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Every Jude Law Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Though he often plays American characters, Jude Law, whose full name is David Jude Heyworth Law, is a British actor hailing from London, England. Like many young actors, Law got his start in theater. Though his acting abilities eventually blossomed into a movie career, Law has periodically returned to theater throughout his life. He continues to appear in both Broadway and West End stage productions from time to time.

These days, Jude Law is best known as an international movie star, but Law's first brushes with acting in front of the camera came in the form of television shows and made-for-TV movies. After making the shift to feature films, Law worked in them exclusively for the majority of his career, though he has had a couple of recent noteworthy television roles in the current stage of his career (both on prestige TV factory HBO). 

This list will be focused solely on his major movie roles and ranking them from worst to best according to their critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

42. All the King's Men

Jude Law's lowest-rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes is the 2006 political drama "All the King's Men." The film is set in 1950s Louisiana and revolves around a newly elected governor, played by Sean Penn, as he faces an attempted impeachment spearheaded by a judge, played by Anthony Hopkins. Law plays a journalist who is a member of the under-fire governor's team. Also on the supporting cast are Patricia Clarkson, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, and Jackie Earle Haley.

The story was adapted from the acclaimed novel of the same name written by Robert Penn Warren. The story was previously brought to the big screen in 1949 by filmmaker Robert Rossen, who would go on to make "The Hustler." Writing the adaptation and directing the 2006 version of the film was Steven Zaillian, who is better known for his screenwriting efforts than his directing. Film critic David Denby of The New Yorker was highly critical of Zaillian's directing of "All the King's Men," writing, "The director can't seem to find a natural rhythm for the movie—it's portentous and vague at the same time."

41. 360

Jude Law's second lowest-rated film according to Rotten Tomatoes critics is "360," a drama from 2011. "360" bills itself as a "dynamic roundelay of stories" and as "a modern and stylish kaleidoscope." This vignette film takes a look at various characters living all around the world, with the only real connective tissue between each story being that they all have something to do with romance in the 21st century. Different vignettes within the film take place in Denver, Phoenix, Paris, London, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, and Bratislava. Jude plays the subject of one vignette alongside other recognizable faces like Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, and Ben Foster.

With a premise as far-reaching and intentionally scattershot as "360," it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that critics found the film unfulfilling and disjointed. Film critic Violet Lucca was especially harsh to "360," saying, "Spending 111 minutes watching people at the mall would be a more illuminating study of human behavior—and undoubtedly more entertaining." "360" is a rare dud in the career of Oscar-nominated Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, who broke out to international audiences with the excellent gangster film "City of God," which was nominated for four Academy Awards, and recently made the highly acclaimed "The Two Popes," which was nominated for three Oscars.

40. Repo Men

"Repo Men" is a sci-fi action film from 2010. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker play a pair of, you guessed it, repo men in a futuristic dystopia where internal organs are bought, sold, and repossessed for lack of payment. Don't confuse it with the 1984 cult classic "Repo Man"; "Repo Men" was adapted from the novel "The Repossession Mambo" by author Eric Garcia, which was published one year prior. The story came under some fire as a potential knockoff of the film "Repo! The Genetic Opera," which was released in 2008, a year before the source novel of "Repo Men." 

Both "Repo Men" and "Repo! The Genetic Opera" share similar settings and the core concept of a major lending company repossessing internal organs. Other similarities include things like "Repo!" having a glowing painkiller called "Z" and "Repo Men" having a glowing painkiller called "Q." The claims became so heated amongst the respective fanbases that the story was even covered in Plagiarism Today, which found the evidence to be inconclusive and clarified that the creators of both films disputed the claims. Outside of any plagiarism concerns, "Repo Men" generally failed to impress critics or audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Ian Buckwalter of NPR criticized the film, saying, "The overused homages and a tacked-on twist ending are just failed attempts to save 'Repo Men' from its own shallow blood lust."

39. The Rhythm Section

Jude Law's most recent feature film to date is also one of his lowest rated. "The Rhythm Section" is an action thriller from 2020 about a woman who decides to take revenge when she finds out that the plane crash that killed her family was no accident. "The Rhythm Section" is also the story of this ordinary woman's journey to becoming an assassin/spy. Blake Lively stars in the lead role, while Jude Law plays the former MI6 agent who becomes her mentor and main point of contact on her quest for vengeance.

The story was adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name. The book was the debut of author Mark Burnell and would go on to receive three sequels featuring the same main character. The film adaptation was directed by Reed Morano, who worked extensively as a cinematographer before directing the film "Meadowland" and episodes of television shows like "The Handmaid's Tale." Rotten Tomatoes critics agreed that "The Rhythm Section" was an action thriller devoid of thrills or satisfying action sequences. Times (UK) said of the film, "The plot is risible. The action worse."

38. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

"King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" received a positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, though critics still came down hard on the film and landed it a rotten score in the low 30s. The movie is yet another telling of the classic tale of King Arthur. An amped-up sense of style wasn't enough to save the movie from critical derision. Charlie Hunnam stars as the titular Arthur, while Jude Law takes on the role of King Vortigern, the film's main villain, who wishes to rule the world and enslave the majority of the population with the power of Excalibur. Also on the cast are Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana.

Guy Ritchie was at the helm of this "King Arthur" movie, which he made between his film reboot of the 1960s television series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and his live-action remake of "Aladdin." Simran Hans of The Observer wrote that "a murky video game aesthetic and impatient, maniacally fast cutting do ["King Arthur"] no favours," while Andrew Gaudion of The Hollywood News wrote, "This is one of the duller and uglier blockbusters in recent Hollywood summer fare."

37. Breaking and Entering

2006's "Breaking and Entering" is a romantic drama with some light crime film elements. Jude Law plays an architect who works at a firm that is being regularly broken into and robbed. Law's character, Will, decides to keep watch overnight in case the thief returns. The thief turns out to be a teenager named Miro, played by Rafi Gavron. Rather than confronting the teen directly, Will tails him back to his home, where he eventually meets the teen's mother, Amira, played by Juliette Binoche. A romance blossoms between Will and Amira while Will's relationship with his current partner, Liv, played by Robin Wright, falls apart. Other notable cast members include Martin Freeman and Vera Farmiga.

Critics on Rotten Tomatoes generally disliked the film for prioritizing heavy-handed and manipulative social commentary on class over story depth and character logic. Film critic Felicia Feaster called the film "sorrowful yuppie chow and shallow treatment of alienation favored by angsty Hollywood melodramas such as 'Crash.'" Some also criticized the performances and casting decisions, including Jude Law's role, such as Lou Lumenick with the New York Post, who wrote, "Though Binoche does very solid work, she can't sell the idea of her and Law as a couple; the chemistry isn't there. Not much else rings true in Minghella's screenplay, which is full of coincidences and speeches about race and class."

36. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" is a direct sequel to 2016's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." This spin-off series takes place in the same world as the broader "Harry Potter" franchise but is set several decades earlier. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, and others reprise their roles from the first film, while Jude Law is a new addition to the cast of this sequel, taking on the role of a young Albus Dumbledore. The character was previously portrayed by both Richard Harris and Michael Gambon in the earlier "Harry Potter" films.

The first "Fantastic Beasts" movie was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but "The Crimes of Grindelwald" landed rotten scores with critics and audiences alike. Most critics noted a steep decline in quality between the two films. David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews called this sequel "another ill-advised installment in what's shaping up to be a seriously disastrous series." Johnny Depp was notoriously recast with Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald for the upcoming third entry in the series, "Fantastic Beasts: The Secretes of Dumbledore," but Jude Law will be reprising his role in the sequel, which is slated for release in April of this year.

35. Sleuth

Jude Law occasionally produces the projects that he appears in. While the majority of his produced projects have fared well, "Sleuth" landed rotten critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. "Sleuth" is a small and contained drama adapted from the Broadway play of the same name written by Anthony Shaffer and first performed in 1970. The story is a cat-and-mouse game between a young actor and a rich old writer. The two match wits as the writer unfolds a complex revenge plot against the actor for stealing the heart of his wife. Jude Law plays the actor opposite Michael Caine as the writer.

The "Sleuth" stage play was previously brought to the big screen by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1972. This first adaptation fared much better with critics and audiences alike on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Caine appears in both the 1972 and the 2007 versions of the film, playing the young actor in the former and the old writer in the latter. Kenneth Branagh helmed the 2007 version, and most critics agreed that his take on the material was a major step down from the earlier incarnation. David Stratton of At the Movies warned that "[f]ans of the original should stay away," while critic Mike Massie said, "even without comparisons to previous iterations, it's difficult to appreciate the ludicrous twist that Branagh has inserted into this remake's final act."

34. The Wisdom of Crocodiles

"The Wisdom of Crocodiles," which is also known by the alternate title "Immortality," is a mystery thriller with both romance and horror elements. Jude Law plays Steven Grlscz, whose vowelless last name is a joke within the film. Steven is a Bulgarian Don Juan who roams London in search of women to seduce. When he takes an interest in Anne, played by Elina Löwensohn, she begins to fear that her life may be in danger despite their romantic feelings for each other. The horror elements arrive with the revelation that Steven is a vampire. Timothy Spall and Jack Davenport co-star as policemen who might be able to save Anne from a dangerous fate.

The film had a limited release (via IMDb Pro) and failed to reach larger audiences. "The Wisdom of Crocodiles" was a major financial disappointment. Made for an estimated $3 million budget, the film only brought a little over $20,000 at the domestic box office. The critical reception was mixed but landed more on the negative end of the spectrum, with major outlets like Empire Magazine writing that "any subtlety is lost in the broader superficiality of a work which fails to engage on an emotional level."

33. My Blueberry Nights

"My Blueberry Nights" was an unexpected failure to come from a highly acclaimed filmmaker writing and directing material with an A-list cast at his disposal. Wong Kar-Wai is a Chinese filmmaker known for making massively critically successful romantic dramas like "Fallen Angles," "2046," "Chungking Express," "Days of Being Wild," "The Grandmaster," and "In the Mood for Love," which routinely ranks highly on lists of the greatest movies ever made, such as the BFI's Sight and Sound list of the 100 Greatest Films of All Time. "My Blueberry Nights" was Wong Kar-Wai's first film in the English language, and that may have had something to do with the dip in quality. This was an issue highlighted in a review by Josh Larsen, who described the film as "an awkward exercise in translating Wong Kar-Wai to a Western setting."

The story of "My Blueberry Nights" follows Elizabeth (Norah Jones), who is emotionally devastated after being dumped by her longtime boyfriend. Jude Law plays the kindly owner of the café Elizabeth frequents to drown her sorrows in blueberry pie a la mode. When she takes off on an impulsive road trip, she finds herself interacting with a number of colorful characters along the way, played by the likes of Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and David Strathairn. Some critics, such as Philippa Hawker of The Age, found "My Blueberry Nights" to be a worthwhile film, saying, "As visually lush and distinctive and enveloping as you would expect from a Wong Kar-wai film, with space for performances that have impact." Others outlets like The List, however, considered the movie to be "slim pickings for fans of this master filmmaker."

32. A Rainy Day in New York

"A Rainy Day in New York" is a Woody Allen film that lands on the bottom half of his filmography, which has seen plenty of critical hits as well as duds. Released in 2019, this is one of the controversial director's most recent films. Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning play a young couple who spend a romantic weekend in New York when Fanning's character, Ashleigh, is scheduled to interview a director. The loose plot follows the couple as they explore the city, get split up, and interact with various characters. The supporting cast is packed with stars like Jude Law, Liev Schreiber, Rebecca Hall, Diego Luna, Suki Waterhouse, and Selena Gomez.

Some critics found "A Rainy Day in New York" to be a mixed bag but ultimately a worthwhile movie. Cameron Meier, who advocated for separating the artist from the art, said, "The infectious if clunky comedy is worth watching regardless of what you think of Allen." Others, like Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail, came down much harder on the film, writing that the movie "arrives today like a desperate, frequently nauseating plea to Make America Woody Again: an invitation to both absolve the filmmaker of unspecified transgressions and to get lost in a world where everyone is fabulously witty and wealthy and worth your attention. Except none of the characters or stories here merit such consideration."

31. Alfie

"Alfie" is a 2004 remake of the 1966 film of the same name. Jude Law stars in the titular role that was previously played by Michael Caine in the original, which was itself adapted from a stage play that debuted on Broadway in 1964. The original version of this story goes back even further, to when it was broadcast over BBC radio in 1962 under the unabridged title "Alfie Elkins & His Little Life." Every telling of the story pulls from the material originally written by Bill Naughton, but the 2004 remake brought a pair of screenwriters on board, Elaine Pope and Charles Shyer, to update the material. The latter also directed the remake.

The story follows the womanizing adventures of Alfie as he drives a limousine around New York City. Over the course of the film, Alfie slowly changes his mind about his lifestyle. Joining Jude Law on the cast of the remake are Susan Sarandon, Sienna Miller, Jane Krakowski, Omar Epps, and Nia Long. Most Rotten Tomatoes critics agreed that "Alfie" was a thoroughly unnecessary remake. Will Self of the London Evening Standard wrote that "[t]he weakness is the script.... It isn't funny, it isn't clever and it certainly isn't profound."

30. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by John Berendt. The adapted screenplay was written by John Lee Hancock, who would go on to write and/or direct movies like "The Blind Side," "The Rookie," "Saving Mr. Banks," and "Snow White and the Huntsman." Clint Eastwood was in the director's chair for this adaptation. The critical response to his work was divided but landed more firmly on the negative side among Rotten Tomatoes critics, many of whom considered him to be a poor fit for the material. David Ansen of Newsweek expressed these sentiments in his review, saying, "The one crucial miscasting is Eastwood as director. He approaches the story like a tourist."

John Cusack plays a journalist visiting Savannah, Georgia for other matters when a high-profile murder trial steals his attention. The reporter becomes friends with the accused, the extravagantly wealthy James Arthur Williams, played by Kevin Spacey. Jude Law plays the murder victim, who was also the volatile lover of Williams prior to his death. Most Rotten Tomatoes critics who had a negative reaction to the film found the performances strong while finding Eastwood's direction as the most significant fault, such as David N. Butterworth, who wrote that "sometimes Clint Eastwood does this. Forgets how to make a movie."

29. The Holiday

Audiences enjoyed "The Holiday" a whole lot more than critics on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a rom-com written and directed by Nancy Myers, who is a veteran of the genre, having made rom-coms like "Father of the Bride," "Something's Gotta Give," and "What Women Want." "The Holiday" fits the mold of her other movies. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play an American and a Brit, respectively, who are friends and both go through major relationship troubles at the same time. They decide to swap homes for the holidays, and each finds love while living abroad. Jude Law and Jack Black play the two men that the home-swapping women fall for. Also in the cast are Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Kathryn Hahn, John Krasinski, and Rufus Sewell.

The critical reception for "The Holiday" on Rotten Tomatoes was split right down the middle. Some critics, like PJ Nabarro, came down hard on the film, calling it a "thoroughly preposterous, utter bourgeois fantasy of a romantic comedy." Others, like Anna Smith of Time Out, found the movie familiar but endearing, describing "The Holiday" as "a leisurely feel good rom-com."

28. Genius

"Genius" is a true-story biopic that focuses on a book editor, played by Colin Firth, who worked with many literary legends. The story features portrayals of multiple acclaimed authors, such as Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway, Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vanessa Kirby as Zelda Fitzgerald, and Jude Law as Thomas Wolfe. Also prominent on the cast are Laura Linney and Nicole Kidman. The screenplay was adapted from the non-fiction biography of the book editor written by A. Scott Berg, titled "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius." The adapted script was handled by acclaimed screenwriter John Logan, who has earned three Oscar nominations for writing "Hugo," "Gladiator," and "The Aviator." He also wrote the movies "Skyfall," "Rango," "The Last Samurai," and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Unfortunately, the talented cast and writer weren't enough to satisfy many movie-goers and film critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics like Anna Leszkiewicz considered the film "hackneyed" and "terrifically boring." Many critics pointed out the irony in the film's subject matter and title given its end result, such as Sarah Marrs, who wrote, "For a film about finessing texts, there isn't much finesse in 'Genius,'" and Ian Brill, who said, "As Perkins and Wolfe discuss the importance of every choice and omission an artist makes in crafting work, it is sad that 'Genius' doesn't know show much evidence of that same consideration."

27. Enemy at the Gates

"Enemy at the Gates" received a pretty great reception from general audiences with more than 100,000 ratings counted on Rotten Tomatoes, but the critical consensus still landed the movie a rotten score. This 2001 war film takes place during the World War II battle of Stalingrad and centers around a Russian sniper, played by Jude Law, as he engages in a tense fight with a German sniper, played by Ed Harris. Meanwhile, Joseph Fiennes plays a Russian political officer who turns Law's sniper character into a heroic, near-legendary figure in the press for the general Russian population to believe in, and Rachel Weisz plays a soldier with whom both Fiennes and Law fall in love. Bob Hoskins and Ron Perlman play significant supporting roles as well.

The film was directed by French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, who also co-wrote the screenplay with frequent collaborator Alain Godard. Annaud's previous film was the Brad Pitt-starring bio-drama "Seven Years in Tibet." Most film critics who had a negative response to "Enemy at the Gates" conceded that it had strong action and a few thrills, but that it ultimately fell short in the character department and was implausible and cliched. Critics like Ryan Cracknell wrote, "While it does have some solid moments of action, the film as a whole is laughable." Other critics were more blunt, such as Mark Steyn of The Spectator, who wrote, "Everything in the movie is obstinately stupid."

26. Dom Hemingway

"Dom Hemingway" is a 2013 crime comedy film written and directed by Richard Shepard. Though he has directed a few other films, such as 2005's "Matador" and the recent Netflix original "The Perfection," Shepard has spent much of his career directing episodes of television shows like "Girls," "The Handmaid's Tale," "30 Rock," and "Criminal Minds."

Jude Law stars in the titular role of "Dom Hemingway," a safecracker who has just returned to London after spending a dozen years in prison. He turned down a plea deal and kept quiet all those years rather than ratting on his employer. He sets out to collect big from his gangster boss, but things don't go his way. Richard E. Grant, Emilia Clarke, and Demián Bichir co-star, but this is a real showcase for Law with a big, boisterous, over-the-top leading character. Rotten Tomatoes critics enjoyed "Dom Hemingway" more than general audiences but still not quite enough to land the movie a fresh score. Many critics praised Law's performance while still lambasting the movie, such as Nicholas Bell, who wrote, "While it features perhaps one of the best performances of Jude Law's career, its raunchy energy fizzles out by the mid-point."

25. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

2011's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is a direct sequel to director Guy Ritchie's first "Sherlock Holmes" movie from 2009. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as Holmes and Watson for another action-filled mystery. This time, the story pits Holmes and Watson against Professor Moriarty—Sherlock's arch-nemesis, played by Jared Harris—as he commits a series of seemingly unrelated crimes in different countries. Stephen Fry, Eddie Marsen, Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, and Kelly Reilly round out the rest of the main cast.

This sequel wasn't received by Rotten Tomatoes critics nearly as well as the original film. General audiences, however, found Guy Ritchie's two "Sherlock Holmes" movies to be about on par with each other. Critic Sara Michelle Fetters of MovieFreak compared the two, writing that "unlike its 2009 predecessor, there's very little mystery to be solved in this sequel." Other critics came down even harder on the film, such as Bruce Diones of The New Yorker, who wrote, "It's complete trash and makes a mockery of Holmes' vaunted deductive reasoning."

24. Vox Lux

"Vox Lux" is a 2018 music-centered drama exploring the career of a pop star played by Natalie Portman. "Vox Lux" is the first Jude Law movie so far on this list to receive a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though general audiences didn't take too strongly to it. Law plays the prominent but unnamed role of The Manager within the movie and also served as an executive producer. The far-reaching story covers 18 years in the life of its main character from 1999 to 2017. The teenage years of Portman's character were portrayed by Raffey Cassidy. Christopher Abbott and Stacy Martin also play prominent supporting roles.

The film was co-written and directed by erstwhile actor Brady Corbet, who has only directed one other feature film to date, 2015's "The Childhood of a Leader." 

23. Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy's acclaimed novel from 1878 has been adapted for the big screen more than a dozen times, not counting television, ballet, and opera adaptations (via Literary Hub). The 2012 version of "Anna Karenina" is the latest feature film telling of the classic story so far. Keira Knightley stars in the titular role, while Jude Law plays her husband Karenin. Kelly Macdonald, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Matthew Macfadyen play the major roles of Dolly, Vronsky, and Oblonsky, respectively.

This particular version of "Anna Karenina" was directed by British filmmaker Joe Wright, who has been nominated for BAFTA awards 10 times. Wright is the filmmaker behind movies like "The Darkest Hour," "Atonement," "Pride & Prejudice," and "Cyrano," which is a current nominee in this year's upcoming BAFTA and Academy Awards. Film critic David Stratton of At the Movies crystalized what sets Wright's take on the familiar material apart from alternate adaptations, saying, "Joe Wright uses the theatre and has the actors taking part in a stage production which then moves out into the real world. I think that's done beautifully."

22. I Heart Huckabees

"I Heart Huckabees" is the first movie so far on this list to land fresh scores with both critics and audiences. This is a comedy from five-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker David O. Russell, the man behind movies like "Silver Linings Playbook," "American Hustle," "Joy," and "The Fighter." All of David O. Russell's films have earned fresh scores on Rotten Tomatoes, aside from 2015's "Accidental Love," for which he used the pseudonym Stephen Greene after a notoriously disastrous production originally shot in 2008, via The Guardian.

The story of "I Heart Huckabees" follows a married couple, played by Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin, who open up an unorthodox detective agency that seeks to answer existential questions about the lives of their clients. This unique business venture gets them wrapped up in the conflicts of a huge cast of characters played by the likes of Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Jason Schwartzman, Isabelle Huppert, Kevin Dunn, and Mark Wahlberg, amongst others. Film critic Dan Jolin of Empire Magazine recommended "I Heart Huckabees," saying "if you're up for it, you'll discover a fresh, funny little romp unafraid to tackle the biggest issues of all."

21. Closer

2004 was a major year for Jude Law. "Closer" was just one of six movies Law appeared in throughout 2004, and five out of those six movies received favorable reviews. "Closer" is a character drama about two couples tangled up in a mess of infidelity. The four lead characters in this 'love square' are played by Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, and Natalie Portman. The film was directed by Mike Nichols, the Oscar-winning director of "The Graduate" back in 1967, and was adapted from a stage play by Patrick Marber, which opened on Broadway in 1999.

Much praise was given by Rotten Tomatoes critics for the performances and thematic depth of "Closer." Some critics felt the cast was a little imbalanced, such as Dave Calhoun of Time Out, who wrote that "Owen and Portman give excellent, committed performances, leaving Law and Roberts in the shade." Others found the translation from stage to screen to be a bit rocky, such as Todd McCarthy of Variety, who wrote, "what seems trenchant and perfectly pitched in the theater can come off as arch even when skillfully transferred to film."

20. Sherlock Holmes

While "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" wound up with a rotten critic score by a narrow margin, Guy Ritchie's first "Sherlock Holmes" movie landed a fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Ritchie's take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective character was quite a serious departure from the various other incarnations that came before it. Ritchie injected a major dose of action and over-the-top stylization to the mystery narrative with a glossy color palette and a boatload of slow motion.

Jude Law plays Dr. Watson to Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes. The two work together to stop the villainous Lord Henry Blackwood, played by Mark Strong. Blackwood is an alleged sorcerer of black magic who seemingly returns to life to continue his criminal dealings, defying Holmes and Watson's sense of logic and deduction. A third "Sherlock Holmes" film is in the works, with Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, and Eddie Marsan all set to reprise their roles. Guy Ritchie isn't returning to the director's chair for this third entry. In his place is Dexter Fletcher, who previously worked with Ritchie in an acting capacity on "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."

19. Cold Mountain

"Cold Mountain" is a historical drama and romance film from 2003 set during the tail end of the Civil War. The movie was adapted from the novel of the same name written by Charles Frazier, who based the story on local and family history. With a long run time and a huge, star-studded cast, "Cold Mountain" is an ambitious film that attempts to showcase both the Civil War and its long-lasting effects on the individuals involved.

Jude Law earned his second Oscar nomination—his latest to date—for playing the lead role of W.P. Inman, a wounded soldier who deserts the Confederate army to journey home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina. Nicole Kidman plays Ada, Inman's love, who promises to wait for him while he's at war. Renée Zellweger won the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for her performance as Ruby, her first of two Oscar wins. 

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ray Winstone, Brendan Gleeson, Eileen Atkins, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Charlie Hunnam, Donald Sutherland, and White Stripes frontman Jack White all play memorable supporting characters. In addition to Renée Zellweger and Jude Law's Oscar nominations, "Cold Mountain" also received Academy Award nominations for cinematography and editing, and three separate Oscar nominations for the original music composed by Sting, Gabriel Yared, T Bone Burnett, and Elvis Costello.

18. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Jude Law received his first producer credit for "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." This is a sci-fi adventure movie set in 1939 New York. The city is being attacked by giant robots and scientists are disappearing, which is all connected to a villain's plot to destroy the world and replace it with his vision of a utopia. Jude Law plays the titular Sky Captain, who aids his journalist ex-girlfriend, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, in investigating the dangerous happenings. Giovanni Ribisi plays the Sky Captain's trusty right-hand man, and Angelina Jolie plays the eyepatch-wearing Franky. Also of note on the cast are Bai Ling, Michael Gambon, and Laurence Olivier.

This $70 million movie only managed to bring in $37 million at the domestic box office and another $20 million in the international market, leaving it well short of making back its large budget. General audiences didn't take too kindly to "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," but the movie fared better with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The visual presentation of "Sky Captain," which relied heavily on green screens and CGI, polarized critics. Nick Schager called the movie "the epitome of CGI's best and worst attributes."

17. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

2004's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" was an attempt to translate the long-running children's book series written by Lemony Snicket to the big screen. No sequels were made despite a small financial gain, via Insider. The source material wound up receiving a second adaptation in 2017 as a Netflix original series that ran for three seasons. The 2004 adaptation of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" stars Jim Carrey as the bizarre and nefarious Count Olaf, who takes custody of three children after their parents die in a fire. The film combined the plots of the first three books of the 13-volume children's book series: "The Bad Beginning," "The Reptile Room," and "The Wilde Window."

In addition to Jim Carrey, there were plenty of other recognizable faces on the cast, including Emily Browning, Cedric the Entertainer, Craig Ferguson, Jane Adams, Luis Guzmán, Catherine O'Hara, Billy Connolly, Jennifer Coolidge, Timothy Spall, and Meryl Streep. Jude Law doesn't appear on camera, but he provides the voice of Lemony Snicket, the author of the source material who serves as the film's narrator. Critics noted how much darker "A Series of Unfortunate Events" was than the average kids' movie. Nathan Rabin of the AV Club described it as "[a] sick joke of a film that realizes the best children's entertainment doesn't hide from the bleaker side of life, but plunges into the void and respects kids enough to assume they can handle it."

16. Wilde

Released in 1997, "Wilde" was a relatively early film in the movie career of Jude Law. Stephen Fry stars in the titular role of acclaimed writer Oscar Wilde. The film centers around his battle with his repressed homosexuality in Victorian England, a time when homosexuality was outlawed. Vanessa Redgrave plays his mother, Lady Jane Wilde, who wrote poetry under the pen name Speranza. Jennifer Ehle plays Oscar Wilde's wife and the mother of their children, who is caught up in the turmoil that his coming out brings. Jude Law plays Lord 'Bosie' Douglas, the man with whom Oscar Wilde falls in love. Also of note on the cast are Tom Wilkinson, Michael Sheen, and Orlando Bloom making his big-screen debut.

Much praise was made by Rotten Tomatoes critics for Stephen Fry's lead performance as the film's greatest strength. Stephen Garrett of Time Out wrote that "If anybody was born to play Oscar Wilde, it must have been Stephen Fry: not only does he look like the Green Carnation Man, but he himself is often portrayed as being too clever, too complex for his own good," while William Gallagher of the BBC said, "Fry never appears to be acting at all, so perfect is his performance in the central role."

15. eXistenZ

"eXistenZ" is a film written and directed by body horror master David Cronenberg, who fuses horror, action, and science-fiction elements together for this bizarre story. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as the world's top video game designer in a futuristic world where gaming has become fused with anatomy. While testing her latest project, a virtual reality game called "eXistenZ," an assassin attacks her with an organic firearm called the gristle gun. She is forced to go on the run with a trainee of her company, played by Jude Law. Fiction and reality blend as the two attempt to unravel the strange mystery surrounding the "eXistenZ" game. Willem Dafoe and Christopher Eccleston co-star.

Rotten Tomatoes critics admired "eXistenZ" for its wild originality. Time Out critic Geoff Andrew called the movie "dark, delirious fun," while Urban Cinefile called it "a galactic leap from any other film you're likely to see this week. Or this month. Perhaps this whole year."

14. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" is the first Jude Law movie so far on this list to receive the coveted certified fresh badge on Rotten Tomatoes. The story follows a robotic boy named David, played by "The Sixth Sense" star Haley Joel Osment, as he goes on a quest through a sci-fi world to become human. Jude Law plays Gigolo Joe, a sex robot who is one of the many characters whom David interacts with throughout his journey. The backstory behind the film's production is, in some ways, more interesting than the film itself.

The project began with director Stanley Kubrick, the man behind the likes of "The Shining," "A Clock Work Orange," "2001: A Space Odyssey," and more. After Kubrick's death in 1999, the project was revived by Steven Spielberg, the man responsible for films like "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "Saving Private Ryan," and "Jurassic Park."

The directorial styles of Kubrick and Spielberg are a world apart, which led to some critics noting that the film felt disjointed or mismatched, like Peter Rainer of New York Magazine, who wrote, "Temperamentally, Spielberg and Kubrick are such polar opposites that 'A.I.' has the moment-to-moment effect of being completely at odds with itself." For the majority of critics, this dissonance wasn't an issue, such as Danielle Solzman, who said, "'A.I.: Artificial Intelligence' manages to honor its Kubrickian origin while Steven Spielberg adds his own touch."

13. Rise of the Guardians

"Rise of the Guardians" is another certified fresh Jude Law movie. This is an animated kids' movie with a star-studded voice cast. The movie is based on a series of children's books known as "The Guardians of Childhood" written by William Joyce. The story follows a group of heroes known as the Immortal Guardians who must save the world from an evil villain named Pitch who is dubbed the Nightmare King, voiced by Jude Law. Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin, and Hugh Jackman all lend their voices to spins on the classic figures that make up the Guardians: the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny. Chris Pine plays the newest addition to the Guardians, a teenage Jack Frost.

Some critics landed negatively on this kids' movie, like Michael Philips of the Chicago Tribune, who called "Rise of the Guardians" the "least entertaining film" to come from DreamWorks animation. Others were more favorable and called the movie "charming, sweet and enchanting, but not without its flaws."

12. Captain Marvel

"Captain Marvel" was the 21st released movie in the gargantuan Marvel Cinematic Universe, though it takes place second in the series in chronological order. The movie is an origin story for Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), one of the most powerful characters in the entire MCU, who protects the planet in a war with aliens. Jude Law plays Yon-Rogg, an important figure within the Kree Empire and the leader of Starforce. He becomes an adversary of Captain Marvel when he leads an attempt to capture her at the behest of Ronan the Accuser.

Rotten Tomatoes critics enjoyed "Captain Marvel" enough to earn the movie a certified fresh score, but the general audience score landed much, much lower. With over 100,000 rankings from viewers, "Captain Marvel" was left with a rotten audience score and is, in fact, the only movie in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe with a rotten audience score. A major controversy surrounded the audience ratings for "Captain Marvel," which saw the film's score dropping before it had even been released based on ratings from people who had not watched the movie. As covered in The Atlantic, this "review bombing" spurned significant changes for the way Rotten Tomatoes processed review scores moving forward.

11. Black Sea

"Black Sea" is another certified fresh Jude Law movie that Rotten Tomatoes critics enjoyed but that general audiences left with a rotten score. Jude Law takes center stage as Robinson, a submarine captain on the hunt for a rumored sunken vessel loaded with gold. Ben Mendelsohn, Scoot McNairy, Karl Davies, David Threlfall, and Jodie Whittaker co-star. Jude Law's lead performance was a highlighted strength for many film critics, such as Kristin Tillotson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who wrote "Too often, moviegoers must choose between character-driven drama and edge-of-your-seat action. 'Black Sea' has both, with a gripping performance by Jude Law as their nexus."

"Black Sea" was directed by Dennis Kelly, who wrote the mini-series "The Third Day," which Jude Law also starred in. The movie was directed by filmmaker and documentarian Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for his documentary "One Day in September." He also scored BAFTAs for his documentary "Touching the Void" and his narrative biopic "The Last King of Scotland" starring Forest Whitaker, who won both the BAFTA and Oscar for his lead performance as Idi Amin.

10. Road to Perdition

"Road to Perdition" is a neo-noir gangster film set in 1930s Illinois. Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a gangster who is forced to go on the run after his young son witnesses a murder involving his boss' son, Connor, played by Daniel Craig. Paul Newman plays the mob boss, John Rooney, and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as part of the six Academy Award nominations and one win the overall film received. Jude Law plays the bizarre villain Harlen Maguire, a crime scene photographer who doubles as an assassin. Connor hires Maguire to kill Sullivan, fearing for his own safety.

The story was adapted from a DC graphic novel created by writer Max Allan Collins and artist Richard Piers Rayner. Audiences and critics on Rotten Tomatoes largely agreed that "Road to Perdition" was a strong piece of work. Todd McCarthy of Variety gave the movie a strong recommendation, saying, "While crisply edited and unindulgent, Mendes' work is gratifyingly old-school in its rejection of modern-day stylistic agitation, the better to achieve a slow but inexorable build to its climax."

9. Side Effects

"Side Effects" is a medical thriller mystery about a woman, played by Rooney Mara, who begins experiencing, you guessed it, side effects after being prescribed a new medication by her psychiatrist, played by Jude Law. Channing Tatum plays her recently released from prison husband, whom she unintentionally kills while suffering from the strange side effects.  

The movie wasn't a universal hit, with some calling it "fatally silly." Others were kinder, and reserved particular praise for Law's likability. Director Steven Soderbergh is the filmmaker behind movies like "Traffic," "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," "Ocean's Eleven," and "Erin Brockovich." 

8. Gattaca

"Gattaca" is a science fiction drama set in a future where genetic purity determines an individual's status in society. Ethan Hawke stars as Vincent, a man whose inferior genes have left him as a second-class citizen fit only for basic labor jobs and incapable of pursuing his dreams of space travel. Jude Law plays Jerome Eugene Morrow, a man who was declared genetically perfect but was unsatisfied with his lot in life and attempted suicide, winding up paraplegic as a result. Vincent assumes Morrow's identity in an effort to fake his way into being accepted for space travel. Uma Thurman plays Irene, an employee of the Gattaca company who discovers Vincent's secret but maintains a romance with him regardless.

Kiwi filmmaker Andrew Niccol wrote and directed "Gattaca" as his first film. He would go on to write "The Truman Show" the following year and write/direct movies like "Lord of War" and "Good Kill" in the years to follow. Some critics, such as Lisa Alspector of the Chicago Reader, took issue with the internal logic of the movie's world, posing questions like, "if this future has such incredible biotechnology, why can't Law just get his damaged body parts fixed?" Most critics, however, found "Gattaca" to be a thought-provoking science-fiction film in spite of the occasional leap in logic. Emanuel Levy of Variety wrote, "Andrew Niccol's directing debut is an intelligent and timely sci-fi that, despite some illogical plot contrivances, is emotionally engaging almost up to the end."

7. The Talented Mr. Ripley

Jude Law earned his first of two Oscar nominations for his supporting role in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." He would go on to win the BAFTA for this performance as well. Matt Damon stars as Tom Ripley, a lowly bathroom attendant who cons his way into the leagues of Manhattan socialites in the 1950s. He winds up being hired to track down Dickie Greenleaf, played by Jude Law, and convince him to return home from living it large abroad in Italy. Mr. Ripley forms a dangerous obsession with Dickie and, to a lesser extent, his fiancée Marge, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchett, James Rebhorn, Philip Baker Hall, Sergio Rubini, and Jack Davenport make up the rest of the impressive cast.

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" was written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella, who would go on to write and direct the Jude Law films "Cold Mountain" and "Breaking and Entering," covered earlier on this list. The screenplay was adapted from the 1955 novel of the same name written by Patricia Highsmith. Highsmith wrote a total of five novels following the Tom Ripley character. Other books in the series have been brought to the big screen, such as "Ripley Under Ground" in 2005 starring Barry Pepper in the role and "Ripley's Game" in 2002 with John Malkovich in the Ripley part, but none broke through to audiences to the same degree as "The Talented Mr. Ripley." The Ripley character will also be coming to the small screen with a Showtime television series in the works.

6. Contagion

"Contagion" is the second Steven Soderbergh movie written by Scott Z. Burns to make into Jude Law's top 10 highest-rated movies. The film takes a far-reaching look at the start of a pandemic and utilizes a large cast of characters to explore the various reactions and responses to the rapid spread of an unknown and deadly infection. CDC officials, government figures, frontline doctors, and average citizens all adapt to the pandemic. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the first U.S. casualty of the infection after contracting it during a business trip in Hong Kong, while Matt Damon plays her immune husband. Jude Law plays a conspiracy theorist. The star-studded cast also features the likes of Lawrence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Elliot Gould, Demetri Martin, and Bryan Cranston.

The real-life COVID-19 pandemic provided an unexpected boon in viewership to "Contagion" years after its initial release. So many viewers flocked to "Contagion" as a portrayal of a cinematic pandemic that The Washington Post even wrote an op-ed about the phenomenon.

5. The Aviator

Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" is the first to crack the top five of Jude Law's highest-rated movies. The film is a biopic examining the complicated life of Howard Hughes between the 1920s and the 1940s. "The Aviator" won five Academy Awards and was nominated for an additional six Oscars, including Best Picture. Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the lead role, and the huge supporting cast is packed with big names portraying real people, including Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, John C. Reilly as Noah Dietrich, Alan Alda as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster, Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner, Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow, and many others. Jude Law takes on the role of Errol Flynn, the Hollywood star who portrayed classic characters like Robin Hood and Don Juan.

Time Out film critic Geoff Andrew recommended "The Aviator," saying "Scorsese's Howard Hughes movie is his best since 'The Age of Innocence.'" Of the film's themes and social commentary, Nathan Rabin of The AV Club wrote, "It's a measure of 'The Aviator's' complexity and ambiguity that it can be read equally as a celebration of rugged, capitalist individualism and as a leftist critique of cutthroat free-market competition."

4. The Nest

Released in 2020 during a year when Jude Law starred in two separate TV mini-series, "The Nest" is one of Law's most recent production. In addition to starring in the lead role, Law also executive-produced the film. Law and Carrie Coon star as Rory and Allison O'Hara, a married couple who resettle with their children in a stately manor in 1980s England. Financial and familial troubles follow as the family begins to be torn apart.

This drama/thriller was written and directed by Sean Durkin, who previously wrote and directed "Martha Marcy May Marlene." General audiences didn't seem to enjoy "The Nest" much, leaving the movie with a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics, on the other hand, enjoyed the film far more, landing "The Nest" a high-ranking certified fresh badge. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave "The Nest" a four out of five stars and called it "a film that swerves away from categorization," while Keven Maher of Times (UK) wrote, "The movie ploughs ahead through three acts of delicious torture."

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jude Law's third highest-rated movie is the whimsical Wes Anderson comedy "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The movie explores the history of the titular hotel under the stewardship of Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. Gustave is aided by a trustee bellhop named Zero, played by Tony Revolori. In typical Wes Anderson fashion, the film makes use of a massive ensemble of quirky characters. Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Léa Seydoux, and Owen Wilson all take part in the fantastical adventure. Jude Law plays the writer opposite F. Murray Abraham's older version of Zero in the film's wraparound book-end segments.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" was nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards and took home four Oscars in the music, hair and makeup, costume design, and production design categories. Critical praise was near unanimous for "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Critic Debbie Lynn Elias of Behind the Lens described the film as "magnificent and magical," while Matthew Lucas of The Dispatch said that it "achieves something deeply beautiful."

2. Hugo

The second spot on this rundown of Jude Law's best movies goes to the family-friendly "Hugo." This is the second Scorsese movie in the top five, following up "The Aviator." Asa Butterfield stars as the titular Hugo, a young orphan in 1930s Paris who lives a lonely life within the walls of a train station. Jude Law plays Hugo's deceased father, who appears in flashback form. Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, and Michael Stuhlbarg round out the rest of the cast.

The film was adapted from a children's book titled "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" written by Brian Selznick. Penning the adapted screenplay was John Logan, who also worked with Jude Law on "Genius" and "The Aviator." Many Rotten Tomatoes critics praised "Hugo" as a true accomplishment from Scorsese that transcended the trappings of many movies aimed at children. Matt Singer of IFC wrote, "'Hugo' is an intensely personal statement from Scorsese, one not just about magic, but also the magic of cinema."

1. Spy

It might be a surprise to find out that this 2015 Melissa McCarthy comedy is Jude Law's highest-rated movie, but Rotten Tomatoes critics were thoroughly taken with "Spy." Melissa McCarthy stars as a CIA analyst who becomes an undercover agent in order to prevent catastrophic destruction. Jason Statham and Rose Byrne co-star, while Jude Law plays the super-spy that Melissa McCarthy assisted from a control room before he went missing in action. The opening sequence of "Spy" features Jude Law in full "James Bond" mode—perhaps the closest he has come to playing the iconic character despite inaccurate rumors he was offered the role of Bond when casting "Casino Royale."

Paul Feig wrote and directed this spoof of spy movies like "James Bond" and "Jason Bourne." Feig previously directed Melissa McCarthy in "The Heat" and "Bridesmaids," for which McCarthy earned a best supporting actress Oscar nomination. They would go on to collaborate again the following year on the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot. Film critics largely agreed that "Spy" was a fun romp, such as Nick Levine of NME, who said, "Melissa McCarthy shows off her superb comic timing in this frothy action comedy."