The Top 15 Best Colin Farrell Movies Ranked

Colin Farrell is a cinematic chameleon. Farrell remains one of the most exciting actors of his generation because he never seems to lead his career down a predictable path. Whether he's a romantic leading man, a hilarious side character, a terrifying villain, or a historical figure, Farrell is able to completely transform his appearance and make the viewer forget any past roles they remember him by. He's easily one of the most versatile actors working today and, regardless of the size of his role, he's always a memorable contribution to a project.

Farrell received significant critical praise for his performance as the struggling father of an android in the science fiction film "After Yang," which received emotional responses at the Sundance Film Festival. His performance as comic book villain The Penguin in "The Batman" is strong enough that he's already been approached for a spin-off series. Here are the top 15 best Colin Farrell movies, ranked.

15. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

The "Harry Potter" prequel film "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" was a mixed endeavor into the lore of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. While the discovery of mythical creatures by the Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is engaging, the incorporation of the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) changed the tone halfway through the film. Not only did the darker storyline feel like it distracted from the creature-centric premise, but it was unnecessary to introduce a new villain considering Colin Farrell's character Percival Graves was already a compelling protagonist.

Graves is an Auror who tracks down dark wizards and serves as the Director of Magical Security for the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Graves is suspicious of Newt's motivations and accuses him of being involved in a conspiracy, and sends the forces of the American wizards to pursue him. However, Graves secretly courts the talents of the powerful magical boy Creedence (Ezra Miller).

14. Horrible Bosses (2011)

The 2011 comedy "Horrible Bosses" features a mix of twisted dark humor with a relatable depiction of modern workplace culture reminiscent of Mike Judge's "Office Space." The film centers around disgruntled employees/lifelong friends Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), Dale Arbus (Charlie Day), and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), each of whom is miserable at work due to their cruel supervisors. Kurt works in a chemical factory and loves his former employer Jack Pellit (played by the great Donald Sutherland), but after the older man dies unexpectedly from a heart attack, the business is taken over by his shady son Bobby (Colin Farrell).

Farrell is absolutely hilarious as an over-the-top drug addict who is completely incompetent in the position. He captures the unlikeable nature of a privileged son who gains his position purely through lineage and is completely incompetent, but Farrell is so over-the-top that even his cruel behavior is funny.

13. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

The 2013 biographical film "Saving Mr. Banks" chronicles the making of Disney's musical classic "Mary Poppins," which had a complex production history. The original author of the novel, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), is cagey about seeing her work adapted on screen, but Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) himself wants to negotiate with her. As they discuss the story, Travers begins to reveal how her own past influenced the story of the magical nanny.

Colin Farrell plays Travers' father Robert, who was the inspiration for Mr. Banks in "Mary Poppins." These heartfelt flashbacks are integral to the film's emotional core, as the tragic story of Robert's alcoholism shrouds Travers' childhood memories in melancholy and explains some of her secluded behavior. Farrell plays an irresponsible father, but he's very heartfelt and the relationship he has with the young Travers (Annie Rose Buckley) is tender. His sensitivity makes his debilitating issues even more painful to witness.

12. The Beguiled (2017)

Given the opportunity, Colin Farrell can capture a romantic charisma that makes him an object of desire. Sofia Coppola's 2017 thriller "The Beguiled" is a complex deconstruction of gender roles, and as virtually the only male cast member, Farrell embodies a sense of masculine anxiety. He steps into a role that Clint Eastwood first portrayed in the 1971 film of the same name, and brings both Eastwood's suave darkness and sense of recklessness.

Farrell's Confederate character Corporal John McBurney is wounded in combat and taken in by an all-female girls school in Virginia during the last year of the Civil War. The school's headmistress Miss Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) feels that aiding the injured man is her duty, but she soon becomes suspicious of his intentions as the girls in her school are charmed by him. John begins to romance the teacher Miss Edwina Morrow (Kirsten Dunst), but secretly yearns for the younger student Alicia (Elle Fanning).

11. The Gentlemen (2019)

Guy Ritchie's 2020 crime thriller comedy "The Gentlemen" features an excellent ensemble who are all having a blast chewing the scenery. The chaotic drug war storyline is essentially a competition between who can steal the most scenes, and Colin Farrell may be the winner. He's absolutely hilarious as the gym instructor Coach who trains a team of young martial artists that engage in heist activities and become involved in a cannabis deal.

The film is structured around an interview between the corrupt journalist Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who interviews the mob enforcer Raymond Smith (Charlie Hunnam) about his employment to the drug lord Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey). As Pearson deals with the competition of gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding), one of his factories is robbed by Coach's men. Coach is then forced to pay for their actions by negotiating with Raymond and aiding Pearson when he's kidnapped by the Russian mafia.

10. Crazy Heart (2009)

Colin Farrell's signature Irish accent is one of his most defining qualities, but he was able to shed his familiar voice completely to play the country singer Tommy Sweet in 2009's "Crazy Heart," in which he did all of his own singing. The film follows the late-stage career of former country superstar Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges), who sees his career decline as he grows older and attempts to find a relationship with the journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Tommy had grown up a massive fan of Blake's work and was inspired by him, but in subsequent years he's more than surpassed the fame of his idol.

Farrell captures a sensitivity within Tommy, as he wants to aid the man he's admired and takes joy in performing alongside him. He tries to use his influence to help Blake make a comeback and makes sure to mention what a legend he is when they sing together. Both Farrell and Bridges deliver dynamic onstage performances.

9. Widows (2018)

Steven McQueen's 2018 crime epic "Widows" has a complex storyline that captures the nuanced social and political infrastructure of modern-day Chicago, tackling issues of government corruption, race relations, gender roles, and police brutality. The film follows the aftermath of a doomed heist operation in which the serial bank robber Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) and his entire team are killed. Harry's widow Veronica (Viola Davis) is forced to pay her husband's debts to the mob boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), and she decides to gather the other wives and girlfriends of Harry's team to perform his last planned heist.

Harry intended to rob the home of the corrupt power broker Tom Mulligan (Robert Duvall), and Colin Farrell appears as Mulligan's son Jack, who is running for mayor against Jamal. Farrell perfectly captures the privilege of a plastic politician who believes himself destined for the role due to his family dynasty.

8. The New World (2005)

The story of Jamestown and the first American colony is taught in nearly every grade school history class, and cinematic adaptations have been problematic due to their portrayal of Pocahontas and Native American culture in general. Thankfully, Terrence Malick's 2005 epic "The New World" is able to overcome these issues with a deeply romantic, beautiful story that paints these important figures from history in a new light. Colin Farrell gives a powerful performance as Captain John Smith as his love for Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) blossoms and then fades away.

Smith is captured by the tribe of Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg), but his life is spared thanks to the pleas of his daughter Pocahontas. During his captivity, Smith grows to love the young woman, and the memories of her kindness stick with him when he returns to Jamestown. He's thrilled when she joins him, but Smith is caught between his emerging relationship and his responsibilities as a leader within the colony.

7. Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Martin McDonagh's 2012 dark comedy "Seven Psychopaths" combines a great ensemble of character actors who don't fit within the typical mold of stardom. The film's rapid-fire dialogue and twisted sense of humor required a cast who could fit the unique tonal blend, and Colin Farrell contributes to a film that manages to shock at every turn. He stars as the screenwriter Marty Faranan, whose ideas for a story called "Seven Psychopaths" end up gathering the film's characters together.

Marty's best friend Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) has an unusual business in which he kidnaps dogs and returns them to their owners alongside his partner-in-crime Hans Kieslowski (Christopher Walken). Things get complicated when Marty's ideas about a serial killer storyline introduce him to the crazed storyteller Zachariah Rigby (Tom Waits). Billy then gets into trouble when he kidnaps the dog of the gangster Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), putting Marty in danger.

6. Phone Booth (2002)

Joel Schumacher's 2002 thriller "Phone Booth" is a true actor's showcase, and Colin Farrell is almost completely isolated for the majority of his performance. The film follows Farrell's character, the shady publicist Stu Shepard, as he stops to make a call at a phone booth in the center of Times Square in New York City. Stu receives a mysterious call from a threatening voice (Kiefer Sutherland) who possesses surprising knowledge about Stu's past misdeeds. The caller claims to have a sniper rifle aimed at Stu, preventing him from leaving the contained booth.

Stu is a flawed character, but he's put in a position of complete vulnerability and evokes the viewer's sympathies. Not only is Stu trying to piece together moments from his past and apologize for his irresponsible actions, but he's forced to protect the city's residents when he realizes the caller is willing to kill innocent people. He's later forced to make himself look like a dangerous criminal in order to appease the caller. It takes a brilliant actor to be engaging within such a narrow space, and it's impossible to look away from Farrell throughout the film's tight 82-minute runtime.

5. Minority Report (2002)

Given the opportunity, Colin Farrell can be utterly terrifying onscreen, but he's also not an actor who plays generic villains. Steven Spielberg's 2002 science fiction mystery action thriller "Minority Report" is set within a terrifying future where crime has seemingly been eliminated thanks to the work of psychics that can determine guilt before anything illegal has occurred. The Precrime program's top agent Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) follows his orders without question, but he soon finds himself accused of a future murder while still haunted by the memory of his young son's death.

Farrell's character Danny Witwer is a Department of Justice agent assigned to track down Anderton and make him pay the consequences for his future actions, and Farrell delivers an absolutely unhinged performance as the uptight cop. One of the most disturbing elements of "Minority Report" is the realism with which Spielberg depicts the infrastructure of law enforcement. Amidst all this futurism, Farrell finds a realistic edge to the ideology of an enforcer of justice granted too much power. 

4. The Killing of A Sacred Deer (2017)

Colin Farrell is able to generate empathy from viewers in even his most oddball characters, and he's often a great presence within films with complex tonal shifts and meticulous worldbuilding. Stylized Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos generally focuses on complex stories of morality and human loneliness, and 2017's "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" is a terrifying psychological horror film that focuses less on jump scares and more on perpetual anxiety. Farrell is at the center of the story and manages to capture anxiety within a character whose steely resolve could have made him less relatable.

Farrell plays surgeon Steven Murphy, who operates a successful practice in Cincinnati and lives with his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and younger children Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic). One night Steven invites the young man Martin Lang (Barry Keoghan) to join the family for dinner. Martin's own father died in a car accident 10 years prior, and Steven was an assigned surgeon during the accident's aftermath. Although not the most open man, Steven was very sympathetic to Martin's situation and took an interest in helping him cope. However, Martin soon becomes transfixed with the family and begins to integrate himself within their household, taking a romantic interest in Kim. He views this surgeon as a father-like figure, and Steven is forced to balance his initial goodwill with the protective nature of a father.

3. In Bruges (2008)

Colin Farrell has routinely appeared in comedies, crime films, and existential arthouse fare, and writer/director Martin McDonagh gave him a chance to combine all three genres in his 2008 directorial debut "In Bruges." Prior to filmmaking, McDonagh was a playwright, and he transfers his excellent idiosyncratic dialogue to the big screen with a bleak and totally original take on a mafia story. Farrell stars as the hitman Ray, who hides out in Bruges, Belgium with his partner Ken Daley (Brendan Gleeson) as they avoid their temper-prone boss Harry Waters (Ralph Fiennes).

Ray only recently adopted the dangerous lifestyle, but he's tormented by an early mission in which he killed a priest during a confession under orders, and accidentally killed a young boy who was also at the church. The blunder forces Harry to give the pair of assassins an ambiguous assignment to await further orders in Bruges, with Ray suffering from an extreme sense of guilt. He gets no comfort from Ken, who is more than experienced with killing innocent people. What makes the film so hilarious is their experiences in Bruges itself. Ray is under so much distress that he's annoyed by the town's culture, while Ken is completely charmed. Ray's musings about his remorse are both painfully funny and full of pathos.

2. Miami Vice (2006)

Michael Mann's 2006 reboot of his own classic procedural detective series "Miami Vice" was vastly misunderstood upon its initial debut, but in the years since it's gradually been accepted as a modern experimental masterpiece that pioneered digital filmmaking. Mann's original series was renowned for its slick, polished atmosphere, but the new film sets the characters in a tactile reality where the ramifications of their actions are etched in an aura of desperate futility. It's a deeply tragic meditation on the ultimate failures of those that attempt to do good in a dark world, while also being a super cool action thriller.

Colin Farrell stepped into the role of Detective Sonny Crockett, whom Don Johnson had made iconic on the original show, and delivered one of his most surprisingly complex performances. Farrell's steely resolve and quick thinking insights made him instantly engaging as an action hero, but there's loneliness within Crockett's excellence. He's great at his profession but derives no joy from it, and the few moments of happiness he has amidst his missions are ultimately taken away from him quickly. Even his partner Detective Rico Tubbs (Jamie Foxx, stepping into Phillip Michael Thomas' role) can only somewhat understand what he's going through, giving the pair an interesting new take on the buddy cop dynamic.

1. The Lobster (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos's oddball romantic fantasy "The Lobster" is a film with a premise so ridiculous that if you read the synopsis it would probably sound like a joke. Set in a dystopian society, the film follows a group of singles who are assigned to engage in dating rituals in a hotel for 45 days. The intent is for them to find a perfect mate, and those that still remain loveless after the threshold passes are transformed into an animal. The film isn't just hilariously bleak, but a strange and sad story of the weighty expectations of relationships as well as the difficulty of finding connection.

It's certainly not a film in which traditional movie star charisma would fit within the odd relationships, but the film needed to be both darkly humorous and deeply romantic. Colin Farrell is the exact type of idiosyncratic actor that can fit those parameters, and he delivers what might be his funniest performance. Farrell stars as David, who fears the dating rituals due to his brother's failure to find a mate, which resulted in him being turned into a dog. David has little hope of meeting anyone and has already decided that if he's as unsuccessful as he expects, he would like to be turned into a lobster. However, David meets a short-sighted unnamed visitor (Rachel Weisz) stigmatized by her family, and the two lonely souls are able to bond in the midst of their miserable lives.