Liam Neeson’s 10 best movies ranked – AL.com

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Liam Neeson turns 69 today, and the actor with a very particular set of skills continues to only get better and better as he ages.
To wish the actor from Northern Ireland a happy day, we’ll share our 10 favorite films of his. While we love his current run as frontman of the “dad action” genre, we could only make room for a few of those flicks.
We’ll cover plenty of the hits you know and adore, but also include some lesser celebrated titles that deserve the love. What are your favorite Liam Neeson flicks? Read ours below:
RELATED: Clint Eastwood’s 10 best movies ranked
Neeson delivers a silence performance during the grim “Meal Ticket” segment of Joel and Ethan Coen’s brilliant Western saga, told in six parts. He plays an aging impresario who, along with a young man with no arms or legs, travels from town to town in a wagon that converts into a small stage where the young man recites classic poems and monologues. When the gruff Neeson sees a chicken that purportedly performs math problems to the delight of his dwindling crowds, he switches out his talent…in a pretty extreme manner. Underrated and understated work from Neeson.
In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy. Neeson plays the missing Father Cristóvão Ferreira who, after suffering brutal torture and spending 15 years away, announces believes Christianity is futile in Japan. Neeson immerses himself in the deeply complex role of a man who endures enough trauma to renounce his faith and leave behind a calling his protégés never imagined he would in Martin Scorsese’s troubling but powerful historical drama.
Few feel like celebrating the work of Woody Allen, but Neeson’s tragic work as Judy Davis’ (then Mia Farrow’s) fawning, sensitive, would-be boyfriend Michael in this gritty divorce drama stands out as a departure for the Irish actor with a proclivity for kicking butt on screen. Neeson also shows some subtle comic timing in a sometimes difficult watch.
Bill Condon’s look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, lets Neeson play against type and ham it up some to earn a heap of critical praise in what some considered an Oscar-worthy performance. Working opposite talented actors like Laura Linney and Peter Sarsgaard brings Neeson’s chops to an even higher level.
Wronged by a nobleman and his nephew, clan chief Rob Roy MacGregor becomes an outlaw in search of revenge while fleeing the Redcoats and facing charges of being a Jacobite. Typically remembered as the “Deep Impact” to “Braveheart’s” “Armageddon” during 1995′s dueling Scottish historical dramas, this is a highly entertaining drama featuring passionate work from Neeson, who has great chemistry with co-stars Jessica Lange and Oscar nominee Tim Roth.
Known to Bruce Wayne as Henri Ducard early on, Neeson plays the League of Shadows member who trains the forlorn billionaire determined to bring justice to Gotham City, later revealing himself as Ra’s al Ghul, the head of the organization whose extremist plan must be stopped before more damage is done to the troubled town. Equal parts calm, wise and terrifying, Neeson matches Christian Bale blow for blow amid a stacked cast in Christopher Nolan’s impressive start to the Dark Knight trilogy.
Neeson stars as Peyton Westlake, a scientist left for dead who seeks to exact revenge on the people who burned him alive in Sam Raimi’s wholly original superhero film that’s since earned a cult following. Perhaps a bit too strange for the early ‘90s crowd not ready for where this genre would end up decades later, Raimi’s film holds up thanks in large part to Neeson’s steady and likable work as the spurned hero.
The one where Liam Neeson fights a bunch of wolves. That’s all you had to say. We were in from the jump, and Joe Carnahan’s brutal, Alaskan wilderness-set survival thriller delivered and even more via philosophical ideas about man and nature. Who better than Neeson to humanize the brutality and, of course, fight a bunch of wolves?
It’ll forever be known as the Liam Neeson movie, what might have looked like a throwaway B-flick about a retired CIA agent who travels across Europe to use his very particular set of skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped by traffickers while on a trip to Paris. Neeson’s career wasn’t so much relaunched as it was reborn, earning him the title of world’s coolest action star — and at age 56, no less! It would spawn a few sequels and a series of similar beat-’em-up paychecks for him, helping him reinvent himself and the genre.
As German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis Poland during World War II, Neeson is at his most captivating and tragic in Steven Spielberg’s haunting Oscar-winner. Neeson, himself, earned a nomination for best actor in a career-best performance, letting the audience see the horrors of the Holocaust through his eyes as it unfolds in real-time. His final scene is an all-timer, just like the movie.
Honorable mentions: Next of Kin (1989), Michael Collins (1996), Gangs of New York (2002), Love Actually (2003), The Next Three Days (2010), The Lego Movie (2014), Widows (2018)
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