Nicolas Roeg was a British film director, cinematographer, and screenwriter known for his innovative visual style and unconventional narrative structures.

Roeg’s films often dealt with themes of memory, time, and identity, and he frequently used editing techniques to create a fragmented, non-linear storytelling style. Here are some of the best Nicolas Roeg films:

Don’t Look Now (1973): This psychological thriller stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a couple grieving the loss of their daughter in Venice, Italy.

Roeg’s use of color, sound, and editing creates a haunting and suspenseful atmosphere.

Performance (1970): This crime drama stars Mick Jagger as a reclusive rock star and James Fox as a violent gangster who takes refuge in his home.

The film explores themes of identity and transformation through its hallucinatory visuals and non-linear storytelling.

Walkabout (1971): This survival drama follows two siblings stranded in the Australian outback and their encounter with an Aboriginal boy on his walkabout.

Roeg’s use of natural landscapes and cross-cutting creates a dreamlike, mystical atmosphere.

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976): This science fiction drama stars David Bowie as an alien who comes to Earth seeking water for his drought-stricken planet.

Roeg’s use of flashbacks and nonlinear storytelling emphasizes the character’s isolation and displacement.

Bad Timing (1980): This psychological drama stars Art Garfunkel and Theresa Russell as a couple in a turbulent and abusive relationship.

Roeg’s use of fragmented storytelling and nonlinear editing emphasizes the character’s distorted perception of time and reality.

Best Nicolas Roeg Films

Nicolas Roeg’s films are known for their stunning visuals, unconventional storytelling, and exploration of complex themes.

1. Performance (1970)

“Performance” is a British crime drama film released in 1970. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell and stars James Fox and Mick Jagger.

The film follows the story of Chas (James Fox), a violent enforcer for a London gangster, who goes into hiding in the home of Turner (Mick Jagger), a reclusive rock star, after a botched job.

As Chas and Turner’s worlds collide, their personalities and lifestyles begin to merge, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

The film was controversial upon its release due to its graphic violence, drug use, and sexual content.

It has since become a cult classic and has been noted for its innovative cinematography, experimental editing techniques, and groundbreaking use of music.

“Performance” is widely regarded as one of the most important British films of the 1970s and a landmark in the countercultural cinema movement of the era.

It has influenced numerous filmmakers and artists, and its impact can still be seen in contemporary cinema and pop culture.

Performance (1970)
  • Mick Jagger, James Fox, Anita Pallenberg (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

2. Walkabout (1971)

“Walkabout” is a 1971 British-Australian survival drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, and David Gulpilil.

The film tells the story of two siblings, a teenage girl and her younger brother, who become stranded in the Australian outback after their father commits suicide.

They encounter a young Aboriginal boy on his walkabout, a traditional rite of passage in which he must survive alone in the wilderness for several months.

As the trio travel through the harsh landscape, they face challenges of survival, cultural differences, and communication barriers.

The film explores themes of identity, colonialism, and the clash of cultures between Indigenous Australians and European settlers.

“Walkabout” was well-received critically upon its release and has since gained a cult following. It is known for its stunning cinematography, haunting soundtrack, and unconventional narrative structure.

The film has been noted for its exploration of the relationship between humans and nature, and its critique of modern civilization.

Walkabout (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Luc Roeg (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - Edward Bond (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

3. Don’t Look Now (1973)

“Don’t Look Now” is a psychological thriller film directed by Nicolas Roeg and released in 1973.

The movie stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a couple grieving the recent loss of their daughter. The film is based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier.

The story is set in Venice, Italy, where John and Laura Baxter are staying while John is restoring an old church.

They encounter two sisters, one of whom claims to be clairvoyant and tells Laura that she can see their daughter, who died in a drowning accident, and that she is happy and at peace.

Laura becomes obsessed with the idea of seeing her daughter’s spirit and starts to see ghostly images around Venice.

Meanwhile, John starts to have eerie premonitions of danger and death, and he becomes increasingly paranoid and protective of his wife.

The film builds to a tense and shocking climax, with twists and turns that leave the audience questioning what is real and what is imagined.

“Don’t Look Now” is often cited as a classic of the horror and thriller genres, praised for its atmospheric cinematography, innovative editing, and nuanced performances by Christie and Sutherland.

The film is also notable for its controversial sex scene, which caused controversy upon its release but has since been hailed as a groundbreaking portrayal of intimacy on screen.

Don't Look Now [DVD]
  • Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - Allan Scott (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” is a British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg and released in 1976. The film is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis.

It stars David Bowie as an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton who comes to Earth seeking water for his drought-stricken planet.

Newton arrives on Earth with advanced technology, which he plans to use to patent and sell in order to fund his mission.


He quickly becomes a wealthy industrialist and meets Mary-Lou, played by Candy Clark, with whom he develops a romantic relationship.

As Newton struggles to maintain his alien identity and his mission, he becomes embroiled in the corrupt world of human business and eventually succumbs to alcoholism and despair.

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” was a critical success and is regarded as a classic of the science fiction genre. It has been praised for its innovative direction, David Bowie’s performance, and its themes of alienation and the corrupting influence of power.

The Man Who Fell To Earth (Digitally Restored) [DVD] [1976]
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth ( 1976 )
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth ( 1976 )
  • David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - The Man Who Fell to Earth ( 1976 ) (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)

5. Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (1980)

“Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession” is a 1980 British psychological thriller film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, and Harvey Keitel.

The film explores the obsessive and destructive relationship between a psychologist named Alex Linden (Garfunkel) and a young woman named Milena Flaherty (Russell).

The story is told through a non-linear narrative structure that jumps back and forth in time, starting with Alex and Milena’s tumultuous relationship and then exploring their individual pasts and the events leading up to their meeting.

As their relationship becomes increasingly intense and dangerous, Alex finds himself struggling to maintain control and distance himself from Milena’s emotional hold over him.

The film deals with themes of love, obsession, and the blurred lines between desire and danger. It was controversial upon its release due to its explicit sexual content and disturbing subject matter, but has since been recognized as a bold and daring work of art.

Overall, “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores the darker aspects of human relationships and the consequences of our most intense desires.

Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession
  • Bad Timing (1980)
  • Bad Timing (1980)
  • Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

6. Eureka (1983)

“Eureka” is a film directed by Nicolas Roeg and released in 1983. The movie tells the story of a wealthy gold prospector named Jack McCann (Gene Hackman), who made his fortune in Canada and then moved to the Bahamas with his family.

However, he is haunted by the memory of a traumatic event from his past, and his relationships with his wife (Jane Lapotaire) and daughter (Theresa Russell) are strained.

When a group of gangsters offers to buy his land, he initially refuses but eventually succumbs to their offer. The rest of the film explores the consequences of his decision and the moral and emotional conflicts that arise.

“Eureka” is known for its nonlinear storytelling, dreamlike imagery, and thematic exploration of the corrupting power of wealth and the elusive nature of happiness.

The film received mixed reviews upon its release, but has since gained a cult following for its unique style and provocative themes.

  • Gene Hackman, Theresa Russell, Rutger Hauer (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - Marshall Houts (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

7. Insignificance (1985)

“Insignificance” is a British comedy-drama film released in 1985. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg and based on a play by Terry Johnson.

The film stars Michael Emil, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, and Tony Curtis.

The film is set in the 1950s and follows the interactions between four famous individuals: a physicist (Emil) modeled after Albert Einstein, an actress (Russell) modeled after Marilyn Monroe, a baseball player (Busey) modeled after Joe DiMaggio, and a Senator (Curtis) modeled after Joseph McCarthy.

These characters meet in a New York City hotel room and engage in philosophical, political, and personal discussions that reveal their true personalities and vulnerabilities.

Through its portrayal of these larger-than-life figures, “Insignificance” explores themes such as celebrity, identity, and the relationship between science and society.

The film is noted for its imaginative use of filmic language and visual metaphors, as well as its striking cinematography and editing.

While “Insignificance” was not a commercial success upon its release, it has since become a cult classic and has been recognized for its artistic merits.

It has also been praised for its performances, particularly Russell’s portrayal of the Marilyn Monroe-inspired character, which earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress.

Insignificance (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Insignificance (The Criterion Collection) - DVD Brand New
  • Michael Emil, Theresa Russell, Tony Curtis (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

8. Castaway (1986)

“Castaway” is a 1986 British drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohoe.

The film is loosely based on the real-life story of Lucy Irvine, who answered a personal ad and agreed to spend a year with a stranger on a remote island in the Pacific.

Reed plays Gerald Kingsland, a middle-aged writer who advertises for a female companion to join him on a deserted island. Donohoe plays Lucy Irvine, a young woman who responds to his ad and agrees to accompany him.

Once on the island, the two must learn to survive and adapt to their new environment, facing challenges of loneliness, hunger, and personal conflicts.

The film explores themes of isolation, human connection, and the struggle for survival in a harsh and unforgiving environment.

It also examines the psychological effects of prolonged solitude and the complex dynamics that can arise between two strangers forced to rely on each other for survival.

“Castaway” received mixed reviews upon its release, but has since gained a cult following for its haunting portrayal of human relationships and the struggle to survive in the face of extreme adversity.

  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

9. Aria (1987)

“Aria” is a British anthology film released in 1987, consisting of ten short films directed by ten different directors, each set to a different opera aria.

The film features a mix of established and emerging directors, including Robert Altman, Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Russell, and Derek Jarman, among others.

Each segment of the film is set to a different aria, and the directors were given complete creative freedom to interpret the music as they saw fit.

The segments vary widely in tone and style, ranging from surreal and abstract to dramatic and operatic.

The film features an all-star cast, including Theresa Russell, Bridget Fonda, Beverly D’Angelo, and Elizabeth Hurley, among others.

The stories told in each segment are often emotional and intense, exploring themes of love, death, passion, and loss.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its release, “Aria” has since become a cult classic, praised for its innovative approach to storytelling and its celebration of the power of opera.

The film’s unique format and eclectic mix of directors and actors have made it a memorable and enduring piece of cinema history.

Aria [DVD]
  • John Hurt, Bridget Fonda, Elizabeth Hurley (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

10. Track 29 (1988)

“Track 29” is a dark comedy-drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and released in 1988. The film stars Theresa Russell as Linda Henry, a woman who becomes increasingly frustrated with her husband, Henry Henry (played by Christopher Lloyd), and her life in a small town in North Carolina.

One day, Linda meets a British man named Martin (played by Gary Oldman), who claims to be her son, given up for adoption years ago.

Martin is eccentric and manipulative, and he quickly disrupts Linda’s already troubled life. As their relationship becomes more intense, Linda begins to question Martin’s true identity and motivations.

The film explores themes of identity, motherhood, and the power of memory. It received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising Roeg’s direction and Oldman’s performance, while others criticized the film’s plot and pacing.

Despite its mixed reception, “Track 29” has gained a cult following over the years, and is considered by some to be an overlooked gem in Roeg’s filmography.

11. The Witches (1990)

“The Witches” is a 1990 dark fantasy comedy film directed by Nicolas Roeg, based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl.


The film stars Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch, who leads a coven of witches in a plan to turn all the children in England into mice.

The story follows a young orphan boy named Luke (Jasen Fisher) who teams up with his grandmother (Mai Zetterling) and a friendly hotel maid (Rowan Atkinson) to stop the witches’ evil scheme.

The film is known for its innovative use of prosthetic makeup and practical effects, which bring the witches to life in a delightfully creepy and grotesque manner.

Huston’s performance as the Grand High Witch is also widely praised, as she fully embodies the character’s sinister and malevolent nature.

“The Witches” is a fun and spooky film that is suitable for children and adults alike, with its mix of humor and horror.

It remains a beloved classic of children’s literature adaptation, and has since been remade in 2020 as a HBO Max original movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, with Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch.

The Witches (1990)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director) - Allan Scott (Writer) - Mark Shivas (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

12. Cold Heaven (1991)

“Cold Heaven” is a film directed by Nicolas Roeg and released in 1991. The movie tells the story of a young woman named Marie Davenport (Theresa Russell), who believes that her husband (Mark Harmon) has died in a plane crash while on a business trip in Mexico.

She receives a visit from a priest (Will Patton) who tells her that her husband is actually alive and living in Mexico with another woman. Marie decides to travel to Mexico to confront her husband and to uncover the truth about his supposed death.

As Marie’s journey unfolds, she experiences a series of strange and mystical events, including vivid hallucinations and encounters with people who may or may not be real.

Roeg’s signature use of nonlinear storytelling and dreamlike imagery are on full display in “Cold Heaven,” as the film blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.

The movie explores themes of love, loss, faith, and redemption, and features strong performances from its cast, particularly Theresa Russell as the conflicted and determined Marie.

While not as well-known as some of Roeg’s earlier works, “Cold Heaven” is a fascinating and thought-provoking film that showcases the director’s unique vision and storytelling style.

Cold Heaven
  • Theresa Russell, Mark Harmon, Talia Shire (Actors)
  • Nicolas Roeg (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

13. Two Deaths (1995)

“Two Deaths” is a British drama film released in 1995. It was directed by Nicolas Roeg and stars Michael Gambon, Sonia Braga, Patrick Malahide, and Nickolas Grace.

The film is set in a fictional Eastern European country in the late 1980s and follows the story of Daniel Pavenic (Gambon), a British doctor who works at a hospital in the capital city.

When a former patient, Mrs. Irena Brankovic (Braga), dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Daniel is drawn into a web of political intrigue and personal relationships that challenge his values and beliefs.

Through its portrayal of the complex social and political landscape of Eastern Europe during the Cold War era, “Two Deaths” explores themes such as power, corruption, and the human cost of totalitarian regimes.

The film is noted for its atmospheric visuals, including its use of stark black-and-white imagery, and its unconventional storytelling techniques, which blend dream sequences and flashbacks with present-day action.

While “Two Deaths” received mixed reviews upon its release, it has since been recognized for its artistic merits and its commentary on historical events.

The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 1995 Venice Film Festival and has been praised for its performances, particularly Gambon’s portrayal of the conflicted and disillusioned protagonist.

Two Deaths
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

14. Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball (2007)

“Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball” is a 2007 British supernatural drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Kelly Reilly, Miranda Richardson, and Donald Sutherland.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Fay Weldon.

The story follows Liffey, a young and ambitious architect who moves to a remote Irish village with her husband Richard.

While working on a renovation project for a local farmer, Liffey becomes embroiled in a series of supernatural events involving witchcraft, fertility, and the mysterious power of a nearby puffball mushroom.

As Liffey becomes more involved with the local community and their beliefs, her relationship with Richard becomes strained, and she begins to question her own sanity as the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur.

The film explores themes of femininity, fertility, and the supernatural, as well as the tensions between modernity and tradition in rural communities. It has been noted for its visually striking cinematography and atmospheric soundtrack.

“Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its haunting atmosphere and unconventional storytelling, while others found it confusing and disjointed.

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3 Characteristics of Nicolas Roeg Films

Nicolas Roeg was a highly influential British film director known for his unique and innovative approach to filmmaking. Some of the key characteristics of his films include:

Nonlinear narrative structure: Roeg’s films often use nonlinear storytelling techniques, with events presented out of chronological order or in a fragmented way.

This allows the audience to experience the story in a more subjective and impressionistic manner, emphasizing the emotional and psychological impact of the events rather than their literal sequence.

Use of symbolism and metaphor: Roeg’s films frequently incorporate rich and complex symbolism, often drawn from literary or religious sources.

These symbols and metaphors can be used to explore themes of identity, mortality, and spirituality, as well as to add layers of meaning and depth to the story.

Bold visual style: Roeg’s films are often characterized by their striking and unconventional visual style, with a focus on bold colors, unusual camera angles, and innovative editing techniques.

Roeg was known for his use of natural light and his ability to create a dreamlike or hallucinatory atmosphere on screen, which added to the otherworldly quality of his films.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Nicolas Roeg Films

Innovative Filmmaking Techniques: Nicolas Roeg was known for his innovative and unconventional filmmaking techniques, such as his use of non-linear narrative structures, jarring editing techniques, and visual metaphors.

His films often blurred the line between reality and fantasy, creating a unique and immersive cinematic experience.

Compelling Storytelling: Roeg’s films often tackled complex and thought-provoking themes, such as the nature of identity, the human psyche, and the impact of time on our lives.

His films were not just visually stunning, but also offered compelling and intellectually stimulating narratives.

Iconic Performances: Roeg’s films often featured iconic performances from some of the most talented actors of their time, such as David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and Anjelica Huston in “The Witches”.

Roeg had a talent for drawing out powerful and nuanced performances from his actors, creating unforgettable characters that have stood the test of time.

In summary, Nicolas Roeg’s films offer a unique and unforgettable cinematic experience, with their innovative filmmaking techniques, compelling storytelling, and iconic performances.

If you are a fan of thought-provoking and visually stunning films, Roeg’s films are definitely worth checking out.

Best Nicolas Roeg Films – Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Nicolas Roeg was a visionary director who pushed the boundaries of traditional storytelling and film-making.

His use of non-linear narrative structures, dreamlike imagery, and innovative editing techniques created films that were often challenging but always visually stunning and thematically rich.

Some of his most acclaimed works include “Don’t Look Now,” “Performance,” “Walkabout,” “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” and “Bad Timing.”

These films explored themes of memory, identity, time, and the human condition, and featured standout performances from actors such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Julie Christie, and Donald Sutherland.

While not as well-known as some of his other works, “Eureka” and “Cold Heaven” also showcase Roeg’s unique storytelling style and thematic depth.

Roeg’s films continue to inspire and influence contemporary filmmakers, and his contributions to cinema will be remembered for years to come.