Cillian Murphy stands out as an exceptionally versatile and skilled actor in the contemporary film industry. His portfolio spans diverse genres, including horror, sci-fi, and historical drama, showcasing his acting range. Collaborating with esteemed directors like Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle, and Ken Loach has further solidified his reputation. In addition to his noteworthy film work, Murphy has gained recognition for his portrayal of Tommy Shelby in one of the best Netflix series of all time, “Peaky Blinders,” a role he not only performs but also executive produces.

Let’s delve deeper into the 10 best Cillian Murphy movies, ranked based on their impact, reception, and the nuances Murphy brings to each role.

10. Red Eye (2005)

Red Eye cillian murphy
Source: Rotten Tomatoes

Directed by Wes Craven, Red Eye is a tense and thrilling movie where Murphy portrays a charming yet sinister terrorist. His ability to seamlessly switch between charm and menace adds an intriguing layer to the character, elevating the overall intensity of the thriller. The film, marked by its suspenseful atmosphere, benefits from Murphy’s multifaceted performance.

9. The Party (2017)

The Party cillian murphy
Source: IMDb

Sally Potter’s The Party sees Murphy playing Tom, a character harboring secrets that could unravel during a political celebration. Critics have praised the film for its witty writing, and Murphy’s ability to inject varying emotions effortlessly contributes significantly to the movie’s snarky humor. His nuanced performance adds depth to the character dynamics, making it stand out in his filmography.

8. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley cillian murphy
Source: MUBI

In Ken Loach’s historical drama, Cillian Murphy takes on the role of a conflicted doctor torn between ideals and family loyalty during the Irish War of Independence. Murphy’s nuanced performance adds emotional weight to the narrative, portraying the complexities of a character grappling with the turbulence of historical events. The film benefits from Murphy’s ability to convey the internal struggles of his character with authenticity.

7. 28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later cillian murphy
Source: Roger Ebert

Directed by Danny Boyle, this groundbreaking horror film features Murphy as a survivor navigating a zombie apocalypse. His realistic and compelling portrayal captures the fear and courage essential to the film’s impact. Murphy’s ability to convey the emotional toll of the post-apocalyptic world adds depth to the character, making it a standout performance in the horror genre.

6. Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins cillian murphy
Source: Slash Film

In Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Murphy takes on the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow, bringing a creepy and sinister edge to one of Batman’s iconic foes. Murphy’s portrayal showcases his ability to delve into complex characters, adding layers to the film’s exploration of fear and justice. His contribution to the dark and atmospheric tone of Nolan’s trilogy is commendable.

5. Inception (2010)

Inception cillian murphy
Source: IMDb

In Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi masterpiece, Murphy portrays Robert Fischer, a character manipulated by subconscious forces. His sympathetic and layered performance adds depth to the intricate narrative, exploring themes of reality and perception. Murphy’s ability to convey the internal struggles of his character contributes to the film’s emotional resonance, making it a standout in his filmography.

4. A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

A Quiet Place Part II cillian murphy
Source: Cinemablend

Cillian Murphy shines in the suspenseful horror film as Emmett, a reluctant hero helping a family navigate a post-apocalyptic world. His charisma and vulnerability contribute significantly to the film’s nerve-wracking atmosphere. Murphy’s ability to convey the emotional weight of the character’s journey adds a human element to the horror genre, showcasing his versatility.

3. Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk cillian murphy
Source: IMDb

Murphy’s subtle and moving portrayal of a shell-shocked soldier in Nolan’s war epic adds depth to the character. His performance contributes significantly to the film’s immersive depiction of the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. Murphy’s ability to convey the trauma and desperation of his character enhances the emotional impact of the war narrative, making it a standout in his filmography.

3. Oppenheimer (2023)

Oppenheimer (2023)
Source: InReview

In this biographical and historical film directed by Christopher Nolan, Murphy delivers a tour-de-force performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer. The role showcases his ability to portray complex characters grappling with moral and political dilemmas. Murphy’s nuanced portrayal adds depth to the historical figure, contributing to the film’s exploration of the consequences of scientific innovation.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight cillian murphy
Source: IMDb

In the pinnacle of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Murphy reprises his role as Scarecrow. His brief but memorable appearance adds dark humor and irony to the chaotic world created by Heath Ledger’s Joker, solidifying The Dark Knight as a cinematic masterpiece. Murphy’s ability to convey the vulnerability of his character within the chaos of Gotham City contributes to the film’s exploration of morality and chaos.

Cillian Murphy’s filmography continues to captivate audiences, and these movies stand as a testament to his versatility and brilliance as an actor. Whether playing a villain, a hero, or a conflicted historical figure, Murphy’s performances elevate each film, leaving a lasting impact on viewers worldwide. His ability to delve into the complexities of characters and contribute to the overall narrative makes these films essential viewing for any cinema enthusiast.