Colin Farrell has had one of the more interesting Hollywood careers in recent memory with 2022 alone showing his remarkable talents with the likes of The Batman and The Banshees of Inisherin. He exploded onto the scene as the hottest young actor around but his career as a Hollywood leading man never quite took off the way people expected. However, Farrell quickly reinvented himself as a much more interesting character actor.
This unique career path has resulted in some unforgettable films as well as a few hidden gems still waiting to be discovered. From his early roles which showcased his promising talents to his versatile and challenging roles later in his career, these are Colin Farrell’s best movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
15/15 Tigerland (2000) – 77%
Farrell was still an up-and-coming actor when he secured the lead in this small independent drama from Joel Schumacher. Farrell stars as a young rebellious man who arrives at basic training to prepare to serve in Vietnam. As he challenges the authority of this new existence, he develops a skill at finding loopholes for his fellow recruits to escape deployment.
The movie is a small and intimate take on the war genre with the story focusing on the psychology of preparing for war. Farrell makes for a compelling and charismatic lead, creating a grounded character that still shows off his movie star charm.
14/15 The Beguiled (2017) – 78%
Farrell was once touted as the next big leading man in Hollywood but now seems more comfortable acting in supporting roles or as part of an ensemble. He joined the stellar cast of Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. The Civil War-set drama is set in an all-girls boarding school in the south that takes in an injured Union soldier, playing by Farrell.
The gothic feel of the story adds a great sense of foreboding doom throughout the engrossing tale. It is shocking, funny, and sexy while also featuring excellent performances from the great cast.
13/15 Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – 79%
In Saving Mr. Banks, Farrell once again proves to be one of the more memorable parts of the movie while in a supporting role. The film stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, and the story of the tumultuous relationship between her and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) as they attempt to bring her character to the big screen. Farrell appears in flashbacks as Travers’ loving but troubled father.
The movie is a charming and interesting behind-the-scenes story of the making of a beloved film. Hanks and Thompson are great and the scenes with Farrell as some of the most powerful in the film.
12/15 The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017) – 80%
Available on Showtime, Hoopla and DIRECTV
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the second collaboration between Farrell and filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, and it proves to be another solid teaming. Farrell stars as a surgeon who makes a mistake during surgery which ends up having consequences far greater than he could have imagined.
Like most of Lanthimos’ films, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is filled with dark humor, sharp writing and intense moments. The performances are also impressive with Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Barry Keoghan specifically standing out.
11/15 Seven Psychopaths (2012) – 83%
Martin McDonagh is another filmmaker who has collaborated with Farrell to great success on more than one occasion. Seven Psychopaths is their second film together and stars Farrell as an alcoholic screenwriter struggling with his latest project when he and his friends become the targets of several dangerous figures.
The movie is a darkly funny story filled with gruesome violence and colorful characters. Farrell once again shows his comedic talents while backed by an incredible cast including Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson.
10/15 The War Zone (1999) – 84%
Available on Roku and Tubi
With his first movie role, Farrell joined the harrowing and disturbing drama The War Zone. The movie focuses on a young boy who makes a shocking discovery within his family which leads everyone down a dark path. Farrell has a small supporting role as a local boy who strikes up a friendship with the boy’s sister.
Undoubtedly, the movie is very difficult to watch and deals with subject matter that may be too much for many audiences to handle. But it is also a powerful movie that was praised by critics for its performances and intensity.
9/15 In Bruges (2008) – 84%
Available to rent on Apple TV
In Bruges was the first time Farrell teamed with Martin McDonagh and it’s an even better example of their talents. The film stars Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen who are ordered to hide out in Bruges, Belgium after a job goes wrong.
McDonagh immediately made a name for himself as a unique voice in cinema with dark, hilarious and sharp dialogue. Farrell and Gleeson make for a wonderfully mismatched pair while Ralph Fiennes steals the show as their rage-filled boss. It is an oddly beautiful crime-comedy filled with some of the wittiest movie characters that has grown in popularity over the years.
8/15 The Batman (2022) – 85%
Though there are a number of superhero roles fans could imagine Farrell playing himself, he chose to step into an unexpected villainous role in The Batman. Robert Pattinson takes on the iconic role of the Caped Crusader as he tries to stop the deadly Riddler who unravels the dark past of Gotham City.
Farrell has a scene-stealing role as Penguin with the actor nearly unrecognizable in the villain role. The movie was praised for bringing a dark detective noir vibe to the story, making it feel like its own take on Batman and his world.
7/15 Thirteen Lives (2022) – 87%
Another one of the several high-profile movies Farrell has out this year is the real-life rescue drama Thirteen Lives. The drama is directed by Ron Howard and tells the story of a dire rescue mission to save a ground of boys stuck in an underwater cave.
Farrell plays one of the divers alongside the likes of Viggo Mortensen and Joel Egerton making for grounded heroes. The movie was seen as an intense and gripping account of the real events that took place in 2018 in Thailand.
6/15 The Lobster (2015) – 87%
Available on Showtime, Hoopla and DIRECTV
The first collaboration between Farrell and Yorgos Lanthimos was a strange, dark romantic comedy. Farrell stars as a lonely sad sack man in a dystopian society in which people have 45 days to find a romantic life partner or be turned into an animal of their choice.
The movie features an all-star cast including Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Olivia Colman, all giving stellar and funny performances. It is certainly an odd and unconventional tale filled with wild moments, but it is also a charming story about true love.
5/15 After Yang (2022) – 89%
Along with appearing in more supporting roles, Farrell’s recent career sees him taking leading roles in smaller movies. After Yang is one recent example of this and tells an intimate science-fiction story.
Farrell plays a man who is confronted with questions about love and his family when their A.I. helper breaks down. The movie is a quiet and contemplative movie that critics found rewards the audience if they are willing to embrace its smaller story.
4/15 Minority Report (2002) – 90%
Available on AMC+ and DIRECTV
When Farrell’s star was on the rise, he got the chance to work with one of the most legendary filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg. Minority Report is an inventive science-fiction thriller set in a future in which crime can be predicted. Tom Cruise plays a cop who is predicted to kill a man in the near future and must go on the run to clear his name. Farrell plays a determined government agent pursuing Cruise.
The movie was seen as one of Spielberg’s best from the 2000s as a master filmmaker are on full display with this exciting, clever and action-packed futuristic adventure. Cruise also proves why he is at the top of his game with an intense movie star performance.
3/15 Crazy Heart (2009) – 90%
Farrell seems drawn to interesting stories no matter how big his role might be. In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges stars as a washed-up country singer whose life is slowly being destroyed by alcoholism. He finds hope of redemption after starting a relationship with a single mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Farrell plays a successful country singer and former collaborator of Bridges’ character.
Though the story might not be totally original, the movie gained praise from critics largely due to Bridges’ fantastic performance for which he won an Oscar. The raw and touching love story combined with a beautiful original song made it one of the best country music movies ever.
2/15 Widows (2018) – 91%
Once again, Farrell joined a stellar ensemble which resulted in one of his best films. Widows is a smart and engrossing crime thriller from Steve McQueen which follows a group of thieves who die during a heist, leaving their widows to pick up the pieces and complete the job themselves. Farrell plays a corrupt politician involved in the robbery.
The movie is a sharp and gripping film featuring fantastic performances from its all-star cats, with Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daniel Kaluuya standing out. The movie serves as a great genre film as well as offering interesting commentary on real-world issues while offering a rare heist movie with badass female leads.
1/15 The Banshees Of Inisherin (2022) – 100%
In theaters October 21, 2022
Farrell’s impressive year of 2022 is still not over with The Banshees of Inisherin providing another acclaimed turn for the actor. The movie reunited Farrell with Brendan Gleeson for this dark comedic tale of two best friends on a remote Irish island whose relationship is suddenly ended with shocking consequences.
Along with seeing Farrell and Gleeson together, they are also reuniting with their In Bruges filmmaker Martin McDonagh. And the team-up looks to recapture the magic as the movie is already being called one of the best of the year and sparking Oscar buzz for Farrell.
NEXT: Colin Farrell’s 10 Best Movies, According To Letterboxd