11 Best Wes Anderson Movies

Wes Anderson is an acclaimed American film director, screenwriter, and producer known for his unique visual and narrative style. Throughout his career, Anderson has developed a distinct and recognizable filmmaking technique, combining dry humor, a vibrant color palette, and intricate set designs in his movies.

Some of Anderson’s most celebrated films include Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Additionally, he has ventured into animation, with the highly praised Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Oscar-nominated Isle of Dogs. Anderson’s works continue to captivate audiences and contribute significantly to modern cinema.

11. Bottle Rocket (1996)

“Bottle Rocket,” released in 1996, was Wes Anderson’s feature film directorial debut. It was a crime comedy film that showcased Anderson’s unique style and established him as a respected filmmaker. The movie was written by Anderson and Owen Wilson, who was also part of the cast. Set primarily in Texas, and filmed in and around Houston, the characters embark on a journey filled with humor and misadventures.

The film starred Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson as Anthony and Dignan, alongside Seymour Cassel as an eccentric industrialist. The story focused on the lives of three friends who come up with a plan to commit theft and escape. While comedy was at the forefront, elements of romance and distinct character development were also present throughout the film.

10. Asteroid City (2023)

“Asteroid City” is a 2023 American comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson, with a story he wrote in collaboration with Roman Coppola. The film has an impressive star-studded cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Hong Chau, Hope Davis, and Margot Robbie.

The movie follows the journey of a writer and his tech-obsessed family as they travel to a small, rural Asteroid City to participate in a junior stargazing event. The story takes the grieving father character as his worldview is disrupted forever during this experience.

9. The French Dispatch (2021)

“The French Dispatch” is a 2021 anthology comedy-drama film directed, written, and produced by Wes Anderson. Conceived with the help of Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman, the film showcases a collection of stories set in a fictional 20th-century French city.

An ensemble cast, which includes Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Olivia Williams, Anjelica Huston, Benicio Del Toro, and Jeff Goldblum, brings these stories to life. The French Dispatch is an ode to journalists and inspired by articles from The New Yorker.

In the film, short stories based on New Yorker articles are presented as a tribute to journalism. This unique format allowed Anderson to explore various topics and art styles through a series of vignettes. The collaboration of experienced actors mixed with Anderson’s genius storytelling results in a memorable cinematic experience.

8. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

“The Darjeeling Limited” is a 2007 American comedy-drama set in India, which follows three estranged brothers as they embark on a train journey across the country in an effort to rebuild their bond following their father’s funeral.

Their journey aboard the eponymous train takes the brothers on a series of adventures and misadventures. As they traverse through the beautiful landscape of India, the siblings encounter various challenges and learn the importance of self-discovery, brotherly love, and personal growth.

The movie showcases Wes Anderson’s signature visual style, with an emphasis on color, symmetry, and intricate detail. His unique approach to storytelling has earned the film comparisons to works by renowned directors, such as Martin Scorsese.

7. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” is a 2004 adventure comedy-drama film written by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, directed by Anderson. The movie stars Bill Murray as oceanographer Steve Zissou, who embarks on a mission to find a mythical shark that killed his partner. The ensemble cast includes Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum.

The film’s inspiration is drawn from famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, with Murray’s character resembling a parody of him. Slight elements of romance are present, as Steve Zissou’s estranged wife, played by Anjelica Huston, joins the crew on their journey.

6. Rushmore (1998)

“Rushmore” is a 1998 American comedy film that tells the story of a teenager named Max Fischer, played by Jason Schwartzman in his film debut. Max forms a friendship with rich industrialist Herman Blume, portrayed by Bill Murray, as they both develop an affection for elementary school teacher Rosemary Cross, played by Olivia Williams.

The movie was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. It’s set at the prestigious Rushmore Academy and explores themes of ambition, rebellion, and unrequited romance.

5. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

“The Royal Tenenbaums,” a 2001 American comedy-drama film, features a talented ensemble cast including Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Anjelica Huston.

The film portrays the eccentric members of a dysfunctional family who reluctantly gather under the same roof for various reasons. Gene Hackman plays the charismatic patriarch Royal Tenenbaum, while Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson portray his children Margot, Chas, and Richie.

Throughout the film, there are elements of romance between characters, adding depth and complexity to their relationships.

4. Isle of Dogs (2018)

“Isle of Dogs” is a 2018 stop-motion animated film written, produced, and directed by Wes Anderson. The film is set in Japan and follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his lost dog. The unique animation style and captivating narrative add to the charm of the film.

Anderson is known for assembling an all-star cast, and “Isle of Dogs” does not disappoint. Voice talents include Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and Owen Wilson, among others. They bring life to the characters and contribute to the film’s engaging atmosphere.

3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

“Moonrise Kingdom” is a 2012 coming-of-age comedy-drama film, which revolves around a pair of young lovers named Sam and Suzy, who flee from their New England town, causing a local search party to fan out and find them. Edward Norton portrays a scout leader, while Bill Murray and Frances McDormand play Suzy’s parents.

Wes Anderson is known for his unique artistic vision, and Moonrise Kingdom showcases this with its distinct costume and production design. The film immerses viewers into the 1960s setting, incorporating rich visuals and memorable characters.

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a 2009 stop-motion animated comedy film based on the 1970 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The screenplay for the film was co-written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach. This movie is a distinct entry in the director’s collection, as it combines charming animation with Anderson’s signature quirky style.

The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson. Clooney voices the protagonist, Mr. Fox, who is an urbane fox with a penchant for farm raiding. His actions lead to consequences, forcing him to help his community survive the retaliation of the farmers he has been stealing from.

The stop-motion animation and unique visuals set the film apart from other Wes Anderson movies. The film’s distinctive animation style conveys the quirky charm and whimsy inherent in Dahl’s original story. The director’s vision adds to the film’s appeal, giving it a timeless quality that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a 2014 comedy-drama film starring Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H., a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel set between the wars. The story unfolds through the eyes of Zero Moustafa (played by Tony Revolori), a junior lobby boy who becomes Gustave’s friend and protégé.

The ensemble cast includes numerous other acclaimed actors, such as Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, and regular Wes Anderson collaborator, Owen Wilson. The film is known for its distinct visual style, whimsical storytelling, and a complex plot that weaves through different time periods and perspectives.

The Grand Budapest Hotel premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Its unique blend of humor and drama, combined with an intricate narrative, helped it garner attention and awards, including four Academy Awards out of nine nominations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top Wes Anderson films?

Some of the top Wes Anderson films include “The Royal Tenenbaums”, “Moonrise Kingdom”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, and “Rushmore”. These films showcase Anderson’s signature style, unique storytelling, and ensemble cast of recurring actors.

In what order were Wes Anderson’s movies released?

Wes Anderson’s movies were released in the following order: “Bottle Rocket” (1996), “Rushmore” (1998), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004), “The Darjeeling Limited” (2007), “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009), “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014), “Isle of Dogs” (2018), and “The French Dispatch” (2021).

What are some movies similar to Wes Anderson’s works?

Filmmakers such as Noah Baumbach, Sofia Coppola, and Charlie Kaufman tend to create movies with a similar feel to Wes Anderson’s works. Some examples of movies that resemble Anderson’s style include “The Squid and the Whale”, “Lost in Translation”, and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.

What’s the distinct style of Wes Anderson’s films?

Wes Anderson’s distinct style is characterized by symmetrical compositions, a pastel color palette, and a focus on quirky characters. His films often explore themes of family, loss, and nostalgia. Additionally, he frequently collaborates with the same group of actors, such as Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Tilda Swinton.

What is Wes Anderson’s most highly regarded film?

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is often considered to be Wes Anderson’s most highly regarded film. This critically-acclaimed movie showcases a unique world filled with eccentric characters and a captivating story. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning four, and has garnered a significant following and several accolades.

What other projects has Wes Anderson been involved in?

Apart from feature films, Wes Anderson has directed short films, commercials, and music videos. His notable short films include “Bottle Rocket” (1993), the original short that inspired the feature film, and “Hotel Chevalier” (2007), a companion piece to “The Darjeeling Limited”. Additionally, he has directed commercials for brands like American Express and Prada, and music videos for artists like Jarvis Cocker.