We’re going to talk about a guy who wants to be cool, to show us cool, to have us watch what he made and say, “cool!”
It was a bit surprising to learn that, in 24 years since making his first movie, Guy Ritchie has actually only directed and released 12 movies.
And whoa, do his films run the whole gamut.
Considering his stature, and how some of those films are perceived spanning the full spectrum of quality, it’s a bit of a shock to see that his total film output is only at a dozen.
Sure, he has three more movies on the horizon following his last venture, 2021’s Wrath of Man, but as of now, even in those 12, he’s visiting quite a few realms while sticking to what works best for him.
The one thing we can count on in a Guy Ritchie film, other than his signature quick cut and breakaway style, immersive and intelligent yet somehow approachable dialogue, and a big-name star or two plopping themselves into an unfamiliar role, is that there will be guys.
Lots of guys.
Save for really The Man from U.N.C.L.E., all of Ritchie’s films are male-heavy. That’s not a critique or criticism, just a fact. Pull up IMDB or Wikipedia or anywhere that shows the list of the main cast and characters and who played what role, and you’ll see about 80% guys and a few females. And we’re not counting putting his ex-wife as the lead in Swept Away as a female-driven movie, because, well, have you seen the Madonna-led pic?
From films that are considered cult classics, to British folklore heroes with extra wit and humor, and of course, Aladdin, here is our take on every Guy Ritchie movie ranked worst to best.
We start with the worst of course, the most regrettable, not just for the audience, but most likely for those involved as well.
12. Swept Away (2002)
It was razzed (literally!) for how awful it was, and for some reason, even though Madonna has really only been good in one movie, Evita (a musical naturally), the love was strong enough between the two that Ritchie put his then-wife in his third-ever movie!
He released Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to great acclaim and eventual cult status. Then came Snatch, which was his first big hit and put him properly on the map (thanks to some Brad Pitt involvement there).
And to follow up two great movies, what does Guy do?
Cast his lover in a movie so bad it won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director, and was nominated for Worst Screenplay.
The movie was so bad, it sank his next two projects as well, with little mainstream success to follow until another hero came along to bail him out — we mean both Sherlock Holmes and Robert Downey, Jr.
The reason Swept Away was so bad is, well, it’s a poor remake of a film from the ‘70s with nepotism aplenty.
The male lead is the son of the lead from the original film, as Adriano Giannini is the son of the original’s Giancarlo Giannini.
The poster alone lets you know that, following two great action/heist movies, Ritchie decided to make a romance movie probably solely because of or for Madonna.
It’s the classic tale that audiences adore of a woman who is rich and entitled treating the help like shit, but through random shit happening, he gains the upper hand and shows her his worth, so now they can be lovers.
Also, it’s literally considered one of the worst movies ever made, not just Guy’s worst, but the worst.
It’s not even worth hate-watching.
11. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
The leads in this film will appear again later in better roles and movies, so that’s a major plus that King Arthur has going for it!
Consider this: coming off a redemptive streak of movies, Ritchie decided to embark on a six-part epic. Before he even made one, he planned to make a half-dozen of these bad boys, er, guys.
This was so bad, and bombed so hard, that the next five were cancelled basically before the box office run was over.
We’re only two movies in, but when you consider the movies you know Ritchie for, it’s amazing the utterly forgettable films he’s also cranked out.
But hey, we get a David Beckham cameo!
Put this movie back in the stone.
10. Revolver (2005)
It took three years for Ritchie to recover from Swept Away and/or his fallout with Madonna.
So, what does a Guy do for a rebound? Find his best buddy to console him and thrust him into a lead! Then, find one of the best heist/mob movie actors ever, Ray Liotta, and put him in there as well!
What could go wrong?
Probably Ritchie needed to make this movie to work through some things, but look at that poster compared to the last outing, and it’s just shoved in our faces that THIS IS A GUY RITCHIE MOVIE GUYS AND BANG BANG HAHA HAHA IT’S GONNA BE GREAT TRUST US!
This leans a little too far into stylistic to make up for the basic storyline, with tricks and sneaks meant to take the place of good script. And, it’s Ritchie saying I can do Tarantino too, but different.
It’s fine, Ritchie fans love it, and he even did a Director’s Cut so you can decide which one is worse, er, better.
9. RocknRolla (2008)
Guess what? Even though this movie also bombed and was razzed, it’s gained a cult following!
Somehow, we have Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson, plus Idris Elba here and Tom Hardy, and Ludacris, yet the movie is just flat. We think this needed to be made, that Ritchie had to purge this all out of his system as his second movie made in a six-year span following Swept Away in order to reboot the next year with some better films.
Think of that, Swept Away was so awful, he went from three movies in four years to two movies in six years.
It’s fine, it’s watchable or rewatchable, but it also shows that Ritchie isn’t totally grasping what he is great at, good at, and bad at, and not realizing how to successfully expand his tropes from what made his first two films so great.
It happens! No knock on the artist, but sometimes we all gotta work through some things and process to come out the other side even better.
8. Wrath of Man (2021)
Damn, just when we were talking about our Guy turning a corner, we get this venture.
It can’t all be good all the time, it appears.
Listen, we really like Statham, he’s great at doing what he does great, but it just doesn’t prove to be enough for a standalone one-man/one-director poster/film to capture us all.
This is yet another remake for Ritchie, which shows he is at his best when he goes with original source material.
While Swept Away relied on Italian roots, this one is based on a 2004 French film called Cash Truck.
Guess what? This movie was praised for its action and direction, but the plot and storyline were not so good.
If you love the Transporter films, and/or RocknRolla or Revolver, then likely you’ve already seen this so no need for me to recommend you watch it.
And if you aren’t a fan of that series, then you can just pass on this one.
7. Aladdin (2019)
People sure did talk about Aladdin a lot. Before it came out, while it was in theaters, and to this day, Aladdin hasn’t faded away.
Whether it’s Will Smith’s turn as Genie, or the chemistry between Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively, or maybe just the controversies of some white-washing and even creating a whole new character who is white, Aladdin made its mark across the world.
It grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. Did not expect that, to be honest, for something that didn’t seem that great, but then again … Disney.
No wonder Ritchie will get a second turn at turning a Disney animated movie into a live-action film as he tries to shake some magic out of Hercules next.
6. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
Warning: If you haven’t seen this movie, there’s a spoiler in this blurb.
We’ll dive into the dual Sherlock Holmes movies in the entry for the first film, but for here, let’s consider if it was worth making and if it’s a good movie.
Not as good as the original, but definitely better than a lot of other Ritchie flicks.
It reels you in with the sad death of Rachel McAdams’ character, Irene Adler, near the beginning of the film at the hands of Moriarty (Jared Harris), which shocks the audience and lures them in to Robert Downey, Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes-style revenge tour.
It brought back the elements from the original that we enjoyed (mainly RDJ and Law as Holmes and Watson) with the stylization that made the original stand out.
Still, it lacks just that little something extra to differentiate it or even elevate it above the first.
5. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
It’s hard to say if this movie should be higher, or even lower.
Guy certainly imposes his style all over this update of the legendary English character, but it feels like the character acting that raises this movie up another tier.
When considering the best Guy Ritchie movies, we’re thinking from his part and involvement, and when we do that, it doesn’t rise so high.
The storylines are fine, the plots are clever, and the payoffs are worth it, but oh boy, the performances are what made this movie and what drove it toward a sequel.
Downey, Jr.’s take on the titular character is amazing, and showed him approaching his peak if not fully immersed in his prime coming just a year after Iron Man.
If you watched both movies, you’d see similarities actually, in the way he tackles the roles and the bravado and charm and snark that he brings in both.
Without Downey, Jr., we’re not sure we’re talking about this as one of his best films, much less one that warranted a sequel.
Not to forget Law (a Ritchie fave) and his turn as Watson.
The duo are magic together, and would be welcomed together in any movie going forward.
4. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
A romp that, yes, falls a bit short on the plotline, but delivers on the ride Ritchie, Henry Cavill, and Armie Hammer take us on.
We get an almost balanced gender movie from Ritchie after all his guy-led movies, with Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki doing a lot with not a whole lot in their roles, respectively, as Illya Kuryakin and Gaby Teller.
Plus, we get to fall for Hugh Grant’s playing all sides against each other but secretly on the side of the “good guys” the whole time, which he does great and almost kinda reprises in The Gentlemen.
Starting with making Hammer’s Napoleon Solo seem like a superhero, er, supervillain, to Cavill’s ability to suavely stroll through scenes with brute strength and a soft heart at once, even without some sturdiness to the whole tale, this is back to the fun, rewatchable style that made us love Ritchie in the first place.
3. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Cult classic for sure. A wonderful ride of a movie chock full of action, humor, wit, and more action. Yet, if it wasn’t his first film, we don’t think folks would argue so fervently that it’s his best.
It’s wonderful to be sure, with Vinnie Jones especially standing out in Ritchie’s debut film.
You might notice we spilled a lot of digital ink on the earlier entries but not so much here. That’s because a) this movie is great, b) if you’ve read this far you’ve seen it, and c) if you haven’t seen it, but like any other Ritchie movie at all even a little bit, then you need to sit down and start watching this immediately.
It’s original, and the formula Ritchie would try to recreate too many times.
The dialogue-chewing scenes, the pace and energy of the movie, the redemptive rooting for the are-we-sure-they’re-good guys, it’s actually the case that the style of Ritchie still is what makes this movie stand out amidst a decent but not great script.
2. Snatch (2000)
We’re pretty sure Guy wants to be cool. And with Snatch, he tries to emit and exude cool, including casting notoriously cool guy Brad Pitt.
And we’ll admit, when this came out, the title caught our eyes.
It’s surely an intentional great play on words for a heist-type film, and Ritchie knows what he’s doing there.
Next, it’s seeing Pitt on the poster and in the trailers that brought out the masses.
Once word started to spread about Lock, Stock, and with Pitt on board along with Benicio Del Toro, audiences were ready to see what the fuss was all about.
Pitt’s accent alone captures the audience’s attention, as do the dialogues about being fed to the pigs, and about humans not being able to properly digest cow’s milk, which are very Tarantino-esque.
Even though it’s a great, original film, somehow it doesn’t stand up to rewatches, maybe because the plot is already filled in and the surprises are already known, but still, a cool movie, which is what Ritchie seems to be aiming for — to be cool.
1. The Gentlemen (2019)
We’re back to the Ritchie staple — a bunch of guys standing around looking in different directions! Six guys and a strong female lead on the poster, so you know it’s Ritchie going back to his roots.
All half-jokes aside, this is the best performance in a Ritchie film we get out of both Grant and Hunnam, with Matthew McConaughey and Colin Ferrell both knocking their roles out of the park.
We’re not sure why this didn’t earn more — it’s Ritchie’s fifth-highest grossing film behind Aladdin, of course, then the two Sherlock films, and somehow, King Arthur is ahead of it.
Perhaps it was the timing of the release as it came out in January 2020 just as attention spans were starting to turn elsewhere around the world.
The twist regarding McConaughey’s Mickey Pearson is pulled off well, the way the story is told through Grant’s Fletcher, and the shenanigans that Coach’s (Farrell) gang gets up to, and Hunnam’s Raymond Smith as Pearson’s right-hand man are all executed wonderfully.
And Michelle Dockery as Rosalind Pearson steals every single bit of scene she is in, more than holding her own with her on-screen husband, to the point that we wish she would have had the chance to save herself instead of needing him to show up last-second to kill her would-be assailant. Still, the movie makes a point to show that she is the one really in charge, all the time, even as it seems her husband is calling the shots to the outside world.
Bring her back as the lead and make a female-driven heist flick, Guy. We’re in.
There we go, the full range of films from this Guy, going from the utterly awful to the cult classic that you just don’t get to the real cult classics and the blockbusters.
Either way, we’re excited to see what this Guy does next.