One of the most successful and famous British directors in the last three decades is Danny Boyle who with his interesting and diverse movies definitely intrigued us many times. Crime movies, dramas and comedies, he covered almost everything, even science fiction and horrors. And what is most important is that he remained true to his personal expression and always stayed original.
It is difficult to choose Boyle’s movie which we would certainly recommend since almost all of them are worth watching and each of them has something to remember it by. With excellent storytelling, interesting characters and superb casting choices, Danny Boyle is a director who will definitely bring us many more movies we will enjoy in the future. We made an effort and managed to list his masterpieces, making a subjective list. Here are all 13 Danny Boyle movies ranked.
13. A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
This is not a bad movie but is definitely one of the weakest in Boyle’s rich cinematography. Ewan McGregor is excellent as usual, being Boyle’s first casting choice for many years. And the chemistry between him and Cameron Diaz is superb. They play an unusual couple who get to know each other during a journey on which McGregor, i.e.Robert set off after he kidnapped his boss’ daughter.
Cameron Diaz plays Celine who becomes the victim of a disappointed cleaning man who gets fired after being replaced by a robot. At first, she would do anything to escape Robert, but after two angels who are in charge of human relationships on Earth decide to bring them together, she slowly starts seeing Robert’s other side and step by step their relationship begins to change.
Funny and witty, this romantic comedy was definitely something new in that genre at the time. With fantastical elements and great acting, performed by some of the best supporting actors, this movie will give you a few laughs and warm your heart.
12. The Beach (2000)
Based on a famous and well-accepted Alex Garland’s novel, The Beach is an interesting journey into both the natural and human unknown. Leonardo di Caprio plays a young traveller, Richard who spends his time on Thailand, enjoying everything this island has to offer. When he finds a map drawn by his strange neighbour who committed suicide, Richard decides to find this hidden island paradise he saw on it.
He sets off with a French couple he met in his hotel and soon they find themselves in different situations, including an affair, meeting unusual and strange people and slowly realising they might be in danger. This movie gained mixed reviews, often pretty negative which might be due to its somewhat weird atmosphere and an unnecessarily long sequence that maybe doesn’t belong there. But it is still an interesting experience, once again thanks to brilliant performances by the leading actors.
11. Trance (2013)
In this psychological thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson, Simon, a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a gang to restore the stolen masterpiece by Francisco Goya. But the most interesting thing is that Simon is the one who is responsible for hiding the painting but he doesn’t remember where he put it. The gang decides to send him to a hypnotherapist to help him get his memory back.
He chooses Elizabeth Lamb as his therapist who during his hypnotic trance discovers some more information about him. She finds out he lied to her telling her he needs to remember where he put some keys and by the second session she does her homework and finds out everything about him and the theft. When he confesses he is in danger, she promises to help him.
10. Yesterday (2019)
This sweet romantic comedy with fantastic elements is a homage to The Beatles and their music. It follows the story of Jack Malik, a frustrated musician whose musical career isn’t moving anywhere. On the night when Jack decides to give up on everything, the world is hit by a huge blackout during which Jack gets hit by a bus.
He wakes up in a world where no one seems to know any Beatles’ songs so Jack decides to claim he wrote each of them, after he witnesses the delight others express when he plays them. He becomes a world musical sensation but also slowly drifts apart from his friend and manager Ellie who has always had faith in him. Jack will soon have to decide what to do with his life and career.
9. Millions (2004)
This movie shows us what people are capable of, what ethics and being human can bring to others and how a small gesture can change everything. It is set to the time when the UK is about to switch its currency from Pounds to Euros which gives one gang a possibility to rob the poorly-secured train loaded with money.
But during the robbery, one of the bags falls from the train on a little boy’s playhouse. Damian decides to keep the money and starts making small good deeds, such as taking beggars to Pizza Hut. But his brother begins to do the complete opposite. Soon this movie is going to represent a big problem, with everyone trying to get their hands on it. But Damian will learn a valuable lesson about people and life in general.
8. Steve Jobs (2015)
This biographical drama tells the story of one of the most brilliant minds of our time. It will bring us closer to this fascinating man and his views and struggles which will eventually affect his family and possibly his health. Steve Jobs was a genius and his brilliance changed the digital era, but not without personal consequences.
The story unfolds backstage and ends with the unveiling of the Mac in 1998. This powerful and emotional drama was a big hit. It is an interesting story of a genius man who couldn’t always keep up with everything in his life, so his closest often suffered. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet gave outstanding performances which brought them Oscar nominations for best performances in leading and supporting roles.
7. T2 Trainspotting (2017)
A sequel to one of the most famous and unforgettable Boyle’s movies, if not the best, Trainspotting. Although it will never reach the popularity and uniqueness of its first part, it is still a great movie which will take us back to Edinburgh, twenty years after everything happened. Mark Renton comes back to the only place he can ever call home.
And his best friends are waiting for him, Spike, Sickboy and Begbie. But something else is also waiting there, his problems which slowly start welcoming him back. Self-destruction, insecurity, sorrow, loss, vengeance, love, hatred, fear and regret are only some of them. A very good sequel to a masterpiece that we never forgot, T2 takes us back to the beginning since nothing has really changed.
6. Sunshine (2007)
Danny Boyle’s journey into Sci-Fi proved to be an excellent idea since Sunshine is an interesting and intense movie where the audience feels as if they are a part of this astronaut crew who is sent to space to revive the Sun. It is 50 years from now and the Sun begins to die, with Earth doing the same as a result of it.
The first team of astronauts failed and now we meet a new one, seven years after the first attempt. They are human’s last hope and their task is extremely difficult. It becomes even more difficult when one of the crew calculates that they have enough oxygen only for four of their five members. Based on another novel by Alex Garland, this movie will give you shivers and won’t let you rest for a minute. It is very dark and atmospheric, once again with an excellent cast and brilliant directing.
5. Shallow Grave (1994)
Danny Boyle’s first movie was released in the theatres and was immediately a great success. It is a story about three friends who share a huge secret. Set in a flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, where three friends search for a new flatmate. After they interviewed and accepted one of the candidates they found him dead in his room almost immediately after he moved in.
But this is not the only thing they find. They discover a bag with a huge amount of money in it and decide to keep it. And this is when their problems start to arise. There are men who search for this bag and while trying to hide it, three best friends slowly start turning one against the other.
Slow and atmospheric, Shallow Grave is an example of a perfect slow-burning thriller where nothing is as expected. The first collaboration between Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor resulted in their mutual respect and awe and was a stepping stone for more fabulous masterpieces. Christopher Ecclestone and Kerry Fox make a great trio together with McGregor and are definitely one of the highlights of this movie.
4. 127 Hours (2010)
This remarkable and heartbreaking true story takes us to an isolated canyon in Utah where a mountain climber Aron Ralston gets trapped after a fallen boulder falls on his arm. We follow his survival for the next five days during which Ralston will have enough time to ponder on his life, people in it, friends and lovers, even some strangers he met on the way there.
Will Ralston be strong enough to get himself out of this situation, since no one knows where he is and no one can find him? Will these two hikers he met on the way up be the last people he saw? Ralston will have to face his destiny and decide what is the best to do in this terrifying situation. James Franco did an outstanding job as this skilful hiker which got him an Oscar nomination, along with five more this movie received.
3. 28 Days Later (2002)
One of the best horror movies in the last two decades, 28 Days Later can be found on every horror list, due to its extraordinary story, brilliant acting and creativity in general. The movie begins in an abandoned hospital where we meet Jim who wakes up from a coma and finds himself alone and disoriented. 28 days have passed after animal activists invaded a laboratory with the intention to free the chimpanzees inside them.
They didn’t listen to the scientists who tried to warn them that the monkeys were infected with a virus that causes rage. The aftermath of their release was a horror. Jim tries to find someone alive but soon finds out that London is completely destroyed and that zombies are walking around and killing everyone in sight. He gets rescued by Selena and Mark and they find themselves on the run, trying to save their lives.
This movie is not a classical horror, even though it’s freakishly scary. It is also a drama that goes deep into a human’s mind and tries to conclude how it functions and what it does in these kinds of situations.
2. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
This is a cinematic masterpiece, a movie which we cannot forget so easily and which we will definitely see more than once. It received eight Oscars out of ten nominations, completely deserved and finally awarded Boyle as the best director which should have been made even earlier. It is a beautiful and touching story about Jamal Malik, an 18-year old orphan who finds himself just one question away from winning a huge amount of money on the Indian version of the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
But when the show ends before the last question, he gets arrested by the police under suspicion of cheating. To prove his innocence, Jamal will start telling the story about his childhood in the slums where he and his brother grew up. We will witness many humorous, but also tragic situations and get immensely attached to this kind-hearted and smart young man.
This movie is definitely one of a kind, with its interesting story, excellent performances and music which is extremely important here. It is one of those movies that make you feel good in the end and leave you with that warm feeling.
1. Trainspotting (1996)
This cinematographic masterpiece is a movie that every true movie buff has already seen or must-see. Based on a cult novel by Irvine Welsh, it tells the story of a group of friends living and working in the 1990s Edinburgh, a city so beautiful, but here seen and depicted from a completely different point of view.
Mark Renton and his best friends are deeply immersed in the city’s drug scene.
When one day Mark decides to give up his heroin addiction, we will be deeply drawn into his problems with his family and friends. Sick Boy, Spud, Begbie, a 14-year old girl Diane and Tommy who has never tasted drugs are portrayed in this dark and depressing story where nothing seems to go as it should.
Even though we don’t approve of their way of living, we somehow get attached to this group of outcasts who can’t help themselves but choose the wrong path in life.
They can choose so much more, but drugs are just so powerful and they are caught deep. This is an absolute classic that put Boyle on a directing A-list and gained him popularity. It is another collaboration with McGregor after Shallow Grave and A Life Less Ordinary, but its supporting actors need to be mentioned, too. Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Kevin McKidd and Kelly MacDonald will always be remembered as one of the most complicated groups of friends ever.