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Every Ewan McGregor Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Getting consistent work as an actor can be difficult. Even if you are in some of the biggest movies in the world, the spark is bound to fade one day, but Ewan McGregor seems to have bucked the trend: The Scottish star is as prolific today as he was in the '90s.

McGregor's career took off after a breakthrough turn in Danny Boyle's cult indie film "Trainspotting," released in 1996. By the year 2000, McGregor was a household name. He has appeared in nearly 60 feature films over the course of his long and varied career, not to mention the critically acclaimed TV work he's done, like "Fargo" and "Halston." The A-lister bagged an Emmy for the latter show.

Like most actors who have been around for that long, he's been in his fair share of box office bombs, but McGregor always seems to bounce back. Here are all 58 films the versatile Scot has been in, ranked from worst to best.

58. Deception (2008)

With a talented cast and an intriguing premise, 2008's "Deception" appeared to have all the right ingredients, but this erotic thriller failed to raise pulses. Ewan McGregor stars as Jonathan McQuarry, a straight-laced accountant who gets exposed to the seedy world of underground sex clubs after meeting a magnetic lawyer named Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman). The two men become fast friends, but there's more to Wyatt than meets the eye — he kidnaps a sex worker (Michelle Williams) that Jonathan has fallen for and demands that he steal millions from the firm he's auditing to secure her release.

A game of cat-and-mouse ensues, but it's a painfully predictable one. It's clear from the get-go that Williams' character (known only as S) is working with Wyatt to scam Jonathan, and it's even less of a surprise when she has a change of heart and switches sides. None of the characters are particularly likable, and the actors appear hamstrung by the flat, uninspired dialogue.

57. Eye of the Beholder (1999)

Based on a critically acclaimed novel from Marc Behm, "Eye of the Beholder" stars Ewan McGregor as private investigator Stephen Wilson, who gets tasked with tracking his employer's wayward son Paul Hugo (Steven McCarthy). He discovers that Paul has entered into a relationship with a woman named Joanna Eris (Ashley Judd), who just so happens to be a serial killer.

When Joanna murders Paul and embarks on a killing spree, Stephen decides to follow her and watch it all happen instead of turning her over to the police. Why does he do this? The explanation, like the film itself, is weak. We come to learn that Stephen has been suffering since his wife divorced him and took full custody of their daughter. It's a poor excuse for his actions, and the critics weren't buying it: The film scored a measly 9% on Rotten Tomatoes.

56. Mortdecai (2015)

Leading man Johnny Depp bore the brunt of the criticism when the forgettable crime caper "Mortdecai" dropped to terrible reviews in 2015, but nobody came away unscathed. Supporting players included Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Goldblum, none of whom could rescue this bafflingly unfunny comedy.

Based on the series of novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli, it's the story of Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Depp), an unscrupulous art dealer. When a Goya painting gets stolen, Inspector Alistair Martland (McGregor) asks for Mortdecai's help in catching the culprit. By the time the mystery is solved, you will have lost all interest in the case. Do yourself a favor and give this one a wide berth.

55. Incendiary (2008)

"Incendiary" was the first movie featuring Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams to come out in 2008, followed closely by the aforementioned "Deception." This British drama was the better of the two films, but both are a waste of talent. Based on the controversial novel by Chris Cleave (it was published on the same day as the London bombings of 2005), it stars Williams as a mother and wife who is having an affair with a local journalist named Jasper Black (McGregor). Her husband and child are killed in a terror attack when she's with Jasper, leaving her guilt-ridden and angry.

Jasper's investigation into the attack helps to uncover the identities of the terrorists responsible, and from there, the movie goes full-blown conspiracy. "Incendiary" deviates from the book considerably in places, with chunks of the original plot thrown out the window in favor of uninspired twists and a saccharine romance.

54. Amelia (2009)

"Amelia" is a biopic starring Hilary Swank as aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. The film tells of Earhart's rise to prominence, including how she met her husband, George Putnam (Richard Gere). After becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, she skyrockets to fame and begins to fall for fellow pilot Gene Vidal, played by Ewan McGregor. Neither of these great actors could deliver performances compelling enough for "Amelia" to take off (pun intended).

Despite being based on an incredible true story, the film just wasn't engaging enough, and that showed in its box office results — it cost $40 million to make, but pulled in less than $20 million worldwide.

53. American Pastoral (2016)

Based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name, 2016's "American Pastoral" was Ewan McGregor's directorial debut. The Scot stars as Seymour "Swede" Levov, who spent years living the American Dream. He married his high school sweetheart (Jennifer Connelly), and they went on to build a family and a successful business together. Things started to go awry for this seemingly perfect couple when their daughter (Dakota Fanning), troubled by the events of the Vietnam War, began to dabble in anarchism.

When someone sets off a bomb in their small town and their daughter is nowhere to be found, cracks that have long been papered over quickly turn into chasms. Sadly, this isn't the cleanest adaptation of the story. McGregor turns in a passable performance, but his take on "American Pastoral" doesn't hit anywhere near as hard as the source material did back in 1997.

52. Stay (2005)

Ewan McGregor plays a psychiatrist in 2005's "Stay," a generic psychological thriller featuring Ryan Gosling and Naomi Watts. McGregor's Dr. Sam Foster goes down a rabbit hole after digging into the personal life of his new patient, a troubled young man named Henry (Ryan Gosling). Henry appears to be delusional, but the more Sam discovers about him, the more he suspects that there's some truth to his ravings.

With the help of his concerned girlfriend (Watts), Sam attempts to get to the bottom of Henry's mystery. If you're still watching by the time he connects the dots, you deserve a medal. The title of this movie becomes a plea to the audience the longer it drags on.

51. Zoe (2018)

If you want to watch a movie about how technology might impact the future of romantic relationships, check out 2013's "Her." Released five years later, "Zoe" fails to reach the same heights. Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux star as Cole and Zoe, colleagues at a facility that conducts research into romantic compatibility. Zoe has a crush on Cole, but their algorithm suggests that they won't work.

The film takes place in a near-future where synthetic androids exist. As it turns out, the reason Zoe doesn't match with Cole is (spoiler alert) she's not human. Cole is aware of this and can't bring himself to reciprocate her feelings as a result, but (surprise surprise) he ends up having a change of heart. The film is predictable, slow, and it doesn't deliver interesting answers to its questions about humanity and AI.

50. A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Hot on the heels of "Trainspotting," Ewan McGregor and director Danny Boyle reteamed for 1997's "A Life Less Ordinary," but they couldn't recapture the magic. This dark rom-com features Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo as two angels who get sent to Earth to foster a real love connection between two terrible people, played by McGregor and Cameron Diaz.

The plot is questionable by today's standards. It follows a rich brat named Celine (Cameron Diaz), who gets kidnapped by her father's unstable but ambitious janitor, Robert (McGregor). The two inexplicably decide that they are made for each other, and they begin to see Celine's father as a common enemy. A rare misfire from Boyle, this ill-conceived indie flick will give you tonal whiplash.

49. Nightwatch (1997)

A remake of the Danish film of the same name, 1997's "Nightwatch" stars Ewan McGregor as a student who takes a side gig as a night watchman in a morgue. Soon after he starts the job, a spree of gruesome murders begins, and he soon becomes a prime suspect. The only way to prove his innocence is to find the killer himself.

McGregor is far from terrible here, but he gets let down by shoddy filmmaking. The likes of Patricia Arquette and Josh Brolin are also misused and underutilized. If you like the sound of the premise, switch on those subtitles and check out the far superior original.

48. Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker (2006)

Based on the first book in Anthony Horowitz's series of YA novels, "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" was meant as a James Bond-style spy film for a younger audience. Alex Pettyfer stars as the titular teen, whose uncle (Ewan McGregor's Ian Rider) has been training him in the ways of espionage since he was young. When Ian dies on a mission, Alex is (quote preposterously) fast-tracked into MI6 and told the truth about his family.

Financially, it was a flop (it only managed to recoup half of its $40 million budget), and it didn't fare well with the critics either (it scored just 35% on Rotten Tomatoes). "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" lacked the excitement of the book series and similarly themed films like Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids."

47. The Birthday Cake (2021)

2021's "The Birthday Cake" is the story of a young Italian-American man who discovers the truth about his father's death on the 10th anniversary of his passing. Gio (Shiloh Fernandez) seeks advice from local priest Father Kelly, played by Ewan McGregor. The actor's daughter Clara McGregor is a producer on the picture (she also has a small role), which perhaps explains why he would sign up for such a mediocre mob picture.

McGregor (who also narrates the movies) isn't the only recognizable face to show up here. Rather surprisingly, Val Kilmer plays the big bad. Mafia movie veteran Lorraine Bracco plays Gio's widowed mother, while fellow "The Sopranos" alumni Vincent Pastore and Paul Sorvino also pop up. "It's astonishing that 'The Birthday Cake' could attract such a starry cast," said The Guardian.

46. Angels & Demons (2009)

Based on the first book in Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series, 2009's "Angels & Demons" saw Tom Hanks reprising the role of the Harvard professor (he first played Langdon in 2006's "The Da Vinci Code," the second book featuring the character). Ron Howard returned to direct the mystery thriller, and the biggest new addition to the cast was Ewan McGregor as the film's primary villain.

After the sudden death of the Pope, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church Patrick McKenna (McGregor) takes power temporarily. When the papal candidates are kidnapped by the Illuminati, the Vatican is left in shambles. Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is sent in to find the kidnapper. McGregor's Father McKenna ends up being the mastermind behind the Pope's assassination and the kidnappings in a fairly obvious twist. It's not often we get to see McGregor in such a role, but perhaps there are reasons for that, as it really doesn't suit him here.

45. Being Human (1994)

Ewan McGregor's very first feature film role was in the 1994 comedy-drama "Being Human." The film spans multiple generations, focusing on one character reincarnated over the years. It stars Robin Williams as five different men named Hector across five nations and time periods. In one timeline, Williams plays a caveman. In another, he is a shipwrecked man during the Renaissance. McGregor had a small role in one of the periods as a man named Alverez (John Turturro, Bill Nighy, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Robert Carlyle also show up). The film wasn't Robin Williams' biggest hit, but for McGregor, it was enough to get him to that next project.

44. The Island (2005)

2005's "The Island" stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as Lincoln and Jordan, two people living in an isolated dystopian society. Every week, one citizen gets chosen to leave for the titular paradise, the only other safe place on the planet. What they don't know is that they are all clones, and winning the weekly lottery is a death sentence. When they get chosen, their organs are harvested, a way to keep the project's wealthy sponsors alive.

It sounds like something from a cool science fiction novel, but "The Island" is sci-fi in aesthetic alone — this is a Michael Bay movie, meaning it's all about the action. When Jordan's name comes up in the lottery, she and Lincoln embark on a quest to discover the truth about their existence. What follows is everything we've come to expect from Michael Bay pictures in the years since, with each explosion outdoing the last.

43. Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Natalie Portman delivered a typically strong performance in 2015's "Jane Got a Gun," but it wasn't enough to save this unfocused and underwhelming Western. The Oscar winner stars as Jane Hammond, a frontier woman who has to become the protector of the house when her husband comes home gravely injured one day.

Her husband tells her that he was shot by the Bishop Boy gang, led by Ewan McGregor's John Bishop. They're coming to finish the job, so Jane (spoiler alert) gets a gun. She enlists the help of a neighbor (played by Joel Edgerton, who also contributed to the script), and the pair batten down the hatches. It's slow, predictable, and plain boring.

42. Rogue Trader (1999)

Based on his book of the same name, "Rogue Trader" is a film about Nick Leeson, whose actions caused the collapse of London's Barings Bank in 1995. After a huge speculative trade goes wrong, Leeson tries to cover up the losses by hiding money in dummy accounts, kickstarting a chain of events that eventually bankrupts the company.

Leeson is portrayed by Ewan McGregor, who won praise from the critics. The movie itself, however, was not received positively. The Guardian called the film "a terrible waste of the talents of Ewan McGregor," while the BBC said that it "under-exploits the ability of class A actors" in its review.

41. Cassandra's Dream (2007)

Ewan McGregor's only collaboration with Woody Allen was not a particularly fruitful one. 2007's "Cassandra's Dream" stars McGregor and Colin Farrell as Ian and Terry, two brothers who buy a sailboat together. When they fall into financial difficulties, they turn to their wealthy uncle for help. He's willing to give them a handout — but only if they murder a man who plans on testifying against him.

While the two leads do the best with what they've got, writing is the glue that holds a drama together, and it's weak here. It's not Allen's worst film, but critics expected more from the prolific filmmaker. "At this point, I guess we should just applaud Allen for his work ethic," said the Austin Chronicle.

40. The Serpent's Kiss (1997)

Another early Ewan McGregor movie that few people outside the United Kingdom have seen, "The Serpent's Kiss" saw the Scot attempt some serious acting. Directed by the Oscar-winning cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, it follows a landscape architect named Meneer Chrome (McGregor), who gets hired by an eccentric older man (Pete Postlethwaite) to create a magnificent garden. What the man doesn't know is that Chrome is plotting with his wife's cousin (Richard E. Grant) to steal all his money. Unexpected romances bloom that complicate the plot in this largely forgotten period drama that is probably best left that way.

39. Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)

The names Tom Hardy and Andrew Lincoln were far from household ones when "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" dropped back in 2006. Before they rose to stardom with "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Walking Dead" respectively, both appeared in this British ensemble picture, which also featured Ewan McGregor. The Scot plays a gay man with commitment issues, much to the frustration of his partner (Douglas Hodge). The film takes place on London's Hampstead Heath, where several unrelated couples have come to enjoy the nice weather. It's basically "Love Actually" in the sun.

38. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

The role that defined his early career in Hollywood, Ewan McGregor made his debut as the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," the first installment in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. As the young Obi-Wan, he and his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) journeyed into the depths of Naboo to uncover the Trade Federation's secrets. They end up on Tatooine, where they meet a Force-sensitive young boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). Qui-Gon frees Anakin from slavery and enlists him as an apprentice.

"The Phantom Menace" was the most anticipated film in years, and it failed to live up to the hype. It's widely considered to be the worst "Star Wars" movie to be released in cineplexes, though McGregor wasn't to blame for that. "Only Ewan McGregor, as young Obi-Wan, seems to be invested in his role," said Time magazine. "He exudes a calm strength that makes a believable connection to Alec Guinness' wonderful portrayal."

37. Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)

Starring Nicholas Hoult, "Jack the Giant Slayer" is the story of a young man who trades his family's horse for a handful of magic beans. Understandably furious about the deal, Jack's uncle tosses the beans. When it rains, one of the beans takes root and a giant beanstalk grows, giving Jack and Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) access to the kingdom of giants above the clouds. Both have been obsessed with the place since childhood, but the inhabitants are far from friendly.

When Isabelle gets kidnapped by giants, Jack enlists the help of some knights, including Ewan McGregor's Elmont. The Scot isn't bad in this Bryan Singer blockbuster. The acting is adequate across the board, but the overwhelming use of CGI made it easy to disengage from the adventure.

36. The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

Loosely based on Jon Ronson's fantastically titled book of the same name, "The Men Who Stare At Goats" is a film about paranormal military experiments that took place in the 1970s and '80s. The movie adaptation takes the premise to a more contemporary and comedic place, mining the book for humor. Unfortunately, it didn't dig quite far enough.

The idea of the military attempting to harness psychic powers to use in warfare is ripe for parody, but "The Men Who Stare At Goats" is short on laughs. It has its moments (Ewan McGregor and George Clooney have good chemistry as an investigative journalist and psychic spy, respectively), though the critical consensus was that the film was a missed opportunity.

35. Son of a Gun (2014)

Set in Australia, 2014's "Son of a Gun" stars Brenton Thwaites as a young man who ends up in big-time prison for a small-time crime. His card is marked when he stops a group of men from assaulting his cellmate, but the notorious Scottish armed robber Brendan Lynch (McGregor) comes to his rescue. Lynch has the man who is threatening him killed, but he wants something in return.

When JR is released, Lynch calls in the favor he's owed, and it involves hijacking a helicopter to bust him out of prison. "Son of a Gun" is a stylish little heist film that set the stage for McGregor to take on more villainous roles.

34. Down with Love (2003)

Flashback to the early 2000s, and Ewan McGregor is one of Hollywood's most handsome leading men. Of course, this means starring in his fair share of middle-of-the-road romantic comedies. "Down With Love" is one such film. McGregor stars opposite Renee Zellweger in this pastiche to early '60s romcoms, with "Ant-Man" director Peyton Reed at the helm.

Zellweger plays feminist author and icon Barbara Novak, who refuses to settle down with a man and instead lives life as a socialite. When the brilliantly named Catcher Block (McGregor), a reporter with bad intentions, gets repeatedly turned down to meet Novak, he begins a vindictive crusade to prove her a hypocrite. He tries to woo her for all the wrong reasons, and the two find something neither of them expected — a real connection. "Down with Love" isn't going to blow your socks off, but it's a fun and witty movie that evokes a bygone era of film.

33. Blue Juice (1995)

One of the few Ewan McGregor films that predates "Trainspotting," 1995's "Blue Juice" is a coming-of-age story about a bunch of surfers in Cornwall, England's surfing capital. Sean Pertwee stars as JC, whose girlfriend (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is growing tired of his waster ways. Things only get worse for JC when his drug dealer buddy Dean (McGregor) arrives from London. While it seems as though he is just a mischievous junky at first, Dean has ulterior motives, making him quite the shady character. This low-budget drama is far from a classic, but it's a fantastic time capsule for those looking for some '90s nostalgia.

32. Perfect Sense (2011)

A bit later into his time as a romantic lead, Ewan McGregor took the lead opposite Eva Green in "Perfect Sense." This romance movie is more sci-fi than comedy, however. Reception at the time was mixed, but this is a film worth revisiting in the age of coronavirus.

It's about a chef (McGregor) and a scientist (Green) who fall in love during a global pandemic. People are losing their senses one by one, and it makes every second count. Birth.Death.Movies called it "unnervingly relevant to the health situation the globe is currently endeavoring to navigate" when it revisited the film in 2020.

31. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

Three years after making his debut as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, McGregor returned to the role in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones." Now serving as the mentor of the teenage Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Obi-Wan is tasked with investigating an assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). He and Anakin discover and try to expose the existence of a secret clone army in the process.

"Attack of the Clones" wasn't quite as bad as "The Phantom Menace," but it wasn't good, either. Taken on its own, it's a fun and silly action romp, but it fails to live up to the legacy of the legendary space opera.

30. Velvet Goldmine (1988)

"Velvet Goldmine" is a musical drama about a fictional glam rock star named Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Slade was huge in the '70s but has disappeared from public life by the mid-1980s, when the movie is set. Christian Bale plays a journalist named Arthur Stuart, who is looking into what happened. As Stuart interviews the people who knew Slade, flashbacks begin to fill in the gaps.

Ewan McGregor co-stars as Curt Wild, a rocker who had a relationship with Slade back in the day. It wasn't received particularly well when it dropped in 1998, but it's since gained a following. It's "one of the great over-ambitious experimental cult films of indie auteur cinema," according to the British Film Institute. "Haynes fashioned a knowingly counterfactual chronicle of the glam rock boom in early 1970s London, with heavy emphasis on polymorphous perversity and calculated artifice."

29. Miss Potter (2006)

"Miss Potter" is a biographical drama that stars Renée Zellweger as children's book author Beatrix Potter. Ewan McGregor plays her fiancé and publisher, Norman Warne. It was generally well-received by critics and moviegoers alike, and Zellweger was even nominated for a Golden Globe for her enchanting take on the English literary icon.

The movie begins with Potter visiting the publishing house that first agrees to publish "Peter Rabbit." She is assigned to Norman Warne, the youngest brother of the Warne brothers' publishing empire. The two discover that they were set up to fail by the elder brothers. Yet, they bond over her inspiring work and go on a bittersweet journey full of triumph and failure. Both leads turn in great performances, making this biopic one worth watching.

28. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)

Is it romantic and filmed primarily in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2014? Then you bet your butt that Ewan McGregor plays the suave lead. The Scot stars opposite Emily Blunt in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," a touching movie about love, faith, and fish.

McGregor plays Alfred Jones, a fly fishing expert who gets brought onto a project that is set to introduce the sport to the country of Yemen. Convinced that the project is destined to fail, he is barely swayed by his advisor Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Blunt). As the two begin to see results, however, a romance blooms. "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" hits on notes both romantic and political, making for a well-rounded drama.

27. August: Osage County (2013)

In 2013, director John Wells collaborated with Tracy Letts to adapt his play "August: Osage County" for the big screen. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama made for a decent film, one that boasted an ensemble to be remembered. In Oklahoma, Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) is suffering from cancer and calls her family for help when her husband (Sam Shepard) vanishes. Her oldest daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts) and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) arrive to offer help. The missing man is found dead and the funeral brings several family members together for an emotional and powerful exhibition of confrontations and revelations.

Almost ten years later, it is the acting that is this film's most memorable element and why it's still worth watching. Streep and Roberts are the heavyweights here (both were nominated for Oscars for their performances), but McGregor chips in with a subtly brilliant turn as Bill.

26. Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)

Emma Thompson reprised the title role in the 2010 film "Nanny McPhee Returns," a sequel to 2005's "Nanny McPhee." The all-star supporting cast included the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Asa Butterfield, Maggie Smith, and, of course, Ewan McGregor. The Scot plays the husband of Isabel Green (Gyllenhaal), who is away fighting in the Second World War during the main events of the movie. His wife is left to deal with their three out-of-control children.

Isabel reaches her breaking point when evacuations force her children's snot-nosed cousins to come and live with them. Just in time, Nanny MacPhee arrives to set things right and manage the children in this modern-day "Mary Poppins." It's a great time for all the family.

25. Young Adam (2003)

Based on Alexander Trocchi's classic novel of the same name, 2003's "Young Adam" stars Ewan McGregor as a young barge worker named Joe. When he and his boss (Peter Mullan) find the body of a young woman in the water, a mystery begins to unfold. We soon learn that Joe has been sleeping with his boss's wife (Tilda Swinton) and that he had a history with the woman in the water.

This Scotland-set erotic drama is pretty dark in places and definitely isn't for kids. The Motion Picture Association slapped it with an NC-17 rating when it dropped in the States in 2004, a decision that producer Jeremy Thomas did not agree with. "I just make films for grown-ups," he told the Los Angeles Times.

24. Our Kind of Traitor (2016)

This 2016 espionage thriller is an adaptation of a book by one of Britain's greatest spy novelists. "Our Kind of Traitor" by John le Carré (writer of George Smiley novels "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold") is a late addition to the author's oeuvre, coming out in 2010. Ewan McGregor plays Perry MacKendrick, a university lecturer caught in the middle of a deadly game of cat and mouse between MI6 and the Russians.

While on vacation in Morocco, Perry befriends charismatic Russian Dima (Stellan Skarsgård), a choice that eventually gets him into hot water. It turns out Dima has important information linking British politicians with the Russian mob, and when Perry returns to England to share that information with MI6, his regular life is thrown into chaos. It's not as bombastic as James Bond, nor is it as slow-burning as the "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" adaptation, but "Our Kind of Traitor" finds an entertaining middle ground.

23. The Pillow Book (1996)

Based on an 11th-century Japanese diary, "The Pillow Book" turns the musing of court lady Sei Shōnagon into a contemporary love story. Following Japanese fashion model Nagiko (Vivian Wu), the film tells the story of her life through her love and her work. Nagiko falls in love with a British translator (Ewan McGregor) and a grand romance of sweeping scale begins, as the two express their love through the words they write on each other's bodies.

The two-hour film covers a lot of ground and goes to some dark places that may make some viewers uncomfortable. As an English-language take on a historical Japanese text, it may not hold up totally by today's standards, but it did receive generally positive reviews when it dropped in 1996 and is still well-liked by audiences.

22. Christopher Robin (2018)

Ewan McGregor plays the title role in "Christopher Robin," a film about a grown-up version of the imaginative boy from the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Robin now has a family and responsibilities, having left the Hundred Acre Wood behind a long time ago. He's not coping well, but his old friends soon appear to help him navigate the stormy waters of adulthood. This melancholy exploration of nostalgia and youth is well-executed, but it's shockingly sad and cuts pretty deep for a Disney movie.

21. Big Fish (2003)

Ewan McGregor plays the younger version of a man named Edward Bloom in 2003's "Big Fish," Tim Burton's colorful adaptation of Daniel Wallace's somber novel. When an older Edward (Albert Finney) gets cancer, his son William (Billy Crudup) reflects on the tall tales his dad would tell him in childhood, a plot device that Burton takes to creative highs. As William recalls his father's life, the audience is taken on a series of fantastical adventures, and McGregor brings them to life with aplomb.

"Big Fish" is one of Tim Burton's most deeply personal movies, dealing with loss and father-son relationships. As Den of Geek noted when it revisited the divisive film in 2018, both Burton and writer John August lost their dads not long before working on the project.

20. Nora (2000)

Ewan McGregor stepped into the shoes of renowned author James Joyce in 2000's "Nora," the story of his wife Nora Barnacle (Susan Lynch). The film begins in 1904, with Joyce spotting Barnacle on a Dublin street and falling in love on the spot. The film goes on to show how the two were emotionally and artistically entwined. When they leave Ireland for Italy, their steamy love life becomes the core of their beings. Both performers step up to lend legitimacy to this compelling romantic drama that examines the relationship between the two Dubliners.

19. Shallow Grave (1994)

The first collaboration between Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle, 1994's "Shallow Grave" is an entertaining thriller that put the actor and director on the indie map. The film has a simple yet effective set-up: Three roommates find their friend dead from a drug overdose, with large sums of cash in hand. After splitting the money and burying the body, paranoia descends on the house, leading to violent ends. McGregor turns in a performance worthy of a future star, and Boyle is brilliant at the helm.

18. I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

Based on an incredible true story, 2009's "I Love You Phillip Morris" stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as a pair of prisoners who fall in love. Carrey plays the con artist Steven Jay Russell, who escaped from prison multiple times to be with Morris (McGregor) after he got released before him. They both end up back behind bars — until Russell poses as a lawyer and has Morris freed.

McGregor is great as Russell's fair-haired lover, but this is Carrey's show. The rubber-faced funnyman turns in a sweet, understated performance, one of the best of his career. "The star's performance has real heart," said The Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's easily the best thing he has done since 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.'"

17. Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The 2017 live-action remake of the Disney classic "Beauty and the Beast" is a new take on a tale as old as time. Emma Watson stars as Belle, a bookish beauty who is constantly rebuffing the advances of the arrogant Gaston (Luke Evans). When her father gets lost in the woods and attempts to take refuge in a castle, he ends up imprisoned by the owner, the Beast (Dan Stevens). To free her dad, Belle must win over the Beast, a prince who was cursed by an enchantress long ago.

The prince's staff were turned into household objects as a result of the curse, and they're on hand to help Belle break the curse. Ewan McGregor provides the voice of maître d' Lumiere, who was transformed into a candelabra. The Scot stands out as the charismatic candlestick, even among a pretty stacked cast. It's not as memorable as the original, but the majority of critics enjoyed it.

16. Doctor Sleep (2019)

A follow-up to Stanley Kubrick's seminal horror film, "Doctor Sleep" is a belated sequel to "The Shining." Like the original, it's based on a novel by Stephen King, and (again, like the original) it will give you nightmares. "Doctor Sleep" puts a well-cast Ewan McGregor in the shoes of an adult Danny Torrance. Years after the events at The Overlook, he has resorted to alcoholism to repress his psychic abilities and haunting memories.

Despite falling victim to some genre clichés, "Doctor Sleep" shines as a successful modern horror movie. Director Mike Flanagan was the ideal choice for this one, having successfully adapted King's meandering and somewhat clumsy "Gerald's Game" for the screen.

15. Miles Ahead (2015)

A passion project for debuting director Don Cheadle, "Miles Ahead" is a biopic about Miles Davis. Cheadle stars as the jazz icon, who retreats from public life in the 1970s. The film is about his battle to regain control of his music from record label execs. Along for the ride is music journalist Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor), who is determined to chronicle his comeback.

While his friendship with McGregor's character is entirely fictional, "Miles Ahead" does a great job capturing the essence of what made David such a compelling figure. It's a bold film told using a non-linear narrative, but those with the required patience will no doubt enjoy it. McGregor is understated, playing his role with a starry-eyed wonder that elevates Cheadle's performance.

14. Brassed Off (1996)

"Brassed Off" is a romantic drama set against the demise of the British coal mining industry in the 1980s. Tara Fitzgerald stars as Gloria, a British Coal employee who has been sent to her hometown to determine whether or not the mine should be closed. Keeping her true purpose in Grimley to herself, she joins the local brass band, where she rekindles a romance with former flame Andy (McGregor).

"Brassed Off" (which means "angry" in Northern English slang) hits all the required romcom notes: There's tension between Gloria and Andy when her mission comes to light, but he ultimately forgives her. But the film is also a nuanced look at historical British labor and worker's rights movements. McGregor and Fitzgerald have real chemistry, with their relationship never feeling forced.

13. Birds of Prey (2020)

Marketed as a "girl gang" movie, 2020's "Birds of Prey" saw Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn put together a team of equally badass ladies to take on a psychotic crimelord played by Ewan McGregor. The Scot plays DC's Roman Sionis (aka Black Mask), and his performance is as intimidating as it is hilarious. This mix of menace and humor works well, as that's the area "Birds of Prey" operates in.

The movie underperformed at the box office (by comic book movie standards, at least), but critics loved it. The is Certified Fresh with a score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, which praised "the colorfully anarchic spirit of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn."

12. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

"Moulin Rouge!" was another early 2000s film that was extremely important in Ewan McGregor's career. As the lead in this Baz Luhrmann musical, he proved to the moviegoing world that he was more than just Obi-Wan Kenobi and that guy from "Trainspotting." McGregor showed everyone that he could be a suave, fierce leading man — and that he could sing, too.

Set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, it follows young playwright Christian (McGregor), who falls in love with Satine (Nicole Kidman), the star performer at the Moulin Rouge cabaret club. The two must go about their affair in secret because the Rouge's proprietor has offered Satine to a Duke in exchange for a theater renovation. Tragedy strikes when Satine is diagnosed with a fatal disease. The film won Oscars for its art direction and set design.

11. Last Days in the Desert (2015)

The most daring project Ewan McGregor has embarked on as an actor, 2015's "Last Days in the Desert" is about the last temptation of Christ. It doesn't get any more ambitious than playing Jesus Christ, does it? Well, in this case, yes it does. The Scot doesn't just play Jesus here — he also portrays Satan.

The film follows Jesus as he heads into the Judean desert to fast for 40 days and nights. He encounters illusions and tests from Satan in this historic journey. "Last Days in the Desert" has a grand scope, even at a remarkably lean 98 minutes. McGregor was impressive in the dual role, earning praise from the critics.

10. Little Voice (1998)

Before he belted out tunes in "Moulin Rouge!," Ewan McGregor co-starred in the British musical "Little Voice," a film about a talented girl with a crippling lack of confidence. Nicknamed Little Voice (or LV for short), Laura Hoff (Jane Horrocks) barely speaks a word in public, but she has an incredible singing voice.

Her no-good mother and a money-grabbing club owner attempt to exploit Laura, but affable telephone engineer Billy (McGregor) is there for her. McGregor plays a relatively small but vitally important role. He's the one who encourages Laura to follow her dream, and he later saves her life when she gets trapped in a house fire. For fans of musicals and British movies, "Little Voice" is not to be missed.

9. Haywire (2011)

Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" marked the movie debut of MMA star Gina Carano (later of "The Mandalorian" fame), who joined an A-list cast that includes the likes of Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Channing Tatum. Ewan McGregor plays the ex-boyfriend of Carano's Mallory Kane, a black ops agent who becomes the target of an assassination attempt.

After taking a seemingly by-the-book mission in Dublin, everything starts to go wrong for Kane. She realizes that her ex has set her up the two are thrust into a thrilling, action-heavy game of cat and mouse. It's not Soderbergh's most intellectual offering, but it's a lively ride. McGregor plays the sketchy ex well, bringing the best out of Carano.

8. T2 Trainspotting (2017)

A lot has happened in Ewan McGregor's life since he first played Mark Renton in 1996's "Trainspotting." Likewise, Renton has been on quite the journey when we catch up with him in 2017's "T2 Trainspotting." Using the money he stole from his friends at the end of the first film, he started a new life in Amsterdam. That life has fallen apart, however, and with divorce pending, he decides to head home to Edinburgh and mend the relationships he wrecked.

"T2" isn't an all-out drugs movie like the original, but it does deal with addiction, relapse, and sobriety. It works way better than a studio sequel to an indie film should, and that's down to McGregor and the rest of the returning ensemble cast (Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald are all back). It's nostalgic, poignant, and full of energy.

7. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The "Star Wars" prequel trilogy is often maligned by fans and critics alike, but "Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" is actually a great movie, with some people even preferring it over the divisive "Episode VI – Return of the Jedi." Ewan McGregor delivers his most accomplished take on Obi-Wan Kenobi here, dropping meme-able quips while also demonstrating the agony of losing your protégé to wickedness.

This final chapter in Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side sees him granted more power but not responsibility by the council, leading to him taking up with Chancellor Palpatine. As the manipulation begins, Obi-Wan is sent away to hunt down the Jedi-killing robot General Grievous. In the end, Obi-Wan and Anakin are brought together for one last fiery duel that leads to the birth of one of the most iconic villains in pop culture: Darth Vader.

6. Emma (1996)

The 1990s were a booming period for Jane Austen adaptations. Between the more modernized "Clueless" and this 1996 adaptation, Austen's classic "Emma" was popular with filmmakers at the time. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the titular role of the young matchmaker in Douglas McGrath's movie, and Ewan McGregor appears as would-be suitor Frank Churchill.

Emma is determined to set her friend Harriet (Toni Collette) up with the perfect husband. She thinks Harriet and Frank will be perfect together, but she's potentially sacrificing her own shot at love in the process. The talented cast embodies the charming young characters well in this great adaptation of Austen's romantic web of a story.

5. Black Hawk Down (2001)

Ewan McGregor is one of several A-list names in Ridley Scott's critically acclaimed war movie "Black Hawk Down." Released only a handful of months after 9/11, the film was a take on contemporary warfare that was both controversial and award-winning — it won the Oscars for editing and sound at the 2002 Academy Awards.

"Black Hawk Down" depicts the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, a conflict between the Somali National Alliance and the U.S. Army. McGregor plays desk clerk John "Grimesey" Grimes, a member of a rag-tag group of military operatives sent to Somalia. After the initial operation goes wrong, Grimes is wounded and separated from the rest of the squad. "Black Hawk Down" is more of an ensemble movie than a one-man show, taking a view at the battle through the eyes of actors like Tom Hardy, Sam Shepard, and Josh Hartnett.

4. The Impossible (2012)

Based on the real story of a family who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami against the odds, "The Impossible" stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. The A-listers play the parents of three young boys, the eldest of which is portrayed by a pre-Marvel Tom Holland. They are vacationing in Thailand when an earthquake sends a wall of water towards their beachside resort, causing death and devastation.

The family is separated by the wave, though Watts manages to find Holland's character and the two lean on each other as they look for help. McGregor, meanwhile, looks for their two remaining sons. The co-stars turn in emotional and memorable performances, as do the child actors — the film was a calling card for Holland. It's a hard but ultimately uplifting watch.

3. The Ghost Writer (2010)

This critically acclaimed neo-noir thriller from Roman Polanski stars Ewan McGregor as a ghostwriter who gets offered the chance to finish a former Prime Minister's (Pierce Brosnan) biography after its original writer is killed. He quickly becomes too nosy for his own good and discovers the truth behind the last writer's death. McGregor's character (referred to only as the ghostwriter) finds himself on a list of writers who know too much.

The film is a taut political thriller that doesn't require any knowledge of British politics to follow to its nail-biting conclusion. "The dialogue and suspense created by director Polanski are first-rate," said The Atlantic. "You will enjoy this film."

2. Beginners (2010)

Anchored by an Oscar-winning performance from the late Christopher Plummer, "Beginners" is a fantastic film that will put a smile on your face and lift your spirits. The movie balances tragedy and comedy on a knife's edge as Oliver (Ewan McGregor) recalls the life of his father Hal, played in flashbacks by Plummer.

Following the death of his wife, a 75-year-old Hal came out as gay. The movie explores how father and son became closer as a result, with Hal inspiring Oliver to be bolder. Poignant and brilliantly structured, "Beginners" is a must-see movie with two actors at the top of their games.

1. Trainspotting (1996)

The role that made Ewan McGregor a star in the making is still his best, despite all the Hollywood movies he's featured in since. While director Danny Boyle deserves a lot of the credit, it was McGregor's turn as heroin addict Mark Renton that made "Trainspotting" such a runaway hit when it dropped to critical acclaim in 1996.

The movie dives into the consequences of heroin use and the HIV epidemic as real life comes crashing in on Renton. After trying and failing to get clean, he and his addict friends are brought in on a drug deal by the crazed Begbie (Robert Carlyle), who does not partake. With thousands in cash on his person, the temptation is too much for Renton, who flees with the money. Not only a great drug (and anti-drug) movie, "Trainspotting" is one of the best movies of the 1990s.