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10 Best Cillian Murphy Movies & TV Shows (Ranked)

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The genius actor Cillian Murphy is one of the best actors working in Hollywood right now. The Irish actor has been performing since secondary school. Murphy has worked with some of the biggest directors in the world like Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle, and actor-director John Krasinski. After working in many theater productions and short films, the actor got his big break in Danny Boyle‘s hit horror film 28 Days Later. Cillian also wrapped up his most iconic role as Tommy Shelby in BBC’s Peaky Blinders in 2022. Now, he is starring in the lead role of Robert J. Oppenheimer in Nolan’s modern masterpiece Oppenheimer. So, here are the best films and TV shows you should watch if you love Cillian Murphy’s performances.

10. Red Eye (Paramount+, MGM+ & Prime Video Add-On)

Credit – DreamWorks

Cillian Murphy doesn’t have the face of a conventional villain but he does make one hell of an intimidating antagonist. This statement is proved in Wes Craven’s 2005 film Red Eye in which we follow the story of Lisa, who recently boarded a plane and her seatmate Jackson (Murphy) informs her that he is on the plane to kill a rich man and she is going to help him do it and if she doesn’t comply with his demands her father will taken out by an assassin. Red Eye also stars Rachel McAdams, Brian Cox, Robert Yeoman, and Jayma Mays.

9. Sunshine (Rent on Prime Video)

Best Cillian Murphy Performances

Sixteen years before Oppenheimer Cillian Murphy played the role of another physicist in Sunshine, a sci-fi psychological thriller film directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Alex Garland. The 2007 film is set in the year 2057, in a world that’s about to end because the sun is dying and the only hope for the world is to take a device to the sun that can revive it. To complete this mission a team of eight men and women are chosen but deep into their voyage some grave complications arise. Sunshine also stars Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Benedict Wong, and Hiroyuki Sanada.

8. A Quiet Place Part II (Hulu, Paramount+ & Prime Video Add-On)

Best Cillian Murphy Movies and TV Shows
Credit – Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place II gives Cillian Murphy another chance to fight for fis his life in an apocalyptic wasteland. Written and directed by John Krasinski, the 2022 sequel is set after the events of the first film and it follows the people remaining alive in the Abbott family as they head out and face the terrors of the outside world, where they meet an old friend and discover that they are in more danger than they thought. Murphy plays the role of Emmett, an old friend of Lee’s whose family is dead and he has developed a rather cynical outlook on life. A Quite Place II also stars Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Djimon Hounsou.

7. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (AMC+, Plex & Prime Video Add-On)

Best Cillian Murphy Movies and TV Shows
Credit – Sixteen Films & Matador Pictures

The Wind That Shakes the Barley is an intense war drama film that tells its story through the bond of the O’Donovan brothers—directed by Ken Loach, the 2006 film stars Cillian Murphy and Pádraic Delaney as Damien and Teddy O’Donovan in early 1920s Ireland. The film is set during the Irish War of Independence. It follows the story of Damien O’Donovan who was about to leave for London for his career as a doctor. Still, after witnessing the brutality of Britain’s squad known as “Black and Tan” he joins up a volunteer guerrilla army with his brother and fights a violent fight for the independence of their country. The story doesn’t end there as it continues to when Britain and Ireland signed a peace treaty resulting in the O’Donovan brothers fighting each other from the opposite sides of a civil war.

6. 28 Days Later (Sling TV)

28 Days Later
Credit: 20th Century Studios

One of Cillian Murphy’s first memorable roles was as Jim in Danny Boyle’s terrifying zombie film 28 Days Later. The 2002 film is set in a world ravaged by rage-filled zombies and it follows the story of Jim, who awakens from a coma only to discover that he is alone in a city filled with zombies to survive he joins a group of survivors who are looking for the source of a radio broadcast that might be able to help them. 28 Days Later is still counted as one of the best zombie flicks ever made and Murphy’s performance plays a key role in making the film this great.

5. Dunkirk (Peacock & Rent on Prime Video)

Credit – Warner Bros.

Dunkirk was the fifth film Nolan and Murphy collaborated on, and in this film, Murphy played a very impactful role which had all the viewers biting their nails. The 2017 film is a war film but in Nolan’s style which means you have to throw out your understanding of time and begin to take in the mastery at display in this non-conventional war film about the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II. While Murphy doesn’t play a big role in the film his character is one of the most memorable in the film and the intensity and terror in his eyes will tell you why he had to be Oppenheimer.

4. Inception (Peacock & Rent on Prime Video)

Credit – Warner Bros.

Inception is one of the talked about films in cinema history, and while we are still not clear if the ending was a dream or not. We do know that Inception was Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan’s third film in which the Oppenheimer actor played the role of Robert Fischer, Jr. Inception is a Nolan heist film that takes us on a trippy journey through dreams and while it is a heist film the main characters are not out to steal anything but to plant something, an idea in Cillian Murphy’s head. Inception follows the story of Dom Cobb, a thief with the ability to enter into people’s dreams from where he steals their secrets when he is offered a difficult job that promises to change his life for the better if done right, he takes on one of his most difficult jobs yet. Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Paige, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and Dileep Rao starring in supporting roles.

3. Batman Begins (Max, Peacock & Prime Video Add-On)

Credit – Warner Bros.

Batman Begins is the first film Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan did together, and while he initially auditioned for the role of Batman, he ended up playing the big baddie Scarecrow. Based on the iconic DC comic books, the 2005 film serves as the origin story for Christian Bale’s Batman. In the film, we see the pivotal moment that turned Bruce Wayne into Batman and also how he got the strength to exact justice on the streets of Gotham. Batman Begins also stars Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Katie Holmes in supporting roles.

2. Peaky Blinders (Netflix & Rent on Prime Video)

Best Crime Shows on Netflix
Credit – BBC

Before Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy’s career-best performance was of Thomas Shelby in the brilliant period crime drama series Peaky Blinders. The BBC series is loosely based on the story of a gang of the same name, who operated during the 1880s to 1910s in the city of Birmingham. Created by Steven Knight, Peaky Blinders is set after the Great War in 1919 and it follows the story of war hero Thomas Shelby and his family as they run one of the biggest and most ruthless crime organizations. Peaky Blinders concluded its series run in 2022 after six entertaining seasons and is expected to return for a film, that will tie up all the loose ends.

1. Oppenheimer (Peacock & Rent on Prime Video)

Oppenheimer Box Office Crosses 400 Million
Credit – Universal Pictures

What more can we say about Cillian Murphy’s phenomenon performance in Christopher Nolan’s historical epic Oppenheimer as all of the awards are piling up for him? Eighteen years and five movies later Nolan and Murphy’s collaboration finally sees Murphy in the lead role and it is simply Nolan’s best one. Oppenheimer follows the unbelievable story of J. Robert Oppenheimer from his university days to his making the first atomic bomb and the eventual fallout he faced. While Murphy is the most noticeable and the first actor on the call list, the biopic film also stars Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek, Casey Affleck, and many more.

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