Ranked: All 17 of The Films of Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future Part II

#5. Back to the Future Part II

It’s hard to believe that we’re now in the future that this time traveling sequel predicted, and sadly we don’t all have hoverboards yet (though they do now exist). But even knowing that our future is nothing like the 2015 shown in this movie, it’s still a stellar sci-fi sequel that builds upon the original by upping the stakes and even returning to the 1955 setting of the first movie. It’s a little more goofy than the first movie, but the spirit is still there, and it’s chock full of some classic sequences, including that iconic hoverboard chase, that make it one of the most enjoyable sequels ever made.

#4. Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump has consistently received grief for beating out Pulp Fiction for Best Picture in 1994, but it’s no reason to discredit what is one of the best slices of Americana that has ever graced the big screen. Sure, it’s mawkish throughout, but Tom Hanks brings this story to life in a way that few actors could. The film’s journey through some of the most pivotal moments in American’s history makes it a generation defining movie that shouldn’t be cast asunder just for being accessible. Forrest Gump is a modern classic, and it has everything that makes a movie truly great, including lines that audiences will never forget.

#3. Cast Away

Cast Away

When it comes to Robert Zemeckis and drama, it doesn’t get better than Cast Away. In a tour de force performance, Tom Hanks does all the heavy-lifting as a man stranded on an island, allowing him to gain some new perspective on life, though not in some hammy, overbearing way. It’s grounded, harrowing and extremely powerful. Zemeckis makes you care about a relationship between a man and a volleyball, for crying out loud! With the exception of the film’s opening, this is easily the most quiet, reserved film that Zemeckis has ever made, and it makes us wish he would take the time to venture away from spectacle more often.

#2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

A genuine film noir with cartoon characters in the real world? The concept alone is better than some movies, and it’s more than satisfying to see that Robert Zemeckis successfully combined his love for innovative technology with two classic forms of cinema and combined them all in one of the most creative and entertaining films to come out of the 80s. The late Bob Hoskins puts in one of the best performances of his career, and we get to see Romancing the Stone star Kathleen Turner reunite with Zemeckis to become one of the most sultry cartoon characters ever created. But perhaps the most impressive feat is bringing together the cartoons of Warner Bros. and Disney, something that will likely never happen again.

#1. Back to the Future

Back in Time trailer

This movie is perfect. Hollywood doesn’t make movies like this anymore, mostly because scripts that are this airtight, creative and fantastic are either hard to come by, or studios just aren’t willing to take a chance on them. For a sci-fi element as complex as time travel, this movie has the most simple story that never lets itself get too complicated. This movie is the definition of iconic, and it’s because Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale wrote a script that is imaginative and fun, with characters that you’re with every step of the way and have influenced cinema for decades now, not to mention a villain that you love to hate. This wasn’t a script that was written with the intention of selling toys, or launching a franchise (the sequel tag was just meant to be a gag), and without being hyperbolic, it’s undoubtedly one of the best movies ever made.


If you have any dissension to express, you know what to do. Otherwise, The Walk hits theaters everywhere this weekend, but this is one of the rare times where I can’t implore you enough to spend the extra money to check this one out in IMAX 3D, if only just for the visual spectacle of the finale.

Plus, don’t forget that this month is a big one for Robert Zemeckis since Back to the Future has turned 30 years old, and the predicted future of its sequel has arrived albeit without double ties and flying cars. Don’t forget that a bunch of anniversary celebrations and promotions are coming this month and beyond, which you can find out more about right here.

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