Best Mark Rylance Movies, Ranked

Starting out in the world of theater, Mark Rylance is one of the most dynamic actors in Hollywood today. His style of acting doesn’t get the same credit as other actors in Hollywood get due to him not being well known for big dramatic and emotional moments. Instead, he is much more subdued in a lot of his performances. This makes him feel a lot more easy-going with the audiences who watch him. It also means Rylance stands out a little less than his contemporaries. And yet he was able to win an Oscar for the Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies. Immediately afterward, Rylance starred in the film The BFG, playing one of the lead characters. This allowed for his name to become closely tied to Spielberg, being a frequent actor-collaborator of his. Similarly, Rylance was involved in Ready Player One, which while out of his usual fare still, was with the iconic director.

Many of the films Rylance has been in have also become well-beloved films that are highly acclaimed and remembered by audiences for their prestige. Something that, today, Rylance adds just by being cast in these significant films. Earlier this year, Rylance starred in the hit British comedy-biopic The Phantom of the Open, playing Maurice Flitcroft, considered to be, per BBC, the world’s worst golfer. Rylance’s upcoming movies include Inland, The Last Planet, and Bones and All, the latter of which, per Variety, is set to make its world premiere at Venice Film Festival. Until then, let’s look at a few of Rylance’s prestige films and see which one of them is truly the best.


5 Ready Player One

Ready Player One is based on the novel of the same name and follows a young man named Wade going through a virtual reality called the OASIS, which was created by James Holiday (played by Rylance). The Spielberg-directed film does an exceptional job of making an entertaining experience for a mass audience who had never read the original novel. It is filled with references from past video games and anime such as Gundam and even classic movies such as The Iron Giant. What’s more, Ready Player One features fun action sequences and a lot of great emotional moments, making the film feel more epic in scope. It was exceptionally-made, and is deserving of a lot of praise.

Related: Exclusive: Mark Rylance Reflects on Acting, Choices, and The Phantom of the Open

4 Anonymous

William Shakespeare is a beloved writing icon known for a multitude of plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth. Anonymous dares to ask: did Shakespeare really write the plays he created, or were they written by someone else? Within the world of theater, this film creates a compelling narrative around this question. Coming from the background that Rylance has, it is easy to see why a film such as this would appeal to the actor. The story set-up is interesting and quite compelling and makes you want to know more as you wonder more why and how such a big event happened.

3 The BFG

The BFG was one of Spielberg’s most purely fun films. It harkens back to his earlier works like E.T. This film, however, tells a more heart-wrenching sweet story, filled with love and kindness as we are thrust into a story of a little girl from London named Sophie and an old but very loving giant. The BFG feels like an old-school Spielberg film in more ways than one, with all the love and fantasy adventure of many of his older filmmaking traits. And within this film, Rylance plays a major titular character and gives all the gravitas and fun energy that one could expect.

Related: The Phantom of the Open Review: Mark Rylance Astounds in a Fantastic Film

2 Dunkirk

Dunkirk is easily one of the strongest Rylance films on this list. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is a fascinating war film that is filled to the brim with death, destruction, and a lot of murder throughout. It looks at the realities of war by making all of its characters feel nameless and unknown in order to mirror the pointlessness of war and all of its different facets. War, after all, is pain and loss. Dunkirk also uses its strange sound mixing in order to help the audience become more entranced in its world. As a whole, it manages to be both powerful and amazing at the same time.

1 Bridge of Spies

The strongest film by Rylance is, of course, the one that got him an Oscar win: Bridge of Spies. Starring Tom Hanks, and based on a true story that looks at the political upheaval going on during the Cold War, this film delves deep into the real world of espionage in a more realistic way than you would see in most Hollywood blockbusters. And yet, it is also able to entertain any audience that goes to see it. Bridge of Spies was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, among others, including Best Supporting Actor for Rylance (which he won).

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