Guy Ritchie burst onto the film scene with his fiery brand of quick paced crime dramas. His directorial debut Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels paved the way for Ritchie to achieve critical acclaim. His style of filmmaking became instantly recognizable after his first few films.
Ritchie’s filmography became much more varied throughout his career. While ensemble comedies dealing with the English underworld have largely been his bread and butter, Ritchie has branched out to other genres including fantasy and spy thrillers. Each film has had its own identity and this is how they all stack up against each other.
Ritchie was an interesting choice to direct the live action adaptation of beloved Disney classic, Aladdin. His signature directing style usually tackled organized crime and featured extensive profanity. Directing a family film was certainly a change of pace for Ritchie. While it would have been hilarious to hear Vinnie Jones or Jason Statham voice Abu or Iago and throw all sorts of curse words around, this was very much a family affair filled with musical numbers, something Ritchie had yet to do at the time. The change of genre actually paid off for him. While the original animated version remained a superior version, Ritchie’s Aladdin was still a massive hit for Disney. The movie went on to earn well over $1 billion.
7 Wrath of Man
Ritchie returned to frequent collaborator Jason Statham for Wrath of Man. The film, based on a novel, found Ritchie at his darkest, creating a compelling revenge action-thriller that utilized Statham’s strengths. Statham shined as a man hellbent on revenge after being wronged during a heist. Ritchie had always been viewed as a tough guy director, but his comedic chops always came through. Wrath of Man didn’t contain the same type of humor he was known for but the darker subject matter was a welcome change for Ritchie.
RocknRolla was a bit of a homecoming for Ritchie. The movie, released in 2008, had him going back to his roots. RocknRolla was more akin to his earlier crime films as opposed to his films Swept Away and Revolver which had released prior to RocknRolla. Those particular films were much maligned and Ritchie absolutely needed a win. He earned that win with Rocknrolla.
This time around, Ritchie went back to the ensemble cast of misfits set within the London underworld in his usual comedic manner. As with most of his films, Ritchie assembled a brilliant cast of actors including Idris Elba and Tom Hardy. While it didn’t set fire to the box office, RocknRolla was a much-needed push in the right direction for Ritchie.
5 The Gentlemen
Matthew McConaughey led an impressive cast in The Gentlemen. In the film, McConaughey plays a London-based American attempting to sell his criminal marijuana empire in order to retire. Of course, things don’t go as planned for the kingpin, to hilarious results. The Gentlemen continued Ritchie’s penchant for intersecting stories, expertly weaving multiple storylines into one singular film that brought out the very best in multiple actors including Henry Golding and Hugh Grant, both playing against type as smarmy and conniving characters.
4 Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes was Ritchie’s first attempt at a franchise. After writing and directing multiple original stories, he adapted England’s most well-known heroes, Sherlock Holmes. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular hero and Jude Law as his trusty partner, Watson, Sherlock Holmes was a huge hit for Ritchie and added some new blood to a classic character. Ritchie’s signature style combined with the undeniable chemistry between the two leads made for one incredible retelling of Sherlock Holmes.
3 The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Easily one of the most underrated films of his career, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a stylish and surprising spy film the blended his trademark style with the world of espionage. Plenty of attention was given to Ritchie’s visual style, one that captured the essence of the 1960s. This adaptation of the classic television series was a solid outing for Ritchie and a memorable role for Henry Cavill as CIA agent Napoleon Solo.
2 Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Ritchie’s first outing left its mark in a big way. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels paved the way for his career. His influence by Quentin Tarantino showed, but he definitely had his own spin on the formula. It was with this film that he created his tone that would show itself in future films. This was also the film that created one of the most underrated actor-director duos in film: that of Ritchie and Statham.
Snatch was Ritchie at his very best. He created his own style with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but it was Snatch that truly cemented Ritchie as the best when it comes to English crime films. His ensemble cast including Statham, Benicio Del Toro and Vinnie Jones provided some top-notch comedy, but it was a supporting role from Brad Pitt that truly made Snatch a classic. His turn as Irish traveling brawler Mickey O’Neil garnered much of the laughs despite (or because) of his indecipherable accent.
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