Top 18 Cillian Murphy Movies Ranked! Which Is His Best Performance Yet?

The Red Eye star, Cillian Murphy has slowly made us all gravitate toward him, hasn’t he? Give him any role, he’d fit in it perfectly. Give him any trope, he would nail it. Be it a historical series, a romantic saga, or a tale of revenge, Murphy has spread his reach in each genre. It doesn’t matter if it is a movie, a short drama, or a long-running TV series, you’d hardly find any flaw in it.

Cillian Murphy began his career around the 1990s. He had to bypass several hurdles and walk a long mile before he got the chance to showcase his true potential. There were several small roles he had to content himself with but these roles are the reason why the world started to notice the abundant talent lurking inside Murphy. Now, decades later, Cillian Murphy has become a legend of Hollywood. Here is a list of the top 18 Cillian Murphy Movies for all the fans of Red Eye star!

18. Broken


Though Cillian Murphy isn’t in the lead role in this movie, he steals the show with his brilliant performance and mature persona. It is a complicated story about a young teenager, Skunk, who goes through a life-altering trauma. She is moved by the attack, so much so that her entire life is turned upside down. Yes, she has several people to rely on but no one understands her wholly.

This is when Murphy comes into the picture, portraying a teacher, Mike, who helps his traumatized student weave through murky waters. Also, Mike is dating Skunk’s stepmother. Broken is a moving tale that would settle deep in your heart. And while this is a story about a traumatized teenager, Murphy has a significant role that has made this movie such a grand hit.

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17. Sunshine


Murphy is here to take you in the future with Sunshine. He proves how versatile he could be, and how his talent can mesmerize anyone with this movie. Sunshine is a tale of a group of astronauts on a mission to save the world and protect our major source of energy–and life of course. We cannot even imagine our lives without sunshine, can we? We need that warm ray of light to infiltrate through our skin, we need the energy we get from the sun.

What if this source of energy is on the verge of extinction? Our extremely talented astronauts and physicians try to rescue the sun. This sci-fi adventure will make you question its authenticity since it’s set in the hypothetical universe in the year 2057. But it would make you appreciate Murphy’s commendable acting skills.

16. In The Heart Of The Sea

In The Heart Of The Sea

You cannot simply miss the movie if you are a true Cillian Murphy fan. Ron Howard, the director of In The Heart Of The Sea, brings three superstars of Hollywood together. Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, and Cillian Murphy bring a tale of the 1880s when technology wasn’t as advanced and survival was a tedious task. It is a true story where all the actors fight for attention. And while no one slacks behind, Murphy’s fans have been arguing that he took the spotlight.

In this movie, these brilliant actors portray the ship crew who are stuck on a ship where a violent storm has been causing mass destruction. The Heart Of The Sea showcases the struggle of surviving a sea storm with no external aid. Murphy’s role will touch your nerves. The struggle to hold onto his will, the constant battle between life and death, and the ultimate ending guarantees a pleasant time.

15. Intermission


A man in the throes of agony can follow any route, become unhinged and take on the world. A movie created to make you dwell on the purpose of your life, Intermission is truly a gem. Showcasing Murphy in the role of John who is at crossroads in his life, Intermission has a deeper meaning hidden behind its dark comedy. This isn’t just the story of John, it is a journey of a group of people who have never met each other.

Here comes the twist, these people share multiple traits, and are searching for one common thing in life; purpose. They believe that they lack purpose in life. And when they are met with accidents that change their life, their paths start to intertwine. Now, they start believing that there is a supernatural force that has made them come together. No, this isn’t a spiritual tale. It is a black comedy brought to us by Cillian Murphy that you’ll enjoy!

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14. The Dark Knight Trilogy

The Dark Knight Trilogy

Following the story of Batman, this action-thriller trilogy has been one of the most highly acclaimed series to date. Gotham City and that aesthetic outfit of Batman are nearly unforgettable. Murphy is seen in all three installments of this series, portraying the infamous Scarecrow. Though it isn’t a huge role for someone as skilled as Cillian Murphy, it is definitely an addition to the list of roles he has justified.

The judge of life and death, Scarecrow, decides who gets to live and who should roast in Hell. Gotham City is known to be one of the most popular alternative universes manifested and Cillian Murphy is the ruler of lives. Yes, it isn’t the most glamorous role played by Murphy but you’d enjoy watching him nonetheless.

13. On The Edge

On The Edge

With his sweet, innocent look, Cillian Murphy has nailed many roles. He knows how to deliver romantic lines, motivational dialogues, and comic punches. But how about our Girl With A Pearl Earring star portraying a depressed suicidal? This 2001 American drama portrays Murphy as Jonathan Breech, a man who wants to end his life and escape his alcoholic father’s clutches.

Breech has endured his father’s abuse all his life, he thinks of himself as worthless and wants to end his life. So, he decides to drive off a cliff and rest in peace. But his fate plays another trick on him and Jonathan survives the accident. Now, he has to undergo therapy as per the court’s order. This is the journey of Jonathan Breech to overcome his suicidal thoughts and discover himself. It is a psychological drama that will prove to you how versatile Cillian Murphy is.

12. Retreat


We all try to escape reality and take a break from our tedious lifestyle time and time again, don’t we? The Retreat will take you on a vacation to a secluded island. But it wouldn’t be a Cillian Murphy classic if it were that plain, would it? In this movie, Murphy plays a troubled husband who wants to give his marriage a last chance.

Starring alongside the brilliant actress Thandiwe Newton, Murphy brings us a heartwarming story of a couple struggling in their marriage. So, to save their marriage, they decide to isolate themselves from the world and focus on their relationship. But when they reach their island they meet a mysterious man who delivers a deadly blow. A contagious virus has captured the island and now Murphy and Newton are stuck on it. But is this mystery man speaking the truth? Or is he dragging this couple into something tragic? Watch this amazing movie and find out!

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11. In Time

In Time

Can money and paper ever be the same? Yes, we all know money is made with paper–a special kind albeit–it can never be as same as ordinary paper. Money is our currency, the most valuable entity now. Imagine money having zero–or less significant–importance. What kind of world would that be? In Time portrays how a world where money isn’t the most important thing. Instead, time is the currency and everyone has to use it to survive in this contrasting world.

Murphy plays the antagonist, Raymond Leon, who is a police cop in the dystopian future. He keeps track of people’s time and is popularly known as the Timekeeper. But now, he has his eyes set on Justin Timberlake, a seemingly innocent man who suddenly has abundant time added to his name. Watch Cillian taking on the role of Leon in a very refreshing storyline in this spectacular movie.

10. The Party

The Party

What does a party generally symbolize? Sheer ecstasy and a huge amount of people, right? But here, in this movie, it represents dread. When we are forced to attend a gathering, we have no option but to plaster a smile on our faces. We keep hiding our disinterest and search for a way out. That’s not the case here though. 

When several people come together and their personalities start to clash, no one is ready to take a step back. Voices are raised high, guns are pulled out and secrets are unveiled. This black-and-white movie puts a huge question mark on social equality and forces its viewers to have a broad mindset. You’ll find Murphy as one of the members of the party who will make you laugh, wonder about his backstory and confirm that Cillian Murphy is not just an ordinary actor.

9. Free Fire

Free Fire

Cillian Murphy as a psychopath? Done. Murphy as a romantic hero? Done. Cillian in a sci-fi? Also, done. What about Murphy as a gang leader? Now, this is an interesting angle no fan of his should miss. Free Fire is a tale of the 70s where Murphy, as Chris, leads a group of gangsters with a tight grip. But slowly, the conflicts with other criminal clans start to weigh down on him and his people. What ensues is a deal between these two gangs, sort of a peace treaty.

But it goes wrong and results in mass destruction, lots of blood, and hundreds of dead bodies. This is probably one of the most violent movies of Murphy. Though it reclines more towards black comedy, it is also an action thriller where Cillian as Chris is a notable character. Though many critics don’t consider this Cillian’s best movie because of its questionable storyline, no one can criticize his acting skills.

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8. The Wind That Shakes The Barley

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

We all fight with our siblings, don’t we? Snatching the TV remote, stealing the last piece of a chocolate bar, and whatnot. But what if you both are soldiers and your sibling is on the opposite side of the war? When ideologies are challenged, morals are corrupted and there is no chance of peace, this movie ensues. The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a fascinating tale of two brothers stuck in a Civil war where none is ready to back out.

Damien O’Donovan, a young Irish soldier who is brought to us by Cillian Murphy, is firm in his beliefs. While his brother, Teddy, who has fought several wars understands how peace treaties are just an illusion. He knows the consequences of war and isn’t ready to let Damien risk anything because of his hatred. This is one of the movies that will make you face the cruelty of human nature and how wars can be more of a menace than a help. The recipient of several awards, The Wind That Shakes The Barley will make you realize why Cillian Murphy is one of the best actors out there.

7. Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy

Cillian Murphy in a romantic role is always a pleasant delight, his suave charm and blinding smile make it a must-watch. But when this smile falls off and Murphy takes on the role of a serious person, it adds a unique touch to the said movie or show. Tron: Legacy is one such movie where we get to witness how intense Murphy could be. Tron: Legacy is a sci-fi thriller that will take you on a tour of an alternate universe where nothing is as it seems.

Murphy plays the role of Dr. Dillinger who is on a quest to find his long-lost father who is a video game engineer. He is fond of creating his own universe in these games but little does he know, his imagination has now become a reality. Dillinger has to set himself in the shoes of his father if he wants to succeed in his mission. But, is finding a person in a mysterious world where these foreign creatures want nothing but to ruin humans an easy task? Watch Murphy taking outwinning everyone with his sharp wit and unyielding dedication.

6. Watching The Detectives

Watching The Detectives

It doesn’t matter if it is a rom-com, an adventure thriller, a horror, or a mystery, Murphy is a sight for sore eyes. He’ll make you question how an actor could fit into any role this seamlessly. In this romantic comedy-drama, Watching The Detectives, Murphy will take you on a ride to the golden age when we didn’t have everything at our beck and call. Where DVDs were the trend and that huge TV box was more precious than anything.

We are all movie geeks, aren’t we? We enjoy binging on our favorite series with a bowl of popcorn. But Neil is an even bigger fan of the movies. He spends his entire days in front of the TV with his DVD player since he is the owner of a DVD shop himself. He is socially awkward and limits his interactions to customers only. When Lucy barges into Neil’s life, his cozy routine is shattered and he is suddenly the king of adventures. Neil is portrayed by Cillian Murphy and it goes without saying that he nails the role.

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5. Red Lights

Red Lights

Blend unhealthy obsessions, Murphy’s inquisitive gaze, and a suspense thriller storyline and we have a wonderful movie manifested. Cillian Murphy brings to us another fantasy thriller that keeps our eyes fixated on the screen. Even though this is arguably one of those movies where Cillian isn’t the star, he steals the show indefinitely. Red Lights is a movie where there is a lot that’s happening, someone is going AWOL, and someone’s accusing another. But in the end, everything makes sense.

A notorious psychic, Simon Silver, has raised havoc in the city. He is a mysterious person who suddenly goes into hiding. Or is he perhaps kidnapped? Now, the government officials call a psychologist, Margaret Matheson, to investigate the case and get insights into Silver’s mind. But then, suddenly Silver reappears again and leaves Margaret starry-eyed. While she is ready to let go of Silver, Tom, her assistant, holds onto it. Here begins the story of Tom, portrayed by Cillian Murphy, and his obsession with Silver.

4. Girl With A Pearl Earring

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Let’s take you back to the 17th century when there were hardly any cameras and technology for you to capture your portrait. People of this century relied on avid painters to sate their curiosity. But, of course, not everyone could afford a painter especially not a mere maid. Imagine what would happen if she suddenly becomes the muse of an infamous painter.

Girl With A Pearl Earring is a story of a mere maid, Griet, who works for a popular painter, Johannes Vermeer. Now, imagine what would happen if anyone challenged the muse of Vermeer. Yes, Cillian Murphy comes into the picture here. Portraying Pieter, the son of a regular butcher, who couldn’t even think of competing against Vermeer. But when his infatuation with Griet gets beyond his control, nothing is the same in the lives of these three people. This is one of the finest roles of Murphy which is appraised worldwide.

3. The Edge Of Love

The Edge Of Love

To us, the firsts are like little jewels we keep treasuring forever, don’t we? The first bicycle ride, the first foreign tour, the first crush; everything is settled deep in our hearts. The Edge Of Love is a mesmerizing fable that will hit you hard with nostalgia. This is a movie centered around two children, Vera and Dylan who share an almost telepathic connection. Their bond will enunciate a smile on your face throughout the course of the movie.

Dylan, portrayed by Cillian Murphy, has to leave his town, and thus Vera, because of a looming war. While Dylan moves on, Vera is stuck in the past. She keeps awaiting for Dylan but he has already married someone else and has long forgotten his childhood crush. When Dylan arrives in his hometown after more than a decade, nothing is the same except for one thing. Vera is still smitten by him and would stop at nothing to get Dylan back. What ensues is a tale of crippling emotions, dark obsessions, and a love triangle like no other.

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2. 28 Days Later

28 Days Later

We have witnessed Murphy in various roles. Be it a romantic hero or a warrior amid a deadly war, Cillian has brought to us some of the most legendary movies of all time. In 28 Days Later, he brings forward the story of a man, Tom, who has just woken up from a long coma. But guess what happens when he wakes up? The UK is surrounded by zombies who are destroying humans.

Now, Tom has to survive and help the other people who have managed to escape from the clutches of these other-worldly creatures. Amid open bloodshed, surrounded by zombies who are out for his life Tom has to find a way to end this nuisance. This sci-fi thriller will make you grip the edges of your seat and appraise Murphy’s acting skills. 

1. Red Eye

Red Eye

Truly a movie that will make you realize how immensely talented Cillian Murphy is. There is no greater proof of Murphy’s skills than his role in Red Eye. Portraying Jackson Rippner, a man with no morals and no limits, Murphy makes Red Eye one of the best movies to be manifested. It doesn’t have an out-of-the-box storyline but the characters deliver such a great performance, this simple storyline turns out to be a blockbuster.

Here, Rippner is a member of a deadly mob who feasts on innocent people and tries to fill their pockets anyhow. He has bestowed a task to track and manipulate a U.S. official. But on his way, he comes across a hotel manager, Lisa, who falls victim to Jackson’s trap. Now, he manipulates her to do his dirty work but Lisa is no victim. Here begins the typical mouse-rat chase that you’d enjoy. Don’t miss out on the part where Rippner reveals his identity to Lisa and how she reacts!

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Cillian Murphy Movies And Tv Shows: FAQs

1. Who Is Cillian Murphy?

Cillian Murphy is a popular American actor, director, and producer.

2. Is Cillian Murphy The Main Lead Of Girl With A Pearl Earring?

Yes, Murphy plays the role of Pieter, a son of the butcher who falls for Griet. She is the maid and muse of a famous painter, Johannes Vermeer.

3. Which Is The Best Movie By Cillian Murphy?

There are multiple films where Cillian Murphy nails the role but Red Eye is one of the most critically acclaimed ones.

4. Is Cillian Murphy Planning On Retiring?

No, Murphy isn’t retiring.

5. Which Is The Latest Movie By Cillian Murphy?

Oppenheimer is the latest movie by Cillian Murphy.

6. Where Is Cillian Murphy Now?

Murphy is in America, working to deliver the best of entertainers.

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