Cillian Murphy has starred in several incredible smash hits; here are 15 of his greatest, ranked by their Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score.
Cillian Murphy is one of the most well-known modern actors to take the successful step from Ireland to Hollywood. After working in short films and indies during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Murphy earned his breakthrough role in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002. Since then, Murphy has served as a recurring inspiration for both Boyle and renowned filmmaker Christopher Nolan.
To date, the actor has featured in no less than five Nolan films. Murphy’s role that left the most impressions in the hearts of fans is his portrayal of Thomas Shelby in the television series Peaky Blinders. With the show nearing its end, viewers may anticipate Murphy appearing in other feature films, potentially in future Nolan productions.
10. Red Eye (2005) – 79%
Murphy portrays Jackson Rippner, a member of a terrorist group, in the thriller Red Eye. On a red-eye flight, he meets Lisa, a hotel manager, and captivates her with his sophisticated undercover identity. When he discloses his actual identity, he blackmails her into assisting him in assassinating a high-ranking US official.
Murphy’s character reveals himself to be somewhat wild, which is no easy task for an actor to portray convincingly. Additionally, the movie took aback audiences since the way it occurred was beyond the viewer’s expectations. Lisa rejects the damsel-in-distress stereotype and tries to outsmart Jackson when he threatens her family.
9. The Party (2017) – 81%
Murphy has yet another chance to experiment with comedy in Sally Potter’s The Party. When a lady throws a party to celebrate her promotion at work, the personalities clash and the gathering quickly devolves into a catastrophe zone. Cillian Murphy is only one of the many talented individuals that make up the film’s stellar ensemble cast.
This comedy is not only enjoyable to see, but it also serves as a brilliant societal criticism. It does an excellent job of portraying the reactions of various individuals when they are compelled to assemble in huge groups. Critics, on the other hand, may not find the idea to be sufficiently novel in order to award it a better grade, even if it is perfectly performed.
8. Batman Begins (2005) – 84%
With Batman Begins, Murphy started a decade-long working partnership with Christopher Nolan. It even can be said that this relationship plays his career-defining role. While 28 Days Later established Murphy’s name, the blockbuster Batman trilogy solidified his position.
Murphy gives frightening credibility to the part of Scarecrow, one of Bruce Wayne’s key antagonists. He is vulnerable at times, frightening at others, and illuminating in the murky places in between. This first edition of Nolan’s rebuilt Batman trilogy has reshaped the landscape of superhero films, and Murphy’s depiction of a pivotal nemesis raises it even more.
7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – 87%
While Murphy appears in each of The Dark Knight Trilogy’s three installments, his role in The Dark Knight Rises is as modest as it is in The Dark Knight. Here, Murphy’s character serves as a judge for Gotham City, which effectively means he executes a large number of innocent people.
As is customary with Scarecrow, nuanced, twisted performance is required. The film succeeds in concluding the trilogy in an exciting, fulfilling manner, despite Murphy’s little role having little impact on the audience’s overall impression.
6. 28 Days Later (2002) – 87%
If Scarecrow in Batman Begins is not Murphy’s breakthrough performance, Jim in 28 Days Later most surely is. Murphy makes an impressive debut in Danny Boyle’s groundbreaking, fast-paced zombie film.
With a no-nonsense approach to zombies, the film enhances the horror genre while trying something fresh by portraying zombies as ravenous and active rather than their usual half-dead lethargy, which contributes significantly to reviving zombie fear. This movie is outstanding in the subgenre, and Murphy’s acting is, as always, excellent.
5. Inception (2010) – 87%
Murphy often portrays antagonists in Nolan’s films, but the actor impresses in a more nuanced role in Inception. Rather than being an apparent villain, he serves as a conduit to the genuine evil person – his father.
Cobb, a dream thief, is entrusted with enduring Inception, which entails planting an idea so powerfully in someone’s brain that they act on it. Cobb and his crack squad must convince Murphy’s character that it is time to break up his father’s monopolistic firm.
4. The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006) – 90%
Murphy offers possibly the best performance of his career in Ken Loach’s immensely emotional exploration of the Irish War of Independence.
While the Irish resist British advances, the drama revolves around the relationship of the siblings, Damien (Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan. When the brothers choose to fight for opposite sides in what becomes a deadly civil war, familial bonds will not always be strong.
3. A Quiet Place Part II (2020) – 91%
Cillian Murphy has landed a role in John Krasinski’s successful sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place. Following the events of the previous film, the Abbott family resumes their silent adventure into the outside world, where they realize that the monsters that hunt by sound are not the only frightening animals that lurk in their midst.
Emmett, an old buddy of Lee’s, is played by Murphy. Emmett has become a recluse and bitter survivor after the demise of his own family. He embodies a very particular demographic and is uncannily relevant to the film’s release period. The film’s timeliness and persistent attention to the characters’ storylines distinguish it as a standout item on Murphy’s credit list.
2. Dunkirk (2017) – 92%
Though Murphy’s screen time in Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk is limited, his performance makes an impact. Both his performance and the character’s participation in the narrative have an influence on and are critical to the development of the tale.
The movie recreates the German assault of Dunkirk from three perspectives. As Belgium, the United Kingdom, and France attempt to repel the assault, Nolan weaves between land, sea, and air battle to create an unforgettable sensory experience that transports viewers to a precise time in the conflict.
1. The Dark Knight (2008) – 94%
While Murphy played a smaller role in this film than he did in Batman Begins, the Tomatometer gives this Christopher Nolan film a better rating. Murphy is not the film’s star; that distinction goes to Heath Ledger and his brilliant performance as the Joker, a wildly unpredictable and terrifying master villain.
Nonetheless, Murphy reprises his role as Scarecrow, although he just appeared shortly at the film’s opening. The primary narrative revolves around the escapades of the Joker as he is paid by the masses to assassinate Batman. In general, this is a worth watching that received positive reviews from both fans and critics.