Emma Thompson is a highly esteemed British actress, screenwriter, and author known for her versatile talent and remarkable performances.

With her impeccable range, wit, and emotional depth, Thompson has brought numerous memorable characters to life on the big screen.

Her contributions to film have earned her critical acclaim, numerous awards, and a dedicated fan base.

In this list, we will explore some of the best movies that showcase Thompson’s exceptional skills and contributions to the world of cinema.

From period dramas to comedies and heartfelt dramas, Thompson’s filmography is diverse and showcases her versatility as an actress.

Best Emma Thompson Movies

So let’s delve into the world of Emma Thompson and discover some of her most outstanding movies.

1. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

“Sense and Sensibility” is a 1995 period drama film directed by Ang Lee and based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen.

The film stars Emma Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay, and Kate Winslet as sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who come of age in 19th century England.

After their father dies and their half-brother inherits the family estate, Elinor and Marianne must navigate the complex social conventions of the time to find suitable husbands.

Along the way, they encounter a cast of memorable characters, including the charming but unreliable Willoughby (played by Greg Wise) and the reserved but honorable Colonel Brandon (played by Alan Rickman).

The film was a critical and commercial success, earning seven Academy Award nominations and winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.

It has since become a beloved classic of the romantic period drama genre, praised for its faithful adaptation of Austen’s novel and its strong performances by its ensemble cast.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
  • PAL
  • Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet (Actors)
  • Ang Lee (Director) - Emma Thompson (Writer) - Geoff Stier (Producer)
  • English, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

2. Howards End (1992)

“Howards End” is a 1992 British drama film directed by James Ivory. Based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster, the movie explores the social and class divisions in early 20th-century England.

It boasts a talented ensemble cast, including Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, and Vanessa Redgrave.

The story is set in Edwardian England and revolves around three families: the intellectual and cultured Schlegel sisters, Margaret (played by Emma Thompson) and Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter), and the wealthy Wilcox family, headed by Henry Wilcox (played by Anthony Hopkins).

The lives of these families become intertwined through various personal relationships and interactions.

At the center of the narrative is the eponymous estate of Howards End, which becomes a symbol of the socioeconomic disparities and conflicts in the film.


Through marriages, inheritances, and social encounters, the characters grapple with love, social conventions, and the clash between different classes and ideologies.

“Howards End” received critical acclaim and garnered multiple awards, including three Academy Awards for Best Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala), and Best Art Direction.

The film is highly regarded for its lush cinematography, meticulous period detail, and the strength of its performances.

The movie delves into themes such as class divisions, gender roles, and the pursuit of personal and societal connections. It offers a thoughtful examination of the Edwardian era and serves as a social commentary on the changing landscape of early 20th-century England.

Overall, “Howards End” is a beautifully crafted period drama that skillfully explores the complexities of human relationships and the cultural dynamics of its time.

It is considered one of the standout adaptations of E.M. Forster’s work and is celebrated for its performances and insightful storytelling.

Howards End
  • Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave (Actors)
  • None (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

3. In the Name of the Father (1993)

“In the Name of the Father” is a 1993 biographical drama film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, and Pete Postlethwaite.

The movie is based on the true story of the Guildford Four, a group of four people falsely accused of being IRA terrorists and responsible for bombings in England.

Day-Lewis plays Gerry Conlon, a young Irishman who is wrongfully convicted along with his father, Giuseppe (played by Postlethwaite), and two other family members.

Despite their innocence, the four are subjected to brutal treatment and interrogation by the police and are ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

The film follows Gerry’s quest to clear his name and the efforts of his lawyer, Gareth Peirce (played by Emma Thompson), to uncover the truth about the case. As the legal battle unfolds, the film explores themes of injustice, prejudice, and the corrupting influence of power.

“In the Name of the Father” was critically acclaimed upon its release and received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Day-Lewis.

The film’s gripping performances, powerful storytelling, and emotional resonance have made it a classic of the genre. It is widely regarded as one of the best films of the 1990s and a testament to the human spirit’s ability to endure in the face of injustice.

In the Name of the Father
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Emma Thompson (Actors)
  • Jim Sheridan (Director) - Terry George (Writer) - Jim Sheridan (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

4. Wit (2001 TV Movie)

“Wit” is a television movie released in 2001, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name written by Margaret Edson. The film adaptation was directed by Mike Nichols and aired on HBO.

The story revolves around Vivian Bearing, a highly intelligent and renowned professor of English literature, played by Emma Thompson.

Vivian is diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer and agrees to undergo an aggressive form of chemotherapy as part of an experimental treatment.

As she confronts her mortality and experiences the harsh realities of her illness, Vivian reflects on her life, her work, and the nature of human connection.

“Wit” delves into themes of life, death, the pursuit of knowledge, and the importance of empathy. The story is presented in a nonlinear narrative, frequently shifting between Vivian’s present-day hospital stay and flashbacks to her past, particularly her experiences as a dedicated and uncompromising academic.

Throughout the film, Vivian faces the challenges of her treatment, including the physical and emotional toll it takes on her. She also interacts with medical professionals, including her doctors and nurses, who provide varying degrees of compassion and detachment.

Emma Thompson’s performance as Vivian Bearing received widespread acclaim, as she skillfully portrays the character’s intelligence, vulnerability, and emotional journey.

The film also features supporting performances from actors such as Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Atkins, and Audra McDonald.

“Wit” is praised for its poignant and thought-provoking exploration of life and death, as well as its examination of the human condition.

It provides a compelling portrayal of a woman grappling with her mortality and the profound impact of her own intellectual pursuits. The film serves as a powerful meditation on the value of compassion and empathy in the face of illness and mortality.

5. The Remains of the Day (1993)

I apologize for the confusion, but Jodie Foster did not star in “The Remains of the Day.” The film is a 1993 British-American drama directed by James Ivory and is based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro.

It features Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in the lead roles.

“The Remains of the Day” tells the story of Stevens (played by Anthony Hopkins), a devoted butler who has dedicated his life to serving his employer, Lord Darlington (played by James Fox).

The film explores themes of duty, loyalty, and repressed emotions as Stevens reflects on his past and his relationship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton (played by Emma Thompson).

While Jodie Foster is not part of the cast, “The Remains of the Day” is still worth watching for its beautiful cinematography, meticulous period details, and strong performances from Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

The film received critical acclaim and garnered several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

If you’re a fan of Jodie Foster, I can recommend other films from her extensive filmography that showcase her talent and range as an actress. Please let me know if you’d like some suggestions.

Wit (DVD)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Christopher Lloyd, Emma Thompson, Audra Mc Donald (Actors)
  • Mike Nichols (Director) - Margaret Edson (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

6. Angels in America (2003)

“Angels in America” is a television miniseries released in 2003, directed by Mike Nichols and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tony Kushner. The series stars Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Jeffrey Wright, and Mary-Louise Parker, among others.

The story is set in the mid-1980s and explores the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on the gay community in America.

The series follows several interconnected characters, including Prior Walter (Jeffrey Wright), a gay man diagnosed with AIDS; Louis Ironson (Ben Shenkman), his boyfriend who struggles to cope with the disease;

Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson), a closeted Mormon lawyer who works for Roy Cohn (Al Pacino), a powerful and corrupt attorney; and Harper Pitt (Mary-Louise Parker), Joe’s Valium-addicted wife.

As the characters’ lives intersect, they grapple with issues of sexuality, identity, faith, and mortality, and are visited by supernatural beings known as angels.

“Angels in America” received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, intelligent writing, and daring subject matter.

The series won 11 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries, and has been praised for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of the AIDS crisis and its impact on the LGBTQ community.

Angels in America (DVD)
  • Academy Award-winners Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson lead an all-star cast in a 6-hour...
  • Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson (Actors)
  • Mike Nichols (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. Love Actually (2003)

“Love Actually” is a romantic comedy film released in 2003, written and directed by Richard Curtis. Emma Thompson is part of an ensemble cast that includes many other notable actors, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Alan Rickman, among others.

The film follows the interconnecting stories of various characters dealing with love and relationships during the holiday season in London.

Emma Thompson plays the role of Karen, a devoted wife and mother who begins to suspect her husband, Harry (played by Alan Rickman), of having an affair.

Karen tries to maintain a sense of normalcy for the sake of their children while privately grappling with her emotions. Thompson delivers a heartfelt and nuanced performance, capturing the complexities of Karen’s struggles and the strength she must find to navigate her relationship.

“Love Actually” explores different forms of love, from unrequited crushes to long-standing marriages, and presents a mosaic of interconnected stories that highlight the joys and challenges of human relationships.

The film is known for its witty dialogue, heartwarming moments, and memorable scenes, including a famous cue-card confession by Andrew Lincoln’s character to Keira Knightley’s character.

Upon its release, “Love Actually” became a beloved holiday classic and gained a large following. It is often praised for its ensemble cast, charming storytelling, and ability to capture the range of emotions associated with love.

Emma Thompson’s performance in the film is widely acclaimed and showcases her ability to bring depth and authenticity to her characters.

“Love Actually” remains a perennial favorite, offering a mix of romance, comedy, and heartfelt moments that continue to resonate with audiences during the holiday season and beyond.

Love Actually
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth (Actors)
  • Richard Curtis (Director) - Richard Curtis (Writer) - Tim Bevan (Producer)
  • Spanish, English (Playback Language)
  • Spanish, English (Subtitles)

8. Nanny McPhee (2005)

“Nanny McPhee” is a 2005 British family comedy fantasy film directed by Kirk Jones and starring Emma Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay based on the “Nurse Matilda” books by Christianna Brand.

The film follows the story of a widowed father, Mr. Brown (played by Colin Firth), who has seven unruly children and is in desperate need of a nanny.

Enter Nanny McPhee (played by Emma Thompson), a magical and stern governess who uses her powers to teach the children five valuable lessons and bring some order to their chaotic household.

The film was a commercial success and received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Emma Thompson’s performance and the film’s heartwarming message. It also spawned a sequel, “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang” (2010).

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9. Primary Colors (1998)

“Primary Colors” is a 1998 comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. Based on the novel of the same name by Joe Klein, the movie is a fictionalized account of a political campaign reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

While the story and characters are fictional, they draw inspiration from real-life political events and figures.

The film follows the charismatic Southern governor Jack Stanton (played by John Travolta) as he embarks on a campaign to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

The narrative is seen through the eyes of Henry Burton (played by Adrian Lester), a young idealistic political strategist who joins Stanton’s campaign.

As the campaign progresses, Henry becomes increasingly disillusioned with the compromises and moral dilemmas inherent in the world of politics.

He witnesses the complexities of Stanton’s character, including his charm, his ability to connect with people, and his personal flaws. The film explores themes of power, loyalty, ambition, and the compromises made in pursuit of political success.

“Primary Colors” received positive reviews for its sharp screenplay, skillful direction, and strong performances.

John Travolta’s portrayal of Jack Stanton was particularly praised, as he captured the charisma and charm of a political figure while also showing his flawed nature. Emma Thompson also received critical acclaim for her role as Susan Stanton, Jack’s wife.

The film sparked speculation about the real-life inspirations behind its characters and events, given the parallels with the 1992 Clinton campaign. However, the story and characters are fictional, and the film does not explicitly reference any specific politicians.

Overall, “Primary Colors” is a compelling political drama that provides an insider’s view of a fictional presidential campaign while exploring the complexities of power and personal integrity. It offers an entertaining and thought-provoking examination of the world of politics and the people involved in it.

Primary Colors [DVD]
  • John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton (Actors)
  • Mike Nichols (Director) - Elaine May (Writer) - Mike Nichols (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

10. Last Chance Harvey (2008)

“Last Chance Harvey” is a 2008 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joel Hopkins. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as two middle-aged strangers who meet and connect while in London.

Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a struggling jingle writer who travels to London to attend his daughter’s wedding, only to find that she has asked her stepfather to give her away instead. Feeling dejected.

Harvey heads to the airport, where he meets Kate Walker (played by Thompson), a government statistics employee who is also feeling unfulfilled in her personal life.

The two begin to strike up a friendship that soon blossoms into a romance, as they explore London together and share their dreams and disappointments.

As they navigate their complicated personal lives, Harvey and Kate find that they may have one last chance at happiness.

“Last Chance Harvey” received positive reviews for its charming performances by Hoffman and Thompson, as well as its poignant and heartfelt story.

The film’s exploration of love and second chances resonated with audiences, and it was a modest box office success. The movie is regarded as a sweet and uplifting romantic comedy-drama that showcases the talents of two veteran actors.

Last Chance Harvey
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker (Actors)
  • Joel Hopkins (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

11. Carrington (1995)

“Carrington” is a British biographical film released in 1995, directed by Christopher Hampton. The movie is based on the life of the English painter Dora Carrington and her relationship with the writer Lytton Strachey.

The film primarily focuses on the unconventional love story between Carrington, played by Emma Thompson, and Strachey, portrayed by Jonathan Pryce.

Set in the early 20th century, the story follows their complex and often tumultuous relationship, which defied traditional societal norms and expectations.

Carrington, an artist known for her talent and independent spirit, falls deeply in love with Strachey, a homosexual writer and member of the Bloomsbury Group.

Despite Strachey’s own sexual preferences, he forms a close bond with Carrington, and their connection evolves into a deep emotional and intellectual partnership.

However, their relationship faces various challenges, including Carrington’s struggle with her own identity, Strachey’s commitment to his own artistic pursuits, and their open acceptance of other partners.

As they navigate the complexities of their unconventional relationship, they also encounter the societal and cultural pressures of the time.

“Carrington” explores themes of art, love, and the complexities of human relationships. The film delves into the emotional intricacies of Carrington and Strachey’s connection, their struggles with their own identities, and their dedication to their respective artistic endeavors.

Emma Thompson’s portrayal of Dora Carrington garnered critical acclaim, earning her a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film also received praise for its elegant cinematography, capturing the essence of the early 20th-century artistic scene and the emotional depth of the characters.

“Carrington” offers a poignant and introspective glimpse into the lives of two unconventional artists and their passionate relationship, shedding light on the complexities of love, art, and personal freedom in a society bound by societal expectations.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • HamptonChristopher (Director) - Christopher Hampton (Writer) - Francis Boespflug (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

12. Brave (2012)

 “Brave” is an animated film released in 2012, and it features the voice talent of Kelly Macdonald as the protagonist, Merida. Jodie Foster is not part of the cast for this film.

“Brave” is a captivating fantasy adventure produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.

The story is set in the Scottish Highlands and revolves around Merida, a skilled archer and the daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Merida defies an age-old tradition that brings chaos to her kingdom, and she embarks on a quest to undo a terrible curse before it’s too late.

While Jodie Foster is not involved in “Brave,” the film remains a delightful choice for animation enthusiasts of all ages. It features stunning animation, a strong female lead, and a heartfelt exploration of themes such as family, bravery, and self-discovery.

If you have any other requests or would like recommendations for Jodie Foster films, feel free to let me know.

  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson (Actors)
  • Mark Andrews (Director)
  • French, Spanish, English (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

13. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

“Stranger Than Fiction” is a 2006 comedy-drama film directed by Marc Forster and starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman.

The film tells the story of Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), an IRS agent who begins to hear a voice narrating his life and predicting his imminent death.

As Harold tries to find the source of the voice, he meets an eccentric baker named Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and a literature professor named Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman).

who help him unravel the mystery of his predicament. Meanwhile, the voice is revealed to be that of Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a reclusive author struggling to finish her latest novel, in which Harold is the protagonist.

As Harold’s life becomes increasingly entwined with Karen’s fiction, he must confront the inevitability of his own mortality and find a way to change his fate.

“Stranger Than Fiction” received positive reviews for its imaginative premise, strong performances, and creative use of visual effects.

The film’s blend of comedy and drama, as well as its exploration of themes of free will and the power of storytelling, has made it a favorite among audiences and critics alike.

Stranger than Fiction
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman (Actors)
  • Marc Forster (Director) - Zach Helm (Writer) - Lindsay Doran (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

14. Imagining Argentina (2003)

“Imagining Argentina” is a drama film released in 2003, directed by Christopher Hampton. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Lawrence Thornton.

In the film, Emma Thompson portrays the character of Cecilia Rueda, a journalist and the wife of Carlos Rueda, played by Antonio Banderas.

Set in Argentina during the military dictatorship of the late 1970s, the story revolves around Carlos, a theater director, and his wife Cecilia.

When their teenage daughter is abducted and taken by the government’s secret police, Carlos discovers that he possesses the ability to see into the future and imagine the fates of those who have disappeared.

Using his gift, Carlos begins staging public performances in which he envisions the whereabouts and destinies of the missing individuals. Cecilia, along with other desperate families, clings to these performances as a source of hope and consolation amidst the oppressive regime.

“Imagining Argentina” explores themes of love, loss, and resistance in the face of political repression. The film delves into the personal and emotional toll that dictatorship and state-sponsored violence have on individuals and families.

It sheds light on the power of art and imagination as a means of coping and finding strength in dark times.

Emma Thompson’s performance in the film showcases her ability to portray the anguish, determination, and resilience of a mother fighting against an unjust system.

Her character’s unwavering support for her husband and her unwavering search for their daughter adds emotional depth to the narrative.

While “Imagining Argentina” received mixed reviews and did not achieve widespread popularity, it remains notable for its exploration of Argentina’s dark history and the indomitable spirit of its characters.

The film serves as a reminder of the atrocities committed during that era and the enduring human capacity for hope and resistance.

Imagining Argentina [DVD]
  • DVD
  • Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson, Ruben Blades (Actors)
  • Christopher Hampton (Director) - Christopher Hampton (Writer) - Geoffrey C. Lands (Producer)
  • French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

15. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

“Saving Mr. Banks” is a 2013 biographical drama film directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

The film tells the story of Walt Disney’s attempts to obtain the film rights to the novel “Mary Poppins” from the novel’s prickly author, P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson).

As Travers travels from London to Los Angeles to work with Disney on the film adaptation, she becomes increasingly frustrated with the changes being made to her beloved characters and story.

Through a series of flashbacks, the film also explores Travers’ troubled childhood and the inspiration behind the “Mary Poppins” character.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising the performances of Thompson and Hanks. It was also nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for Thompson’s portrayal of Travers.

Saving Mr. Banks
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Emma Thompson (Actors)
  • John Lee Hancock (Director) - Kelly Marcel (Writer) - Alison Owen (Producer)
  • Spanish, French, Italian, English, Dutch (Playback Languages)
  • Spanish, French, Italian, English, Dutch (Subtitles)

3 Reasons To Watch Emma Thompson Movies

Versatile Acting Talent: Emma Thompson is known for her exceptional range and versatility as an actress.

Whether she’s portraying a strong-willed matriarch, a witty and intelligent character, or delving into more dramatic roles, Thompson consistently delivers captivating performances.

Her ability to embody a wide range of characters across genres makes watching her movies a rewarding experience.

Engaging Storytelling: Thompson has been involved in numerous films with compelling and well-crafted narratives. From literary adaptations to original screenplays, her movies often feature engaging storytelling that captivates viewers.

Whether it’s a period drama, a romantic comedy, or a thought-provoking drama, Thompson’s filmography offers a diverse selection of stories that entertain and resonate with audiences.

Commitment to Social Issues: Beyond her acting prowess, Emma Thompson is also known for her activism and dedication to social causes.

She uses her platform to address issues such as human rights, environmental concerns, and gender equality. By watching her movies, viewers not only enjoy her talent but also support an artist who actively promotes positive change in the world.

Overall, watching Emma Thompson movies provides the opportunity to witness the work of a highly skilled and versatile actress, enjoy engaging storytelling, and support an artist who uses her influence to advocate for important social issues.

Best Emma Thompson Movies – Wrap Up

Emma Thompson is a talented and versatile actress who has starred in a wide range of movies throughout her career. Some of her most notable performances include:

“Sense and Sensibility” (1995) – Thompson won an Academy Award for her screenplay adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel and also starred as the film’s protagonist, Elinor Dashwood.

“Howards End” (1992) – Thompson received another Academy Award nomination for her performance in this period drama about social class and family relations.

“The Remains of the Day” (1993) – In this film, Thompson plays a housekeeper who works for a British lord played by Anthony Hopkins, and the two develop a deep but unspoken affection for each other.

“Love Actually” (2003) – Thompson’s role as a betrayed wife in this romantic comedy has become one of her most beloved performances.

“Nanny McPhee” (2005) – Thompson wrote and starred in this children’s fantasy film about a magical nanny who helps to teach some unruly children important life lessons.

Other notable Emma Thompson movies include “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993), “Sense and Sensibility” (2008), “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006), and “Saving Mr. Banks” (2013).

Thompson is widely regarded as one of the most talented actresses of her generation, and her body of work is a testament to her versatility and range.