Top 10 David Lynch Movies
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Telly Vlachakis.
Prepare to enter the world of the surreal and the bizarre. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 David Lynch movies. Although his artistic contribution is vast, for this list, we're focusing on David Lynch's feature-length celluloid nightmares. And since he's only directed 10 feature length films, this list won't feature any honorable mentions.
Special thanks to our users jwiking62, David NM, Kirk Guthrie, NicolasDafoe, Miika Soini, Ethan Roberts, Natu Alonso and Deathmatch1959 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script written by Telly Vlachakis.
Top 10 David Lynch Movies
Prepare to enter the world of the surreal and the bizarre. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 David Lynch movies.
Although his artistic contribution is vast, for this list, we’re focusing on David Lynch’s feature-length celluloid nightmares. And since he’s only directed 10 feature length films, this list won’t feature any honorable mentions.
#10: “Dune” (1984)
Starting at the bottom of our list is the David Lynch film based on the classic Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. This epic saga about a man prophesied to be a supreme being that’ll save the people of Dune was meant to be the director’s big break in Hollywood. With a brilliant international cast, stunning visuals, and a very ‘80s soundtrack by Toto, “Dune” has since gained a respectable cult following, but it initially bombed at the box office. Although it’s gone through several cuts, the action flick is still praised for its special effects, costume and sound design.
#9: “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992)
Following the immense success of his television show “Twin Peaks,” a murder mystery that left too many questions unanswered, Lynch decided to revisit the creepy fictional town for this prequel/sequel. Much of the original TV cast returned, as well as a couple of new faces, to try to explain what happened to Laura Palmer before her murder. Without the restrictions of the small screen, Lynch was able to turn up the insanity and violence to 11. Booed at its premiere at Cannes, “Fire Walk with Me” is today considered an important part of the “Twin Peaks” fandom.
#8: “Inland Empire” (2006)
Now things get extra weird. In this mystery flick, Laura Dern plays an actress who joins a new movie cast. Anthropomorphic rabbits, unexplainable jump cuts, and flashing lights abound, as well as sequences pulled straight from your nightmares. The most surreal trick he’s ever pulled out of his hat, Lynch’s three-hour magnum opus bombards our senses with images you won’t soon forget. With an impressive cast and immensely positive reviews, this postmodernist gem left most audiences scratching their heads but still satiated fans after the director’s 5 year absence from filmmaking.
#7: “Lost Highway” (1997)
Lynch’s attempt at a psychological thriller became one of his biggest cult sensations. A favorite among fans who enjoy dissecting its plot and philosophizing over what it all means, this neo-noir-ish narrative follows a jazz musician as he tries to make sense of his own world. This includes figuring out if he killed his wife or not - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mobsters, underground pornography, more flashing lights and a cringe-worthy final performance by Robert Blake as a ghostly peeping tom, make “Lost Highway” the opposite of family-friendly viewing but one of Lynch’s most fully surreal productions.
#6: “Wild at Heart” (1990)
Although still overflowing with surreal imagery, this Lynch-ian road movie has a more straightforward narrative than his other flicks. Based on the novel by Barry Gifford, the story follows lovers Sailor and Lula, played by Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, as they go on the run from Lula’s overbearing mother who gets gangsters and detectives to chase them down. With another all-star supporting cast, this romantic thrill ride, which earned Diane Ladd an Oscar nomination, was one of Lynch’s rare box office successes and nabbed the esteemed Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
#5: “The Straight Story” (1999)
What do you do when the film world has linked visions of dark, surreal, twisted nightmares to your name? You give them “The Straight Story,” a brilliant and sentimental drama produced by Disney, which follows an old man driving from one state to the next on his lawnmower to patch things up with his dying brother. As the real-life Alvin Straight, Richard Farnsworth – who was terminally ill at the time – turned in a career-defining final performance. Meanwhile, the uncharacteristic drama also became one of the biggest critical successes in Lynch’s career.
#4: “The Elephant Man” (1980)
This biopic follows the story of John Merrick, a man living the 19th century that suffered from extreme deformities. Played by an unrecognizable John Hurt, Merrick goes through his life just trying to be accepted as a human being. The impressive cast, which also includes Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, takes what aesthetically looks like an oldies monster movie and turns it into an emotional rollercoaster of compassion and acceptance. Shot in stark black and white, this shocking drama was Lynch’s first big budget studio film, and remains his most critically lauded, with 8 Oscar nominations.
#3: “Eraserhead” (1977)
This is the film that started it all. In this bizarre, experimental masterpiece, we follow Henry in what seems to be an industrialized, otherworldly dystopia as he tries to take care of his mutant newborn baby after his wife abandons them. “Eraserhead” is especially notable for the violent images and dreams the protagonist endures while he tries to keep his screeching child quiet. An early predecessor of body-horror cinema, this popular midnight movie and cult hit gave birth to Lynch-ian surrealist imagery. And always remember: “In Heaven everything is fine.”
#2: “Mulholland Drive” (2001)
Originally invented as an idea for a new TV show, this psychological thriller does to Hollywood what “Twin Peaks” did to small towns. Naomi Watts plays an aspiring actress who meets an amnesiac on the titular Hollywood street following a car crash. A narrative that includes stolen money, corrupt film directors, philosophical cowboys and deadly mobsters rounds up this mystery about identity and reality. The result is a cult classic that fans are still trying to dissect years later, which earned Lynch his third Oscar nomination.
#1: “Blue Velvet” (1986)
A neo-noir mystery, a classic terrifying villain, and one of the greatest American crime thrillers ever made. This Oscar-nominated cult classic about a young man who finds a severed ear and gets involved with the wrong people was a rare commercial success for Lynch. Dennis Hopper’s portrayal of the insane sadomasochist Frank Booth, as well as that of his prized possession, played by Isabella Rossellini, present haunting images of erotic violence that creeped out filmgoers across the globe. Winner of multiple awards worldwide, “Blue Velvet” is Lynch’s most enduring film.
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