rudolph Valentino here. Now he’s a vampire.” I can’t. I can’t with this show. What?

That entire season is … It feels like he’s laughing at us.

Yes, and I love it. I want to be laughed at. He’ll be like, “You are such a little, dumb person for tuning in every single week thinking that you’re going to get what you want, but you’re not going to.”


Clarisse Loughrey is chief film critic at The Independent, appears on Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC Radio), and co-hosts The Next Supremes podcast. Find her on Twitter: @clarisselou.

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 

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.”

Luc Besson’s return to the big space opera scene with Valerian and the Thousand Planets comes at a hefty price: a reported $180 million, easily making it the most expensive French production ever. And such fiscal modesty inspires this week’s gallery of the 24 most expensive movies ever made! (Budgets and box office are adjusted for inflation, with the base numbers from Box Office Mojo, natch.)

Time flies when you’re watching a franchise spiral into the crazy nebula: We are now approaching the sixth Resident Evil movie, mercifully dubbed The Final Chapter, none of which have ever been fully embraced by critics. But, hey, just because a franchise is long in the tooth doesn’t mean it’s rotten at the root! There’s plenty of Fresh movies in this week’s gallery: 24 best and worst Part 6s in movie history!

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.”


Touted as the first great horror movie of the year, The Witch offers a visceral exploration of black arts and superstition in a bloody tale set within 17th century New England. The film inspires this 24 Frames gallery of the most iconic witches from movie history.

Lily Collins was born into fame — her dad, Phil, could bang a drum and write a hit tune or two — but she found her own way into an acting career, performing in stage productions as a kid before working as a teenage Hollywood reporter and scoring small roles in movies like The Blind Side. This week she steps into the limelight as the star of Mirror Mirror, director Tarsem’s visually energetic remix of the Snow White fairytale — the first, and likely funniest, of this year’s adaptations of the classic story. As the fairest of them all, Collins dazzles in the late, great Eiko Ishioka’s exquisite costumes, while getting to put Julia Roberts’ evil queen in her place and sharing her first kiss with Prince Winkelvoss, er, Charming, played with a degree of good sportsmanship by Armie Hammer.

We sat down with the English-born Collins recently in her adopted home of Los Angeles, where she talked about the movie, working with Tarsem and her thoughts on Kristen Stewart’s not-really-a-rival take on Snow. First up, she talked us through her five favorite films.

Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003; 63% Tomatometer)



These are so raw — this is who I am, these movies. [Laughs] They’re very girly. In no particular order… Love Actually. Most of these movies have British accents in them, because, being from England, there’s something about films that I watch that have a British accent that I just feel so at home with. That film I can watch any day and it makes me smile; and I love Christmas, so it kind of matches perfectly.

Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright, 2005; 86% Tomatometer)



Pride and Prejudice. I love sweeping British drama period pieces and I hope that one day I can do one just like that, because, to me, I love old English literature. And I’m a big Keira Knightley fan. It’s just so beautiful aesthetically and in terms of story.

Harry Potter series (Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates; 2001-11; 78-96% Tomatometers)


Harry Potter. All of them. [Laughs]

That’s cheating. Do you have a particular favorite?

Is it cheating? [Laughs] It’s hard to pick. I wouldn’t necessarily know which. I mean, I love the Goblet of Fire. I don’t know. Maybe the Goblet of Fire. I read those books so quickly when I was a kid, because that whole world was so, like… it took me out of my reality. And I just love magic and I loved that whole world, the creatures, and just how you felt so friendly with all the characters. The way they translated that into movies, I thought was genius. You know when they take a book, and they make it a movie, and you hope that it’s gonna be everything that you hope for and more? To me they just succeeded. I don’t know, I just love them so much. Every time I’m sick I’ll watch a marathon of them and I can repeat all the words.

Hopefully you’re sick for a while… I mean, so you can watch them all.

[Laughs] I know, they’re so long. I just had laryngitis, so…

The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985; 91% Tomatometer)



Breakfast Club. I was actually having trouble because I would say Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club, but that would be three. Of all three, Breakfast Club is my favorite. But those John Hughes films, with Molly Ringwald and the Brat Pack, those are my favorite grouped films. They’re just so… they’re timeless. I feel like, even when you’re watching them now, they’re so modern, and the characters are so real. They’re just so appealing to me. I watched them with my mom when I was really young. I always would watch things with my mom that maybe other moms wouldn’t allow their kids to watch. I associated with them right away. I just really, really love John Hughes.

Who’s your favorite character in the movie?

I love Molly Ringwald. But I also love the basket case, Ally Sheedy — you know, with the pixie sticks and the crunching of the sandwich. She’s so fantastic.

Sabrina (Billy Wilder, 1954; 91% Tomatometer)



Sabrina, with Audrey Hepburn. I actually spent my New Year’s this year watching Sabrina, and as it turned midnight I paused it and it was just her face on screen, smiling. I was like, “What a cool way to start the New Year.” She is just someone I’ve always admired. She says so much without saying anything at all. And back then they didn’t do such fast cuts in films; they stayed on a character’s face long enough for them to go from one emotion to another, and for the audience to really feel the emotion with each character — and she in that movie just goes from so many endearing moments to moments of sadness and laughter. It’s just such a classic, and I love black and white. So, that’s my list!

Next, Collins on playing Snow White in Mirror Mirror, what she thinks of Kristen Stewart’s take, and her favorite song by her dad.

 

I noticed you’re nostalgic for a kind of idealized English home, but you moved here when you were quite young, right?

Lily Collins: Yeah, I moved here when I was about six.

So you went back and forth between LA and England?

I did. I used to go for every summer, for like two-and-a-half to three months. The last two summers I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working — no complaining — but I haven’t been able to go in the summer. But I’ve been going at Christmas time. And I can put the accent on. I auditioned for this film, Mirror Mirror, with an English accent, but they went in a different directions. I mean, I did it in both accents. I can turn it on really quickly. There’s something at times that feels more just, natural when I have a British accent. It just feels very me.

Your mom is American?

Yeah, my mom is here and my dad, obviously, is English. I pick up things when I go back, and I still say things like “the car boot,” or “the loo,” or “the bin.” It’s just so beautiful over there. It’s something, like — ’cause I go out in the countryside, so it’s not the hustle and bustle of London. And LA compared to the countryside, I just relax right away. I just love going out in the garden and walking and reading and not answering my phone; just being and talking to people. You know, it’s like all these revolutionary ideas that you just don’t do in the big city. It’s a slower pace way of life. I love it. [Pauses to look out over the Santa Monica beach] I say that as we’re here with the lovely ocean — you don’t get that out in London. [Laughs]

Let’s talk about Mirror Mirror. Were you worried at all about playing an icon like Snow White?

I was more excited, I think, than anything. I was one of those little girls that created their own fairy tales in their head, growing up, and I know that every young girl has their own version of what a fairy tale princess is and should be. So I wasn’t really worried about making sure that I felt like I was everyone’s version of a Snow White — I just wanted to be a young girl that people, you know, that young girls as well as adult women could relate to. I felt like everyone has a little bit of Snow in them. So I wanted to be someone that people thought, “She could be a friend of mine.” Not a caricature of a fairy tale princess, because the [Disney] cartoon does enough justice. The cartoon is the cartoon, and the animation does what it does; it serves its purpose and it’s amazing. You don’t wanna just take that and make it a real-live person. You wanna take something different about it and modernize it and make it more real. My concern is that I wanted to make sure that she was a real girl.

You’ve worked with Sandra Bullock and now Julia Roberts — two of “America’s sweethearts” — and yet, in this movie, Julia is so awful to you.

She was horrible!

I trust she was more civil between takes.

Oh, she’s so cool. The second they yelled “cut” she’s all apologizing, and so sweet.

Is it true that she ripped some of your hair out?

Yes! In one of the scenes, because my shoe got caught in my dress, and I wasn’t as close to her as I was in the rehearsal. But we didn’t stop shooting, because my dress was so big and no one knew, and I wasn’t about to stop the scene. She leans over to do the hair pull, and had to pull me a bit further and harder, and so she pulled my hair out. I was like, “Okay, I’m not gonna react because they’ll probably use this,” and they ended up using that take in the movie, where she ripped it. They yelled “cut” and she goes “I’m so sorry!” So she totally was cool, when we weren’t filming. Even when we were filming, I was having so many moments in my head where I’m looking at her being mean to me and I’m beaming inside and so excited, but I’m not supposed to be smiling — so it taught me a lot about how to mute out everything else you’re thinking but what’s in the scene. If I was showing what I was feeling, Snow White would have been smiling from the get-go.

And yet she’s smiling at you, even while she’s spitting out the nastiest remarks.

I know, right? It’s like in high school when someone’s saying, “Oh I just love your sweater, it’s so cute…”

And they’re really thinking, “I’m gonna kill you…”

Exactly. It’s scary. You don’t know if you love her or hate her.

 

Have you talked to Kristen Stewart about her Snow White, and is there any competition between you two?

It’s funny, we’ve actually laughed about the fact that we’re apparently rivals — because we’re so not.

So you’re friends?

Yeah. She’s so cool, and I’m very excited for the other film. It could not be more different. They’re polar opposites. I think the advertising campaigns prove to everyone how different they are: everything from the tone to the rating to the costumes; everything. She and I, we’re very, very different characters and we just have laughed about it. I’m happy for her, she’s happy for me. I think there’s definitely room for both.

Tell me about working with Tarsem. He seems pretty out there, in a good way.

[Laughs] He’s so cool. He’s lovely. He’s definitely got an interesting sense of humor: you either understand it or you don’t. I totally get it, but things can be taken out of context. But he is — visually, he’s a visionary genius. He’s so… he’s a wizard when it comes to the aesthetic of a film. And also, when it comes to actors, he is all about, “Do you feel comfortable, do you feel confident? How are you feeling? What do you think? Let’s collaborate.” It’s so nice to work with somebody that truly has your best interests at heart and wants you to forget about all the nonsense or politics and just really focus in on your moment: “This is now, here — how do you feel, and let’s work on this together.” It was a really nice environment to be in when you’re taking on this kind of a role; when you’re fighting and you’re hot and you’re tired but you have a director who really believes in you. And from day one he really believed in me, and he never made me feel any different.

I’m compelled to ask this, because I’m an idiot: Does your dad sing “Lily, don’t you lose my number” to you?

[Laughs] Well he used to sing to me all the time.

Do you have a favorite song?

A favorite of my dad’s songs? It’s funny because everyone will probably go, “Really? Not one of the classics?” But I think, because of the sentimentality of it, the song from Tarzan: “You’ll Be In My Heart.” I was there throughout that entire process of creating Tarzan and the songs and everything. I was there for the process of each song, and the animation. Part of that song was written as a lullaby to me, so it’s such a personal song. I just see him as dad. Obviously I know everything he’s accomplished, but when I think of his songs I think of what touches me the most — and that song for sure is one of them.


Mirror Mirror opens in theaters this week.

“It’s actually a thrill to be talking about something else,” Daniel Radcliffe chuckles, pausing to consider a question about his new movie The Woman in Black. He is, of course, referring to the ubiquitous presence of a certain blockbuster franchise that has consumed almost half of his life on the planet. Radcliffe was just an untested 11-year-old when cast as the eponymous hero of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone way back in 2001; now, having triumphantly wrapped the series with last year’s Deathly Hallows, he’s a seasoned 22 and ready to spirit himself into the realm that lies beyond Hogwarts.

“To be honest,” Radcliffe admits, “I want to just cram in as many, and as diverse a range, of parts in films as I possibly can in the next few years — while I’m in this stage of transition from out of the world of Potter.”

Though he’s done a couple of small films between his wizarding gig (and received praise for his stage work in Equus), The Woman in Black represents the first significant step in the actor’s post-Potter direction. Based on a popular English novel and produced under the vintage Hammer label, the Gothic horror is set in a remote village whose children are being terrorized by the specter of dead woman. Radcliffe plays the young lawyer dispatched to investigate — and it’s a role the actor hopes will help cultivate a new screen image.

“The fact that the part is different, in that I’m playing older and I’m playing a father; there’s stuff that will physically separate me from Harry in people’s minds,” he explains. “But what’s more important to me is that the story of this film is so compelling — that even if people go in thinking, “Oh let’s see how he does in his next thing,” within, like, 15 minutes they’re going to be, hopefully, wrapped up in the story; because it’s a great story, and really compelling and scary.”

Audiences will have their chance to see Radcliffe’s transformation (and marvel at his dashing new accoutrements) when The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week. In the meantime, we asked him to talk through his all-time five favorite films.

12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957; 100% Tomatometer)


My five favorite films change all the time. Well, no — the top three never change, but the last two are kind of up for grabs constantly. 12 Angry Men is, I think, a feat of writing. It’s brilliant. The fact that it all takes place in one room — I think there’s maybe two minutes, three minutes of screen time that is not in the one room in that film — and yet it is one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen. I mean, you can’t look away. You’re gripped by the dynamics between the people, by what’s gonna happen, and by the fact that it’s a whodunit, based in one room, which is brilliant.

A Matter of Life and Death (aka Stairway to Heaven) (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946; 95% Tomatometer)



I think A Matter of Life and Death is one of the great works of imagination in cinema. It’s a brilliant story. David Niven could not be more charming in it if he tried. He starts off, you know, as a World War II pilot about to crash his plane whilst quoting Andrew Marvell down the phone to the mayday operator, who he then falls in love with. There is one shot in it, actually, of the heavenly court before it goes into session, which we absolutely — and I haven’t actually spoken to Mike Newell about this — but we lifted almost identically for the start of the Triwizard tournament in Potter, in the fourth film. There is one shot — because I think I watched Matter of Life and Death shortly after we finished that film — which I watched and went, “Oh my god, we’ve just stolen that!”

Well if you’re gonna steal, steal from the Archers.

Absolutely; if you’re gonna steal, you can’t do much better than those guys. So that would be one of my favorite films. Possibly — possibly — even more than 12 Angry Men.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964; 100% Tomatometer)



Dr. Strangelove showed me, I suppose taught me, a lot about comedy. The stuff that’s funniest is the stuff that scares us most — because all good comedy comes out of fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of public awkwardness, fear of, you know, all those kinds of things. To have truly, really dark comedy where at the end of the film everyone in the world dies, that was very funny to me. I went to the Kubrick exhibition and there was this whole section on how originally the film had ended with a gigantic pie fight, and it was cut; but in a way I get what that might have been going for — the fact that it is all so ridiculous.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006; 91% Tomatometer)



Little Miss Sunshine: I find it to be the sweetest, funniest… it’s a modern classic, I think. And I think Steve Carell is brilliant in it; heartbreaking. Also the fact that it came out of nowhere — that I went to the cinema knowing nothing about it.

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey, 1963; 96% Tomatometer)



The fifth, because it is the film of my childhood, and I still think the skeleton sequence is one of the scariest effects sequences ever, is Jason and the Argonauts. That is the film that, within the first six months of a relationship of any girl that I’m with, I have to make her watch that film — and if she doesn’t react the way I’d like, then that’s kind of a deal-breaker. If you don’t like Harryhausen’s stop-motion then you are not going to be in my life. [Laughs]

Has it ever come to that?

No, fortunately not. Fortunately I think that they all picked up that the stakes were quite high — so at least they pretended to like it.

Really, what kind of awful person wouldn’t like it?

You really have to kind of just have a heart of stone to not be able to get into that film, ’cause it’s just brilliant. You know the other film I like? The Vikings, that Tony Curtis-Kirk Douglas one. It’s really good, just because it’s… well, it’s Vikings; but I think Ernest Borgnine plays, like, Ragnar, the king of the Vikings, and it’s a hysterical film — ’cause made in the ’50s, and there are these shots where they’re panning down the rows of Vikings and they’ve all got horned helmets and scraggly hair, and then you get to Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas who’re just perfectly coiffed, beautiful men still. [Laughs]


The Woman in Black opens in theaters this week.

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