Winona Ryder films: Best to Worst (complete filmography)

by Gwasgray | created - 06 Jan 2013 | updated - 09 Apr 2017 | Public

As you can probably tell, I have a bit of a thing for Winona.

The top 10 may be different to my other list "The Best of Winona Ryder" but that list is meant to be the films that give the best an all-round view of Winona's career (so for example Star Trek was left out because her part is pretty small). This list judges her films by themselves.

I've seen Turks & Caicos but I've chosen to leave that out because I consider it to be a TV drama program rather than a movie (or TV movie) Looking for Richard doesn't count because it's a documentary (ditto other documentaries she's appeared in) and Being John Malkovich just uses a bit of archive footage of her (at an awards show).

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1. Black Swan (2010)

R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Votes: 612,379 | Gross: $106.95M

I think this an amazing film, a thrilling journey into madness. And it's perfect that Winona was cast as the veteran performer who up-and-coming Natalie Portman takes the place of. You have to admit there's a real-life parallel there.

2. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

74 Metascore

A gentle man, with scissors for hands, is brought into a new community after living in isolation.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall

Votes: 394,973 | Gross: $56.36M

The beginning of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's longtime collaboration and one of their best.

3. Beetlejuice (1988)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Fantasy

69 Metascore

When a recently-deceased ghost couple find their now-vacant home invaded by an obnoxious family, they hire a sleazy ghost who gets rid of humans to help them.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Annie McEnroe

Votes: 215,243 | Gross: $73.71M

The first proper Tim Burton film (with Pee-Wee's Big Adventure he was more of a hired gun), with bags of originality and charm and the Tim Burton-isms feel completely fresh - the expressionist set designs, the costumes, the Danny Elfman score and stop-motion sequences. Lydia Deetz is the most Tim Burton-esque characters ever and one of Winona's most iconic roles.

4. The Crucible (1996)

PG-13 | 124 min | Drama, History

A Salem resident attempts to frame her ex-lover's wife for being a witch in the middle of the 1692 witchcraft trials.

Director: Nicholas Hytner | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen

Votes: 31,722 | Gross: $7.34M

5. The Age of Innocence (1993)

PG | 139 min | Drama, Romance

83 Metascore

A tale of nineteenth-century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman's cousin.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Linda Faye Farkas

Votes: 40,802 | Gross: $32.20M

6. Heathers (1988)

R | 103 min | Comedy

73 Metascore

In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Director: Michael Lehmann | Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk

Votes: 70,747 | Gross: $1.11M

Personally I feel it's slightly overrated and you can tell it didn't completely live up to scriptwriter Daniel Waters' dream (he originally wanted it Stanley Kubrick to direct it) but Christian Slater steals the show with his Nicholson-esque coolness. One of Winona's best performances as well.

7. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

R | 127 min | Biography, Drama

51 Metascore

Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy

Votes: 139,676 | Gross: $28.87M

Flawed but occaissionally effective adaptation of a good but very difficult to adapt book. Most notable for being the film that won very soon-to-be Hollywood's hottest actress Angelina Jolie her Oscar.

8. Mermaids (1990)

PG-13 | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

56 Metascore

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.

Director: Richard Benjamin | Stars: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Michael Schoeffling

Votes: 24,600 | Gross: $35.42M

Sweet, quirky, slightly corny but lovable little film. Winona is so convincing and endearing as a naive, confused, virginal 15 year old (she was about 18 at the time) I think it's one of her best performances.

9. Star Trek (2009)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father's legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy

Votes: 541,882 | Gross: $257.73M

Successful reboot of the Star Trek movie franchise. Only a small cameo role for Winona though (playing Spock's mother)

10. Frankenweenie (2012)

PG | 87 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

74 Metascore

When a boy's beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau

Votes: 83,810 | Gross: $35.29M

Admittedly it does feel like Tim Burton is repeating himself again, but I still liked this. It had a nicely dark sense of humour and great performances from it's voice cast. Winona however gets disappointingly few lines as schoolgirl Elsa Van Helsing (a bit like a hybrid of Lydia Deetz and Rina from Lucas)

11. Night on Earth (1991)

R | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

An anthology of 5 different cab drivers in 5 American and European cities and their remarkable fares on the same eventful night.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Lisanne Falk, Alan Randolph Scott

Votes: 46,656 | Gross: $2.02M

Typically quirky and eclectic collection of stories from Jim Jarmusch. Winona is cast against type as a tomboy cabbie/grease monkey.

12. Experimenter (2015)

PG-13 | 98 min | Biography, Drama, History

81 Metascore

In 1961, famed social psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of radical behavior experiments that tested ordinary humans' willingness to obey authority.

Director: Michael Almereyda | Stars: John Palladino, Anthony Edwards, Jim Gaffigan, Peter Sarsgaard

Votes: 14,320 | Gross: $0.16M

13. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

R | 100 min | Animation, Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Rory Cochrane

Votes: 96,537 | Gross: $5.50M

The rotoscoping is bold but sags somewhat because much of the running time is taken up by the drug-addled characters sitting around talking nonsense (might sound funny but it's not really) with an irritating Robert Downey Jr. producing the most verbal diarrhoea.

14. Little Women (1994)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

87 Metascore

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes

Votes: 40,778 | Gross: $50.08M

Winona does a good job (she even earned a Best Actress Oscar nom) in this solid adaptation of a classic children's story.

15. Zoolander (2001)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy

61 Metascore

At the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Director: Ben Stiller | Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell

Votes: 220,779 | Gross: $45.17M

Winona has a short cameo playing herself in this funny Ben Stiller comedy which now has a bit of a cult following.

16. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

49 Metascore

After her much older husband forces a move to a suburban retirement community, Pippa Lee engages in a period of reflection and finds herself heading toward a quiet nervous breakdown.

Director: Rebecca Miller | Stars: Robin Wright, Alan Arkin, Mike Binder, Winona Ryder

Votes: 11,850

Another recent minor supporting role for Winona but I think she made the most of it.

17. Celebrity (1998)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama

41 Metascore

The fortunes of a husband and wife differ drastically after they divorce.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Judy Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Greg Mottola

Votes: 22,072 | Gross: $5.03M

Average Woody Allen film with Kenneth Branagh playing Woody Allen. Winona gets 4 scenes but is certainly believable as someone he'd fall in love with at first sight.

18. Lucas (1986)

PG-13 | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends -- Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love -- fall for each other.

Director: David Seltzer | Stars: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thorne-Smith

Votes: 12,727 | Gross: $8.20M

Sweet but quite dated 80s high school movie with a performance from tragic child star Corey Haim that shows what could have been. A very young and untested Winona debuts as a shy classmate with a unrequited crush on the title character.

19. Reality Bites (1994)

PG-13 | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

A documentary filmmaker and her fellow Gen X graduates face life after college, looking for work and love in Houston.

Director: Ben Stiller | Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn

Votes: 39,673 | Gross: $20.98M

20. Great Balls of Fire! (1989)

PG-13 | 108 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 13,787 | Gross: $13.74M

Silly but entertaining, and the music's still great. Then-18-year-old Winona makes a fairly convincing 13-year-old (as Lewis' underaged bride)

21. Homefront (I) (2013)

R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama

40 Metascore

A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord.

Director: Gary Fleder | Stars: Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth

Votes: 93,465 | Gross: $19.78M

Wasn't expecting much but actually it wasn't that bad. Winona, playing a ex-biker gang groupie, doesn't get that much to do apart from acting as a go-between for James Franco's meth dealer and a biker gang but it's a new kind of character for her and she just about pulls it off.

22. The Iceman (2012)

R | 106 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

The story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters had any clue about his real profession.

Director: Ariel Vromen | Stars: Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, James Franco, Winona Ryder

Votes: 62,236 | Gross: $1.94M

Has a good cast but it's a bit flat and doesn't seem to really bring anything new to the gangster genre. Winona is second billed and gets the second most screentime but her scenes are quite brief and she still feels underused.

23. Alien: Resurrection (1997)

R | 109 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

63 Metascore

200 years after her death, Ellen Ripley is revived as a powerful human/alien hybrid clone who must continue her battle against the aliens. Along with a crew of space pirates, Ripley must also prevent the deadly aliens from reaching Earth.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman

Votes: 197,567 | Gross: $47.75M

The final and weakest entry in the Alien series. Winona looks a bit out of place.

24. Dracula (1992)

R | 128 min | Horror

57 Metascore

The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves

Votes: 161,720 | Gross: $82.52M

Possibly one of Winona's more popular films but it really shows how Francis Ford Coppola lost it in the 90s. Over-the-top gothic horror blockbuster that enters so-bad-it's-good territory, with various bad accents from its main cast (Keanu Reeves takes the cake)

25. Square Dance (1987)

PG-13 | 112 min | Drama, Romance

Gemma is 13 years old lives and with her grandpa in the country, she has for many years. One day her mother shows up, and wants to take Gemma to the city. Her mother is married now, and can... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Jason Robards, Jane Alexander, Winona Ryder, Rob Lowe

Votes: 763 | Gross: $0.23M

Low budget 80s TV movie that isn't too bad for what it is. Winona's second film and her first leading role (although as a starting-out child actress she only gets 3rd billing)

26. S1m0ne (2002)

PG-13 | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

49 Metascore

A producer's film is endangered when his star walks off, so he decides to digitally create an actress to substitute for the star, becoming an overnight sensation that everyone thinks is a real person.

Director: Andrew Niccol | Stars: Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, Rachel Roberts, Benjamin Salisbury

Votes: 54,867 | Gross: $9.68M

Corny comedy sci-fi fantasy, Al Pacino's worst film after Gigli and Jack & Jill. Winona gets about 5 minutes of screentime playing "a supermodel with a SAG card" (but isn't she a bit short to be a model?)

27. The House of the Spirits (1993)

R | 140 min | Drama, Romance

A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.

Director: Bille August | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas

Votes: 18,540 | Gross: $6.27M

Stodgy drama with white actors playing a Chilean family.

28. When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story (2010 TV Movie)

PG | 92 min | Biography, Drama

Based on the true story of the enduring but troubled love between Lois Wilson, co-founder of Al-Anon, and her alcoholic husband Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Director: John Kent Harrison | Stars: Winona Ryder, Barry Pepper, John Bourgeois, Rosemary Dunsmore

Votes: 770

Fairly cheesy Hallmark TV movie although has a few good scenes where Winona and Barry Pepper pull some decent performances out of the bag.

29. The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)

R | 97 min | Drama

27 Metascore

Seven-year-old Jeremiah is pulled from his foster home and thrown into a troubled life on the road with his teenage mother, Sarah.

Director: Asia Argento | Stars: Asia Argento, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Jimmy Bennett

Votes: 5,676 | Gross: $0.03M

A depressing film that feels like it's just being gritty for the sake of it and has little else to say. And the "true story" it's based on turned out to be a hoax. Winona appears in one 2 minute scene playing a caricatured child psychologist, with a bad southern accent (accents aren't really her strong suit)

30. Sex and Death 101 (2007)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

24 Metascore

A guy's life is turned around by an email, which includes the names of everyone he's had sex with and ever will have sex with. His situation gets worse when he encounters a femme fatale (Ryder) who targets men guilty of sex crime.

Director: Daniel Waters | Stars: Robert Wisdom, Tanc Sade, Patton Oswalt, Simon Baker

Votes: 10,005 | Gross: $0.02M

Winona reunites with Heathers writer Daniel Waters but the results are a bit disappointing (this certainly won't develop the cult following of Heathers)

31. How to Make an American Quilt (1995)

PG-13 | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse | Stars: Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Kaelynn Craddick

Votes: 9,458 | Gross: $23.57M

All the older women's stories are too thinly sketched, it has some pretty corny moments and in the end it feels like something churned out to attract middle-aged, middle American women. Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Maya Angelou and prestigious name must have been the reason Winona signed onto this, it surely couldn't have been because of the quality of the script or the wishy-washy character she plays.

32. Stay Cool (2009)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An author who returns to his hometown to deliver a commencement address to a class of graduating high school students has to deal with his feelings for an old flame as well as the advances of a student who has the hots for him.

Director: Michael Polish | Stars: Winona Ryder, Mark Polish, Sean Astin, Hilary Duff

Votes: 3,006

33. The Letter (IV) (2012)

R | 92 min | Drama, Thriller

A playwright who begins to mentally unravel cannot decide if she is at the center of a manipulative plot or simply losing her grip on reality.

Director: Jay Anania | Stars: Winona Ryder, Josh Hamilton, Marin Ireland, Katherine Waterston

Votes: 1,289

Had some potential, the performances aren't bad and it's nice to see Winona in a starring role again (she gets more of a chance to act), it's just a shame the story doesn't go anywhere. It has interesting parallels to Black Swan though.

34. Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Drama

A small town prepares for the homecoming of superstar Roxy Carmichael, as does a young outsider, who believes Roxy is her mother.

Director: Jim Abrahams | Stars: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins, Thomas Wilson Brown

Votes: 4,187 | Gross: $3.99M

Some might like this cutesy film where Winona plays a hapless oddball but I found it pretty twee stuff. It was directed by one of the creators of Airplane! but you'd never think it.

35. Autumn in New York (2000)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance

24 Metascore

Romantic drama about an aging playboy who falls for a sweet, but terminally ill, young woman.

Director: Joan Chen | Stars: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Elaine Stritch

Votes: 22,186 | Gross: $37.75M

Unfortunately mawkish weepy with an ending that anyone could see from miles away. Richard Gere gives a typical Richard Gere performance (ie. pretty wooden) but at least Winona is very gorgeous most of the time.

36. The Dilemma (2011)

PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

46 Metascore

A man discovers that his best friend's wife is having an affair.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly

Votes: 46,722 | Gross: $48.48M

37. The Last Word (I) (2008)

R | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A man (Bentley) who makes his living composing other people's suicide notes enters into a romance with the sister (Ryder) of a recent client.

Director: Geoffrey Haley | Stars: Wes Bentley, Winona Ryder, Ray Romano, Gina Hecht

Votes: 2,818

Winona is OK, but the script is quite insipid and the Ray Romano scenes are terrible.

38. The Informers (2008)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

20 Metascore

One week in L.A. in 1983, featuring movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters in adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence.

Director: Gregor Jordan | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Jon Foster

Votes: 14,972 | Gross: $0.30M

Hardly anything happens, although Amber Heard is naked a lot in it, which is a plus.

39. Mr. Deeds (2002)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Romance

24 Metascore

A sweet-natured, small-town guy inherits a controlling stake in a media conglomerate and begins to do business his way.

Director: Steven Brill | Stars: Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Allen Covert

Votes: 121,094 | Gross: $126.29M

A remake of an old Frank Capra film, really just an excuse for a particularly lazy Adam Sandler vehicle. Winona, in one of her worst performances, flounders with the lame script and has zero chemistry with Sandler. Made around the time of her shoplifting debacle, so that year must have been a real annus horribilis for Winona.

40. 1969 (1988)

R | 95 min | Drama, War

Two friends living in a small town during the 1960s, run away to enjoy their freedom during the Vietnam War, thus disappointing the father of one of them. When they return to town, they realize the importance of family unity.

Director: Ernest Thompson | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, Mariette Hartley

Votes: 3,215 | Gross: $5.98M

Comedy-of-age drama that's a rather feeble attempt at portraying the hippy/Vietnam era. A forgotten entry in the early résumés of Winona, Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Downey Jr. Winona gets nothing to do.

41. The Darwin Awards (2006)

R | 94 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance

To investigate bizarre insurance claims that transpired in either accidents, death or both, a former cop and an insurance investigator travel throughout the country to look at the cases up close.

Director: Finn Taylor | Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder, David Arquette, Ty Burrell

Votes: 9,162

Lame comedy flop which, like "The Ten", completely wastes an ensemble cast of good actors. Winona fails to make her character likable. Feels like it went straight to DVD and probably did.

42. Lost Souls (2000)

R | 97 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

16 Metascore

A Catholic teacher meets an atheist journalist, whom a group of Catholics and priests believes has been chosen by the devil himself to be the Antichrist.

Director: Janusz Kaminski | Stars: Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin, Sarah Wynter, Philip Baker Hall

Votes: 9,839 | Gross: $16.78M

Bleak, dull, highly forgettable satanic horror.

43. Boys (1996)

PG-13 | 86 min | Mystery, Drama, Romance

Patty Vare falls off a horse and is found unconscious by preparatory school student John Baker. He takes her to his dormitory. As he quickly discovers, she is hiding from something. For ... See full summary »

Director: Stacy Cochran | Stars: Winona Ryder, Lukas Haas, John C. Reilly, James Le Gros

Votes: 3,195

Poor excuse for a film that Winona sleepwalks through in a state of delirium.

44. The Ten (2007)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Romance

50 Metascore

Ten stories, each inspired by one of the ten commandments.

Director: David Wain | Stars: Paul Rudd, Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Adam Brody

Votes: 15,730 | Gross: $0.77M

Terrible collection of unfunny, amateurish comedy sketches, only one of them raised a laugh from me thanks to Rob Corddry. Quite a few good and well known actors are in it but they are all wasted.