All 10 David Fincher Movies, Ranked From Average to Best

Updated May 14, 2018
9 min read

It is not easy to rank David Fincher movies. After all, he is one of the very few directors who haven’t made a single bad film.  Rising up the ranks from directing music videos and advertisements, David Fincher today is one of the most well-known directors. Though all of his films have not been exceptionally successful at the box office, they have received critical acclaim throughout and have been listed in All-Time Favorites and Best Films of The Year by many critics and media outlets. He is known for being a perfectionist, holding an icy outlook towards the world and bringing out realism in his films. Hoping that there will countless more great movies that we will get to see from him, here is the list top David Fincher movies, ranked from average to best.

10. Alien 3 (1992)

Alien 3

Though ‘Alien 3’ was not able to garner the same critical acclaim as the first two ‘Alien’ films, to have the guts to extend a franchise whose earlier films had people like Ridley Scott and James Cameron as directors is appreciable. The film follows the events of ‘Aliens’ as an escape pod crashes on Fiorina 161 and Ellen Ripley has to fight the aliens, without any gadgets or modern technology, just involving the men, who were held as prisoners in the wasteland. Maybe ‘Alien 3’ was a failed attempt in doing what Fincher really wanted to do; it is certainly worthy of praise for being a debut film of a small-scale maker of music videos.


9. The Game (1997)

The Game

Based on a very intriguing plot, though low down the list, Fincher doesn’t disappoint in ‘The Game’ too. The film follows a wealthy banker, who had a peaceful life till now, but is gifted a role-playing real life game on his birthday by his estranged brother. Though reluctant at first, he finally accepts playing it and is pulled into a world of fear and mystery, from which he must come out by his own wits. Though not so much a box-office success like his previous film ‘Se7en’, ‘The Game’ received acclaim due to its unique story line and performances from the lead cast.


8. Panic Room (2002)

Panic Room

‘Panic Room’ is a many-time watch, first time to savor the story line and subsequently to understand the thematic presences of mortality and daughter-mother relations throughout the film. The film branches itself from the idea of the highly media-covered concept of panic rooms in the early 2000s, which were made by people as a safe haven in case of break-ins or some destructive natural phenomena. A single mother and her daughter are trapped in such a panic room and the film follows how they catch up with the three intruders who broke into their house, because what they really want is not in their house, but in the panic room. Engaging authoring by David Koepp and Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker and Jared Leto in lead roles made this film another of those memorable watches. One of the underrated movies of David Fincher.


7. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo

Based on the first book of the ‘Millenium’ trilogy by Stieg Larsson, ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ is a crime-thriller. The film tells us about a now-shadowed reporter, who sees a chance to regain his honor, when he is hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate the murder of his niece. The reporter has to find out the truth, has to take risks and along with him is a computer hacker, who is also on the quest to find out the truth. Lead pair is played by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara; Mara was also nominated for the Best Actress Award, her first, a rising actress who would go on to become one of the most sought after actresses.


6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ is a love story; Fincher’s unusual love story, which can hardly be overlooked. Loosely based on Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name, the film follows a man, who is mysteriously born with physical appearances of an elderly man and ages in reverse. Love takes him forward. He faces hardships and challenges throughout his entire life, but the lingering hope that one day he will be together with the love of his life takes him forward and gives him the spark to live on. Brilliant performances by Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Taraji Henson makes the film even more memorable and does not let us feel the monotony of its nearly three hours running time.

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5. The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network

With a befitting tagline of ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’, Fincher’s, perhaps, most acclaimed film till date is ‘The Social Network’. The film aptly makes us feel that success doesn’t come without a price, through the life story of Harvard undergrad and computer genius, Mark Zuckerberg. The film follows Zuckerberg, from his college days, the advent of his idea of forming a social networking arena and finally forming the Facebook, which was then followed by legal and personal impacts on his life, which he successfully overcame. The film was listed in many top ten lists of the year, even best film of the year by some critics. Jesse Eisenberg plays the role of Zuckerberg in the film and his performance is commendable throughout, deftly portraying the Facebook creator. The film also stars Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. A major box office hit of the year, it lost out Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director to ‘The King’s Speech’.


4. Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl

The highest grossing Fincher film till date, ‘Gone Girl’ tells us about the strained relationship of a married couple, played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. A famous writer marries a flamboyant woman and they become an epitome of being a happy couple to the outside world. The wife goes missing in their fifth anniversary and we find all fingers pointing at the husband. The media, the local community along with the cops go frenzy over it. It is a morally complex film that raises a lot of questions.


3. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club

Again based on a novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, ‘Fight Club’ might just be one of the most celebrated cinemas, which came and mesmerized us at the dawn of the 20th century. Be it the original score or the deftly choreographed fight scenes, the dark cinematography to one of the best twist endings in cinematic history, ‘Fight Club’ is one hell of a film; a film about which you can talk and brood upon for hours. The film tells us about a depressed man, who accidentally meets a soap salesman, and forms an underground club for rough fighting, fed up with their lives. The club soon becomes famous and the founders (SPOILER: or rather, founder) are psychologically affected with this unexpected fame. Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter and Jared Leto play in leads and awe us throughout, till we cannot believe what we have just seen in the last scene. Along with winning praises and many accolades all over, the film has also garnered a cult status since its release.


2. Se7en (1995)


After a not so high-praised debut with ‘Alien 3’, Fincher gave us ‘Se7en’, which, I would commit a mistake if I restrain it to a single genre. ‘Se7en’ is a perfect amalgamation of neo-noir and psychology, darkness and drama in each of its scene. And a perfectionist was born that day, who would go on to do wonders in Hollywood. With Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in lead roles, the film follows a retiring police officer, going on to solve a series of gruesome murders, along with a newcomer. They start to solve them, when they finally realize that the killer is killing only those who, he thinks, has a connection to the ‘seven deadly sins’ of humanity – gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust and envy. Though the Academy did not pay attention to this masterpiece, the film, along with fetching positive reviews and a super-hit box office record, finally hurled Fincher into the limelight and gave a perfect answer to those who had considered him ‘just another director’.


1. Zodiac (2007)


One of the best newspaper reporting films ever made and the most perfect and ambitious project of David Fincher is obviously ‘Zodiac’. ‘Zodiac’ is a film, which would keep you at the edge of your seats till the last minute and allure you till the remainder of your lifetime, because the film is factually based on a true story, which is still an open case. This film serves as a perfect blend of intensity, drama and tension, from the first scene, startling us with its dramatic opening sequence, till the last scene, leaving us utterly incomplete and speechless. ‘Zodiac’, at its core, tells us about a newspaper cartoonist, who turns to finding one of the most infamous serial killers in criminal history, ‘who called himself ‘Zodiac’ and terrorized San Francisco in the late sixties and early seventies, along with three ambitious cops and another reporter. With stellar performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr., this film would keep you engaged throughout and you would find yourself running and chasing the killer along with the characters, keeping in mind and trying to connect the clues with they have already found and who could be the ultimate killer.

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