Liam Neeson's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills and one of them is acting. Discover his 10 best films, ranked by Metascore.
by Michelle Honeyager — 

Liam Neeson

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Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills and one of them is acting. Neeson has starred in a wide variety of films and roles, but his most iconic is in his intense action roles. 

Many people know Neeson from his iconic role in Taken, where he plays an ex-CIA agent who has to rescue his daughter. That role rocketed him into the action movie legend he is today. Taken even went on to have two sequels. His most recent role is in Memory, another thriller in which he this time is an assassin who decides to decline a job for moral reasons and then has to hunt down those who hired him before they take him out.

However, Neeson has a long list of acting credits than span genres from animated, family-friendly films to historical dramas, including Silence.

The Irish actor was born in 1952 and has been acting since 1976, starting in theater. (He even appeared on Broadway.) Neeson began his film career in the 1980s, with one of his most iconic roles being Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Another was the eponymous Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, a performance for which he was nominated at the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards.

He also acted in a wide variety of British films and TV shows and received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire title for his services to drama. 

Here, Metacritic highlights the Top 10 movies Neeson has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

Schindler's List

Metascore: 94
Best for: People who like movies about important historical topics
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu 
Runtime: 195 minutes 

This Academy Award-winning movie from director Steven Spielberg and writer Steven Zaillian tells the tale of a German businessman who helps Jewish people evade the Nazis. The story follows Neeson's titular Oskar Schindler as he initially comes to Poland for economic opportunity but ends up becoming someone who protects the Jewish workers in his factory from SS extermination.  

"What is most amazing about this film is how completely Spielberg serves his story. The movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


Metascore: 86
Best for: Anyone looking for an animated film that is good for the whole family, and those who want a slightly different take on The Little Mermaid
Where to watch: 

, Google PlayHBO Max, iTunesVudu
Runtime: 101 minutes

This animated Studio Ghibli film is made by the beloved director Hayao Miyazaki. It's a refreshingly different take on Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid, in which a little fish wishes to become a human. The movie follows her adventures to attempt that dream. Neeson voices Ponyo's overprotective father, who is depicted as the main antagonist for much of the movie, in the English-language version of the film. 

"You watch a Miyazaki film with the pie-eyed, gape-mouthed awe of a child being read the most fantastic story and suddenly transported to places previously beyond the limits of imagination. It's quite a trip." — Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer  

Husbands and Wives

Metascore: 84
Best for: People who like grounded stories that have drama, comedy, and romance
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 108 minutes 

When a professor and his wife (played by Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, respectively) find out their best friends (played by Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis, respectively) are separating, it forces them to look at their own marriage and they find faults they hadn't noticed before. Neeson plays Michael Gates, someone Davis' Sally starts dating after separating from her husband. 

"For the first time in ages, it seems, there's something in an Allen movie to take home with you. I'm convinced, for instance, my wife will eventually leave me for Liam Neeson." — Desson Thomson, The Washington Post  


Metascore: 84
Best for: Anyone who needs a riveting crime drama in their lives  
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 129 minutes 

This crime drama from writer-director Steve McQueen centers on four women (played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo) whose lives are bonded together by their dead husbands' life of crime. When they are killed after stealing from a crime boss, the women pick up the mantle of theft in order to pay him back. Neeson plays Harry Rawlings, the leader of the original criminal crew and the husband of Davis' character.

"McQueen has made a big, pulpy crowd-pleaser, but he uses it to tell a story with real meaning. Widows is methodical in its imagery and gracefully written; it's also a suspenseful blast, best seen with the biggest, most animated audience possible." — David Sims, The Atlantic  

The LEGO Movie

Metascore: 83
Best for: Anyone who wants a genuinely funny family-friendly film  
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunesVudu
Runtime: 100 minutes 

The first film in the LEGO franchise follows a simple construction worker (voiced by Chris Pratt) who finds that he's the chosen one of prophecy, "The Special," and should be able to create anything using the LEGO building blocks of his world. It's up to him to stop the evil President Business' (Will Ferrell)  from gluing the world into a set shape. Neeson voices Good Cop/Bad Cop, who has something of a split personality, with the latter one becoming the right-hand man to main antagonist Lord Business.

"A clever, vividly imagined, consistently funny, eye-poppingly pretty and oddly profound movie … about Legos." — Dana Stevens, Slate 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Metascore: 79
Best for: Lovers of modern Westerns  
Where to watch:
Runtime: 133 minutes 

This movie tells six unique stories about the American frontier in a short anthology format that is also a musical. Because of the six-part story style, that means fans of Neeson won't be getting as much of him as they might in other movies, as he only appears in one of the stories (titled "Meal Ticket") as Impresario, a callous theater owner. Other stories in this Coen brothers project follow a singing cowboy, retell Jack London's short story "All Gold Canyon, and reimagine Steward Edward White's "The Girl Who Got Rattled."

"The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a tall tale about death, a murder ballad about us, trapped in a universe that is mostly unreasonable and nonsensical. And at the end of the journey we're left laughing through the lump in our throat." — Alissa Wilkinson, Vox


Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of psychology, biopics, and sexology
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 118 minutes 

Neeson plays real-life professor Alfred Charles Kinsey in this 2004 film. Although the story follows him in the classroom, as his adult college students keep coming to him, asking him questions about human sexuality, it also delves into his personal life, including his childhood and his marriage. As he begins working more earnestly on interviewing people about their sexual history, he learns that sexuality is more complicated than he original thought, eventually leading to the creation of the Kinsey scale. While the film showcases his successes, it also portrays how some people thought of what he was doing as controversial at the time.

"If it lacks a certain fuzzy warmth, Kinsey makes up for the shortfall with spirited and (for a commercial movie) amazingly candid vigor. It's an alert, lively movie with a crackling performance by Liam Neeson." — Desson Thomson, The Washington Post 


Metascore: 79
Best for: Lovers of historical drama with religious themes  
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, , Vudu
Runtime: 161 minutes 

This movie from Martin Scorsese follows two Jesuit priests (played by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) traveling to 17th century Japan. During this period, the Tokugawa shogunate has banned Catholicism and is taking an extreme seclusionist stance toward foreign contact. Therefore, the two priests witness the persecution of Japanese Christians. Neeson plays a veteran priest in the movie, Father Cristóvão Ferreira, who also witnesses torture.

"Only Scorsese could craft a film of such moral gravity for multiplexes and fascinate for nearly three hours." Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times  

The Dark Knight Rises

Metascore: 78
Best for: Superhero movies lovers who want a dark twist  
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunesVudu
Runtime: 165 minutes 

This is the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, so if you haven't seen the other two (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), you may want to start with those just to follow the larger scope of the story. In this one, Batman (Christian Bale) is forced out of exclusion by new terrorist threats in Gotham and is forced to fight Bane (Tom Hardy), who has abducted a nuclear physicist. Neeson reprises his role as the infamous DC Comics villain Ra's al Ghul in important internal sequence for Batman.

"A cinematic, cultural and personal triumph, The Dark Knight Rises is emotionally inspiring, aesthetically significant and critically important for America itself — as a mirror of both sober reflection and resilient hope." — Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist  

A Monster Calls

Metascore: 76
Best for: Those looking for a fantasy story with deep, emotional themes  
Where to watch:

Google Play, iTunesNetflixVudu
Runtime: 108 minutes 

This is the story of a child experiencing his mother's illness, bullying at school, and caregiver emotional negligence. Then a monster arrives at the boy's window and takes him on a journey of growth, promising to tell him three stories if he, in turn, tells one. Neeson voices that monster, who doesn't have a name but is simply known as The Monster.

"A stunning work of artistry and emotional heft with an ending that speaks as loudly to children, parents, and grand-parents. It's difficult to shake and impossible to forget." — James Berardinelli, Reelviews