Guy Ritchie is an accomplished English filmmaker recognized for crafting movies that belong to genres that are radically distinct from one another. Most of his filmography comprises crime films centered on the underworld of Britain and is usually produced on a modest budget. In addition, there are comedies with a significant budget, such as Aladdin, as well as action-adventure movies, notably Sherlock Holmes. And while it would appear that he is more at home with British crime movies, the box office success of his productions with larger budgets has not been to his disadvantage.
In his career spanning more than 20 years, Guy Ritchie has only made 12 movies; nevertheless, only half of those Guy Ritchie movies have been able to get some love from critics, and only three of those movies have managed to earn praise from a significantly wider audience.
However, one of the primary reasons moviegoers anticipate Ritchie’s films is his unique directing style, characterized by high-octane thrills and action frequently juxtaposed with a gloomy sense of humor. His crime movies have slick protagonists who inject a certain kind of high-octane adrenaline into the action on screen.
As a result, there is great excitement about the Guy Ritchie project, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Ritchie has collaborated on the script for this movie as he has for all of his others, with the exception of the couple of Sherlock Holmes productions. In the course of the movie, he also meets up with Jason Statham, arguably the greatest action icon of all time, who has been one of his longtime collaborators.
Ritchie’s 2023 movie “The Covenant” has earned a lot of positive feedback and ended up becoming his highest-rated film. His career has marked both highs and lows, but the peculiar manner in which he approaches crime movies and the films he stars in has always struck a chord with his loyal fan base. This is a rundown of his career, arranged from his weakest works to his strongest ones:
- Swept Away
- King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
- Opération Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
- Wrath of Man
- The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- The Covenant
- Sherlock Holmes
- The Gentlemen
- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
1. Swept Away – 2002
Starring: Madonna, Adriano Giannini
Guy Ritchie wife (ex) Amber Leighton (Madonna), a wealthy and arrogant woman, and Giuseppe (Giannini), a deckhand, are the only two survivors when their yacht runs aground on a remote island. Despite the fact that their beliefs conflict with one another, they find that they are attracted to one another.
Even though it gets the lowest rating of any of Guy Richie movies, binge-watching them would allow you to appreciate everything else he has produced up to this point. Because of this, beginning with this film may give viewers another dimension to perceiving and appreciating Ritchie’s more accomplished works.
The director, Lina Wertmuller, also helmed the original 1974 Italian picture of the same name, which received high praise from cinema critics. During the time when the movie was being made, Ritchie was already married to Madonna. As a result, there were many people looking to the director and the “Queen of Pop” to deliver. The storyline, acting, and direction were all criticized for being so dull that they made audiences fall asleep.
2. Revolver – 2005 (U.K.)
Starring: Jason Statham, Mark Strong, Ray Liotta, André Benjamin, Vincent Pastore
Crime leader Dorothy Macha, played by Liotta, gives the order to his men to execute his former underling and skilled gambler Jake Green, played by Statham. After that, Jake enlists the assistance of a couple of his other pals so that they can defeat Dorothy.
This is the weakest of the four Guy Ritchie films that Ritchie and Statham have collaborated on up to this point. Despite the fact that it is marketed as an action movie, Ritchie integrated his views in Kabbalah, which is a Jewish mystic school of thinking, into the narrative in order to give it a deeper intellectual flavor. However, reviewers criticized the film for being overly pretentious.
3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – 2017
A young man without a home or family, Arthur (Hunnam) does not know where he comes from. His uncle Vortigern (Law), who later ascended to the throne of England, was responsible for the assassination of his father, who was the King of England. After he frees the sword Excalibur from its slumbering place in the stone, Arthur finally comes to terms with both his birthright as well as his destiny.
Reviewsed asserts that Warner Bros.’s original intention was to launch this reimagining of Arthurian mythology with the first installment of a shared universe of six films consisting of both sequels and spinoffs.
However, despite having a stellar cast, the movie was a financial bust at the box office. According to calculations made by Deadline, the producers of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword sustained a financial setback of USD 153.2 million, making the film one of the most spectacular failures in 2017.
4. Aladdin – 2019
Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, Naomi Scott
Aladdin, sometimes known as Massoud, is an average street urchin who has a golden heart. He develops feelings for Princess Jasmine of Agrabah, played by Scott. But the treacherous Grand Vizier, played by Kenzari, stands in his way. He has plans on taking over the kingdom and is on the hunt for a magic lamp that can call forth a powerful genie, played by Smith.
The year 2019 saw the release of two movies directed by Guy Richie; the first was Aladdin. (The other one is called “The Gentlemen”). Critics were not kind to the movie overall, but they were especially harsh on Ritchie’s direction and the subpar computer graphics. However, in spite of the film’s flaws, it managed to finish the year 2019 as the ninth highest-grossing movie with box office earnings of more than one billion dollars worldwide.
The Disney animated feature film from 1992 of the same title inspired the live-action version of Aladdin, which Walt Disney Pictures produced.
5. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – 2011
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams
During his investigation into the circumstances surrounding the passing of a crown prince, Sherlock Holmes (played by Downey Jr.), a brilliant investigative mind, uncovers a clue that leads him to the devastation plotted by Professor Moriarty (played by Harris). Before it is too late, Sherlock must go up against the ‘Napoleon of Crime’ with the assistance of his devoted friend, Dr. John H. Watson (played by Jude Law), and a gypsy (played by Noomi Rapace) he saves.
The movie is a continuation of the Guy Richie movie Sherlock Holmes, which was released in 2009. Although the scale of the sequel was greater than that of its predecessor, the excessive focus on action in the sequel alienated fans and critics of the renowned fictional detective, as well as Downey Jr.
Despite this, the movie made an aggregate worldwide gross of over 540 million dollars on a budget of 125 million dollars because of the tremendous attention surrounding the movie starring Downey Jr. However, Ritchie did not direct another film for the following four years, which is the most prolonged interval between any two of his works.
6. Opération Fortune: Ruse de Guerre – 2023
Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hartnett, Aubrey Plaza, Bugzy Malone, Cary Elwes, and Hugh Grant
Guy Ritchie worked once again with his longtime partner Jason Statham, and Statham plays the customary pivotal character of a rough and ready geezer. Statham is easily recognizable in this role due to his distinctive bald head, scruffy facial hair, and deep voice. The shocking revelation was that he always wore all black and carried a submachine pistol. Hugh Grant gives another performance, this time as the antagonist Greg Simmonds, wearing his best Cockney accent. This comes after Hugh Grant had a remarkable performance in The Gentlemen as the wormy, middle-class, backhanded journalist Fletcher.
As a result of the Ukrainian nationality of its enemies, Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre was revealed to be shrouded in a mist of ambiguity. This was because question marks arose over the unpalatability of such representation during a period of strife. When it was finally released, however, it was a joyful delight. In the film, Statham plays Orson Fortune, a man who is tasked with chasing down Simmonds, a wealthy tech-wiz, in order to stop the distribution of a dangerous and perhaps catastrophic new technology. Imagine Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman, except with the snark of Ritchie Statham, along with Aubrey Plaza taking up the majority of the screen time.
7. RocknRolla – 2008
Starring: Gerard Butler, Toby Kebbell, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Thandiwe Newton, Tom Hardy
An old-school London mobster named Lenny Cole (Wilkinson), his thought deceased step-son Johnny (Kebbell), plus a minor gang leader called One Two (Butler) are all interested in the money that is involved in a shady land transaction that was orchestrated by a Russian mafia. And each of them works hard to outwit the others in the group.
The movie that Ritchie co-produced for the first time was RocknRolla. It was a return to the tried and true British gangster storytelling style he had become known for. Following his disastrous turnouts with Swept Away and Revolver, his reputation was partially redeemed by the film’s satisfactory result at the box office and its lukewarm reviews from the media.
8. Wrath of Man – 2021
Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hartnett, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Andy Garcia, Scott Eastwood
An unidentified worker working for an armored truck business in Los Angeles that handles cash transfers across the city surprises his coworkers by foiling a whole gang of thieves. His behavior inspires mistrust among his coworkers, who speculate about the reasons behind his actions.
This was the fourth time that Ritchie had worked with Statham, and the latter’s performance in Ritchie’s first picture set during the epidemic era was lauded. Some reviewers thought the plot was too similar to that of the 1995 film Heat, although they praised the film’s action sequences and the noir-style way in which Ritchie told the story.
9. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – 2015
Starring: Henry Cavill, Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant
In order to stop a criminal organization from deploying nuclear weapons, which would put both the United States of America and the Soviet Union in danger, a C.I.A. agent named Napoleon Solo (played by Cavill) partners with a K.G.B. operative.
The premiere of this comic espionage thriller, which takes its cues from the M.G.M. T.V. series of the same name that debuted in 1964, signaled the end of Ritchie’s hiatus from the filmmaking industry, which had lasted for four years. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was produced with an estimated cost of USD 75 million, but it failed to do well at the box office, earning just USD 107 million.
At the time of the film’s first release, most critics agreed that it was merely above ordinary, but the film’s reputation has steadily improved over the years. It was the only film directed by Guy Ritchie to make it onto Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 50 greatest action films of all time, which came out in 2021.
10. The Covenant – 2023 (Russia)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Sagar, Dar Salim
Guy Ritchie has spent the past two decades working toward the goal of regaining the kind of form that allowed him to bring up a career-defining distillation of Cockney criminals in their unnamed East London manor in the films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Fans of Ritchie have been left wanting more with each new release announcement, although The Gentlemen came the closest to meeting their expectations.
At the time of this writing, the new Guy movie “The Covenant” is wrapping up its global debut. In it, the director of King Arthur shifts his focus from the art of knighthood to the art of battle, focusing in particular on a story about American military personnel. It is not just physically removed from the gangland crime of England’s capital city but also removed from the movie representation of such activity.
The new Guy movie plot revolves around the U.S. Army Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal), who recruits the assistance of an Afghani interpreter named Ahmed (Dar Salim). His path of vengeance drives Ahmed, as he is still reeling from the loss of his son at the hands of the Taliban. His reliable interpreter saves Kinley after being ambushed by terrorists, and he subsequently wants to compensate him suitably.
The Covenant is a significantly more stimulating, measured, and introspective picture than any of Ritchie’s other films. It trades the “wham-bam!” in-your-face quips and raucous dialogue of Ritchie’s other films for more mature, slower cinematography and a more deliberate approach to narrative.
11. Sherlock Holmes – 2009
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong
Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.), accompanied by his sidekick, Dr. John H. Watson (Law), investigates a string of grisly killings that eventually lead them to Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a shadowy figure who is said to possess occult powers. Blackwood is put to death, but he later appears to have risen from the dead, which leads Sherlock to suspect a conspiracy even more sinister than he had previously believed.
From the perspective of the audience, Ritchie reimagined the classic detective as a more modern figure by imbuing him with the characteristics of a heroic action figure despite the fact that the character is known chiefly for his deductive reasoning. The performance that Robert Downey Jr. gave as the oddball investigator was primarily responsible for the positive reception that the film received from both critics and fans.
Because he was still riding high from the success of Iron Man (2008), the initial film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Downey Jr. was a key theatrical draw for this movie. Sherlock Holmes was a spectacular box office success with a worldwide revenue of over USD 500 million, despite having a budget of USD 90 million when it was produced. The movie was up for two Oscars, and Robert Downey Jr. took home the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for his outstanding performance in the movie.
12. Snatch – 2001
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Farina, Alan Ford, Benicio del Toro
The character of Turkish, played by Statham, is a shady boxing promoter who encourages the bare-knuckle boxer Mickey, played by Pitt, to compete for the mobster Brick Top, played by Ford. Things move from bad to worse, and there is complete and total chaos everywhere. Another thug, played by Benicio del Toro and known by his alias Frankie Four Fingers, contributes to the chaos by harboring a prized stolen diamond everybody wants to get their hands on.
The movie Snatch is considered to be a cult classic. It is the only film directed by Guy Ritchie that stars Brad Pitt, whose acting was lauded despite the fact that he did not have an Irish accent. It’s interesting to note that his character wasn’t even written into the first draft of the script.
The movie grossed over 83 million dollars globally, which is an incredible amount considering that it only had a budget of 10 million dollars.
13. The Gentlemen – 2020
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Henry Golding, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Michelle Dockery
Michael ‘Mickey’ Pearson (McConaughey), an American drug king, has his sights set on London with the intention of selling off his lucrative marijuana empire there. Every member of the criminal underworld and every other dark character tries their hand at a variety of schemes to seize their realm.
It has been said that this comedy-action film is one of Guy Ritchie’s best movies. The watch snatch (film) was produced with a budget of only USD 22 million, yet it ended up being a commercial hit by grossing USD 115 million all over the world. The film received generally favorable reviews, with many compliments directed toward Ritchie’s direction as well as the story and the actors’ performances.
A television series that is based on the film is now being developed by Ritchie for Netflix. A number of well-known actors, such as Kaya Scodelario, Theo James, Giancarlo Esposito, Peter Serafinowicz, and Vinnie Jones, have starring roles in the series. There are very few movies like the gentlemen, which makes it a must-watch.
14. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – 1998 (U.K.)
Starring: Jason Statham, Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones, Dexter Fletcher, Sting, P.H. Moriarty
After losing a poker game to a local gangster played by Moriarty, Eddy (Moran) with his three buddies are required to pay Hatchet Harry (Moriarty) a total of 500,000 GBP within one week. They find out that a band of thieves that live nearby is plotting a robbery they will participate in. After the criminals have committed their act, the pals make the risky decision to rob them themselves, raising the stakes significantly.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was Ritchie’s first film of any length and his debut. Both Statham and Jones will debut on the big screen with this film.
Everyone agrees that this is Guy Ritchie’s best work, and it’s easy to see why. The BAFTA Audience Award was bestowed upon it in the year 1999. Based on The Numbers, it grossed close to USD 28 million at box offices worldwide, nearly 21 times the amount spent on its production.
Who is Guy Ritchie?
Guy Stuart Ritchie is a strong successful male film director, writer, producer, and businessman from England. He was born on the 10th of September 1968.
After dropping out of school at the age of 15, Ritchie began working in the movie industry in low-level positions before moving on to direct commercials for television. He made his directing debut with a feature-length film in 1998 with the crime comedy Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Prior to that, in 1995, he directed the short film The Hard Case. Soon after, he received widespread acclaim with his directorial debut, Snatch (2000), which was well-received by critics and audiences alike.
After Snatch, Guy Ritchie directed the critically derided and commercially unsuccessful film Swept Away (2002), which starred Madonna, whom Ritchie had been married to between 2000 and 2008. After that, he went on to direct the films Revolver (2005) and then RocknRolla (2008), both less commercially successful and were met with lukewarm reception from audiences.
Sherlock Holmes plus its sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which he directed and both became commercial successes, were released in 2009 and 2011, respectively. The former was up for Academy Award consideration in Best Original Score plus Best Art Direction categories.
Other films that he has directed include the remake of a 1960s spy series called The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), as well as the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin (2019). During its run in theaters, Aladdin amassed more than one billion dollars in revenue worldwide, making it not only among the highest-grossing movies of 2019 but also the 34th highest-grossing movie of all time.
In the year 2020, he made his comedic comeback to the crime genre with the release of The Gentlemen, a film that was generally well-regarded and a commercial hit. Wrath of Man, an action movie in which he directed and starred Jason Statham, was released in 2021. The spy action comedy film Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre was released in 2023 and grossed approximately $38.7 million worldwide at various box offices. Guy Ritchie is the director, producer, and co-writer of the American action drama picture The Covenant, which was released in 2023 and made approximately $21.8 million at theaters all over the world.
Who else in the rollicking decade that followed the success of Pulp Fiction in the 1990s had a more sensational directorial debut than Guy Ritchie with his film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels? As a result of the sleek and gritty dive into the criminal underground, which rocked the two sides of the Atlantic, Ritchie was given a chance to give his style a slicker and more cosmopolitan polish with the film Snatch.
No matter where Ritchie’s career takes him, anytime he returns to this subject matter, it is consistently hailed as a back-to-basics comeback. This is because Ritchie is so closely associated with this style & subject matter. For example, the release of RocknRolla assisted in masking the bad aftertaste left by the movies Swept Away and Revolver.
And now, as a counterweight to the blockbuster impact of Aladdin as well as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, we have the arrival of films such as The Gentlemen and Wrath of Man. (Although it is safe to say that Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. discovered a happy and dynamic medium between these two extremes.) His most recent film, The Covenant, climbed to the top of his all-time list of highest-rated films in 2023.