For the last 25 years, Guy Ritchie has been one of the most unique directors in the entertainment industry, thanks in large part to his wildly popular crime comedies. Although Ritchie got his start with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he has gone on to helm a wide variety of films, from Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake to his latest film, The Covenant, which is out in theaters this week.
Not everything Ritchie does has been critically acclaimed. His remake of Swept Away has an infamously low Rotten Tomatoes score of 5%, while The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword were huge box-office bombs. Conversely, Aladdin didn’t get great reviews, but it made Disney a lot of money. Ritchie usually finds his groove with the kind of dark comedies that he built his career on, most of which are terrific even if they didn’t attract a wide audience initially. To celebrate Ritchie’s newest film, we’re taking a look back at the seven best Guy Ritchie movies, as ranked by Rotten Tomatoes in descending order.
7. Wrath of Man (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%
Who is Patrick “H” Hill (Jason Statham)? Ritchie’s Wrath of Man poses that question when it introduces H as a lowly armored truck driver alongside Haiden “Bullet” Blaire (Holt McCallany) and Dave “Boy Sweat” Hancock (Josh Hartnett). But when the armored truck comes under attack by robbers, H proves to be far more adept with weapons than he should be as he wipes out the crooks. If anything, he’s far too competent for this job, and other thieves just flee when they catch a glimpse of him.
H keeps his cards close to the vest, but viewers will eventually get their answers as they learn who he is, and why he is on a bloody rampage for revenge. Everyone should fear his wrath.
6. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
Ritchie’s reboot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a massive-box office bust, in part because very few people seem to remember the original TV series from the 1960s. However, it may ultimately become a cult film because the action is great, and it captures the campy Cold War era setting of the show.
In 1963, American CIA Agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and his Russian KGB rival, Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), find themselves at odds when Solo tries to smuggle Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) out of occupied East Berlin. But when Solo discovers that Gaby’s uncle Rudi (Sylvester Groth) is linked to Nazis who are close to landing a nuclear weapon, he is ordered to team up with Kuryakin and eliminate the threat as part of a new international task force. And thus, U.N.C.L.E. is born.
5. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
Sherlock Holmes, action hero? Ritchie’s take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective may sound ludicrous at first, but it proved to be a winning box-office formula. Robert Downey Jr. stars in Sherlock Holmes as the title character, with Jude Law as his frequent partner, Dr. John Watson.
The film opens with Holmes and Watson seemingly at the end of their long association as the latter prepares to marry Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). Meanwhile, Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong), a serial killer who was put away by Holmes and Watson, claims that he has supernatural abilities and that he will continue his killing spree after his demise. Shortly after the return of Holmes’ rival/lover, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), Blackwood’s prediction appears to be true, forcing Holmes and Watson to renew their partnership to solve the mystery.
4. Snatch (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%
Overlapping crime stories intersect with dark comedy in Snatch. Brad Pitt is the most recognizable star in the film, and he plays Mickey O’Neil, a skilled fighter who accidentally upends the plans of crime lord “Brick Top” Pulford (Alan Ford) and a promoter named Turkish (Jason Statham) when he knocks out his opponent in one punch instead of throwing the fight as planned.
Meanwhile, Franky Four-Fingers (Benicio del Toro) has come to London to pass off a stolen diamond to Douglas “Doug The Head” Denovitz (Mike Reid) when the big fight with Mickey grabs his attention. Unfortunately for Franky, he doesn’t realize that an ex-KGB agent, Boris “The Blade” Yurinov (Rade Šerbedžija), plans to betray him and steal the diamond himself.
3. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Ritchie’s first film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, set the tone for many of the other crime comedies in his career. The story primarily follows minor-league crooks Eddie (Nick Moran), Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and Bacon (Jason Statham) as they hatch a scheme to get rich quick by cheating during a high-stakes card game run by “Hatchet” Harry Lonsdale (P. H. Moriarty).
The joke’s on them, however, when the game is rigged and they find themselves in over their heads in debt with Harry. To save their skins, the group decides to rob another set of thieves as they return from a cannabis heist with a pair of rare and valuable shotguns that Harry greatly desires. From there, all hell breaks loose.
2. The Gentlemen (2019)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
In The Gentlemen, Matthew McConaughey’s Mickey Pearson is an American living in Britain who has made a fortune in the underground cannabis business, with Raymond Smith (Charlie Hunnam) as his right-hand man. Because Pearson wants to cash out and retire with his wife, Rosalind Pearson (Michelle Dockery), his prospective buyer, Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong), conspires to undermine Pearson’s business in order to cut down on the price.
In another subplot, aprivate investigator named Fletcher (Hugh Grant) has learned the truth about Pearson’s drug empire, and he attempts to blackmail him by writing it all up as a screenplay. And when that fails, Fletcher decides to take the screenplay to Hollywood producers and make a movie out of it.
1. The Covenant
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Covenant, has given him the best reviews of his career. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as John Kinley, a sergeant in the U.S. army during the War in Afghanistan. Kinley hires a local man, Ahmed (Dar Salim), to serve as interpreter, and the two men strike up a friendship. While Ahmed shows great valor by saving Kinley from a Taliban ambush, the American government ignores Ahmed’s pleas for help when the Taliban come for him. Angered by his government’s inaction, Kinley takes it upon himself to return to Afghanistan and rescue his friend.