Top Ten Stanley Kubrick Movies

Stanley Kubrick is without a doubt one of the greatest minds ever to grace cinema and arguably the most important and influential. Kubrick has crafted masterpieces under almost every genre known to film; War, horror, romance, comedy, sci-fi, heist, sword and sandal epic, just to name a few. He made movies that no one else thought possible. He lived by his quote, “If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed.”

Obviously, with such an extensive resume, its an almost impossible task to pick out your favorites and order them. It really depends on your mood when it comes to Kubrick because he is probably the most versatile director there’s ever been. After much deliberation I’ve given it my best shot.

10. The Killing

One of Kubrick’s first films is his take on the often difficult story to tell. The story of the ins and outs of a heist. The film is fast-paced, thought out and complete with the involving characters and the twists you’d expect in a film such as this. The Killing is a great movie, but it was really just a baby step in the genius’ illustrious career.

9. Eyes Wide Shut

This oddity was certainly one to be remembered if only for the fact that it was his last film. Its the telling of one mans night of sex and madness after finding out his wife almost cheated on him. Eyes Wide Shut is arguably Kubrick’s strangest film and that is saying something, but despite that, it is rather enjoyable. Also deserves props for being one of the view movies to actually hold a decent performance by Tom Cruise.

8. Paths of Glory

Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war phenomena usually flies under the radar, but I love every engrossing moment. This is mostly due to the outstanding performance Kirk Douglas displays. Tells an almost tear-jerking tale of men who are sentenced to death, basically for refusing to commit suicide. It was a fantastic take on war and its destructive outcomes.

7. Barry Lyndon

The epic tragedy of one mans rise and fall is one you won’t want to miss. Kubrick, along with each performer, goes the extra mile in each moment of the film, making it one of the most realistic period pieces I’ve ever seen. Barry’s life is interesting, memorable, entertaining and above all else, real. Everything is so impeccably believable, you feel more as if your watching a documentary.

6. Spartacus

Stanley Kubrick’s sword and sandal epic is nothing short of a masterpiece. The story of the gladiator Spartacus who leads an army of slaves is a story needed to be told and told well. No one could have done it better than with the grace of Stanley Kubrick and the powerhouse actor that is Kirk Douglas. Has too many memorable sequences to even count.

5. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite comedies of all time. Its just one hilarious and memorable scene after another. Its packed with with some of the greatest comedic characters ever put on screen and a lot of them are played by the same person (Peter Sellers). George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden are also give stand out performances. And who could forget Major Kong and his ride of a lifetime. A fantastic achievement in film that should not be missed.

4. A Clockwork Orange

Its very difficult for me to put this masterpiece at number 4. A Clockwork Orange is the morbid and sensational look into society’s obsession with violence and moral choice. Who better to take us on this morbid, intense and above all else insane journey than the one of the most twisted characters ever put on screen, Alex DeLarge, expertly played by Malcolm McDowell. One of the most controversial films ever released and also one of the most enjoyable.

3. Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a fantastic achievement not only for being a full-fledged piece of entertainment, but also for being possibly the most realistic war movie ever made. From the terror of boot-camp to the hell of combat, Kubrick takes us on an amazing journey through the psychology of killing. I can also gurantee enjoyment from watching R. Lee Ermey in the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey

The greatest sci-fi movie of all time. Period. Star Wars doesn’t even come close to this monumental epic. What I wouldn’t give to be there for its release in 1968. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the story of the life and times of not just one of us, but all of us. It’s the character study of man himself. Its the monumental look into the past, present and future. An epic masterpiece, that will stand the test of time until the end of time itself.

1. The Shining

The Shining is one of the greatest movies ever created and by far the greatest horror films of all time. There are so many different ways you can look at this masterpiece and each of them are enjoyable. It can be viewed as a simple haunted house (actually in this case, secluded hotel) tale. You can look at it as one mans complex decent into insanity. Or you could look at from the point of view of a boy attempting to survive in a world of madness. Has the greatest setting known to film. The monumental and horrifying Overlook Hotel is just as memorable as Jack Nicholson’s transformation from good father to pure evil.

There’s always something more you can enjoy with each view; ┬áTorrance’s conversations with the eerie bartender, Lloyd, when we get to read the novel he’s been working on and of course arguably the most famous quote of all time, “Here’s Johnny!”, there’s so much enjoyment you can get out of this terrifying masterpiece. The Shining is nothing short of perfect.

 

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22 thoughts on “Top Ten Stanley Kubrick Movies

  1. Well-written list here, although I still have a lot of Kubrick to catch up on. Out of the Kubrick films I’ve seen, I’d have to say either The Shining or A Clockwork Orange is my favorite. The first half of Full Metal Jacket is some of the best filmmaking I’ve ever seen, but the second half was a completely different movie, in an unsatisfying way. Once R. Lee Ermey left the movie, it lost a whole lot in my opinion.

  2. I love all of Full Metal Jacket. Sure the first half is incredibly enjoyable, but I also love the realistic combat in the second half and the apathetic killing that takes place. A full fledged masterpiece all around.

  3. I got scared when I didn’t see 2001 in the bottom eight. I thought you went crazy and decided it was the best, I would’ve killed you… at a hotel in the snow.

    Also, that’s no trailer. That is credits.

  4. how did they create such effects in 1968 ??

    With a blue screen just like Star Wars. 2001 pioneered the technology. Kubrick won his only Oscar for photographic effects on that film.

  5. for the most part, I would agree with this list; however, I don think, even though it is an exceptional film, “The Shinning” should be at #1. Because of its genre, I think the film is limited in its overall themes. With 2001, Kubrick is able to tackle themes and characters that are completely universal, far more complex and deeper into the marrow of the human spirit: Its completely terrifying, hopeful and everything in-between. I love the movies conciet, and its humble conclusions.

    • I agree with you Alex. I would put the shining at number 4.
      1) 2001 Space Odyssey
      2) Paths of glory (best anti-war movie ever)
      3) Dr.Strangelove (best satirical movie ever)
      4) The Shining (best horror movie ever)
      5) Clockwork Orange
      6) Barry Lyndon (best period movie ever)
      7) The Killing (a forgotten masterpiece)
      8) Full Metal Jacket
      9) Eyes Wide shut (Did not like it in the first viewing, but slowly tends to grow on you)
      10) Spartacus and Lolita (could not leave Lolita out)

      2001 is undoubtedly at no. 1 because as ridley scott mentioned in an interview that the movie killed sci-fi genre because of its awesomeness. But i would place all his movies at top 50 movies of all time because most of his films are genre defining and he directed only 16 movies throughout his career. I personally feel no one could make a movie like Kubrick. Yes some come close but no one can touch him for his craft.

  6. Haven’t seen all of Kubrick’s movies, but of those I have, this list is OK. I think A Clockwork Orange beats Full Metal Jacket, but The Shining is a worthy #1.

  7. The Shining is a WORTHY Number 1!!!! Great going with that choice. Arguably one of the 5 best films ever made, up there with Goodfellas, The Godfather, Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind. Just amazing.

  8. I’m rather disappointed ‘Spartacus’ didnt make top 5 but ‘ The shining’ or ‘The clockwork Orange’ definitely deserved to be no.1..indeed i view ‘The clockwork orange’ as an even better, realistic & grimmer view of the future than 2001..which though is a great movie obviously.In my view loses out to sheer horror faced by Alex deLarge albeit the ending is the ‘happy & all’s well that ends well’ type which actually took away from rest of the movie’s mood..that apart..’The Shining’ would also make the grade in my books because it has 2 GREAT things..1 is jack nicholson at his VERY best…2 is a story that was unique then & is even now which shows a real creative vision! apart from that..i’m glad Dr. Strangelove made it! good list overall!

  9. I don’t consider Eyes Wide Shut as one of his many great masterpiece. I think Lolita deserve a spot on that Top Ten list and Spartacus on the bottom list.

  10. I have seen the last 6 movies that Mr Kobrick has directed. And my favorite one is A clock work Orange. I will in the near future try too see the rest of his works. A great director i and look forward to seeing the rest of his films.

  11. Interesting list, but a lot of the statements you make are pretty far fetched. Like saying The Shining is “by far the greatest horror films of all time.” lol Thanks for the laugh.
    But I am aware that you are just stating your opinion, and that’s really all it is, just your opinion.
    I honestly thought that the Shining was Kubrick’s most overrated film, and that’s my opinion!

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  13. THE SHINING DIDNT DO JUSTICE TO THE KING BOOK SO HARD TO ADAPT WHAT SOME ONE READS TO WHAT SOMEONE SEES JACK ADLIBS WERE CUTE BUT DIDNT DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO MAKE HIS FANS HAPPY

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