10 Best Daniel Radcliffe Movies

10 Best Daniel Radcliffe Movies

Being the face of a beloved pop culture icon is a double-edged sword. Mark Hamill will forever be linked to his performance as Luke Skywalker, Hugh Jackman will forever be linked to his performance as Wolverine. The same goes for Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Potter. Where does one go after such a defining role? Will fans accept you as a different character?

It is a dilemma to be sure. In the seven years since Radcliffe last donned the circular glasses of author J.K. Rowling’s famous wizard, he has found something resembling a solution. He has embraced a wide variety of roles from Igor in Victor Frankenstein to a Jon Hamm’s younger self in the BBC series A Young Doctor’s Notebook. Some of the roles have been truly bizarre (for example, Jon Hamm and Radcliffe look nothing alike), but he has taken each and every one head on.  With exciting projects on the horizon such as The Modern Ocean directed by Shane Carruth — director of Primer and Upstream Color — perhaps his best work is still ahead of him. For now, however, we can only look back upon his career so far. Below you’ll find a list of his ten best films to date.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Alfonso Cuaron takes the reins of the third chapter of the story of Radcliffe’s eponymous young orphan wizard and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, respectively). It is easily the strongest of the series. Cuaron’s guiding hand behind the camera brings the series from enjoyable films for children and young adults to something more similar to auteurist cinema as he carefully unravels the mysteries behind Harry’s deceased parents.

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Swiss Army Man (2016)

It what may very well be his strangest film and role to date, Radcliffe plays the titular Swiss Army Man. He is a corpse brimming with flatulence who washes up on the shore of an island. He is of great use to Hank (Paul Dano) who is stranded there. The two form a unique bond in this clever and extremely surreal film.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Chris Columbus — writer of Gremlins and director of Home Alone — took the helm of the first Harry Potter film. It is an appropriate fit for such a seasoned director of family films to take on this, the story of a lonely orphan boy who is suddenly transported to a whimsical world of witches and wizards and befriends two other social outcasts.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Columbus returned to the Harry Potter series to build off of his previous film. He does so solidly by channeling the whodunit genre. When students all over the wizarding school of Hogwarts show up paralyzed, no one is innocent. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets remains today one of the best in the franchise at large.

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The Woman in Black (2012)

Radcliffe boldly took on the horror genre with The Woman in Black. He plays a widowed lawyer named Arthur Kipps who moves to a small town to be the executor of a deceased woman’s estate. Once there, he finds that something or someone is haunting the deceased’s manor. The film and Radcliffe’s performance in it were given substantial acclaim.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (2010)

After gradually diminishing returns in the Harry Potter series following the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the penultimate film provides something smaller and more focused. Unlike the other late Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 does not feel overstuffed with exposition. Instead, director David Yates lets the film be driven by the characters rather than plot and focuses in on the deep relationship Harry and Hermione to great effect.

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Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Kill Your Darlings dramatizes the real-life killing of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) through the eyes of Carr’s friend Allen Ginsburg (Radcliffe), who develops feelings for Carr. The film features other famous Beat Generations writer William S. Burroughs (Ben Forster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). The film was praised for rejecting any sort of idealization of these famous authors and rather leaving up to the viewer whether these men are worthy of the adoration they’ve received.

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The F Word/What If? (2013)

In The F Word (alternatively known as What If?), Radcliffe’s Wallace is frustrated in love until he meets his friend Allan (Adam Driver)’s cousin Chantry (Zoe Kazan). They immediately hit it off, but the typical conflict arises: she has a boyfriend. Wallace does his best to keep a respectful distance but the chemistry between them is undeniable and he struggles to know what to do. It is a sweet—if not entirely saccharine—romantic comedy.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Each Harry Potter film has an energy all its own — in the fourth chapter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it is sporty. A sort of wizarding tournament occurs and Harry finds himself an unwitting participant. There are unique, wizardly sporting events scattered throughout the film — though something more sinister seems to be at play in the shadows. While not quite the strongest of the series, it is an enjoyable film and Radcliffe delivers a sturdy performance.

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Horns (2013)

In Horns, Ignatius Perrish (Radcliffe)’s girlfriend is sexually assaulted and murdered and he is the prime suspect. After a drunken night, he awakens with horns protruding from his head. He quickly learns that these horns have special powers—which he decides to use to solve the murder of his beloved. It is very bizarre horror-comedy which touts a series of strange setpieces.

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