Judi Dench is a renowned British actress known for her impressive stage performances as well as her work in film and television.
She has won numerous awards over the course of her career, including an Academy Award, multiple BAFTAs, and several Olivier Awards.
Dench has portrayed a wide range of characters throughout her career, and her talent and versatility have made her one of the most respected actresses in the industry.
Best Judi Dench Movies
In this article, we will be highlighting some of her best movies and exploring what makes her performances so captivating.
1. A Room with a View (1985)
“A Room with a View” is a 1985 British romance film directed by James Ivory and starring Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, and Maggie Smith.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by E.M. Forster and tells the story of a young Englishwoman named Lucy Honeychurch (played by Bonham Carter) who falls in love with a free-spirited man named George Emerson (played by Sands) while on a trip to Florence, Italy.
The movie is a beautifully crafted and visually stunning period piece that captures the mood and sensibility of early 20th-century England.
It features exceptional performances from its talented cast, particularly Bonham Carter and Sands, who have wonderful chemistry on screen. The movie also benefits from its gorgeous cinematography, evocative score, and intelligent screenplay.
At its heart, “A Room with a View” is a timeless story of love, passion, and self-discovery. The movie explores themes of class, societal expectations, and personal freedom, while also celebrating the beauty and power of romantic love.
It is a film that will transport you to another time and place, and leave you feeling both enchanted and emotionally moved.
Overall, “A Room with a View” is a cinematic gem that has stood the test of time. It is a movie that will appeal to anyone who appreciates great storytelling, exceptional acting, and beautiful cinematography.
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2. 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
“84 Charing Cross Road” is a 1987 British-American drama film directed by David Hugh Jones and based on the play and memoir of the same name by Helene Hanff.
The film stars Anne Bancroft as Hanff and Anthony Hopkins as Frank Doel, the London bookseller with whom Hanff strikes up a long-distance friendship through letters.
The film tells the story of Hanff, a struggling writer in New York City, who finds an advertisement for a secondhand bookshop in London and writes to the shop to order some books.
Over time, she strikes up a correspondence with Doel, who begins to send her books and other gifts. Despite the distance and the differences in their lives, Hanff and Doel develop a deep friendship that lasts for more than two decades.
“84 Charing Cross Road” is a heartwarming and nostalgic film that celebrates the power of friendship and the joy of literature. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves books and values human connection.
3. Henry V (1989)
“Henry V” is a British war drama film released in 1989, directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “Henry V”, and follows the events leading up to and including the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.
Branagh also stars in the film as King Henry V, alongside a cast that includes Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, and Judi Dench.
The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards, including four Academy Awards.
4. GoldenEye (1995)
GoldenEye is a 1995 spy film directed by Martin Campbell and stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, the legendary MI6 agent. Here are three reasons to watch GoldenEye:
Pierce Brosnan’s debut as James Bond – GoldenEye marked Pierce Brosnan’s first appearance as James Bond, and he delivered a performance that is widely considered to be one of the best in the franchise.
He brought a suave sophistication to the role, and his portrayal of Bond helped to redefine the character for a new generation of moviegoers.
Memorable villain – GoldenEye’s villain, Alec Trevelyan (played by Sean Bean), is one of the most memorable and complex villains in the James Bond franchise. His backstory and motivations are explored in-depth, and his on-screen presence is both menacing and charismatic.
Spectacular action sequences – GoldenEye features some of the most memorable action sequences in the James Bond franchise, including a thrilling bungee-jumping stunt in the opening scene and a spectacular tank chase through the streets of St. Petersburg.
The film’s action sequences are expertly choreographed and executed, making for a truly thrilling viewing experience.
5. Mrs. Brown (1997)
“Mrs. Brown” is a 1997 historical drama film directed by John Madden and starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Billy Connolly as John Brown.
The film explores the unconventional relationship between the queen and her Scottish servant John Brown after the death of her husband Prince Albert. Here are three reasons to watch “Mrs. Brown”:
Acting: Judi Dench delivers a powerful performance as Queen Victoria, capturing her grief and loneliness after the loss of her husband. Billy Connolly also shines in his role as John Brown, portraying the complexity of their relationship with nuance and sensitivity.
Historical accuracy: The film is based on real events and does an excellent job of capturing the historical details of Victorian England. From the costumes and sets to the dialogue and characters, “Mrs. Brown” immerses viewers in the period.
Themes: The film explores themes of grief, love, and duty. It shows the struggle of Queen Victoria to come to terms with the loss of her husband, and how her relationship with John Brown helps her to find a renewed sense of purpose and happiness.
The film also explores the tensions between tradition and progress, duty and desire, and the power dynamics of class and gender in Victorian society.
6. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
“Tomorrow Never Dies” is a 1997 spy action film and the eighteenth film in the James Bond series. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, alongside Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Pryce, and Teri Hatcher.
In the film, Bond tries to stop a media mogul who is using a satellite weapon to manipulate global events for his own profit. The film received generally positive reviews and was a commercial success at the box office.
7. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
“Shakespeare in Love” is a 1998 romantic comedy-drama film directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard.
The film stars Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps, a young woman who aspires to be an actress in a time when it was illegal for women to appear on stage. The film also features Judi Dench in an Oscar-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth I.
The story follows Shakespeare as he struggles with writer’s block and a lack of inspiration until he meets Viola, who inspires him to write one of his greatest plays, “Romeo and Juliet.”
The film is a fictional account of Shakespeare’s life, but it features many real-life figures from Elizabethan England, including Christopher Marlowe and Richard Burbage.
“Shakespeare in Love” was a critical and commercial success, earning over $300 million at the box office and winning seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Paltrow, and Best Supporting Actress for Dench.
The film has been praised for its clever script, strong performances, and beautiful cinematography.
8. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
“The World Is Not Enough” is a 1999 British spy film directed by Michael Apted and the 19th installment in the James Bond series.
The movie stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, who is assigned to protect a wealthy oil heiress named Elektra King (played by Sophie Marceau) from a terrorist named Renard (played by Robert Carlyle). As Bond investigates, he uncovers a complex web of conspiracy and betrayal that threatens the safety of the world.
The movie is a classic James Bond adventure that features thrilling action sequences, exotic locations, and a charismatic and suave protagonist. Brosnan delivers a strong performance as Bond, bringing his signature blend of charm, wit, and toughness to the role.
Marceau and Carlyle also deliver memorable performances as the complex and intriguing antagonists.
“The World Is Not Enough” is notable for its impressive special effects and stunning set pieces, including a thrilling boat chase along the River Thames and a tense showdown in a submarine. The movie also features a memorable score by composer David Arnold, which blends traditional Bond themes with modern electronic elements.
Overall, “The World Is Not Enough” is a must-see movie for fans of the James Bond franchise, and anyone who enjoys action-packed thrillers with a touch of espionage and intrigue. The film is a fun and entertaining ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
9. Chocolat (2000)
“Chocolat” is a 2000 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and based on the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris.
The film stars Juliette Binoche as Vianne Rocher, a single mother who arrives in a French village and opens a chocolaterie during Lent, despite the disapproval of the conservative townspeople, particularly the village mayor, played by Alfred Molina.
As Vianne begins to transform the lives of the villagers through the power of her confections, she also becomes involved with a handsome riverboat traveler, played by Johnny Depp. The film was praised for its performances, cinematography, and themes of tolerance and acceptance.
10. The Shipping News (2001)
“The Shipping News” is a 2001 drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and Judi Dench. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by E. Annie Proulx.
The film follows a recently widowed newspaper reporter who moves to Newfoundland to start a new life with his young daughter and ends up uncovering a family secret while reporting on local events.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but was praised for its performances, particularly by Judi Dench.
11. The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a 2002 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name. The film stars Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, and Reese Witherspoon and is directed by Oliver Parker. Here are three reasons to watch it:
Stellar cast: The film boasts an impressive cast of talented actors, including Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench, and Reese Witherspoon. Their performances bring Wilde’s witty dialogue to life and make for an enjoyable viewing experience.
Beautiful cinematography: The film’s cinematography is stunning, with beautiful shots of the English countryside and elegant period costumes.
The attention to detail in the set design and costumes creates a charming and authentic atmosphere that perfectly complements Wilde’s satirical humor.
Classic source material: “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a beloved play that has stood the test of time, and this film adaptation captures the essence of the original work.
It is a great opportunity for those who haven’t had the chance to see a stage production to enjoy Wilde’s clever and humorous writing.
12. Die Another Day (2002)
Die Another Day is a 2002 spy film and the twentieth installment in the James Bond series.
It was directed by Lee Tamahori and starred Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, along with Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, and Judi Dench in supporting roles. Here are three reasons to watch Die Another Day:
Action-Packed: Die Another Day has plenty of exciting action sequences, including car chases, gun battles, and a thrilling sword fight on a plane. Fans of the James Bond series will not be disappointed by the film’s action-packed scenes.
Classic James Bond: The film features all the classic elements of a James Bond movie, including exotic locations, high-tech gadgets, and plenty of suspense.
Die Another Day also marks the final appearance of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, making it a must-see for fans of his portrayal of the iconic character.
Stellar Cast: In addition to Brosnan’s solid performance, the film also features strong performances from its supporting cast, including Halle Berry as Bond’s love interest Jinx and Toby Stephens as the villainous Gustav Graves.
The film also marks the return of Judi Dench as M, adding to the impressive ensemble.
13. The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
“The Chronicles of Riddick” is a science fiction action film directed by David Twohy and released in 2004. It is the sequel to the 2000 film “Pitch Black” and stars Vin Diesel in the lead role of Richard B. Riddick, a dangerous fugitive with unique abilities.
The plot revolves around Riddick’s efforts to prevent an evil ruler named Lord Marshal (played by Colm Feore) from unleashing a deadly force known as the Necromongers upon the universe.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but has since gained a cult following among fans of the genre.
14. Ladies in Lavender (2004)
“Ladies in Lavender” is a 2004 British drama film directed by Charles Dance and starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
The film is set in a small coastal village in Cornwall, England, during the late 1930s. Dench and Smith play two aging sisters who find a young Polish violinist washed ashore on their beach.
They take him in and nurse him back to health, while he teaches them about music and stirs up long-buried emotions in each of them.
The film explores themes of love, loss, and the passage of time, and features a beautiful score composed by Nigel Hess.
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15. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
“Pride & Prejudice” is a 2005 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on the classic novel of the same name by Jane Austen.
The movie stars Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, a headstrong and intelligent young woman from a middle-class family who is pursued by the wealthy and haughty Mr. Darcy (played by Matthew Macfadyen).
The film is a beautiful and faithful adaptation of the novel, capturing the wit, humor, and romantic tension that have made Austen’s work so beloved for generations.
Knightley delivers a standout performance as Elizabeth, bringing her feisty and independent spirit to life on screen. Macfadyen also shines as Darcy, portraying the character’s proud and reserved nature with nuance and depth.
In addition to its excellent performances, “Pride & Prejudice” is also notable for its stunning cinematography, which captures the lush English countryside and grandeur of the era.
The movie features an evocative score by composer Dario Marianelli, which perfectly complements the film’s romantic and emotional themes.
At its core, “Pride & Prejudice” is a timeless story of love, class, and social norms, exploring themes that are still relevant and relatable today. The movie is a masterpiece of romantic cinema, and a must-see for fans of period dramas, literary adaptations, and classic romance stories.
Overall, “Pride & Prejudice” is a beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying movie that will transport you to another time and place, and leave you feeling enchanted and moved by its timeless story of love and social change.
Best Judi Dench Movies – Wrap Up
I can provide a list of some of the most acclaimed movies featuring Judi Dench:
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Mrs. Brown (1997)
Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
A Room with a View (1985)