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Wes Anderson: Ranked

Wes Anderson has become one of my favorite directors since I saw The Royal Tenenbaums. The quirky stories coupled with his filming style, the man's filmography has won me over. He enjoys working with the same people, and producing some of his best work with them. He may not be as prominent as some of the directors in the industry, but he sure knows how to hit a note. I recently finished watching all his feature films and listed down his works in accordance with my preference. His short films are not included in the list, and it's arranged from least to most preferred.

The Darjeeling Limited was the least memorable film for me. The cinematography was great, but beyond telling the story of three brothers, I don't remember much from it. I do remember liking Adrian Brody here, though.  

Moonrise Kingdom may be his most-acclaimed work to date, but it just didn't sit well with me. I found the writing to be terrible, and the lead characters unlikable. I didn't find them of interest, nor their adventure charming, because their actions became a result of what I thought was boredom. Both characters were tired of their usual lives, hence running away together seemed like an excellent solution. I was quite excited to see this one, but was disappointed afterwards. (review)

Bottle Rocket was Anderson's first full-length feature, resulting from a short film of the same title. Comparing it to his follow up features, Bottle Rocket seemed like an experiment film. It still needed some refinement, but it was already evident where Anderson's writing and filming style would stem from. It was a good debut film; it was entertaining, the characters had some chemistry (review

The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou was basically an ocean exploration bit. I liked the color palette, the hues of color used in the film. It was actually quite a relaxing film to watch. The story is a bit out there, and there are moments that the movie was stagnant that any action is welcome, but I still enjoyed. The scene in the submarine though, now that was most definitely in awe (and basically redeemed the entire film). 

I think it's fair to say that it was Rushmore that placed Wes Anderson on the map. He was already working the rough edges of Bottle Rocket away, and has managed to put together a quirky movie that has joined the ranks of favorites. Jason Schwartzman was perfectly cast (I don't know who I can replace him with), and he was able to hold his again against Bill Murray. The two worked well together, and even if the story had some plot holes, it was still arguably, a great film. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel easily stole a spot in my top 3. It was the Wes Anderson of his films, even if the director did favor style over substance. Ralph Fiennes was amazing (and should be given more comic roles, really), and this has to be the most star-studded cast Anderson has handled. Sure, there were a bit of unsightly scenes, but all in all it was a great production. (review)

Fantastic Mr. Fox was Anderson's first adapted and animated film at the same time. I really loved that George Clooney was cast in the titular role; I think he did a tremendous job lending his voice to the lead character. Anderson brought to life a great book, and even in stop motion animation, one can still see the details poured over the film. 

I think nothing will ever steal the spot as my favorite film of his. The Royal Tenenbaums was quirky as it could ever be. Each member of the family was their own character, and despite being an unlikeable character, Gene Hackman has brought to life quite an interesting and despicable character, and how he has somewhat affected the lives of his children. This was one of my favorite roles of Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow, and this was a perfectly well-rounded cast. I loved the story, the writing, the characters - it was impossible not to like this film. This was one film that resonated with me, maybe because we all come from different kinds of families. If one is going to start watching Anderson's work, I would most definitely recommend starting with this. 


  1. It's so interesting how people disagree over Wes Anderson, and even if two people both happen to love him, they can do so for different reasons. My ranking of his films is very different from yours, yet I can relate to everything you said about him. Looking forward to whatever he'll put out there next!

    1. Anderson is an interesting director, and there's a lot to admire about his work. I have to wonder how he'll top The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of style, but he still has some genres to tap into. There was an SNL skit that showed a horror film in Anderson style; maybe that's something he'll like to venture.

  2. Great post :) I've yet to see every Wes film (by quite some way) but once I have I'd love to do something similar. I really enjoyed Grand Budapest Hotel and have Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD waiting to be watched - looks like Royal Tenanbaums will soon join it! :)

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy Fantastic Mr. Fox and Royal Tenenbaums! :)

  3. Nice list! Mine would be different, Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite, followed by Life Aquatic and Darjeeling. Royal Tenenbaums is actually my least favorite, though I do need to watch it again to see if that changes. I wasn't really a Wes fan when I first saw it.

    1. Thank you! Maybe it's time for me to give Moonrise Kingdom another go as well. I was really excited for it when it first came out, but something just didn't click for me.

  4. My list has some similar spots, but there are a few that would be massively different:

    8. The Life Aquatic
    7. Darjeeling Limited
    6. Grand Budapest Hotel
    5. Bottle Rocket
    4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
    3. Royal Tennenbaums
    2. Moonrise Kingdom
    1. Rushmore

  5. Great list! I've not seen all of his films, but here is my ranking:

    1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (love love it)
    2. Moonrise Kingdom
    3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
    4. Rushmore
    5. Royal Tennenbaums
    6. The Life Aquatic

    I like them all apart from The Life Aquatic.


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