Kenneth Branagh is one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers and actors.
Below, we’ve rounded up the 10 best Kenneth Branagh movies as either a director or actor, ranked according to Rotten Tomatoes!
Kenneth Branagh Biography
Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh (/ˈbrænə/BRAN-ə; born 10 December 1960) is a British actor and filmmaker. Born in Belfast and raised primarily in Berkshire, Branagh trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has served as its president since 2015. He has directed and starred in numerous projects on stage and screen. He has won an Academy Award, four BAFTAs, two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Olivier Award. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours, and was given Freedom of the City in his native Belfast in 2018. In 2020, he was ranked in 20th place on The Irish Times’ list of Ireland’s greatest film actors.
Most recently, Branagh wrote and directed “Belfast,” a poignant story of love, laughter, and loss in one boy’s childhood amid the social tumult of the late 1960s. Nominated for 11 Critics Choice Awards and 7 Golden Globe Awards®, the film stars Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, and Ciaran Hinds and introduces 10-year-old Jude Hill.
Branagh was most recently seen co-starring in Christopher Nolan’s latest feature“Oppenheimer,” opposite Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey, Jr., and Emily Blunt. He also appeared in Nolan’s “Tenet,” alongside John David Washington and Robert Pattinson for Warner Bros.
Prior, Branagh directed, produced, and starred in “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the OrientExpress,” mystery films based on novels of the same name by Agatha Christie, in which Branagh plays Hercule Poirot, a world-renowned detective.
Most notably, Branagh played the crucial role of Commander Bolton in Christopher Nolan’s epicfilm “Dunkirk.” At the 90th Academy Awards, this film received a total of 8 Academy Award®nominations and was awarded the top prize for best sound editing, best sound mixing, and best film editing. The additional five nominations included best picture, best director, best cinematography, best original score, and best production design. Additionally, Branagh played Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn,” opposite Michelle Williams and directed by Simon Curtis. The role earned Branagh an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, as well as a Golden Globe® and Screen Actors Guild® nomination. This marked Branagh’s fifth career Academy Award nomination, making him one of the first actors to receive five nominations in five separate categories (actor, supporting actor, director, screenplay, and short).
Previously for film, Branagh directed and starred in the critically acclaimed “All is True,” alongside Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, in a film written by Ben Elton about William Shakespeare’s later years. He also directed the live-action “Cinderella” for Disney. The critically acclaimed film starred Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, and Helena Bonham Carter. Branagh also directed the newest installment of Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan” franchise for Paramount in 2014, in which he also starred alongside Chris Pine and Keira Knightley. Additionally, he played and co-directed the live-taping stage version of “Macbeth” for the Manchester International Festival in the summer of 2013. Additionally, he directed the Marvel action-adventure, “Thor,” starring Natalie Portman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Chris Hemsworth. The film grossed over $448 million worldwide.
Branagh’s first venture into filmmaking met instant success. His 1989 production of “Henry V,” which he adapted from Shakespeare and both starred in and directed, won a score of international awards, including Academy Award® nominations for best actor and best director. He followed that by directing and acting in “Dead Again,” which was a huge international hit, and next directed himself in the ensemble film “Peter’s Friends,” which won the Evening Standard Peter Sellers Award for Comedy. Branagh’ssecond Shakespearean film success as actor, director, writer, and producer, was “Much Ado About Nothing,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the same year, his short film of the Chekhov play “Swan Song” received an Academy Award nomination. He went on to direct Robert De Niro in the commercial hit “MaryShelley’s Frankenstein,” and his black and white film “A Midwinter’s Tale,” opened the 1996Sundance Film Festival and won the prestigious Osello d’Oro at the Venice Film Festival.Branagh’s critically acclaimed full-length version of “Hamlet” in 70mm, received four Academy Award nominations, including best music, best production design, best costume design, and best writing (adapted screenplay), for which he was personally nominated. His fourth Shakespeare film adaptation was a 1930’s musical version of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” More recently, Branagh directed HBO Films’ “As You Like, It,” a film of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” and “Sleuth,” written by Harold Pinter and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine.
His other film work includes acting roles in Pat O’Connor’s “A Month in the Country”; OliverParker’s “Othello”; Robert Altman’s “The Gingerbread Man”; Woody Allen’s “Celebrity”; DannyBoyle’s “Alien Love Triangle”; Paul Greengrass’s “The Theory of Flight”; Barry Sonnenfeld’s “WildWild West”; Philip Noyce’s “Rabbit Proof Fence”; “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”; the Richard Curtis comedy, “Pirate Radio”; and Bryan Singer’s “Valkyrie.” Branagh has appeared in several outstanding television dramas, including a recent turn as Detective Kurt Wallander in the BAFTA-winning series “Wallander,” which earned him Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominations. He has also starred in the title role of “Shakelton” for Channel 4; A&E’s “Conspiracy,” for which he won an Emmy® for best actor and earned a Golden Globe nomination; “Warm Springs,” in which he played FDR and was nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award®.
Outside of his roles on screen, Branagh maintains a strong connection to the theatre. In 2016, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company took up a year-long residency at London’s Garrick Theatre. The sold-out season began with “The Winter’s Tale” with Branagh and Judi Dench,“ Romeo and Juliet” with Lily James, Richard Madden and Derek Jacobi, “Red Velvet” with Adrian Lester, the comedy “The Painkiller” with Branagh and Rob Brydon and finished with JohnOsborne’s “The Entertainer” with Branagh in the lead role. Past theatre credits include “Hamlet,” which he directed and starred Tom Hiddleston, as part of a fund-raising campaign for the RoyalAcademy of Dramatic Art, and his first New York stage acting debut in June 2014 at the ParkAvenue Armory’s rendition of “Macbeth.”
Branagh’s stage work began when he made his West End acting debut in “Another Country,” which earned him the Society of West End Theater’s Award for most promising new comer. He founded the Renaissance Theatre Company for whom he either starred in or directed the following works: “Twelfth Night,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet,” “LookBack in Anger,” “Uncle Vanya,” “King Lear,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Coriolanus” and“The Life of Napoleon.” He also wrote the plays “Public Enemy” and “Tell Me Honestly.”Branagh’s numerous stage appearances include the RSC’s “Henry V,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and“Hamlet.” His more recent theatrical endeavors include directing the hit stage comedy “The PlayWhat I Wrote,” which transferred from London’s West End to Broadway where it received aTony® nomination, and five-star performances on the British stage in “Richard III,” Mamet’s“Edmond,” “Ivanov” and the new comedy “Painkiller,” in the opening season at the New LyricTheatre, Belfast, Branagh’s hometown. Branagh is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal. He succeeded Lord Attenborough as president of RADA in the summer of 2015. He received the prestigious Michael Balcon Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for outstanding contributions to cinema. In 2012 he received a Knighthood for his services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland. And this year, Belfast awarded him with their Freedom of the City.
Kenneth Branagh Filmography
|2023||Oppenheimer (2023)||Niels Bohr|
|2023||A Haunting in Venice (2023)||Hercule Poirot|
|2022||Death on the Nile (2022)||Hercule Poirot|
|2022||Fireheart (2022)||Shawn Nolan|
|2021||Belfast (2021)||Director, Producer, Screenwriter|
|2020||Artemis Fowl (2020)||Director, Producer|
|2018||All is True||William Shakespeare|
|2017||Murder on the Orient Express (2017)||Hercule Poirot|
|2017||Dunkirk (2017)||Commander Bolton|
|2015||Cinderella: An IMAX Experience (2015)||Director|
|2014||Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit||Viktor Cherevin|
|2012||Stars in Shorts||Mark Snow|
|2011||My Week With Marilyn||Laurence Olivier|
|2011||Marvel Studios 10th: Thor: An IMAX 3D Experience||Director|
|2008||Valkyrie||Henning von Tresckow|
|2006||As You Like It||Actor, Director, Executive Producer, Producer, Screenwriter|
|2006||The Magic Flute (2009)||Director, Screenwriter|
|2005||The Goebbels Experiment||Narrator|
|2005||Warm Springs||Franklin Delano Roosevelt|
|2004||Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic||Narrator|
|2004||Five Children and It||Uncle Albert|
|2002||Rabbit-Proof Fence||Mr. Neville|
|2002||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||Gilderoy Lockhart|
|2002||The Tramp and the Dictator||Himself/Narrator|
|2000||The Road to El Dorado||Miguel|
|2000||How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog||Peter McGowan|
|2000||Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces||Narrator|
|2000||Love Labour’s Lost||Berowne|
|1999||Wild Wild West||Dr. Arliss Loveless|
|1998||The Gingerbread Man||Rick Magruder|
|1996||Hamlet – NT Live 10th Anniversary||Hamlet|
|1995||Anne Frank Remembered||Narrator|
|1995||The Shadow of a Gunman||Donal Davoren|
|1995||A Midwinter’s Tale||Director, Writer|
|1994||Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein||Victor Frankenstein|
|1993||Much Ado About Nothing (1993)||Seigneur Benedick|
|1993||Swing Kids (1993)||Herr Knopp|
|1991||Dead Again||Roman Strauss/Mike Church|
|1987||A Month In The Country||James Moon|
|1987||Fortunes of War||Guy Pringle|