10 best Chris Columbus movies
Throughout his entire career, Chris Columbus has done an exceptional job transforming the fantasy genre and taking it to completely new heights. His films have been the epitome of childhood for generations of kids—whether you were born in 1974 or 2004, there’s no doubt you’ve grown up loving at least one of his many movies.
As a writer, director, and producer, Columbus has touched on all kinds of franchises and universes. From Harry Potter to Percy Jackson to Night at the Museum to recent hits like The Witch, the man clearly does not limit himself to one specific age group—like Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus is one of the most valuable blockbuster directors alive.
Chris Columbus’s Gremlins expertly combines the genres of horror, comedy, and fantasy to be one of the greatest moviegoing experiences of the 1980s. Joe Dante does an incredible job with Columbus’s script, and the finished project proves that the two form quite the dynamic duo. It remains one of Columbus’s finest achievements, still nearly 25 years later.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
When the Harry Potter novels headed to the big screen in the early 2000s, they couldn’t have hoped for a better filmmaker to establish the groundwork. Harry Potter is still a worldwide phenomenon with plays and movies and books still being made, and it’s due in large part to Columbus’s work behind the camera on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This time in collaboration with John Hughes, Christopher Columbus proves he’s capable of taking a great script and turning it into an equally great film. Home Alone remains at the top of countless favorite Christmas movie lists (and for a good reason). It’s a Christmas staple, certainly infusing itself into family traditions not only in America but across the planet.
Incredibly, The Goonies is only Chris Columbus’s second script. It’s an 80s movie darling, often enjoying theatrical rereleases as recently as summer 2018. It’s an exciting, strange, adventurous film, and one that could’ve only come from Columbus.
Robin Williams remains one of the most-loved comedic actors of all time, and Chris Columbus’s hilarious and heartwarming film Mrs. Doubtfire is partially to thank. It’s a ridiculous concept, with Williams posing as a female housekeeper in order to spend time with his kids, but Columbus manages to make it feel as human as possible.
Adventures in Babysitting
One mark of a great 80s movie is a 21st century remake. Columbus’s directorial debut Adventures in Babysitting is no exception. Elisabeth Shue plays the titular babysitter who’s dragged all over New York by an eclectic cast of characters. All in all, it’s a funny and often touching film about growing up.
This film seems out of place against the rest of the ones on this list, but Columbus’s directorial work on the feature film adaptation of the hit musical Rent should not go without being recognized. It’s a much more serious subject than the rest of his work, dealing with the impact of the AIDS epidemic, but he manages to add his signature touch to something that has captivated Broadway audiences for decades.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
A sequel that some consider to be better than the original, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York sees both Kevin McAlister and Chris Columbus’s return to the series of films about a chronically abandoned son. It’s obviously a lot more lighthearted than it sounds, and Columbus manages to keep it as breezy as it is funny.
Starring Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts, Stepmom is one of Columbus’s more serious films. Still, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain his signature humor and heart. It’s both dramatic and sweet, and Columbus elevates what could’ve been a so-so film to new (and better) heights.
His second collaboration with Robin Williams proves to be a lot more serious than Mrs. Doubtfire, but there’s no doubt: Williams and Columbus work really well together. Instead of posing as a housekeeper, Williams plays a robot capable of emotion and creative thought. It’s a sweet film, and one that seems fitting for Columbus.