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Every Ben Kingsley Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Sir Ben Kingsley set the bar extremely high for himself early in his film career by starring in "Gandhi," a movie and a performance that would've been tough for any actor to top. And yet, that would end up marking only the beginning of a remarkable career which saw the England-born Gujarti actor — whose birth name was Krishna Bhanji — appear in multiple films with as much as, if not more, acclaim than "Gandhi." 

Though many of the best actors can move freely between genres, Kingsley has proven particularly adept at doing so effortlessly. One would be hard-pressed to come up with a genre or even subgenre of film that Kingsley not only hasn't appeared in but hasn't proven a master at. He's been in the most serious of dramas to the absolute silliest of comedies, with just about every possible type of movie in between. This comprehensive list will rank all of the actor's theatrically released films — as well as a selected batch of his made-for-television movie work — leaving out appearances and voiceovers in documentaries as well as films where he only plays a cameo role.

78. BloodRayne

Movie adaptations of video games get a bad rap in general, which isn't entirely fair, as some of them are quite good. But the ones that writer-director Uwe Boll contribute to the genre are so dreadfully awful that they would drown out the best ones, even if they were as good as "The Godfather." Almost every single one of Boll's films is among the absolute worst movies ever made, and his adaptation of the gothic action-adventure game series "BloodRayne" is no exception. The film somehow ensnared many talented actors, including Michael Madsen, Geraldine Chaplin, Billy Zane, and Michelle Rodriguez, and also Meat Loaf is there for some reason.

So how does an Academy Award-winner like Ben Kingsley end up in a terrible video game movie, from a director who already had several terrible video game movies under his belt? Well, as he told Time magazine (via Engadget), "To be honest, I have always wanted to play a vampire, with the teeth and the long black cape. Let's say that my motives were somewhat immature for doing it." The fact that it was filmed in beautiful Romania probably didn't hurt the appeal of signing onto the movie, either. Still, even if Kingsley got to visit a gorgeous country and have fun playing dress-up for a couple of months, "BloodRayne" remains his worst movie thus far by a considerable margin.

77. A Sound of Thunder

Ben Kingsley's wig alone in "A Sound of Thunder" is probably one of the biggest embarrassments of his career, looking like white cotton candy has been glued to the top of his head. The movie itself doesn't fare much better, yet another unfortunate cinematic mishandling of a story by legendary sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury. 

The story of time tourists who muck with the past a little too much and end up causing major issues, "A Sound of Thunder" has Kingsley playing the CEO of a company called Time Safari. For a movie made in 2005, the special effects are dreadful. Originally to be released under Franchise Pictures, "A Sound of Thunder" hit a major roadblock when Franchise went bankrupt during production, with the special effects budget being slashed significantly in the process (per CGSociety). Still, that doesn't account for the weak script or the performances of a cast full of actors that don't seem terribly interested in being there, and the film was ravaged by critics.

76. Parting Shots

A dark comedy starring Ben Kingsley, John Cleese, Bob Hoskins, Diana Rigg, and Joanna Lumley sounds like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, "Parting Shots" is one giant air ball, and has since been called one of the worst British movies of all time. The plot centers on a man who goes on a murder spree against those who he feels have done him wrong after he receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Sounds hilarious, doesn't it?

The Michael Winner-directed film was reviewed poorly by David Stratton for Variety, who nevertheless called the sequence involving Kingsley's chef character, Renzo, "the film's most amusing, [which] comes as no surprise to anyone who's read Winner's newspaper columns in which he's complained bitterly about some of London's more fashionable eating establishments." Another critic, Roger Moore (not that Roger Moore) with Movie Nation, said of Kinglsey's performance, "Kingsley gives a discounted version of Ben Does Dazzling Accents." Britain's Empire Magazine infamously named "Parting Shots" one of the "50 Worst Movies Ever," and Bobcat Goldthwait later remade the film as "God Bless America."

75. Intrigo: Death of an Author

This German-Swedish-UK noir crime drama was shot in four different countries and was directed by Daniel Alfredson. The director is known internationally for another noir crime drama series, having directed the Swedish-language sequels "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" with Noomi Rapace. "Death of an Author" was the first in an anthology trilogy. In terms of American critics and audiences, "Intrigo: Death of an Author" didn't impress too many people. Sitting at a dreadful 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was called "stilted," "dull," and "tiresome," and it ranks among Ben Kingsley's worst-reviewed films in the U.S.

In the film, Kingsley plays an author named Henderson who lives alone on an island and talks to a would-be novelist (Benno Fürmann) about both his life and his novel, about a man (also Fürmann) who tries to murder his wife (Tuva Novotny). Though Kingsley doesn't appear in the myrid flashbacks and fictional interludes of the film, he does get to relax on a Greek island, enjoying playing a refined, successful author and, per Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, "milking his small role for everything it's worth."

74. Night Hunter (2018)

The 2010s seemed to see a lot of actors make the rounds in direct-to-video — or at least, direct-to-video quality — movies, and Ben Kingsley was no exception. One such entry was the action thriller "Night Hunter," where he starred alongside Henry Cavill, Alexandra Daddario, Stanley Tucci, and Nathan Fillion. The plot is fairly standard fare for this type of movie, centering on an investigation into a young woman who seemingly took her own life — though it is soon discovered that nothing is as it seems as one twist makes way for another.

Kingsley plays a judge-turned-vigilante — are your eyes rolling yet? — who is trying to catch a serial child predator. The plot gets too complicated for its own good, and each new wrinkle that is added to the story in an attempt to make it seem deeper than it is only makes the whole thing unravel into an illogical, incoherent mess. The cast does their best with the material, but that isn't really saying all that much. The film fared poorly with critics, and despite its cast, it was released as a direct-to-video title in the U.S. and made just over a million worldwide.

73. The Love Guru

Mike Myers doesn't make a ton of movies — but when he does, they typically come with fully formed and memorable lead characters who become part of the pop culture lexicon for years going forward. Having Wayne Campbell, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and even Shrek under his belt cements his place in the comedy movie character pantheon no matter what he does — but boy, did he get really close to endangering that with "The Love Guru."

Even the biggest comic geniuses eventually swing and miss, but "The Love Guru" was a miss of epic proportions. Still, his clout was such at this point that he was able to convince a lot of really famous and really talented people to roll the dice on this trainwreck — including Ben Kingsley as the guru mentor to Myers' character. Kingsley at least gets a pass on the stereotypical accents rampant in the film because he's of Indian heritage, but the fact that his character is cross-eyed because of his overindulgence in ... let's call it, self-love, is beneath him, to say the least. Kingsley was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for the film — alongside two other films he did that year, "War, Inc." and "The Wackness," an honor he hadn't had since "BloodRayne" two years prior.

72. Suspect Zero

Oftentimes, Ben Kingsley is the best thing about a movie he's in. And the critical consensus for "Suspect Zero" on Rotten Tomatoes spells that out pretty plainly, simply stating "Other than Ben Kingsley, there's not much to like in this preposterous thriller." The original script for this 2004 movie dates back to the mid-1990s and went through several iterations over the years that saw Tom Cruise attached to star at one point. Later, Ben Affleck briefly came on board to star and also rework the script, though that would end up falling through as well (per Empire Online). 

Like many movies that go through those types of protracted development issues and are moved from one creative team to the next, the eventually released version of "Suspect Zero" is mostly a mess, playing on all the tropes established in serial killer films, including a desert standoff right out of "Se7en," with only brief flashes of the brilliant movie it could've been. "[Kingsley] plays a man named Benjamin O'Ryan," wrote Roger Ebert in a scathing review, "who is often seen in such extreme closeups that if pores could talk, the movie would be over."

71. Self/less

Director Tarsem Singh definitely knows how to create feasts for the eyes. His major breakthrough came when he directed the legendary video for "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. When he first moved into film, he retained that visual creativity with films like "The Cell" and "The Fall." However, in the case of both of those movies, gorgeous cinematography and mind-bending set pieces were mixed with stories that didn't quite live up to the quality of the visuals.

So when Tarsem started to move into more standard studio fare for his next few films, he seemed to lose interest in going over-the-top with set designs, costumes, and special effects — though the stories of those movies remained fairly substandard. His worst-reviewed film thus far is his most recent, the 2015 sci-fi thriller "Self/less." Sci-fi is a great fit for him, and there was a lot of potential in the movie's story of a dying billionaire who undergoes a procedure that transfers his consciousness into someone younger and healthier — played by Ryan Reynolds. It has a great cast but just never comes together and can't even at least manage decent action or cool set-pieces.

70. The Last Legion

Considering how early in his career he made a name for himself with "Gandhi," it's perhaps a little surprising that Ben Kingsley so seldom revisited doing historical epics. Perhaps it's because so many historical epics fall flat and it can be difficult to get them right — and, sadly, "The Last Legion" is one such example. A strange hybrid between the myth of King Arthur and an ancient Roman swords-and-sandals adventure, the movie sees Kingsley play a version of Merlin. And while he's normally a highly adaptable actor, he feels miscast here.

In his defense, so do most of the leads, including Colin Firth as the main protagonist. Hollywood loves doing King Arthur movies and tries one every few years, even when very few of them ever make a commercial splash or impress the critics. At least this one took a slightly different spin on things, even if that spin didn't actually end up working particularly well. It says a lot that "The Last Legion" was directed by Doug Lefler — who had primarily helmed episodes of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" — as this movie often has the feel of a cheesy syndicated TV adventure series. Lefler hasn't done a feature film since, having gone back to VFX work on the likes of "Godzilla vs. Kong" and "Ms. Marvel," and while Kingsley has done historical-fantasy films like "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and played a historical figure in "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," he hasn't since returned to Arthurian legend.

69. Teen Patti

The title of the film "Teen Patti" comes from the name of a card game in India. As for the movie, it was clearly inspired by the film "21" — and, in turn, the real-life story behind that film — as it follows a genius mathematician (Ben Kingsley) and a math professor (Amitabh Bachchan) who is attempting to prove a mathematical formula that, if correct, would allow him to consistently guess who will win at the poker game Teen Patti.

"21" wasn't an amazing movie to begin with — it only has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes — which wasn't going to bode well for other movies inspired by it. And while "Teen Patti" was never released in the west so it wasn't reviewed by any American critics, critics were largely harsh on it in the territories where it was released. For instance, Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama praised the performances of Kingsley and the other leads, saying, "Kingsley is an amazing actor and expectedly, he's brilliant here. It's a treat to watch these two magicians — Sir Ben and Bachchan — perform on screen." But the critic also says that the pacing is slow and repetitive and calls the writing "erratic."

Kingsley seems to be the only unbothered party in all this. Though the film was a critically derided flop, Kingsley said he has "No regrets whatsoever" about the project (per the Hindustan Times). "Everything is a great learning curve in life. It was fun, and I love to diversify as an actor." He also said that after making "Gandhi," he was keen to return for another project and had plenty of offers for Bollywood films after "Teen Patti." He's far from burned from the experience — "I'd love to return to India to film there," he said (via the Deccan Herald). All in all, it seems we didn't miss much by not having "Teen Patti" brought stateside, and it's definitely not worth the trouble of seeking it out.

68. Thunderbirds

The original "Thunderbirds" TV series from the 1960s is as campy as campy can be, especially given that it uses weird robotic marionettes instead of live actors or traditional animation. To revive it in 2004 as a live-action movie could have worked, especially with Jonathan "Commander Riker" Frakes directing. But it tries too hard to be earnest instead of leaning into the campiness like the best revivals of this type do. Rather than make something unique and visually interesting in the way that Lana and Lilly Wachowskis' "Speed Racer" film would do four years later, "Thunderbirds" received wretched reviews, with many critics observing its attempts at replicating the success of "Spy Kids," only without any of the fun or spirit of that series. Adults who grew up watching the original will find it too childish, and the children of the 2000s also didn't really see much to latch onto as a new-to-them franchise.

Casting Ben Kingsley as the main antagonist, The Hood, was a nice move, but he never really quite chews the scenery as hard as he could have to make the movie a little more fun. Roger Ebert said of his performance that it seems as though he's "trying his best to play no one at all while willing himself invisible," and Ian Freer with Empire noted that "Kingsley snacks on, rather than chews, the scenery." It wouldn't be until 2015 when another go at reviving the franchise was attempted with the animated series "Thunderbirds Are Go."

67. The Ottoman Lieutenant

There was significant controversy surrounding the release of the 2017 historical drama "The Ottoman Lieutenant," about a pair of doctors (Hera Hilmar and Josh Hartnett) working at a mission within the Ottoman Empire at the cusp of World War I and the Turkish officer (Michiel Huisman) who falls in love with Hilmar's character. It was one of two films released around the same time that address the Armenian genocide, the other being 2016's "The Promise." That movie's filmmakers suggested that "The Ottoman Lieutenant" was not only created specifically to provide a pro-Turkey counter-narrative to the side of the story being represented in "The Promise," but that the release of "The Ottoman Lieutenant" was moved up so as to get that message out more quickly cut into the publicity for "The Promise" (per The Hollywood Reporter). The film is Turkish-funded and appears to present a more revisionist history of the Armenian genocide.

It's a messy situation indeed, but by all accounts, Ben Kingsley and the rest of the cast of "The Ottoman Lieutenant" had no idea they were part of alleged Turkish propaganda. Kingsley's role doesn't have much of a political function within the narrative, anyway — he plays a sexist senior doctor at the hospital where Hilmar's and Hartnett's characters work. "Sir Ben Kingsley seems to be sleepwalking through the role, and most viewers will be embarrassed to see the Oscar winner slumming here," said reviewer Gary M. Kramer with Salon. Without a strong performance to save it, the film was almost universally panned by critics. Full disclosure: "The Promise" reviewed a bit better, but not by much.

66. A Common Man

Ben Kingsley is credited simply as "The Man" in the 2013 Sri Lankan thriller "A Common Man," though he is anything but common. In fact, he has brought Sri Lanka to its knees by planting five bombs around the capital city of Colombo. He then reveals that he will denote the bombs if the police don't release four specific prisoners. It's all very "Die Hard" with a hint of "Phone Booth" or "Speed" as he communicates with the police via threatening phone calls. It's all very generic — even the title, which isn't to be confused with another Kingsley movie, "An Ordinary Man," which is completely unrelated to this one.

"A Common Man" was awarded at both the Madrid International Film Festival and the New York Festivals' International Film and Television Awards (via Colombo Gazette). But its actual release in the U.S. came and went with little fanfare, and the film ultimately feels like a fairly low-budget thriller that doesn't do anything particularly interesting, and there's probably a reason why it barely even got released here despite starring Kingsley and fellow veteran England-born actor Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire"). Of his performance, one critic, Christopher Null with Film Racket, wrote, "Kingsley gives it his all here, but he has the luxury of acting in the film almost exclusively by himself," and observed that one good Kingsley performance does not a watchable film make. The film is actually a remake of an Indian film called "A Wednesday!," which is critically acclaimed and the one that the curious should check out instead — though that one is sans Kingsley. 

65. Collide (2016)

Ben Kingsley seems to find himself involved in a lot of unremarkable thrillers and action films with really impressive casts. While critics hated "Collide," Kingsley isn't the only veteran Oscar winner along for the ride, as this movie somehow got Anthony Hopkins to sign on as well. Oscar nominee Felicity Jones also stars, and Emmy nominee Nicholas Hoult plays the lead, a reluctant money runner working for Kingsley's kingpin to pay his girlfriend's medical bills. Things naturally go horribly wrong, and chaos ensues.

Kingsley and Hopkins play opposing drug lord antagonists (as Kingsley does opposite Morgan Freeman in "Lucky Number Slevin"), and rather than go subdued or understated, they both play their respective characters with ridiculous B-movie bombast. Naturally, seeing these two acting giants chewing the scenery is the best part of the movie, but both of them ham it up in much better films than this one, so there's no reason to bother. David Ehrlich for IndieWire wrote, "Kingsley, who spends the whole movie hiding behind a pair of inarguably awesome blue-tinted sunglasses, brings the character to life with an accent that goes from 0-60 in less than three syllables, and it's almost worth the price of admission just to hear him apply it to his climactic monologue about how hot Burt Reynolds was in 'Deliverance.'" The character also resides in a golden trailer full of prostitutes, and he has short-term memory loss.

64. Security (2017)

Released in 2017, the same year as "Collide," Ben Kingsley also plays a villain in another forgettable, sub-B-movie quality action thriller in the also-generically-named "Security." This time, he's the leader of a group of mercenaries who kidnap a young girl (Katherine Mary de la Rocha) to prevent her from testifying in court. Antonio Banderas plays the protagonist, a former Marine who is now a down-on-his-luck mall security guard who finds himself embroiled in the war against the mercenaries. It's like "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," but it takes itself seriously.

It's a very cliched premise for a very cliche-ridden movie, though there is something novel about seeing former '90s over-the-top action hero Banderas playing an aging, past-his-prime version of that archetype, and seeing Kingsley try his hand at a Hans Gruber role. Banderas and Kingsley do their best here, but there's little to redeem about this movie that is not only mind-numbingly paint-by-numbers but doesn't even bother to paint with fun colors. Critic Roger Moore, with Movie Nation, wrote on the film that he "can't see is why [...] Kingsley [can't] find more meaningful work than this, or better investment advisors who'd allow [him] to turn down a job, every now and then." To be fair, though, these two were hardly the only actors to be on direct-to-video-quality action thriller cruise control in the 2010s — it seemed to be what just about everyone was doing for a solid decade-plus.

63. Harem

Since Ben Kingsley was already in his 40s when he broke through in film, he didn't really get as many chances as other attractive young actors get to do his rounds as a romantic lead. But he still managed a few of those in the 1980s, most notably in the 1985 French film "Harem." Appearing opposite Nastassja Kinski, Kingsley plays the ruler of a Middle Eastern country who drugs and kidnaps Kinski's character and brings her to his harem. Yikes.

As a meet-cute, it's beyond skin-crawling, yet the film attempts to develop a romance from there — true, there is much about this movie that obviously hasn't aged well (and would've barely been accepted in 1985). But it is hard not to appreciate the chemistry between Kingsley and Kinski and to actually buy the fact that they are able to develop a genuine romantic connection over the course of the movie. Ultimately, it's impossible to completely overlook the problematic premise, and much of the movie is gorgeous to look at but ultimately thin in the script department anyway. The film was released three years after Kingsley's Oscar win, so perhaps it was merely the actor seizing his chance to be a romantic lead before he was pigeonholed to heavy dramas and historical films. "Kingsley says he was sent 400 scripts after receiving his 'Gandhi' Oscar and accepted only four, of which this was one," wrote Nigel Andrews of the Financial Times. "He should take a serious look at the other 396." Fortunately, the film wasn't widely released outside of France, so it's difficult to see these days regardless.

62. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Biblical epics can do extremely well — see "The Passion of the Christ" for the most recent example of a religious movie that absolutely cleaned up at the box office. However, Christian audiences want to know that a movie is being made with good intentions, and the fact that director Ridley Scott is an outspoken atheist (via The New York Times) didn't do his film "Exodus: Gods and Kings" any favors. The movie also veers so much from its biblical source material that it was banned in both Morocco and Egypt (via The Guardian).

None of that necessarily means that "Exodus" — which more or less depicts the events in the Bible's Book of Exodus — isn't a good film. It looks gorgeous and has stellar performances from Ben Kingsley as Nun, Christian Bale as Moses, Aaron Paul as Joshua, Sigourney Weaver as Tuya, and John Turturro as Seti I. Christy Lemire, for RogerEbert.com, called Kingsley's role "woefully small" but said that he manages to "infuse his few moments with great dignity." But ultimately, like so many epics — biblical or otherwise — the script at the heart of the whole endeavor is extremely thin and makes "Exodus" all style with very little substance.

61. Backstabbing for Beginners

Michael Soussan is a real-life whistleblower who wrote a memoir about exposing the alleged corruption in the UN's Oil for Food (OIP) program (per Jewish Standard). That memoir, "Backstabbing for Beginners," was later adapted into a film of the same name, with Theo James in the lead role — though he is playing Michael Sullivan, one of several tweaks where characters are clearly fashioned after and based on real people but aren't quite named as so.

Ditto for Ben Kingsley, who is clearly playing Benon Sovan — the head of OIP — though his character is actually named Pasha Pasaris. While that isn't necessarily a deal-breaker for a movie like this, "Backstabbing for Beginners" has more pressing issues. As pointed out by multiple reviewers, the movie tries too hard to amp up the cloak-and-dagger aspects of the story to make it more of a traditional exciting Hollywood political thriller and adds unnecessary extras like a love scene that feels out of place and doesn't service the movie — or the tragic real-life story it's based on. Some stories are best served as documentaries rather than fictional retellings, and this might have been one of those times.

Yet Kingsley proved to be a positive aspect of the film. "Kingsley creates oxygen with his dynamic, wildly entertaining turn," wrote Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter. In an otherwise slow, inert film, "Kingsley more than takes up the slack playing the sort of boss who calls a meeting to order by violently banging his shoe on the table."

60. An Ordinary Man

One of the most difficult jobs an actor can have is trying to make the audience feel sympathy toward an objectively bad person. In "An Ordinary Man," Ben Kingsley is tasked with doing just that as a character known simply as The General, who is based on real-life Bosnian War criminal Ratko Mladić (via The Wall Street Journal). And Kingsley rises to the occasion, successful in making the viewer sometimes forget that they aren't supposed to be feeling sorry for this man but doing so anyway. Critics with Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and the Los Angeles Times praised his performance wholeheartedly, with Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter writing that Kingsley "delivers such a riveting performance that it becomes easy to overlook the film's less compelling aspects."

Sadly, what is indeed an impressive performance is wasted on an otherwise subpar film. There is just nothing to make this very rote thriller stand out in any way, other than the performances of Kingsley and co-stars Hera Hilmar and Peter Serafinowicz. And although Kingsley might be able to wring compassion for his character in individual moments, the movie itself fails as a whole for being a redemption story for this character. Although, some would argue that the character doesn't deserve it — which is another, different problem with the movie altogether. 

59. The Confession (1999)

Despite being so strong in "Beetlejuice" as well as his many notable appearances on "Saturday Night Live," Alec Baldwin seemed to resist giving into his comedic gifts for the early half of his career. Or maybe his rugged good looks and gruff voice just had Hollywood wanting to make him a more serious and gritty actor, and Baldwin didn't have much say in the matter. Either way, with few exceptions, many of his serious roles from the '90s didn't really land, nor did the movies they were part of — notably the superhero flow "The Shadow," the earnest cinema drama "Two Bits," and a trio of legal dramas: "The Juror," "Heaven's Prisoners," and the Ben Kingsley-costarring "The Confession."

Kingsley plays Harry Fertig, a big-time accountant who killed some careless doctors responsible for the death of his child in the hospital. Baldwin plays his smooth-talking lawyer, Roy Bleakie, who's only interested in winning cases, and he wrestles morally with Harry over the case — Roy's mission, delivered by Harry's corporation, is to declare his client insane, so as to null any insider info Harry might let slip about the company. But Harry insists that he's not only sane, but he's guilty — he takes responsibility for his actions, and suddenly what seemed like an open-and-shut case pits a hotshot lawyer against an honorable man, and Roy needs to decide where his priorities lie. It's as pappy and melodramatic as it sounds and would be almost indistinguishable from a TV movie of the week were it not for the A-list talent involved (which also includes actress Amy Irving and Richard Jenkins).

58. Walking With the Enemy

It's not entirely clear if Ben Kingsley has starred in a proportionately high number of movies based on true stories, or if it just seems the way by law of averages given just how many total movies he's been in. But "Walking With the Enemy" is yet another one of these, this time inspired by rabbi and businessman Pinchas Tibor Rosenbaum, who was responsible for saving hundreds of lives during WWII.

The movie's stand-in for Rosenbaum is Elek Cohen (Jonas Armstrong), who disguises himself as an SS officer and seizes the opportunity to round up Jews and ferry them away to freedom. Ben Kingsley plays the Hungarian Regent Horthy, who attempts secret negotiations with Joseph Stalin to broker peace with the Allies while trying to keep the Nazis out of Hungary. The film is sympathetic to Horthy, who, by most other historical accounts, profoundly miscalculated his chances of protecting the Jews of Hungary from the reach of Adolf Hitler. While there are no shortage of WWII movies, "Walking With the Enemy" at least attempted to shed light on a lesser-known story and hero of that war, though it did so by way of a film that was, as the Rotten Tomatoes consensus puts it, "too heavy-handed to fully resonate." However, as is often the case with such things, if it at least gets people to dig into the real-life person that film was inspired by, it'll have done its job. Kingsley got better cracks at World War II true-story films farther down this list with the likes of "Operation Finale" and "Schindler's List."

57. Rules of Engagement

The turn of the millennium saw a lot of talented actors appear in a lot of really shallow but crowd-pleasing action and war movies, such as 2000's "Rules of Engagement." Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Kingsley, and Guy Pearce lead a star-studded courtroom drama telling the story of a U.S. Marine (Jackson) who is being court-martialed after he is alleged to have ordered the murder of civilians in Yemen. Kingsley isn't the center of the show here — a peripheral presence, he plays Ambassador Mourain, caught up in a legal battle after Jackson's Col. Hayes Lawrence "Hodge" Hodges II and his squad open fire on Yemeni protesters outside the U.S. embassy.

Like many films of this ilk, "Rules of Engagement" tries to get into very serious, thought-provoking territory but attempts to do so by way of summer blockbuster bombast. So many movies tried to be "A Few Good Men" for about a decade after that movie was released, and very few came anywhere close to doing so. Instead, we got a bunch of courtroom dramas with a lot of big actors doing a lot of big acting, but none really stuck to the ribs the way "A Few Good Men" did. "Rules of Engagement" is watchable enough but comes across as deeply Islamophobic — even at the time (per The Guardian) — and you'll forget about it within an hour of the final credits rolling.

56. War, Inc.

Actor John Cusack had only been involved with writing two of his films prior to "War, Inc." — and given that those two films were "Grosse Point Blank" and "High Fidelity," he had set about establishing a pretty stellar screenwriter track record for himself. Unfortunately, his third venture in this territory was far less successful, in spite of — or perhaps due to — the fact that it was essentially a "Grosse Pointe Blank" redux. "War, Inc." sees Cusack playing another charming hitman character, who works for the government. It's all one big middle finger to politics and the military-industrial complex, topics Cusack has always been outspoken about, but it doesn't ever really come together as an effective political satire.

Ben Kingsley plays one of the protagonist's former employers, Viceroy Walken, who is also a former CIA agent, one of many A-list celebrities that Cusack was able to get to appear in the project. Everyone does fine work on screen, Cusack included, but the script itself needed another pass or two to tighten things up a bit. The film was poorly received by critics, though Kingsley got a fair bit of braise for the rather broad, evil caricature he presents. And he speaks in a Southern accent.

55. The Triumph of Love (2001)

We mentioned early that Ben Kingsley didn't get to play the lead in very many romantic films. That doesn't mean he wasn't still in plenty of them, just in more supporting roles. The latter is the case with the 2001 rom-com "The Triumph of Love," based on the play of the same name. True to the era in which it was originally written (the 1700s), it focuses on a princess (Mira Sorvino) and her various romantic misadventures before finally ending up with her prince.

Ben Kingsley plays one of the obstacles standing between the princess and the prince, and he is right at home with this type of material. Roger Ebert wrote, "Kingsley is the most versatile of actors, able to suggest, with a slant of the gaze, a cast of the mouth, emotional states that other actors could not achieve with cartwheels. There is a twinkle in his eye." Everyone does fine work here in this Shakespeare-esque comedy of romantic errors (it was adapted from Pierre de Marivaux's "The Triumph of Love"), but there is a reason why "The Triumph of Love" hasn't had 500 film adaptations the way most Shakespeare work has. The story itself is pretty standard stuff, and the movie does very little to elevate it. It's fine, but hard to justify bothering with when there are so many better versions of this type of thing.

54. What Planet Are You From?

The late Garry Shandling is an undeniable comedy legend. He got his start writing for some of the most iconic sitcoms of the 1970s, was one of the best and most frequent guest hosts of "The Tonight Show" in the 1980s, and made two back-to-back acclaimed and award-winning shows of his own — "It's Garry Shandling's Show" and "The Larry Sanders Show." And while he appeared in a number of films, he only ever wrote or even played the lead in one: the 2000 high-concept comedy "What Planet Are You From?"

Considering Shandling could almost do no wrong when he put pen to paper for a television project, it was with a significant amount of surprise that his sole movie screenplay was so unremarkable. The movie sees Shandling play an alien who is tasked with coming to Earth to impregnate a human female and then have them both return to his home planet. It's a funny premise, and Shandling is able to use his high standing in the entertainment world to bring together a talented cast that includes Annette Bening, John Goodman, Linda Fiorentino, Richard Jenkins, and Ben Kingsley.

Kingsley plays Graydon, the leader of the alien species from which Shandling's character hails. The two aliens meet in the bathroom on a commuter plane whenever they need to talk — it's a long story. For the Austin Chronicle, Marc Savlov wrote, "You know a film's in trouble when you see Ben Kingsley whirling down a toilet more than once in the course of the production." Despite a stellar cast, the film manages only a few slight chuckles while being a mostly unfunny exercise that remains one of the only real blemishes in Shandling's otherwise sterling career. 

53. Spooky House

"Spooky House" is one of those movies that you would love if you saw it as a kid. It stars Ben Kingsley as a character named The Great Zamboni, a disgraced former magician who has become a recluse and plays up his former persona to scare people away from bothering him at his supposedly haunted house. Naturally, this doesn't keep curious kids from bothering him anyway, and that's when the movie turns into a mystical adventure filled with tricks, traps, and magic that might not actually be more than just an illusion.

For Kingsley, known primarily as a dramatic actor, this is one of the few roles he's done in a kids' movie. David J. Moore of The Movie Elite said the film features a "nice performance by Kingsley, who never lets on that he's in a TV movie-quality effort." It's a fun little movie, even if it never really rises above the level of a Disney Channel Original Movie (which it isn't). In fact, had it been a DCOM, it might have earned more of a following. But as it stands, it's a fairly niche movie for a fairly specific demographic, but it deserves the fondness that it holds among its few fans.

52. War Machine

Brad Pitt is essentially playing his "Inglourious Basterds" character Aldo Raine again in the 2017 Netflix political satire "War Machine" — only this time, he's Gen. Glen McMahon. It's hard to overlook just how similar the mannerisms and cadence of the two characters are, and also does "War Machine" no favors as it just serves to remind audiences of a much better movie. Co-starring with Pitt's general are Barack Obama (Reggie Brown) and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (Ben Kingsley).

The movie as a whole just isn't executed as well as it could've been, which sadly sells short an ensemble full of really solid (and often hilarious) performances (it got rather mixed reviews). "Ben Kingsley gets one or two laughs in his cheeky performance as President Hamid Karzai: the whole movie might have been better as a bromance between Hamid and the Glenimal [Glen McMahon]," wrote Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian.

51. The Physician (2013)

As previously mentioned, Ben Kingsley only attempted to recapture the epic scope of "Gandhi" a few times in his career, and "The Physician" was definitely one such time. The 2013 film, about an orphan (Tom Payne) in the 11th century who studies under a famed Persian healer (Kingsley), has all of the hallmarks of a historical epic. Unfortunately, it also has a lot of the downfalls of the genre as well — including being far too long, not having a hefty enough script to support the scope of the film, and not fleshing out its large ensemble nearly as much as its core leads.

All that being said, "The Physician" truly is a well-made film that might have gotten more attention and accolades had it had just a little more money and big studio oomph behind it. Jason Pirodsky of The Prague Reporter wrote that Kingsley "lights up the screen whenever he's around," and the rest of the film — from the immaculate costuming to the wide desert landscapes — has all the makings of the type of movie that could've gotten awards attention. "The Physician" just lacks some polish and smoothing out of its admittedly many rough edges. But if you're willing to overlook that, as well as more than a few glaring historical accuracies, you might find that you are more impressed by "The Physician" than you expected.

50. The Red Sea Diving Resort

Netflix makes a lot of movies. They make so many movies, in fact, that they can't even seem to properly promote them all, even when they star Chris Evans and Ben Kingsley. Such was the case with "The Red Sea Diving Resort," which hit the service in 2019 without much fanfare and was quickly lost among movies and shows that the streamer saw fit to push instead. It certainly isn't that the movie is bad — it's actually a pretty decent spy thriller where Evans plays a covert Mossad agent who tries to rescue refugees from Sudan, based on real events that transpired in the mid-1980s. The "Argo"-style story sees Mossad agents operating a diving resort as a front for smuggling refugees out of Sudan.

Ben Kingsley plays Israeli intelligence officer Ethan Levin, who reluctantly approves the plan, with an ensemble that also includes Greg Kinnear and the late Michael K. Williams. There are issues with the movie for sure, primarily that it unfortunately falls into "white savior" territory, writes Karen Han of Polygon. But it deserved better support from Netflix, as it's a story that is worth learning about and a movie that is certainly better than some of the service's more generic Hollywood-chasing fare that it likes to direct its hype train toward instead.

49. Necessary Love

Another rare romantic dramedy lead performance from Ben Kingsley comes by way of "Necessary Love," an Italian film that further proves Kingsley had a knack for this type of thing and really could've had a nice niche in the genre if he chose to. There are still far too few movies about romance that focus on 40- and 50-somethings, as well as ones that are relatable — meaning they don't look like Matthew McConaughey or Reese Witherspoon. 

"Necessary Love" sees Kingsley play Ernesto, one-half of an older couple (his other half is played by Marie-Christine Barrault) who decide that they want to spice things up by seducing a younger couple. Unfortunately, their intentions aren't entirely pure, and they end up being rather manipulative toward them as well. They come to find that corrupting the young couple doesn't thrill them like they hoped it would, and when the young couple finally breaks away, Ernesto and his wife are left to face what it all means for their own relationship. It's a spicy and surprisingly touching little movie that is worth seeking out.

48. Lucky Number Slevin

First things first: "Lucky Number Slevin" is a terrible title for a movie. Its main character, Slevin (Josh Hartnett), is dragged into a war between two rival bosses when he's mistaken for somebody else. But as the movie plays out, it soon becomes apparent that his involvement in the whole affair wasn't quite as accidental as it first seemed. Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman play the two bosses — The Rabbi and The Boss, respectively — and join a cast of crooked cops (Stanley Tucci), investigative journalists (Lucy Liu), and assassins (Bruce Willis).

If you can shut your brain off a bit and just go along for the ride, "Lucky Number Slevin" is a pretty entertaining and highly stylish crime flick, helped along by its huge roster of talent. Kingsley and Freeman especially are having fun in their oversized roles. There are even a few twists that are both surprising and genuinely interesting. Make no mistake: "Lucky Number Sevin" is trying very hard to be a Quentin Tarantino movie — and while it obviously doesn't get there, it doesn't completely embarrass itself, either.

47. The Tale of Sweeney Todd

Many people think that the original stage musical version of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" — the one that was later adapted into a movie by director Tim Burton — was the origin of the titular character. In fact, the character actually has roots all the way back in the 1840s, in a serial called "A String of Pearls" (via Haunted London). It was then adapted into various other forms of media, including a 1936 film, before it was transformed into its most famous version. But between its stage debut and Johnny Depp playing the title role, Ben Kingsley picked up the shears in a 1997 made-for-television film that aired on Showtime in the U.S.

The story for "The Tale of Sweeney Todd" has the usual foundation of a murderous barber but is otherwise a huge departure from most other versions of the story, and it isn't a musical in any way. Kingsley's portrayal drew high praise, earning a SAG award nomination, even if the movie itself had a more mixed reaction. Still, it's an interesting twist on a legendary character and story, and Kingsley's take on the character is well worth experiencing — if only he got a better movie to showcase it.

46. War Story (2014)

In "War Story," starring and produced by Catherine Keener, Lee (Keener) is war photographer who had previously been taken hostage and is trying to move on and put those dark memories behind her. Albert (Ben Kingsley) is both her former mentor and lover who is suddenly back in her life. It's a striking look at PTSD and the struggles of living in the shadow of a past that feels impossible to ever fully get away from.

It's a rare chance for Keener to truly take center stage in a film, as she is so often a supporting character or, at most, a co-lead. Her acting prowess has never been in doubt, but it truly shines here, especially since she gets to play something other than the usual whip-smart, wise-cracking characters she is most commonly associated with.

As for Kingsley, he doesn't make the same break Keener does here. Even critics who liked the film — which proved middling — confessed that Kingsley's character is off. Tomas Hachard with NPR says the Academy Award-winner is wasted in his role, while Scott Foundas with Variety opined, "He's been saddled with the one role in 'War Story' that feels less like an actual person than a mouthpiece on hand to declaim a series of ideas (about the addictive nature of combat photography, the danger of getting too close to one's colleagues, etc.) that have already been conveyed by any one of Keener's anguished gazes." It's not without its flaws, but "War Story" is worth a watch — particularly to see Keener play against type and do so effortlessly.

45. The 5th Monkey

One of the least-known movies in Ben Kingsley's career is "The 5th Monkey," a Brazilian-American coproduction from a French director in which most of the characters speak Portuguese. Kingsley plays a man who is interested in courting a woman from his village but isn't wealthy enough for the privilege. Fortune seems to smile upon him when he comes upon four mysterious monkeys — particularly unusual as the animal isn't native to Brazil — knowing that he can sell them for a tidy sum. But doing so involves him making the long and arduous journey to the nearest major city, and it becomes a trip of self-discovery for the man.

It's a simple movie with a simple message, but it's still a moving tale that deserved far more attention at the time and should've long since been rediscovered and held aloft as a cult classic. It's very rough around the edges and there's no mistaking what was surely an extremely low-budgeted and scrappy production, but there is a heart here that outweighs most of that — not to mention a wonderfully understated, pretty dialogue-free performance from Kingsley.

44. Species

Critics were mostly unimpressed with sci-fi horror film "Species" upon release, and many accused the movie of being little more than an excuse to show Natasha Henstridge (who played the villain and monster) in various states of undress. But considering it got three sequels in addition to a novel and multiple comic books, it clearly found an audience. 

Ben Kingsley plays the token scientist who oversees the experiment that ultimately unleashes the movie's evil, and as usual, he seems to relish hamming it up (with an American accent) alongside an equally scene-chewing Alfred Molina. Peter Rainer with the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Kingsley, complete with bald pate and sliced syllables, seems to be trying to morph into the late Donald Pleasence." Bloody Disgusting said the film is "worthy enough to be considered a good '90s horror film" due to its directing, pacing, special effects, characters, concept, and monster design. As a fun little footnote, then-15-year-old Michelle Williams appears in the movie as the younger version of Henstridge's character.

43. Stonehearst Asylum

Loosely based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, "Stonehearst Asylum" (also known as "Eliza Graves") is a treat for fans of Victorian-era Gothic horror with a black sense of humor. Starring Kate Beckinsale as Eliza Graves, the film is about the era when women were often diagnosed with female hysteria and the myriad of ridiculous, questionable, and sadistic methods that were used to "cure" them of the so-called affliction. Ben Kingsley plays Dr. Silas Lamb, a physician whose methods for dealing with female hysteria soon reveal him to be dangerous and of questionable morality.

Kim Newman of Screen Daily praised the film, highlighting Kingsley's performance as "[evoking] both Vincent Price and Donald Pleasence as the charismatic, cracked Lamb." The film got tepid reviews from critics. Directed by Brad Anderson, responsible for the acclaimed thriller "The Machinist" and the creepy "Session 9," "Stonehearst Asylum" absolutely nails the vibe and tone it sets out to achieve and is a must-watch for anyone who is interested in Poe's signature approach to terror.

42. Without a Clue

Who knew that Ben Kingsley once played Dr. John Watson, the famed sidekick to Sherlock Holmes, in a film? Well, he did so in 1988's "Without a Clue" ... kind of. This inventive film takes a unique approach to the well-worn world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, taking place in a world in which Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective starring in stories written by the author John Watson. But the public believes Holmes to be a real person, and when it is no longer possible for Watson to ignore demands for Holmes to make public appearances, he hires an actor (Michael Caine) to play the detective. Naturally, the two end up becoming involved in a case that they have to work together to solve.

Like several films on this list, the film was a bit misunderstood in its time and written off as a second-rate Sherlock Holmes parody of sorts. But the world has become a lot more open to different twists and takes on Doyle's characters, and "Without a Clue" has gained a more positive reputation as a result. Kingsley and Caine have wonderful chemistry together here — this is their first appearance together, and they wouldn't reunite until "Stonehearst Asylum" 26 years later — and it would've been fun to see them go on further adventures as these characters had the movie been better received.

41. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

The "Night at the Museum" series is basically comfort food. None of the thus far three entries are amazing, but none are egregiously bad, either. They're all decent family adventure films that serve to satisfy kids and adults well enough on a lazy Saturday afternoon while maybe teaching them something about history. While star Ben Stiller is his usual reliably solid frazzled straight-man self, it's the star-studded cast of museum exhibits come to life that really makes these movies fun — especially as it's quite obvious the actors are having a blast every step of the way.

In the third installment, "Secret of the Tomb," Ben Kingsley joins the fray alongside Rami Malek and Anjali Jay as mummies from ancient Egypt who come to life to preserve the magic that's bringing museum exhibits back to life. Kingsley is often stuck playing overly serious characters, so it's always nice when we get to see him cut loose and have a little fun, as he does here. (Also present is Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt — this was his final film performance.) As for the movie itself, it's no better or worse than the previous installments in the series — and it's definitely worth noting when the third installment in a comedy trilogy isn't a complete embarrassment.

40. Life (2015)

Not many actors are able to successfully get out of the shadow of something as massive as the "Twilight" franchise, with many failing to make the transition from YA heartthrob to serious adult actors. But Robert Pattinson has definitely pulled that off wonderfully, in part because he always made interesting choices and didn't just settle for rom-coms or big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. One such example of this is the 2015 film "Life," which sees Pattinson play LIFE magazine photographer Dennis Stock and shows his friendship with ill-fated actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan).

Ben Kingsley plays Jack L. Warner, one of the Warner brothers behind Warner Bros. That's par for this course for this film, loaded with actors playing such influential figures as Judy Garland (Eva Fisher), Natalie Wood (Lauren Gallagher), Elia Kazan (Michael Therriault), Eartha Kitt (Kelly McCreary), John G. Morris (Joel Edgerton), and more. Critics noted that, while it falls a bit short for those looking for a James Dean biopic, "Life" is nonetheless an illuminating look at the relationship between Hollywood and the press in the 1950s.

39. Operation Finale

"Operation Finale" dramatizes how Israeli Mossad agents tracked down and attempted to bring to trial Adolf Eichmann, who was instrumental in organizing the transportation of the Jews to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Ben Kingsley bravely takes on the role of Eichmann, no doubt one of the biggest monsters of the 20th century (if not history) — humanizing him but never going so far as to make him sympathetic. Since Eichmann's trial was filmed, and the man's bookish and benignly evil mannerisms are recorded, Kingsley emulates that cold hostility and restraint well in the film.

There has been very little in the way of on-screen portrayals of this story, and a critic with The Hollywood Reporter wrote that this one "can easily replace 1996's 'The Man Who Captured Eichmann' as the go-to dramatization of this episode." Even if there isn't much in the way of competition in making "Operation Finale" the definitive fictionalization, it doesn't mean that having that distinction is any less impressive or important. The movie stars Oscar Isaac as the Mossad agent dispatched to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to find Eichmann and even features a rare dramatic turn by Nick Kroll, who plays Israeli politician Rafael Eitan, the man who led the arrest of Eichmann.

38. Crime and Punishment (1998)

Ben Kingsley plays Porfiry in this 1998 NBC movie adaptation of "Crime and Punishment," one of roughly 30 different film adaptations of the classic Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel. Patrick Dempsey and Julie Delpy also star as Rodya Raskolnikov and Sonia Marmeladova, respectively. Kingsley and Delpy are unsurprisingly great, but the movie is clearly Dempsey's moment — and he rises to the occasion, proving he can boast formidable acting chops outside of his doctor scrubs on "Grey's Anatomy."

With so many adaptations of this story, it's hard for any of them to truly stand out — especially when there isn't any specific twist or gimmick being utilized. And this version of the story definitely doesn't try to break any new ground, instead just trying to tell a quality, faithful rendition of the iconic story. To that end, it definitely succeeds and is all the more impressive given that it was a film made for network television back in the '90s. Is it worth watching now, over any number of other well-made adaptations? Maybe not ... but you do get to see Kingsley strut his stuff with the material. Variety's Phil Gallo wrote of the actor in the film, "Kingsley is the strongest: cunning and worldly in his understanding of the human condition. Every step is valid and his registered meter finds him taking a knowing delight that he has the crime solved. He brings power to each scene, elevating those who appear with him."

37. Fear Is the Key

Ben Kingsley wasted little time getting "Gandhi" under his belt, with that film being only his second-ever movie role. In fact, many assume it was his first since it was the first many people saw of him — plus the fact that his previous film was released a full 10 years prior. It's that movie, 1972's "Fear Is the Key," that is his actual first feature film role. His role in the movie is relatively small, but it's certainly no cameo, with his character playing a significant role in the movie's story and especially its climax.

Barry Newman plays the lead, a salvager who tries to trap murderous gem thieves by kidnapping an oil heiress (Suzy Kendall). Kingsley plays one of the bad guys, and although he isn't given all that much to do to stand out, you can still see glimpses of the movie star he was about to become. For a fairly little-known movie from the early '70s, "Fear Is the Key" is much better and far more crafty than one might expect, and it's certainly a better first movie than most actors get. 

36. The Dictator (2012)

Sacha Baron Cohen is an undeniably talented performer, and he creates and inhabits over-the-top comedic characters like few others, drawing comparisons to all-time greats like Peter Sellers in this regard. And while "The Dictator" is neither one of his best movies — nor does he feature him playing one of his better characters — it still manages to be a hilarious and biting political comedy that is easily the best of the non-mockumentary movies he's written thus far.

Playing the ruler of a fictional nation called the Republic of Wadiya, Cohen teams with Ben Kingsley, Anna Faris, Jason Mantzoukas, and many more, including hilarious uncredited cameos from the likes of John C. Reilly, Edward Norton, and Garry Shandling. As Tamir, the dictator's backstabbing uncle, Kingsley is kept as a serious and vital member of the drama — while Cohen's character gets most of the big stunts and gags, Kingsley is allowed to inhabit the dramatic role. Cohen and Kingsley are great in their scenes together, proving once again that Kingsley is incredibly adept at silly comedies. It's just nice when he actually gets to be in a good one (looking disapprovingly at you again, "The Love Guru").

35. Oliver Twist (2005)

Another Ben Kingsley movie adapted from a story that has seen countless adaptations, this one sees him take on the iconic role of Fagin in director Roman Polanski's take on "Oliver Twist." The role of the greedy, grubby, paternal thief is typically inhabited in films by famous stars — Lon Chaney, Alec Guinness, Ron Moody, Dom DeLuise, and Richard Dreyfuss have all played the character in past adaptations, so Kingsley is in good company. Kingsley is actually one of the only big names in the cast, featuring mostly lesser-known actors. Though the role is iconic and the film has an epic scope, it might not be worth seeking out, given the charges that have since come to light against Polanski (via Variety).

Reviews were generally positive, with the only major complaint being that perhaps the movie doesn't do quite enough to give the story a new twist (no pun intended) and is just relying on the fact that it's the first major straightforward "Oliver Twist" adaptation since 1968. Then again, there is a reason why some novels endure for 150+ years after they were first published.

34. Ender's Game

Given the popularity of the groundbreaking sci-fi novel "Ender's Game," it seems shocking that it took nearly 30 years for a film adaptation to be released. Ultimately, author Orson Scott Card simply wanted more creative control than most studios were seemingly willing to give him, and so he just kept holding off until he was able to steer the film as he saw fit (via the Los Angeles Times). However, the rights were finally acquired in the early 2010s, with Gavin Hood of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "Eye in the Sky" fame writing and directing and Card serving as a producer.

Any chance of "Ender's Game" turning into a film franchise was extinguished when it barely even made back its production budget at the box office. Critics were mostly positive, however, conceding that while the movie lacked the nuance and deeper subtext of the book, it was nonetheless a satisfying and action-packed sci-fi film. Ben Kingsley plays Mazer Rackham, who is tasked with training Andrew "Ender" Wiggan (Asa Butterfield), a young cadet who ends up playing a major role in universe-changing events. As is so often the case, the book is definitely better, but the movie serves as a decent companion to it.

33. The Assignment (1997)

Ben Kingsley and Donald Sutherland have a lot in common as actors: They are close in age, and their careers just seem to have had similar trajectories. So it's with some surprise that, in both of their extremely long careers, they only ever acted together once: in the 1997 spy thriller "The Assignment." They co-star with Aidan Quinn — pulling double duty as two different characters — in a twisty tale involving the CIA hiring a man to pretend to be a notorious terrorist in order to bring down an even bigger threat.

"The Assignment" lacks the flashy set pieces, suave characters, and endless double- and triple-crosses usually associated with spy films, and that's exactly why it works. Anyone looking for a grittier look at the world of espionage will find a lot to like about this underrated film — not to mention serving as a reminder that Hollywood never seemed to appreciated Aidan Quinn as much as he deserved.

32. Robot Overlords

If you've never seen or even heard of "Robot Overlords," you might be surprised that it ranks so relatively high on the list of Ben Kingsley movies. While it may sound like a bad SyFy original movie on the level of "Sharknado," it's actually a smart British indie sci-fi movie about a future where alien robots have taken over the planet and implanted all remaining humans with tracking devices. Kingsley plays a robot conspirator; Ryan Lambie of Den of Geek wrote that the actor "gets one or two amusing speeches but [his] abilities aren't exactly stretched to breaking point."

Kingsley and "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson lead an ensemble of lesser-known but still talented actors in this overlooked gem, and relatively young director Jon Wright definitely has a bright future ahead of him based on his work here. Its low budget definitely works against it at times, but it's one of those things where a bigger budget would've meant more big studio interference and it losing that scrappy feel — and that would've robbed the film of much of what makes it special. Fans of movies like "District 9" and "Attack the Block" should definitely check out "Robot Overlords."

31. Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story

This lost-to-time HBO biopic from the late-1980s stars Ben Kingsley as Simon Wiesenthal, based on his book of the same name. After having surviving life in a Nazi prison camp and coming close to death multiple times, Wiesenthal would later share information that becomes crucial during the trials at Nuremberg. The movie follows Wiesenthal as he dedicates his life to helping find Nazi war criminals and the personal cost he and his family end up paying as a result.

"Murders Among Us" won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing and earned Kingsley a nomination (though not a win) for Outstanding Lead Actor. Kingsley accepted the role due to his physical resemblance to Wiesenthal — as well as his aptitude with historical dramas, which quickly became a throughline of his career — and even sought out the real-life figure for an interview so that he could pick up his physical quirks, mannerisms, and method of speech (via Taste of Cinema).

30. Tuck Everlasting

Based on Natalie Babbitt's 1975 children's novel, the film "Tuck Everlasting" brings the tale to life and gives it that classic Disney spit-shine. It's a story about a girl, Winnie Foster (Alexis Bedel), who falls in love with a boy, Jesse Tuck (Jonathan Jackson), only to find that there is much more to him and his family than she bargained for. It turns out that the family has access to a spring that makes people immortal, and the girl needs to weigh the pros and cons of immortality and whether it's a choice that should be made based entirely on her feelings for the boy. Ben Kingsley plays a mysterious yellow-suited man who tries to profit off the spring and whose involvement in the family's lives ends up becoming a major issue for everyone.

Kingsley joins a robust supporting cast including Sissy Spacek, William Hurt, Victor Garber, and filmmaker Julia Hart. In a review for Entertainment Weekly, critic Ken Tucker wrote that Kingsley plays his role "with more wit and understatement than his Ozzy Osbourne-ish wig and garish yellow suit." "Tuck Everlasting" is a simple story of young love that conveys a more basic yet equally important message.

29. Learning to Drive

It might not be the most unique premise — two seemingly different people are brought together at a low point in both of their lives, and they learn they have more in common than they thought and both emerge better people — but "Learning to Drive" is definitely elevated in no small part due to the performances of Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson. Kingsley plays a Sikh driving instructor and Clarkson a literary agent, and we watch them slowly develop a friendship over the course of this heartwarming dramedy.

Fortunately, the movie doesn't take the cheap route of having the two leads fall in love. Instead, the film simply has them help each other to get their lives back on track. Maybe they never even speak again once the credits roll, and that's okay — sometimes you meet someone who is there for you at the exact time and place you need them, and it isn't required that you force a friendship or anything permanent on them beyond that. "Learning to Drive" also won Kingsley some of the best praise of his career since 2014.

28. Pascali's Island

In addition to getting to sink his teeth into a role like "Gandhi" very early in his career, Ben Kingsley also got to check off another coveted box for any actor fairly early on — getting to work with Helen Mirren. The two star together, along with Charles Dance, in the 1988 drama "Pascali's Island." Kingsley plays Turkish secret agent Basil Pascali, who finds himself involved with an archaeologist (Dance) and an artist (Mirren) as the three set about stealing a Greek artifact. 

Despite being made in the 1980s — a decade full of slick, bombastic adventure movies like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Romancing the Stone" — "Pascali's Island" takes more of a slow-burn approach and isn't afraid to let its characters just exist in scenes without the constant need for excitement. Desson Howe of The Washington Post highlights Kingsley specifically, saying, "It is Kingsley's performance, as the despairing victim of his own actions, that makes this island worth a visit."

27. Spider in the Web

With as many movies as Ben Kingsley has made, there aren't too many genres he doesn't have a lot of representation in. But he does seem to have carved out a nice little niche for himself in spy thrillers, and one of his best is "Spider in the Web" — also one of his best movies overall from the last few years. This 2019 film sees Kingsley basically playing an aging James Bond type who is on one of those "one last job"-type missions that, of course, ends up being far more complicated than he bargained for.

Kingsley is excellent here and shows he could've been an interesting Bond in his younger years. Speaking of Bond, Monica Bellucci followed up her performance in "Spectre" with her role in "Spider in the Web," playing the spy's ex, who may be a spy herself. But it's the interplay between Kingsley and Israeli actor Itay Tiran that really makes the movie shine, with Tiran playing a younger agent who has been sent to keep an eye on his older colleague.

26. Testimony (1988)

Famed Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich is given the biopic treatment in "Testimony," based on his memoirs and with Ben Kingsley playing the musician. But Shostakovich's life isn't only interesting because of the music he produced — more specifically, it was the fact that he lived and worked while his country was under the rule of Joseph Stalin. The Soviet Union would later attempt to discredit Shostakovich's story by calling his memoirs fake, but considering that the Soviets have never exactly been supportive of any negative opinions of them, take from that what you will (via The New York Times). 

Either way, true or false, it's a fascinating story that makes for a fascinating movie. It works as both a historical snapshot of its time and place, as well as just a beautiful tribute to Shostakovich's music and the man himself, an eventual Oscar and Grammy nominee for his various works. Kingsley's performance earned praise, too — per Stephen Holden with The New York Times, "Mr. Kingsley's Shostakovich is a subtle and convincing study of a complicated man aging. [...] From a mousy young man with wide eyes and tight lips exuding an air of ironic detachment, he metamorphoses into a lonely, almost haunted figure whose eyes convey the same aloofness along with a terrible knowledge."

25. You Kill Me

Now we are getting into Ben Kingsley movies that can safely be described as "critically acclaimed," beginning the Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh "You Kill Me." This crime comedy features a star-studded ensemble led by Kingsley and including Téa Leoni, Luke Wilson, Bill Pullman, and the late Dennis Farina and Philip Baker Hall. It takes what has admittedly become a well-worn premise — looking at the quirky personal life of a hitman by way of a black comedy — but keeps it fresh and entertaining, which is helped along greatly by wonderful performances by Kingsley and the vastly underrated Leoni.

Kingsley plays a hitman for a Polish mob with a penchant for heavy drinking and is sent to San Francisco to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and clean up his act. He was nominated for a Satellite Award for the role. The story comes courtesy of the screenwriting team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, best known for writing some of the best MCU movies — including both "Infinity War" and "Endgame."

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24. Elegy

"Learning to Drive" was not only Ben Kingsley's second movie with Patricia Clarkson, but his second for director Isabel Coixet, whom Kingsley grew to respect so much that it inspired him to make the proclamation that women might be better at directing men than men are (per The Guardian) — "The ladies I have worked with have an extraordinary ability to put [male vulnerability] on screen," he said. "There's only one male director — possibly two — who really gets this and understands its value as a currency, as a character trait, as something that has its place in our humanity and must always have." In his first film with Coixet, "Elegy," Kingsley plays David, a womanizing professor who begins an affair with a young student named Consuela (Penélope Cruz). He finds that his usual ability to carry on physical relationships with getting emotionally attached proves difficult with her, and their entanglement soon becomes complicated.

The incredible cast doesn't stop at those two, as it also includes Dennis Hopper and Peter Sarsgaard. The film is sexy without ever being gratuitous, and every character is complex and interesting. The story also never takes cheap shortcuts, or gives anyone an easy way out or a big, contrived revelation. Roger Ebert wrote of the film, "'Elegy' is a film that could have been made for him, although by the time it's over, [Penélope] Cruz has slipped away with it, and transformed Kingsley's character in the process. It's nicely done."

23. The Wackness

Considering the fact that we're currently in the 2020s and that anyone who came of age in the 1990s is now in their 40s (or close to it), it's somewhat surprising how few coming-of-age films take place in that decade (besides the ones made during that decade). But there are a few noteworthy examples, including writer-director Jonathan Levine's "The Wackness." Starring Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby, and Mary-Kate Olsen in one of her only acting roles as an adult, the movie tells the story of a teenager (Peck) who has turned to his weed dealer (Kingsley) for guidance on navigating life and love in New York City circa 1994. The two embark on a city-spanning adventure together that brings all manner of eclectic characters into their orbit as they learn the obligatory lessons that such a movie teaches.

"The Wackness" definitely falls into the familiar clichés of the genre more than once, but the performances make up for this. "Kingsley is also great value," wrote Phelim O'Neill for The Guardian. "Trapped in a loveless marriage and a meaningless career, he embarks on a cross between a midlife crisis and a full-blown mental breakdown." Though the actor was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for this film, "The Love Guru," and "War, Inc.," "The Wackness" features wonderful performances by Kingsley and Peck, who keep the film fresh and funny throughout.

22. Photographing Fairies

Inspired in part by the Cottingley Fairies hoax — a series of photographs from the 1910s that were supposed proof of the existence of magical fairies — "Photographing Fairies" explores various forms of paganism, animism, and parapsychology as it relates to folklore. The movie focuses on a photographer named Charles Castle (Toby Stephens), who is presented with what appears to be photos of various magical beings and phenomena and the journey that the revelation takes him on.

As Arthur Conan Doyle became interested in and also believed in the Cottingley Fairies in real life (via BBC), he is portrayed in the movie as well, by actor Edward Hardwicke. Ben Kingsley plays a minister named Nicholas Templeton, who becomes reluctantly intertwined in the whole mess as it was a photograph of his daughters (Miriam Grant and Hannah Bould) — and presented by his wife (Frances Barber) — that contained the initial image of the so-called fairy. True to its roots in photography, "Photographing Fairies" is a gorgeous film, feeling like something of a modern fairytale. It also manages to effectively sell a hard-to-believe premise, which in and of itself speaks to how well-made of a movie it truly is.

21. Silas Marner (1985)

Another Ben Kingsley movie that is an adaptation of a frequently adapted book, and another one in which he stars in one of its most recent versions, is 1985's "Silas Marner," based on Mary Ann Evans' "Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe." It was a BBC release in the UK but presented as part of "Masterpiece Theatre" in the United States — sees Kingsley in the title role of a man who is forced to start over after being sent into hiding over the shame of a crime he was wrongfully accused of.

Steve Martin would write and star in his own version of the story in 1994 by way of "A Simple Twist of Fate," with critics unable to reconcile the behavior of Martin and the other characters as its Victorian underpinnings were still visible and didn't fit the modern setting. It's a perfect case study for why classic stories don't always need a modern reinvention, especially when such a well-done and more faithful adaptation was only just released a few years prior. The argument for Kingsley's "Silas Marner" being the definitive screen version isn't a hard one to make.

20. House of Sand and Fog

After his stellar turn in "Schindler's List" — more on that much further down this list, not surprisingly — Ben Kingsley spent the rest of the 1990s appearing in very hit-or-miss films, much like his career following "Gandhi." There were some definite gems in there (and some real duds too), but he wouldn't come back into the world of award-nominated performances until the 2000s, beginning with "Sexy Beast" and followed up a few years later with "House of Sand and Fog."

His first Best Actor nomination since "Gandhi," "House of Sand and Fog" starred Kingsley as an Iranian immigrant locked in a bitter battle over the ownership of a house that he believed he was acquiring without any baggage. But it turns out that it had previously belonged to — and was taken away from — a former addict named Kathy (an also-excellent Jennifer Connelly) after a tax-related mix-up. The fight soon turns dark and tragic in this amazing psychological thriller. "Kingsley is such an unbending actor when he needs to be, has such reserves of dignity," wrote Roger Ebert in his glowing four-star review.

19. Twelfth Night (1996)

Ben Kingsley has actually done very little William Shakespeare in his career, at least not on the big screen. But when he does he makes it count, as proven by his role in filmmaker and theater director Trevor Nunn's exceptional 1996 adaptation of "Twelfth Night." Admittedly, Kingsley is a bit of a ways down the cast list as Feste, though he does serves as the movie's narrator as well as getting to sing ("The Wind and the Rain") at the close of the film.

"Twelfth Night" isn't one of the more well-known Shakespeare movie adaptations, it and lacks the polish and grandiosity that versions from filmmakers like Kenneth Branagh bring to the Bard's works. But it's still an extremely well-made version of one of Shakespeare's lesser-known — and certainly least-adapted — stories and is a must-see for fans of Shakespeare, Kingsley, and Helena Bonham-Carter — who, as she often does, commands the whole movie as Olivia. 

18. Mrs. Harris

HBO's "Mrs. Harris" sees Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening front the incredible cast of Cloris Leachman, Chloe Sevigny, Ellen Burstyn, Mary McDonnell, Michael Gross, Frances Fisher, and more in the story of author and cardiologist Herman Tarnower (Kingsley) and headmistress Jean Harris (Bening), who goes on to shoot him in the opening minutes. The remainder of the film jumps backward and forward through time, examining their relationship and how it exploded into violence, including the trial for Jean afterward.

The movie racked up a staggering 12 Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations. The DVD is well worth picking up not only because of the commentary from Kingsley and Bening, but also interviews with the real Jean Harris as she weighs in on her remarkable life and the film that adapted it. It wasn't the first time Harris was portrayed in a movie — in fact, it was "Mrs. Harris" cast member Ellen Burstyn who had previously played Harris in 1981's "The People vs. Jean Harris." 

17. Maurice

Naturally, as a well-respected British actor, Ben Kingsley inevitably appeared in a Merchant Ivory film. 1987's "Maurice" is a romantic drama based on an E.M. Forster novel about the titular character (James Wilby) as he navigates the revelation of his homosexuality when he develops a relationship with a man named Clive (Hugh Grant) and they keep it a secret given the much less progressive time (the early 1900s) that they live in.

Kingsley plays Dr. Lasker-Jones, whom Maurice turns to in an attempt to "cure" him of his homosexual urges. It's a powerful film about what happens when people are forced to repress their desire, told with a deft and sensitive hand. The entire cast is phenomenal, many of them required to perform the difficult task of portraying characters who themselves are playing roles within their fictional world, and doing so with remarkable talent. That this movie wasn't a bigger presence during award season that year is a crime, but it's not hard to assume that it's owed to the subject matter and the time at which the movie was made. Luckily, James Ivory would get his due in 2017 with "Call Me by Your Name."

16. Fifty Dead Men Walking

A look at the violent history of the Irish Republican Army — and, in effect, Ireland in general — Kari Skogland's "Fifty Dead Men Walking" stars Jim Sturgess from "21" and "Across the Universe." Sturgess really deserves to be a bigger star, and this is a great example of why. His performance, as a street hustler named Martin McGartland who is recruited by the IRA, is excellent, as is Ben Kingsley as the British police contact he's secretly reporting to. The movie also features a stellar appearance by Rose McGowan, fresh off her career-revitalizing role(s) in "Grindhouse."

The film got rave reviews — particularly from British press. Writing for The Irish Times, Michael Dwyer wrote that the film is far from a history lesson and that many of the details are inauthentic but that it serves as a gripping thriller. Unfortunately, the real Martin McGartland went on to disown the film after its release, complaining that it deviates too much from the true story and that it would've been a better film had it been more accurate (via The Sunday Times). It's an opinion he's uniquely entitled to, of course — but for everyone else, "Fifty Dead Men Walking" remains a stirring thriller set amidst The Troubles of Northern Ireland in the late 1980s.

15. Iron Man 3

Ben Kingsley's entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a divisive one, to say the least. Initially, he seemed like a great choice to bring the controversial comic book villain the Mandarin to life in "Iron Man 3," and his first scenes as the character — with an imposing voice and eerie presence — reinforce that. But then, the movie decides to pull a bizarre twist where Kingsley was actually playing an oafish British actor who was playing the Mandarin, while someone else was actually pulling the strings. The twist itself wasn't bad — and led to a much-appreciated update of the character in Tony Leung in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" — but it's hard to get past that initial rug-pull, with the reveal that Kingsley's character, Trevor Slattery, is actually a huge buffoon.

All that being said, Shane Black's "Iron Man 3" itself is still a solid film, even if it's generally considered among the lesser MCU movies. The way it actually allows Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to have PTSD and issues that someone would have after facing the things he had faced throughout his Marvel tenure was refreshing and went a long way toward humanizing him. As for Trevor, he would later be redeemed in other movies and shorts, including with a lengthy supporting role in "Shang-Chi," though for Marvel fans, the Oscar-winning actor will sadly always be most commonly associated with one of the MCU's most controversial creative decisions. 

14. A Birder's Guide to Everything

Yes, it's one of those 2010s indie comedies with a long, quirky title. But "A Birder's Guide to Everything" is a fine example of that micro-genre and shares some DNA with later indie coming-of-age gems like "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and "Hunt for the Wilderpeople." "A Birder's Guide" is a road trip movie about three teenage birdwatchers (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Chan, and Alex Wolff) and a photographer (Katie Chang) who set out to find a bird — the Labrador Duck — that may or may not be extinct. The trip also has the ulterior motive of one of the boys, David, trying to get away from the drama of the impending remarriage of his father (James LeGros).

Ben Kingsley shows up along the journey as Lawrence Konrad, an expert birdwatcher — though, not surprisingly, an extremely eclectic one — who is assisting another pair of birders as they also attempt to spot and photograph the elusive Labrador Duck as well. The movie was met with high acclaim (despite not being very ornithologically accurate), with Terry Byrne of USA Today going so far as to suggest it's the best coming-of-age film since "Stand by Me." Though he has a small role, Kingsley turns in a wonderfully bright performance. Drew Hunt on Slant Magazine celebrated him as a scene-stealer, while Sheila O'Malley for RogerEbert.com said, "Kingsley plays the role with a twinkling gusto: he is an intellectual and tough-minded man, who also represents a father figure to David."

13. Shutter Island

For one reason or another, it wouldn't be until Ben Kingsley was just entering his fifth decade of making movies that he finally made a film for legendary director Martin Scorsese. That movie would be 2010's "Shutter Island," a psychological thriller about two detectives (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) who are investigating a missing patient at a psychiatric facility run by Kingsley's character, Dr. Cawley. It soon becomes apparent that nothing is quite what it seems, and DiCaprio's character finds that he is more directly involved with the mystery than he previously realized.

In the spirit of movies like "Memento" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Shutter Island" has an ending that you not only don't see coming but will make you want to immediately watch the film again. Kingsley is brilliant here as a man who seems to keep flip-flopping between being innocent and being a villain — and even as the credits roll, it's still not entirely clear which one he is, and much of it's left up to the audience to decide. It's a curious reverse of his earlier role in an asylum thriller,  "Stonehearst Asylum," though obviously "Shutter Island" is far better made and won far more acclaim. It is currently Scorsese's second highest-grossing movie of all time, with even "The Wolf of Wall Street" failing to topple its domestic gross.

12. Turtle Diary

Perhaps the closest that Ben Kingsley ever came to being the male lead in a traditional romantic comedy was in 1985's "Turtle Diary." This underappreciated gem of a film stars Kingsley as a turtle-loving bookstore employee, William, who meets children's author Neaera (Glenda Jackson) at — where else — an aquarium. As the two get to know each other and develop a relationship, they also hatch a plan to spring the turtles from their aquarium confinement.

It's an exceedingly cute little film, which also features Michael Gambon (the second Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" series) as the zookeeper who ends up helping the couple with their caper. Vincent Canby of The New York Times summed it up best when he called it "A small, eccentric, exquisitely acted comedy." Of the performances, he went on to praise the actors' work with the Harold Pinter-authored screenplay: "Mr. Kingsley and Miss Jackson play their roles with engagingly comic severity — how great it is to hear these two splendid actors dealing with language that challenges their intelligence and serves their talent!" Unfortunately, it will prove difficult to find in an HD format, as it never got anything beyond a VHS release and likely won't pop up on a streaming service anytime soon — so if you ever have the opportunity to see it, make sure you jump at the chance. You won't regret it.

11. Betrayal

How does someone even go about following up a movie like "Gandhi," especially coming so early in his career? Well, Ben Kingsley was certainly not about to be one of those actors whose career inexplicably hit the skids after their first Oscar win. His very next film, "Betrayal," would also go on to be considered among his best — not to mention earning him another acting award, this time from the long-running Evening British Standard Film Awards. The screenplay, also by Harold Pinter, was nominated for many awards as well.

"Betrayal" is about two people (Jeremy Irons and Patricia Hodges) who had previously been involved in an affair, with the woman revealing that she has just confessed the affair to her husband (Kingsley). The movie then plays out in reverse, going back through their relationship and the way the betrayal affected the husband — who, as it turns out, is the man's best friend. Roger Ebert remarked about Kingsley's performance that he "plays Robert, the publisher, with such painfully controlled fury that there are times when he actually is frightening." It's clear that "Betrayal" was originally a play given how dialogue-heavy it is and how simplistic the staging often is, but the upshot is that it really puts the spotlight on the actors and their interactions and ends up being a hard-hitting look at how easily we seem willing to hurt others in the name of fulfilling our own desires.

10. The Walk (2015)

"Man on Wire," the documentary about daredevil Phillipe Petit's 1974 stunt where he walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center on a high wire, is a near-perfect film. It meshes together historical footage with expertly crafted reenactments to deliver a film that easily cruised to a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes across over 150 reviews. With that in mind, it might have felt a little superfluous to do an entirely fictionalized version of the same story a mere seven years later — and yet, "The Wire" still also manages to be a stellar piece of cinema.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, "The Wire" stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the extremely fascinating Petit, following his planning and execution of the stunt in question and then a bit of what happened after. Ben Kingsley plays Papa Rudy, the circus performer who took Petit under his wing and helped him develop his skills. A.O. Scott with The New York Times said his casting was perfect for the film, "as an irascible Czech funambulist in a movie of this kind must be played." Putting aside the fact that it came out a little too soon after "Man on Wire," "The Walk" is still an excellent retelling of the story and does enough to justify its existence as a worthy companion piece to the documentary.

9. Sneakers

1992's "Sneakers" features a mind-blowing cast of talent that included both young (at the time) and veteran performers, including Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, James Earl Jones, Donal Logue, David Straithairn, Stephen Tobolowsky, and of course, Ben Kingsley. It's a thriller about hacking, computers, and cybersecurity released at a time when all three of those things felt like they belonged in a movie about the future. Needless to say, it all seems very primitive now, but at the time the high-tech lingo and the tech on display were a treat to be the focal point of a movie. Kingsley plays Cosmo, a computer hacker arrested in the opening scene who comes back to propose a villainous partnership with Redford's Martin Bishop, only to be rebuffed.

"Sneakers" isn't the deepest movie in the world and definitely coasts a lot on the flashy tech and the performances of the actors — but that's okay because it's still a lot of fun. "Kingsley plays [his] role for all it's worth, with a nice oily smarminess," wrote Roger Ebert. While it's more time capsule than cutting edge these days, it still holds up much better than you might think, many critics praised it, and it's wonderful to see all of these great performers at this specific time and place in their careers — particularly the one we lost and the ones who have since retired (either officially or assumedly so).

8. Death and the Maiden

Ben Kingsley's first movie with Roman Polanski is also still one of the actor's best and is arguably one of the director's most underrated. It's a 1994 mystery thriller about a woman (Sigourney Weaver) who thinks that her husband's (Stuart Wilson) houseguest (Kingsley) is the same man who brutalized her years before. So she decides to tie up and torture the man out of revenge and to get him to confess to what he had done. The movie plays out largely among the three of them as they spar with one another to get to the truth.

In the tradition of movies like "Misery," "Death and the Maiden" succeeds because everything is kept small and intimate, relying entirely on the tension and claustrophobia of the situation and the strength of the performances. Kingsley and Weaver are electric together, and it's hard to imagine any other two performers who could've handled the material and the complex, layered relationship as well as they did. It's obviously tough to recommend Polanski movies anymore due to numerous charges made against the director (per Variety), but viewing this in terms of Kingsley's performances, it's still one of his best despite the baggage.

7. Sexy Beast

"House of Sand and Fog" and "Sexy Beast" showed in the early 2000s that Ben Kingsley was still at the top of his game and still capable of delivering Oscar-worthy performances. 2000's "Sexy Beast" is a dark comedy about two aging criminals — one trying to reform, the other still very much in the villainy game — having a battle of words and wits over whether they should team up for one last big job. Ray Winstone plays the one trying to fly straight, while Kingsley plays the one who is still all-in on plans for a heist and has no intentions on taking no for an answer.

While the movie itself got extremely high praise, almost every critic couldn't help but gush about Kingsley's performance. Stephen Hunter in The Washington Post wrote, "It's a kick, I admit, to see the distinguished Kingsley spewing invective like a rabid dog generating foam as it chews on your knee." It was a rare opportunity to see him play someone so mean, so vile, and so profane, not to mention being extremely loud and animated, which is in sharp contrast to Kingsley's tendency to play more understated, nuanced characters. It also earned him his third Oscar nomination.

6. Dave

Political comedies can be tricky to get right, and it's fair to say that far more of them miss than succeed. "Dave," however, completely nails its tone, starring Kevin Kline as a civilian who is asked to stand in for the president for photo ops — but soon takes on the job full-time when a stroke puts the president out of commission. The chief of staff behind the plan (Frank Langella) is the only one who knows the truth, with not even the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver) being aware of the switch. At least, not at first — needless to say, the longer the man plays the president, the more evident it becomes that something isn't quite right about him.

Kline is clearly the star of the show here, and this is one of the movies that remind us just how charming and breezy of a leading man he is. But everyone is doing a bang-up job here, including Ben Kingsley as the vice president, Nance. The two get a good heart-to-heart scene in which the unpresidential Dave asks Nance how he got his start in politics and Nance is caught off-guard. He wistfully recounts how he was a shoe salesman when his wife prompted him to run for office. The movie never tries to lampoon a specific president as so many of these films do, and combined with its wholesome comedy, "Dave" has a more timeless feel than most political comedies and remains watchable and hilarious to this day.

5. Transsiberian

"Stonehearst Asylum" was actually Ben Kingsley's second film with director Brad Anderson. Six years prior, the two teamed up on "Transsiberian," yet another star-studded psychological thriller from Anderson and arguably his best movie thus far. Though it's one of seemingly many "dangerous train thriller" films, like "Snowpiercer," "The Commuter," "Murder on the Orient Express," or Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train," it proves one of the highwater marks of the genre, delivering an extremely tense experience that is buoyed by a smart script and stellar performances all around.

Kingsley plays a Russian narcotics officer whose brief veneer of being a good guy fades very quickly as he oversees and becomes involved with a group of passengers whose lives turn out to be full of dark secrets. "Ben Kingsley is on hand to demonstrate once again that he is among the cinema's very best character actors," wrote Kirk Honeycutt for The Hollywood Reporter. The cat-and-mouse game that plays out both on the train and off is expertly crafted and doesn't contain a single misstep or far-fetched twist. Whether you're a fan of thrillers, catch a ride on "Transsiberian" — and don't be surprised when it becomes one of your new favorite destinations.

4. Hugo

Martin Scorsese might be best known for violent gangster movies and otherwise gritty adult fare, but he also directed one of the best family films of the last 15 years with 2011's "Hugo." It would also be his second time working with Ben Kingsley after "Shutter Island," with the actor playing Georges Méliès, one of the great French directors of silent films.

On the surface, "Hugo" tells the story of an orphaned boy (Asa Butterfield) living in a train station who befriends a grumpy shop owner (Kingsley) and soon finds out that the man is much more than he seems. But the movie is mostly Scorsese's love letter to cinema, particularly its scrappy early days when the pioneers of the medium were first learning the craft and making magic in the process. It was also Scorsese's first and only 3D film — and true to the filmmaker's legacy, he made sure it counted, as "Hugo" remains one of the best examples of how much 3D can add to the magic and immersion of a film when done properly and not just used as a cheap gimmick. 

3. Searching for Bobby Fischer

There aren't too many "famous chess players" that the average person can name, but once upon a time, everyone seemed to know the name Bobby Fischer. And that was due in no small part to the 1993 drama "Searching for Bobby Fischer," even though the movie isn't actually about the chess grandmaster. Instead, it's about a fictional 7-year-old chess prodigy named Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc), whose parents enlist the aid of a noted coach (Ben Kingsley) to help hone his skills. However, Josh is also learning from a speed chess hustler (Lawrence Fishburne) whom he meets at a park. 

Josh having to reconcile the opposing methods of his two mentors, plus dealing with the pressures of tournament play, are the main sources of conflict in "Searching Bobby Fischer." But more than that, it's a beautiful movie about striking the right balance between using one's passion and talents for personal fulfillment and using them for "professional" advancement.

Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's said the film is an "elegant, intimate drama, with Josh, the boyking, serenely focused at its centre and the adults manoeuvring around him." He called Kingsley's character, who sees chess as a calculated game, "sublimely dyspeptic." The film has a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the best film of Kingsley's career in which he plays a supporting role.

2. Gandhi

Some actors wait their entire careers for a chance to play the lead in an epic film like "Gandhi." Ben Kingsley got that chance in his second theatrical movie — though he had been kicking around in the television world for nearly 20 years at that point. The fact that the legendary political activist was actually played by an actor of Indian decent was sadly somewhat surprising for that point in movie history — though, sure enough, recently discovered archived correspondence from director Richard Attenborough reveals that white actors like Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino were all being considered (via The Telegraph).

"The actor who was finally chosen, Ben Kingsley, makes the role so completely his own that there is a genuine feeling that the spirit of Gandhi is on the screen," wrote Roger Ebert in a rave review. "Kingsley's performance is powerful without being loud or histrionic; he is almost always quiet, observant, and soft-spoken on the screen, and yet his performance comes across with such might that we realize, afterward, that the sheer moral force of Gandhi must have been behind the words."

At any rate, "Gandhi" was not only a career-making film for Kingsley but earned him his first Academy Award. It also won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Editing. "Gandhi" is the kind of epic, award-sweeping biopic that Hollywood used to love to make but doesn't do as much anymore, and remains one of the most iconic examples of it.

1. Schindler's List

If you got to "Gandhi," saw that it was only ranked at No. 2, and couldn't even fathom what Ben Kingsley movie could've possibly bested it — then you clearly forgot about (or haven't seen) "Schindler's List." It may not be a "Ben Kingsley movie" in the way that "Gandhi" is, nor is it a wall-to-wall showcase for the actor's formidable talents, but it's objectively the better movie. And all due respect to his incredible performance as Gandhi, but his role as Itzhak Stern — Oskar Schindler's (Liam Neeson) personal accountant — is the one that better demonstrates his range and nuance. Stern's role is to keep Schindler's factory staffed with as many Jewish employees as possible to prevent them from being taken to death camps.

While Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson earned Oscar nominations for "Schindler's List," the vibrant supporting cast all deserved to — especially Kingsley. The pain and conflict on his face in almost every frame is palpable, and few actors can demonstrate what a character is thinking and feeling even when they aren't saying it quite like Kingsley can. And this movie remains his gold standard example of that inimitable skill.