Wes Anderson films are instantly recognisable. Each comes with its own colour palette and rhythm. The worlds and characters he has created over his nearly thirty-year career are memorable, loveable, and oh-so unusual.
His work tackles many classic themes, such as dysfunctional families, love, loss, and grief, but Wes Anderson’s eccentric style means these stories stand out from the crowd. Whole websites are dedicated to his unique visual style, and his ability to engage and capture the imagination of his audience shows no sign of ebbing.
Wes Anderson has directed eleven films, all of which have received critical acclaim and an ever-growing fanbase. In this edition of Ranked, we at The Film Magazine are analysing each and evaluating them in terms of artistic merit, critical reception, and public perception, for this: Wes Anderson Movies Ranked.
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11. Rushmore (1998)
A passionate but somewhat lacking student, Max (Jason Schwartzman), tries to find his way in a school where he just doesn’t fit in. Max is in love with his teacher (Olivia Williams), who is in turn in love with Herman J. Blume (Bill Murray). Herman is a parent at the school and inexplicably Max’s best friend. Max doesn’t handle this rejection well and tries to wreak revenge in his own offbeat way.
It is a conventional story told in a conventional style but with flashes of Anderson starting to seep in. Rushmore is not as highly stylised – or at least in a way which feels grounded in realism – but remains recognisable as a Wes Anderson film.
Rushmore is a steppingstone of a film. It’s easy to see how Anderson progressed from this to his more experimental style. Rushmore, while charming and funny, lacks the ambition and scope of Anderson’s later features.
10. Bottle Rocket (1996)
In partnership with Owen and Luke Wilson, Bottle Rocket is Wes Anderson’s feature directorial debut.
It follows a group of complicated friends as they plan what should be a simple heist. Even though this is his first film, there are so many Anderson trademarks – a protagonist with questionable motives, a motley crew of people not quite up to dealing with the world around them, fast dialogue, humour, strange details that build to make a somewhat surreal reality.
While it is clear that we are in safe hands, Anderson’s style has not developed to its full majesty yet and that is why his debut finds itself towards the bottom of this ranking.
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