The 10 Best Terry Gilliam Movies, Ranked

 Monty Python, our readers in their sweet 60s can identify easily to it. The troop was an epitome of satire and humor on BBC. Six official members, were often considered ‘The Beatles‘ of Comedy. Such was their impact on British Televised Comedy. One of the six was Terrence Vance Gilliam, a.k.a. ‘Terry Gilliam’, the only non-British origin member among the company. He was born on American Soil but renounced his citizenship in 2006. A step to proclaim his protest against The Bush government. Politics apart, Terry Gilliam and Monty Python faced a hiatus in 1979. Although, he already initiated his feature film Direction Career with Monty Python and The Holy Grail(1975).

Gilliam, in his career spanning over 40 years, has capped just 12 movies. Call it his auteur-ship, J.K. Rowling is a huge fan of his work. Such was his influence, he was Rowling’s first choice for Directing Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.(Things could have been much more exciting) Nevertheless, his movies have been acknowledged as imaginative and innovative by movie buffs. Terry Gilliam confessed about his love for framing story-lines in Trilogy. Nine out of his 12 movies are correlated in three separate series. Gilliam’s style of film-making is known for creating surreal atmosphere, through distinctive visuals and unusual camera angles.

Roger Ebert analysed his filmmaking as, “his world is always hallucinatory in its richness of detail.” His style of art provoked a dystopian established society, breaking free through imaginations. Here it is, recalling his selective nature in film-making. This the list of his unusual works, just like the unusual posters he created. Here is the list of top Terry Gilliam movies, ranked.


10. Jabberwocky (1977)

Jabberwocky, his first solo-directed movie after the break of Monty Python. Mistakenly considered Monty Python and The Jabberwocky. It was a comical story of a young man Dennis Cooper, a Cooper and his adventures. His fellow-mate Michael Palin played the protagonist. Loosely based on the poem from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in The Wonderland’, where Cooper unintentionally slays the monster ‘Jabberwocky’.

Critics appraised the humor and grey nature of the film. Gilliam never felt odd for the Monty Python situation. After all, it was his days at The Flying Circus that proved critical for his film.


9. The Brothers Grimm (2005)

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The second Heath Ledger movie in the list, alongside Matt Damon. Brother’s Grimm follows the story of Grimm Brothers playing con-artists bluffing people of French-occupied Germany. The two brothers Will & Jake have a turbulent relationship, after Jack was bluffed by a man for beans before their mother dies. He clearly borrowed elements from Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead Series, utilizing horror and comedy blended with Gilliam’s imaginations. Monica Bellucci plays The Mirror Queen, the main antagonist. Heath Ledger gave a terrific performance as a stammerer. As a Ledger fan, I consider it an accomplishment to outrun an established actor, but then he amazed everyone the same year with Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

The film went on to be a moderate box-office success, with critics praising its Art Direction and sets but panning it for trivial story-line.


8. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

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The delay and hardships in the pre-production can be exemplified with this movie. Majorly, due to the untimely death of Heath Ledger lead to its hindrance. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, follows a theatre troop (Gilliam’s obsession with theatre) with his enigmatic leader. The audiences were his experiments.

Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law were cast to portray Ledger’s character in different physical form. Ensemble cast of Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield and Lily Cole gave a worthy performance. Critics praised the innovative imagination and dark atmosphere of the film. Gilliam’s perseverance lead TIDP to two Academy nominations and box office success.


7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

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Terry Gilliam’s “Americana Trilogy” ended with this one. Starring Johnny Drop and Benicio Del Toro, the film is about a journalist and his lawyer friend. Raoul Duke(Johnny Depp) travel to Las Vegas for a MINT400 race, with Dr. Gonzo(Del Toro) primarily as a drug trip. Terry Gilliam confessed in an interview, “I want it to be seen as one of the great movies of all time, and one of the most hated movies of all time.” Nevertheless, after watching this movie, I came to know about so many drugs and their names.

Both Raoul & Gonzo strangle down in unusual and weird circumstances due to their ecstasy. On a whole, they get high, lower down only to hit a blow again. Johnny Depp and Del Toro brilliantly put their work. Director describes the life and reality of Vegas through his imagination. Furthermore, Dr. Gonzo is based on a real life character, apparently with same interests.

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