The 10 Best Liam Neeson Movies

Liam Neeson Movies

He’s battled Batman, trained Jedi, led revolutions, and chased down kidnappers using a “particular set of skills.” The Oscar-nominated Liam Neeson’s been fighting the good fight for decades, bouncing from drama to action to rom-coms to…well, action again.

But which are Liam Neeson’s best films? We’ve whittled the actor’s catalogue down to his 10 best flicks, featuring scarred superheroes, caring fathers, master of the Force, and the one person you want tracking you down if you get “Taken.”

10. Love Actually

Liam Neeson was part of a larger ensemble for Richard Curtis’ Christmas-themed rom-com but his role as a grieving widow who makes it his mission to help his stepson woo a classmate is one of the most tender and giving elements of the film. Neeson’s mostly made a career out of his stern gruffness so getting to see his capacity for warmth was a highlight here.

9. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Though the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is polarizing, Liam Neeson’s Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn is the stalwart centerpiece of The Phantom Menace. As Obi-Wan’s mentor in the ways of the Force, Qui-Gon is our entry-point hero into the Skywalker Saga and Neeson’s commanding presence gives weight to the plight of the Jedi. And Neeson’s not done with the role either, having recently reprised it for Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.

8. Michael Collins

Liam Neeson garnered heaps of praise, and a few acting awards, for his titular role in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins. Playing a leader in the early-20th-century Irish struggle for independence Neeson was magnetic and impassioned, capping off a thunderous trilogy of historical, biographical dramas after Schindler’s List and Rob Roy. Julia Roberts, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, and Brendan Gleeson co-starred in this impactful ’90s film.

7. Silence

Liam Neeson worked with the legendary Martin Scorsese a second time, after Gangs of New York, in 2016’s Silence, about two 17th-century Jesuit priests who travel to Edo-era Japan to locate their missing mentor. Neeson’s supporting role was the enigma at the heart of the story, playing the Jesuit Cristóvão Ferreira, a man who’d recanted his faith in under the threat of torture. Silence is one of Scorsese’s more reflective, contemplative works, like 1997’s Kundun, and was a passion project 25-years in the making.

6. Kinsey

Neeson returned to the biographical drama, and glowing reviews, with 2004’s Kinsey, starring as famed “sexologist” Alfred Kinsey. Beauty and the Beast’s Bill Condon directed Neeson in one of his most lauded roles, rebelling against the anti-sex propaganda of his era, eventually collecting scientific data about human sexual behavior. Neeson captures the intelligent, obsessive nature of Kinsey in a tremendous film co-starring Laura Linney, John Lithgow, and Peter Sarsgaard.

5. Batman Begins

Liam Neeson found him instrumental to the creation, and reinvention, of the Caped Crusader in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, as a warrior who trains Bruce Wayne to become an instrument of vengeance – only to reveal himself to be Ra’s al Ghul, the dangerous leader of the League of Shadows. Formidable as both a crucial friend and a critical foe for Batman, Neeson was instrumental in ushering in the Dark Knight Trilogy with grace and gravitas.

4. Darkman

Liam Neeson portrayed a gruesome supe in Sam Raimi’s Darkman, the story of a scientist left deformed, and on death’s door, who rebounds to seek revenge using fake faces that allow him to become anyone he wants. Neeson’s giddily violent vigilante was hailed as a ghastly good time as Raimi transitioned out of his Evil Dead roots into something that blended horror with high-stakes adventure.

3. Rob Roy

Though overshadowed a bit by Braveheart, which was released the same year and centered on a different historical Scottish rebel, Michael Caton-Jones’ Rob Roy was still a modest hit, and one of Liam Neeson’s best starring roles. With incredible performances from co-stars Jessica Lange and Tim Roth (who received an Oscar nomination), Rob Roy was a rousing character-driven study of a Scottish clan chief who battles sadistic nobles in the 18th century. Neeson was phenomenal in this title role, fed by fury and fervor.

2. Taken

A career high for Liam Neeson that few saw coming, Taken is one of the best, tightest action flicks in history, impeccably plotted, directed, and in full command of Neeson’s talents as a strong, driven lead. Neeson had been in action films before but Taken basically reinvented, and reinvigorated, his later-stage career and transformed him into a full-fledged action hero. Lesser sequels followed but Taken, complete with its memorable phone call scene, led Neeson into a new realm of intense thrillers and edge-of-your-seat adventures.

1. Schindler’s List

Liam Neeson’s best film actually won Best Picture, which was just one of the twelve Academy Awards it was nominated for. Neeson himself received an Oscar nomination, the only one of his career, for playing German industrialist Oskar Schindler, a Nazi party member who, after a change of heart, worked desperately to save the lives of over 1200 Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. Acting with brilliance, Neeson was able to show both horror and heart in this Steven Spielberg masterpiece.

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John Day
John Day is a seasoned sports writer and brings a unique blend of insightful analysis and covers the stories that matter most to sports enthusiasts everywhere.

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