Helen Mirren is a highly acclaimed British actress with a career spanning over five decades. She has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, four BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.
Best Helen Mirren Movies
She is known for her versatility and ability to bring depth and complexity to her roles. Here are some of her best movies that showcase her talent.
1. The Long Good Friday (1980)
“The Long Good Friday” is a 1980 British gangster film directed by John Mackenzie and starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren.
The movie tells the story of Harold Shand (played by Hoskins), a London gangster who is attempting to legitimize his criminal empire by securing a deal to redevelop the city’s docklands.
As Harold works to negotiate the deal and maintain his power and influence, he is confronted by a series of challenges and threats, including a series of bombings and assassinations that seem to be targeted at his organization.
Harold must navigate a dangerous and complex web of criminal and political alliances in order to protect himself and his empire.
“The Long Good Friday” is a gritty and intense film that offers a compelling and realistic look at the world of organized crime.
The movie features strong performances from its talented cast, with Hoskins delivering a standout performance as Harold, a man struggling to maintain his power and protect his interests in the face of mounting threats.
Mirren is also excellent in her role as Victoria, Harold’s fiercely loyal girlfriend who is determined to stand by him no matter what.
Overall, “The Long Good Friday” is a classic British gangster film that offers a gripping and thought-provoking look at the world of organized crime. It is a movie that will appeal to anyone who appreciates great storytelling, complex characters, and powerful performances.
2. 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
“2010: The Year We Make Contact” is a science fiction film released in 1984. It is a sequel to the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and is based on the novel “2010: Odyssey Two” by Arthur C. Clarke.
The film follows a joint American-Soviet mission to Jupiter to investigate the events that occurred on the Discovery One spacecraft during the previous mission. The film stars Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, and Helen Mirren.
3. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
“The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” is a British-French film directed by Peter Greenaway and released in 1989.
The movie is a dark and satirical allegory about the corrupting nature of power and wealth, set in a restaurant run by a tyrannical gangster named Albert Spica (played by Michael Gambon).
Spica’s wife Georgina (played by Helen Mirren) is trapped in a loveless marriage to him, but finds solace and passion in a clandestine affair with a bookshop owner named Michael (played by Alan Howard). The film features striking visuals and a memorable score by Michael Nyman.
4. The Comfort of Strangers (1990)
“The Comfort of Strangers” is a 1990 drama film directed by Paul Schrader, based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. Here are three reasons to watch this movie:
Strong Performances: The film features excellent performances from the entire cast, including Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, and Natasha Richardson, who received critical acclaim for her role.
Intense and Unsettling: “The Comfort of Strangers” is a dark and unsettling film that explores themes of obsession, desire, and violence. The film’s intense and disturbing scenes will keep you on edge throughout.
Beautiful Cinematography: The film is set in Venice and features stunning cinematography that captures the city’s beauty and mystique. The film’s atmospheric visuals and haunting score add to the overall sense of unease and mystery.
5. The Madness of King George (1994)
“The Madness of King George” is a historical drama film that tells the story of King George III’s mental health struggles and his relationship with his family and doctors. Here are three reasons to watch this movie:
Exceptional Performances: “The Madness of King George” features outstanding performances from its cast, particularly Nigel Hawthorne as King George III and Helen Mirren as Queen Charlotte. Hawthorne received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the king.
Historical Accuracy: The movie provides a detailed and accurate depiction of the king’s illness and the treatments he underwent during the late 18th century.
The film also explores the politics and intrigue surrounding the king’s illness and his family’s struggle to maintain control of the throne.
Engaging Storytelling: “The Madness of King George” manages to balance its historical accuracy with a compelling narrative that keeps audiences engaged throughout. The film is a moving and insightful portrait of a complex historical figure and the challenges he faced during his reign.
6. Greenfingers (2000)
“Greenfingers” is a 2000 British comedy-drama film directed by Joel Hershman. The film tells the story of a group of prisoners who discover their love for gardening while working on a prison garden project, ultimately leading them to compete in a national gardening competition.
The film stars Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, and David Kelly. “Greenfingers” was inspired by a true story and received mixed reviews from critics.
However, it has since gained a cult following and is known for its charming performances and heartwarming message.
7. The Pledge (I) (2001)
“The Pledge” is a 2001 American mystery drama film directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson, Robin Wright, and Aaron Eckhart.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and tells the story of Jerry Black (played by Nicholson), a retired police detective who becomes obsessed with solving a child murder case after he promises the victim’s mother to find the killer.
As Jerry delves deeper into the investigation, he begins to uncover a web of secrets and lies that suggest the killer may be someone closer to him than he ever imagined. Along the way, he must confront his own demons and personal tragedies that threaten to consume him.
“The Pledge” is a gripping and intense film that explores themes such as obsession, guilt, and the search for justice.
The movie features strong performances from its talented cast, with Nicholson delivering a standout performance as Jerry, a man haunted by his past and driven by a sense of duty to find the killer.
Wright and Eckhart are also excellent in their roles as Jerry’s love interest and police colleague, respectively.
Overall, “The Pledge” is a thought-provoking and emotionally powerful film that offers a fresh and compelling take on the detective genre. It is a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you thinking long after the credits roll.
8. Last Orders (2001)
“Last Orders” is a 2001 British drama film directed by Fred Schepisi and starring a talented ensemble cast, including Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, and Helen Mirren.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Graham Swift and tells the story of four lifelong friends who come together to fulfill the final wish of their friend, Jack (played by Caine).
As they travel across England to scatter Jack’s ashes at the sea, the friends reminisce about their shared past, their triumphs and their failures, and their hopes and regrets.
Along the way, they must confront unresolved conflicts and hidden truths that threaten to derail their journey and tear them apart.
“Last Orders” is a poignant and powerful film that explores themes such as friendship, loyalty, aging, and mortality.
The movie features strong performances from its talented cast, with Caine delivering a standout performance as Jack, a man whose death serves as a catalyst for his friends to come to terms with their own lives and relationships.
The other actors, including Courtenay, Hemmings, Hoskins, and Mirren, also give memorable performances, bringing depth and nuance to their characters.
Overall, “Last Orders” is a beautifully crafted film that offers a touching and insightful look at the human experience. It is a movie that will resonate with anyone who has ever grappled with the complexities of friendship, love, and loss.
9. Calendar Girls (2003)
“Calendar Girls” is a 2003 British comedy-drama film directed by Nigel Cole and starring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, and Penelope Wilton.
The film is based on a true story of a group of middle-aged women from a small English village who decide to pose nude for a calendar to raise money for the local hospital after the husband of one of the women dies of leukemia.
Here are three reasons to watch “Calendar Girls”:
Inspirational story: “Calendar Girls” is a heartwarming and inspiring story about a group of women who come together to make a difference in their community. The film shows how even small acts of kindness and bravery can have a big impact on people’s lives.
Great performances: The film features outstanding performances by its cast, including Helen Mirren, who delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as the lead character, Chris. Julie Walters and Penelope Wilton are also excellent in their supporting roles.
Humorous and entertaining: Despite dealing with serious themes such as loss and illness, “Calendar Girls” is also a lighthearted and funny film. The humor is often irreverent and self-deprecating, making for an entertaining and enjoyable viewing experience.
10. The Clearing (2004)
“The Clearing” is a 2004 American drama thriller film directed by Pieter Jan Brugge and starring Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe.
The movie tells the story of Wayne (played by Redford), a successful businessman who is kidnapped by Arnold (played by Dafoe), a former employee who seeks revenge for perceived wrongs committed against him.
As Wayne is held captive in a remote forest, his wife Eileen (played by Mirren) and the kidnapper negotiate over his release, with tensions rising as the situation becomes increasingly volatile.
The movie explores the complex relationships between the characters, as well as the themes of power, control, and the price of success.
“The Clearing” is a taut and suspenseful film that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The movie features strong performances from its talented cast, with Redford, Mirren, and Dafoe all delivering memorable performances.
Redford is particularly compelling as Wayne, a man forced to confront the consequences of his actions and the limitations of his power.
Overall, “The Clearing” is a thought-provoking and intense film that offers a fresh and compelling take on the kidnapping genre. It is a movie that will appeal to anyone who appreciates great storytelling, complex characters, and powerful performances.
11. Raising Helen (2004)
Heartwarming Story: The movie tells a heartwarming story about a young woman named Helen (Kate Hudson) who unexpectedly becomes the guardian of her late sister’s three children.
As she navigates through the challenges of being a new mother, Helen learns important lessons about love, family, and the true meaning of motherhood.
Strong Cast: “Raising Helen” boasts a strong cast that includes Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, and Helen Mirren. The actors deliver convincing and heartfelt performances that make the characters come to life and engage the audience.
Positive Message: The movie has a positive message about the importance of family, love, and sacrifice. It celebrates the joys of parenthood and the power of familial bonds, while also acknowledging the difficulties and sacrifices that come with raising children.
Overall, “Raising Helen” is a heartwarming and uplifting movie that is sure to leave a lasting impression on its viewers.
12. The Queen (2006)
“The Queen” is a 2006 British biographical drama film directed by Stephen Frears and written by Peter Morgan. It stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, and the film explores the reaction of the British monarchy to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
Here are three reasons to watch “The Queen”:
Helen Mirren’s award-winning performance: Mirren won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. Her performance is widely regarded as one of the best portrayals of a monarch in cinema history.
An insightful look at the monarchy: “The Queen” provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the British monarchy, and how the institution and its leaders responded to one of the most significant events in its recent history.
Peter Morgan’s screenplay: Peter Morgan, who is known for his work on “The Crown” and “Frost/Nixon,” wrote the screenplay for “The Queen.”
His script is sharp, witty, and insightful, and it provides an engaging and informative look at one of the most significant events in recent British history.
13. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
“National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is a 2007 adventure film directed by Jon Turteltaub and starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, and Helen Mirren.
It is a sequel to the 2004 film “National Treasure” and follows treasure hunter Benjamin Gates as he searches for a lost city of gold, while also trying to clear his family’s name of an accusation of involvement in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The film received mixed reviews but was a box office success, grossing over $457 million worldwide.
14. State of Play (2009)
“State of Play” is a 2009 political thriller film directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, and Robin Wright.
The film is based on the BBC television series of the same name and follows a team of investigative journalists as they uncover a web of corruption and conspiracy involving a young political staffer and a major corporation.
Mirren plays Cameron Lynne, the tough and tenacious editor-in-chief of the newspaper where the journalists work. Mirren’s performance was praised for its commanding presence and sharp wit.
The film was a critical and commercial success and earned Mirren a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress.
15. The Debt (I) (2010)
“The Debt” is a 2010 American drama thriller film directed by John Madden and starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, and Jessica Chastain.
The movie tells the story of three retired Mossad agents who are celebrated as heroes for capturing and killing a notorious Nazi war criminal in 1965.
However, when new information comes to light 30 years later, they must confront the truth about what really happened and the consequences of their actions.
The movie uses a non-linear narrative structure to weave together past and present events, exploring the complex relationships between the characters and the moral ambiguities of their mission. The film is a powerful examination of guilt, redemption, and the price of justice.
“The Debt” is a well-crafted and thought-provoking film that features strong performances from its talented cast. Mirren, Worthington, and Chastain all deliver memorable performances, bringing depth and nuance to their characters.
The movie also benefits from its stylish direction, suspenseful pacing, and evocative cinematography.
Overall, “The Debt” is a compelling and intense film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is a movie that will appeal to anyone who appreciates intelligent storytelling, complex characters, and powerful performances.
16. Brighton Rock (2010)
“Brighton Rock” is a 2010 British crime thriller film directed by Rowan Joffe and based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Graham Greene. The film stars Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Helen Mirren, and John Hurt.
The story is set in 1964 and follows Pinkie Brown (played by Sam Riley), a young gangster in Brighton, England, who becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a young waitress named Rose (played by Andrea Riseborough).
As their relationship deepens, Pinkie’s world becomes increasingly unstable, leading to a violent confrontation with his rivals and a dramatic conclusion.
The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its stylish direction, strong performances, and faithful adaptation of Greene’s novel. It was also noted for its atmospheric depiction of the seaside town of Brighton and its evocation of the era in which it is set.
17. RED (2010)
“RED” is a 2010 action-comedy film directed by Robert Schwentke and starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Mary-Louise Parker.
The film is based on the comic book series of the same name by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.
The story follows a retired CIA agent who finds himself the target of a hit squad and must team up with former colleagues to stay alive and uncover a conspiracy within the agency.
The film was well received by audiences and critics and spawned two sequels, “RED 2” in 2013 and “RED 3” in development as of 2021.
18. The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon.
The movie tells the story of an Indian family who moves to a small village in the south of France and opens a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Mirren).
The two restaurants engage in a heated rivalry until they eventually find common ground and develop a mutual respect.
Here are three reasons to watch “The Hundred-Foot Journey”:
Outstanding performances: Helen Mirren delivers a fantastic performance as Madame Mallory, the stern and competitive owner of the French restaurant. The chemistry between her and Om Puri, who plays the head of the Indian family, is also a highlight of the film.
Beautiful cinematography: The movie was filmed on location in the south of France, and the stunning scenery is a feast for the eyes. The shots of the French countryside and the bustling markets are particularly beautiful.
Heartwarming story: “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a heartwarming story of cultural exchange and acceptance.
The movie shows how people from different backgrounds can come together and learn from each other. It also has a strong message about following your dreams and persevering in the face of adversity.
19. Woman in Gold (2015)
“Woman in Gold” is a 2015 drama film that tells the story of Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish woman who, with the help of a young lawyer, fights the Austrian government to recover artwork that was stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II.
Here are three reasons to watch the movie:
Compelling Story: “Woman in Gold” is based on a true story, which makes it all the more compelling. The film sheds light on the harrowing experiences of many Jews who lost everything during World War II, and the struggle of one woman to reclaim what was rightfully hers.
Strong Performances: Helen Mirren delivers a strong performance as Maria Altmann, bringing depth and nuance to the character.
Ryan Reynolds also shines as the young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable, adding a layer of emotion to the film.
Beautiful Cinematography: The movie is shot in Vienna, Austria, and features stunning visuals of the city’s architecture and landscape. The scenes of the paintings, including the titular “Woman in Gold,” are also beautifully captured.
The cinematography helps to create a visually stunning movie that complements the film’s story and performances
20. Eye in the Sky (2015)
“Eye in the Sky” is a 2015 British thriller film directed by Gavin Hood and starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman.
The film follows a military operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, and explores the moral and ethical implications of using drones for warfare.
The film received critical acclaim for its tense storytelling and thought-provoking themes, and was praised for its strong performances from the cast.
21. Trumbo (2015)
“Trumbo” is a 2015 biographical drama film directed by Jay Roach and written by John McNamara, based on the life of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
Helen Mirren plays the role of Hedda Hopper, a powerful gossip columnist and antagonist of Trumbo,
who was among the Hollywood Ten, a group of film industry professionals who were blacklisted for their political beliefs and refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
The film follows Trumbo’s journey as he fights against the blacklist and for the right to work as a screenwriter, and the toll it takes on him and his family. The film received critical acclaim and Helen Mirren’s performance was particularly praised.
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3 Reasons To Watch Helen Mirren Movies
Exceptional Acting: Helen Mirren is a versatile and accomplished actress who has garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout her career.
She is known for her ability to bring depth, nuance, and emotional range to her performances, whether she is portraying historical figures, complex characters, or everyday people.
Diversity of Roles: Mirren has tackled a wide range of roles in her career, from Shakespearean heroines to action heroines, from royalty to detectives. She has demonstrated her range as an actress, always bringing a unique perspective and authenticity to each character she portrays.
Social and Political Relevance: Many of Mirren’s movies deal with important social and political issues, such as gender equality, human rights, and environmentalism.
She has used her platform to advocate for causes she believes in and has been a vocal supporter of women in the entertainment industry.
Overall, watching Helen Mirren movies is an opportunity to witness an accomplished and versatile actress bring her talent and passion to a wide range of roles, often with important social and political relevance.
Best Helen Mirren Movies – Wrap Up
Helen Mirren is a versatile actress known for her powerful performances in a wide range of roles, from drama to comedy and everything in between. Some of her best-known movies include “The Queen,” “Gosford Park,” “The Last Station,” and “RED.”
Her ability to convey complex emotions and bring depth to her characters has made her a beloved figure in the film industry, and her performances have earned her numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, four BAFTA Awards, and four Emmy Awards.
Whether you are a fan of drama, action, or comedy, there is likely a Helen Mirren movie out there that will captivate and entertain you.