Terry Gilliam Movies Ranked

11. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Review

An acclaimed but frustrated film director (Adam Driver) meets a man who believes himself to be the real knight Don Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) and is swept along by his vivid delusions until they are both put in mortal peril.

The film that became the byword for development hell, Terry Gilliam’s passion project adaptation of Cervantes’ iconic comedy parable ended up taking nearly three decades to come to fruition and has a making-of story (2002 doc Lost in La Mancha) that is far more interesting than the final product.

If you were being kind you’d call this “flawed but fascinating”. Gilliam’s always top-notch production design and a couple of good performances from Driver and Pryce (who had to step in after 2 previously cast Quixote actors died) don’t make up for some really strange adaptation decisions that plain don’t work, not to mention the unshakeable sense that this was always too ambitious a project even for the film industry’s own Quixote.

10. Time Bandits (1981)

Time Bandits Review

A young boy (Craig Warnock) with his head in the clouds is transported from his bedroom on a gang of dwarves’ (including Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis) time-travelling heist adventure.

Your enjoyment of Time Bandits will depend largely on your sense of humour and your tolerance of bright-eyed movie kids on wacky journeys of imagination.

As usual with a Gilliam film this is designed to within an inch of its life and loses its way somewhere in its sequence of madcap sketches, but is most fondly remembered for some memorable character actor performances. John Cleese plays Robin Hood like he was a visiting royal, Ian Holm is a bitter brat of a Napoleon and David Warner steals the show as a dastardly sorcerer simply called Evil Genius.

Recommended for you: Peter Weir Films Ranked

9. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

“A film from Heath Ledger and friends.”

A sideshow magician (Christopher Plummer) and his troupe take in an amnesiac man (Heath Ledger) they find hanging below a bridge in London and with his help begin to open their audience’s minds like never before.

By the mid-2000s, Heath Ledger was quickly becoming Terry Gilliam’s acting muse and surely would have collaborated with him on any number more fascinating projects had he not tragically passed away aged 28 midway through filming Doctor Parnassus.

The film is a surreal ride that operates on dream logic and checks off most of Gilliam’s directorial trademarks one by one. The course of the story might become a little hard to grasp by the end but this is still a fittingly imaginative, visually dazzling tribute to Ledger sensitively completed by the creatives closest to him – Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell all portraying different dream versions of Ledger’s Tony to account for his real-world absence.

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