The Coen Brothers Movies Ranked from Best to Worst

While we wait for True Grit, we rank Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, and eleven more.

No Country For Old Men

By Andrew Osborne

True Grit, the upcoming remake of the 1969 John Wayne movie, will be the fifteenth feature-length film written and directed by the Coen Brothers, and we're guessing it'll be a good'un. But, in the words of The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy, will it be the best... Coen film... ever? And what exactly qualifies as "best" from arguably the two most consistently entertaining, inventive, and thought-provoking American filmmakers of the modern era? To find out, we whipped up a batch of White Russians and ranked the Coens' output to date in a highly subjective attempt to get to the heart of that Barton Fink feeling.

14. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

After a remarkable streak of Coen successes, this dull tale of an emotionless drone (Billy Bob Thornton) was the first and worst of the brothers' fin de siècle slump, ushering in a frightening period when it seemed the Coens had finally exhausted their bag of tricks. Neither funny nor particularly dramatic (despite the numerous murders that drive the plot), The Man Who Wasn't There even managed to make an oral-sex scene involving Scarlett Johansson seem dull and unnecessary — a remarkably dubious accomplishment.

13. Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

In the perverse ways of Hollywood, the second worst film of the brothers' career was also their first to surpass $100 million at the box office, thanks to the star power of George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the duelling spouses in this run-of-the-mill divorce comedy. The directors were collaborating with a pair of screenwriters who would later pen the movie in which Tommy Lee Jones protects a houseful of cheerleaders. The Coens' distinctive aesthetic was barely evident in this hunk of multiplex fodder. Still, what counts as a misfire in the Coen filmography would qualify as a career highpoint had it been directed by, say, Garry Marshall.

12. The Ladykillers (2004)

And then, three years into the brothers' "slump," this reimagining of the classic 1950s heist film suggested that maybe the Coens were finally getting their mojo back. Uneven and sluggish, The Ladykillers nevertheless gave the contractually bland Tom Hanks free reign to let his freak flag fly, resulting in the most interesting (and underrated) performance of the actor's career as would-be criminal mastermind Professor Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr.

11. Burn After Reading (2008)

After breaking their slump with the grand slam of 2007's No Country For Old Men (see below), the brothers popped out another Ladykillers-esque, Coen Lite crime comedy, but this time with a full varsity cast including the Cloon, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton. They play a gaggle of greedy, gun-toting morons, in a high-energy romp about nothing in particular that somehow managed to gross $161 million — becoming, remarkably, the Coens' biggest box-office hit to date. (Bonus points to Richard Jenkins, for actually breaking our hearts in the midst of all the madness as the only decent fella in Washington, D.C.)

10. Miller's Crossing (1990)

Considered classic Coen by some, this Prohibition-era noir always left me cold, despite instances of bravura filmmaking (like the soaring set piece where Albert Finney's aging lion of a mob boss outshoots a clutch of would-be assassins to the strains of "Danny Boy"). Maybe I'm immune to the humorless Black Irish charm of Gabriel Byrne (as Finney's conflicted lieutenant), or maybe it's just that the film plays like a very good episode of Boardwalk Empire, yet lacks the iconoclastic fire of the brothers' best work.

9. Blood Simple (1984)

And speaking of low-wattage noir, Blood Simple edges out Miller's Crossing in the list simply because it was the world's first taste of the Coens' inventive film-brat technique (exemplified by the wiseass visual gag where a slow tracking shot down the counter of a roadhouse saloon unexpectedly hops over a slumped drunk in the way). Working with a fraction of Miller's Crossing's budget, the brothers created twice as many indelible moments and characters in this claustrophobic tale of a deadly Texas love triangle, including redneck detective M. Emmet Walsh's cackling speech about the film's title concept, and Dan Hedaya's ghoulish last stand in a dark, shallow grave.

8. A Serious Man (2009)

Seemingly the most personal and autobiographical of the brothers' films, this examination of Jewish faith and family in 1960s Minnesota gives us a lot to like, if not to love. The cast (including Michael Stuhlbarg's frustrated, questioning patriarch and Amy Landecker as his sultry, smoky neighbor, Mrs. Samsky) is stellar, and the set pieces are by turns charming (a stoned Bar Mitzvah boy's meeting with a Dumbledore-esque rabbi) and fascinating (like the opening Old World ghost story and the ominous, ambiguous ending). And yet, for all its strengths, I suspect my somewhat muted enthusiasm for A Serious Man may echo one of Stuhlbarg exasperated lines: "Why even tell me the story?" But it's hard to argue with the storyteller's shrugged reply (an encapsulation, perhaps, of the Coens' own philosophy): "You can't know everything."

Commentarium (153 Comments)

Nov 28 10 - 4:21am

didn't lose face with me for naming the hudsucker proxy as one of the top coen films... it is full of good moments! but as for raising arizona being THAT high? I'm not so sure...

Feb 25 11 - 2:00am
Ted D

Raising Arizona is easily a best work by the Coen Brothers. Its dripping with the wit and character constructions that made them a phenom in the film industry.

Aug 23 12 - 9:00am

The Man Who Wasn't There is by far there best work.

Nov 28 10 - 10:25am

"Fargo" is deservedly number one. McDormand (and William H. Macy) were brilliant. I may have thought her accent was over the top until I got to know some people from Minnesota. They actually talk like that.
I like "The Man Who Wasn't There" much more than you do, and "Barton Fink" much less. You were correct to rate "Miller's Crossing" as low as you did. I probably would have put "No Country for Old Men" at #2.

Jan 24 12 - 1:02am

Most people, I think, don't get "Man Who Wasn't There." I personaly think it is one of the Coen's best films and is one of those hide the allegory in plain sight specialties of the Coen brothers. Spacecraft represent the triumph of modern technology over American values in the year 1949. Remember, the man who ran the department store was just fine until he was taken aboard the alien spacecraft. Spacecraft theme is repeated when hubcap flies off of car during auto accident brought on by girll's attempt at "mechanistic" (is this too much of a stretch?) sex. The only involvement anyone has with church is the bingo game. Two or three times the question is asked of the protagonist "What kind of man are you?" The answer is provided by the lawyer, roughly paraphrasing from memory he says of the protagonist at his trial, "What kind of man is he? He's modern man, The more you look, the less you see." And finally, he was the man who wasn't there.

Nov 28 10 - 12:56pm

Miller's Crossing deserves to be ranked in their top 3.

Apr 27 11 - 4:10am

top one!

Nov 28 10 - 1:56pm
Amber Lamps

Dude you're out of your frickin mind. Fargo? Where are you from? The midwest I bet.

Apr 09 12 - 12:00am
No clue

I don't know anyone in the midwest that thinks Fargo is _that_ great of a film. If anything ranking it that high shows he's not from the midwest. Then again someone named Amber is most likely a stripper.

Nov 28 10 - 2:11pm

new stuff on Sunday's, eh you remain a shifty bastard. but i kinda like it

Nov 28 10 - 2:15pm

how on earth do the coen brothers even rate a list like this? all their movies are meh/ok while having a few moments.

Aug 16 12 - 7:28pm

What directors do you prefer

Nov 28 10 - 4:03pm

Man Who Wasn't There is worse than Intolerable Cruelty? Worse than The Ladykillers? Tony Shalhoub's performance in that film is better than the entirety of Intolerable Cruelty.

Nov 30 11 - 7:39pm

Right on! With that first rating, I was already anticipating some shoddy reviews- I loved The Man Who Wasn't There and thought it better than most of the Coen brothers' films.

May 25 12 - 4:39am
Lindsay Winn

'The Man Who Wasn't There' is easy to underrate; it is in many respects up there with the very best Coen Brothers films and surely better than Raising Arizona and O Brother Where Art Thou

Nov 28 10 - 4:24pm
Man Who Wasn't There

Thanks, MA! I totally deserve to be #12. Big Ups

Nov 28 10 - 5:08pm
Hert Zollner

Barton Fink and Fargo on the to 2 places? Don;t you ever get bored?? I do!! And i get insanely bored from these 2 movies...

Nov 28 10 - 10:40pm

"Burn After Reading" was much, much worse than "The Man Who Wasn't There," which at least was a beautiful homage to film noir. But thanks for ranking "Blood Simple" and "Miller's Crossing" lower than many would; the pacing of those films is so plodding that they're virtually unwatchable. And "Hudsucker" is a neglected masterpiece--easily in their top five.

Nov 28 10 - 11:31pm

Burn After Reading was truly terrible. The Man Who Wasn't there is very under appreciated.

Mar 04 12 - 6:28pm

burn after reading was a truly ingenious film. capturing modern day greed, stupidity and dis-jointed relationships perfectly

Nov 29 10 - 12:04am

@ Amber Lamps: Either they're from the midwest or they actually like good films that tell a complex story and feature career-defining performances.

If your own upbringing doesn't allow you to see that, you're a little hopeless.

Nov 29 10 - 10:16am

This list hurts my eyes. A pox on your house. The Man Who Wasn't There is worse than Burn After Reading? Miller's Crossing all the way down on the list? You people have some explaining to do.

Nov 29 10 - 3:23pm

Why is everyone hating on Burn After Reading?? That movie is hilarious. I would've put Lebowski top 3 though, probably. It's actually my personal favorite comedy of all time.

Nov 29 10 - 3:39pm

Mr. Osborne. A very interesting but flawed list. No Country for Old Men should be ranked first or second. Barton Fink is extremely uneven but with many flashes of brilliance. Hudsucker Proxy is fun but slight. Miller's Crossing is a classic but it requires one's full attention. No question that Fargo is one of their finest films.

Nov 29 10 - 3:41pm

I only needed to see that you ranked "A Serious Man" higher than Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple to know that I wouldn't agree with much else you wrote. Oh well, at least you ranked Hudsucker Proxy near the top...

Nov 29 10 - 4:04pm

Braver man than I trying to public ranks these films.

btw Miller's crossing was excellent

Nov 29 10 - 4:09pm

Miller's Crossing: top three, not bottom of the barrel. I see an emerging consensus in the comments around Miller's Crossing. It's a travesty to put a film this strong next to the unwatchable Burn After Reading. Interesting that you acknowledge your own taste issue may have hurt the rating you assign. There are few movies that do a better job of showing integrity- the price it demands and the reason so few people have it. The movie is gripping from the intial haunting shot of the lonely hat to the very end. It's not perfect, but it blows away most of the Coen collection.

Nov 29 10 - 4:31pm

Raising Arizona suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. It sucks.

Apr 30 11 - 8:36pm

you're an iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidiot.

Raising Arizona should be no. 1 on the list.

Nov 29 10 - 4:51pm

I will not lie to you... "No Country for Old Men" should easily be within the top three on this list.

Nov 29 10 - 5:10pm

Wow! You have surely opened a can of worms with this list. The beauty of the Coen bros. films is there ability to seem brilliant and feature career defining moments to some while leaving others feeling lost. That being said Miller's Crossing is genius. Or maybe its meh. I need a nap.

Nov 29 10 - 6:11pm

Raising Arizona ahead of Lebowski, Blood Simple and Old Country???

The Man Who Wasn't There 14th???

I am in high disagreement on this!

Nov 29 10 - 6:22pm

You didn't mention their best movie ever "Crimewave" (1985). Probably the funniest movie ever made.

Jun 01 12 - 10:32am

they wrote, but did not direct that one. it was hilarious though

Nov 29 10 - 6:24pm
Really? Really?

I cannot take anything that you say about the Coen Bros' movies seriously when you regurgitate the obvious JOKE that the Coens spread about 'O Brother' being a modern take on the 'The Odyssey'. They've even subsequently declared they were joking and roll their eyes at the intelligencia who bought into what was meant to be a extremely thin-veiled joke.

Jul 08 12 - 9:10pm

and there was also a little bit of wizard of oz mixed in

Nov 29 10 - 6:32pm

i loved 'no country for old men' and 'burn after reading'...i think both should be in the top five

Nov 29 10 - 6:32pm

They didn't direct Crimewave though.

Nov 29 10 - 6:48pm

Here is the real order:

14. Burn After Reading
13. Intolarable Cruelty
12. Raising Arizona
11. Barton Fink
10. Lady Killers
9, Serious Man
8. Blood Simple
7. O' Brother
6. No Country
5. Fargo
4. Hudsucker -
3. Miller's Crossing
2. Man Who Wasnt there
1. Big Lebowski

Sep 14 12 - 6:58pm

You got the #1 right

Nov 29 10 - 7:03pm

Here's a quick ranking of the Coen oeuvre based sheerly on subjective enjoyment, not presuming objective infallibility, with a few random notes:

1.Fargo - still my favorite, static hotel room shot with Carson on the tube clinches it.
2.Miller's Crossing - Finney going for the tommygun under the bed, awesome
3.The Big Lebowski - You don't see Raising Arizonafest
4.Raising Arizona - Early Coens still rule the day; what drugs was Cage on?
5.O Brother - Blake Nelson a revelation
6.Blood Simple - quirky noir put filmgoers on notice
7.No Country - I read the book first, probably would have ranked it higher otherwise
8.A Serious Man - the brothers tackle faith in their inimitable way; ambiguous coda you would expect
9.Barton Fink - Slips in retrospect; Goodman still scary
10.The Man Who Wasn't There - Redeemed by Thornton's Ed nod; non-gangster Gandolp
11.Hudsucker - Screwball homage; like the hula hoops, but something missing
12.Burn After Reading - Airheaded Pitt annoying; seems more of a mainstream bid somehow
13.Intolerable Cruelty - Doesn't really stand out in my mind
14.Ladykillers - Suffers by comparison with original

Nov 29 10 - 7:22pm

Lebowski is clearly #1 followed by Fargo, No country and Raising AZ.

Nov 29 10 - 8:07pm

I think you should put more of their movies in the top 5
Oh yeah, for Really? Really? In the opening credits of Oh Brother : "O Muse! Sing in me, and through me tell the story..." — which is one translation of the first line of The Odyssey. Go the Wiki page for the movie and get your fill of related info.

Nov 29 10 - 9:27pm

I've always hated Barton Fink; Miller's Crossing is my number 1

Mar 12 11 - 1:59am

fuck that barton fink was there 2nd right behind fargo

Apr 15 11 - 11:19am

I really hated Barton Fink. Yeah, I get it, writers can be pretentious, do I really need to watch a whole 2 hour movie about that observation?
Raising Arizona actually probably my favorite, then Fargo, No Country, Lebowski

Nov 29 10 - 9:48pm

You lost ALL credibility with the low ranking of Miller's Crossing. Huge Fail. Top 3 easily.

Nov 29 10 - 10:01pm

How is Intolerable Cruelty not the worst Coen Brothers film? The Man Who Wasn't There is a very underrated and misunderstood film, apparently so is Miller's Crossing. I love the Hudsucker Proxy but it isn't better than No Country For Old Men, and for that matter neither is the Big Lebowski. I personally think a list like this would be better served split into two different lists. Coen Brothers dramas and Coen Brothers comedies.

Nov 29 10 - 10:25pm

My list would be as follows mostly based on how many times I've watched and enjoyed each movie:

14. The Lady Killers
13. A Serious Man
12. Burn After Reading
11. Intolerable Cruelty
10. The Man Who Wasn't There
9. Raising Arizona
8. Blood Simple
7. The Hudsucker Proxy
6. Fargo
5. O Brother Where Art Thou
4. Barton Fink
3. No Country For Old Men
2. The Big Lebowski
1. Miller's Crossing

Nov 29 10 - 10:27pm

My list would be as follows mostly based on how many times I've watched and enjoyed each movie:

14. The Lady Killers
13. A Serious Man
12. Burn After Reading
11. Intolerable Cruelty
10. The Man Who Wasn't There
9. Raising Arizona
8. Blood Simple
7. The Hudsucker Proxy
6. Fargo
5. O Brother Where Art Thou
4. Barton Fink
3. No Country For Old Men
2. The Big Lebowski
1. Miller's Crossing

Nov 29 10 - 10:38pm


Nov 29 10 - 11:08pm

I turned off Intolerable Cruelty inside of 30 minutes and never turned it back on. O' Brother, Where Art Thou was contrived, and Clooney was over-the-top to the point of obnoxious. The soundtrack, however, is terrific.


I love Fargo. William H. Macy's character has become for me the very definition of the word 'weasel'. He was just the creepiest of creeps, the whiniest of whiners, the most pathetic of pathetic and the worst kind of coward to boot.

When I call someone a weasel, it is that character to which I am making drawing the reference.

Nov 29 10 - 11:14pm

That's just like you're opinion, man

Apr 17 11 - 12:49pm
pepito ortografia


Nov 29 10 - 11:48pm

My favorite is Intolerable Cruelty, up there with Raising Arizona as the funniest movies they ever made. Every scene is tongue-in-cheek.

Nov 30 10 - 12:04am

No one else I know would've put Barton Fink in the top 3, even though I put it at number one. So, good list. Also think people forgot about Raising Arizona much too quickly, and that Lebowski just benefits from having the stoner-philosopher quote attached to it. Good movie, but they've done much better.

Nov 30 10 - 12:06am

I've always thought Barton Fink should be number one, but no one else I know would've even placed it in the top 3. Good list. Also agree that Raising Arizona is underappreciated and Lebowski just benefits from the stoner-philosoper cult.

Mar 12 11 - 2:04am

best opinion so far

Nov 30 10 - 12:19am


Nov 30 10 - 3:05am

Obviously the Coen's film trigger a highly subjective response in the viewer. Probably because they're so deep. Personally - I think you're wrong about Millers Crossing, Hudsucker, and Lebowski... but as Jason said "That's just like you're opinion, man." The dude does not abide.

Nov 30 10 - 4:07am

This agression will not stand, man.

Lebowski is one of the great films of all time... I would put fargo next and then No country.

Nov 30 10 - 8:03am

10!? Seriously?! This is a complete redo.

Nov 30 10 - 8:17am

I always thought there was something wrong with me because I enjoyed The Hudsucker Proxy so much. I even enjoyed Jennifer Jason Leigh. I do like your list. Of course mine would be in a different order, but there is nothing wrong with yours. O Brother, Raising and Arizona, and The Big Lebowski always give me great joy when I watch them. The other movies were all good in their own way, although I never found Fargo particularly endearing. I waited to watch it for a long time and never wanted to see it again after I watched it, whereas I'll watch O, Brother and Raising Arizona again and again. The other movies on the list were not as memorable though I have yet to see No Country for Old Men (small children).

Nov 30 10 - 12:54pm

Hudsucker Proxy was one of the worst movies I've seen in my life and they ranked it above No Country for Old Men one of the best! If you ask me The Big Lebowski tops the list narrowly edging out NC4OM

Nov 30 10 - 1:31pm

This list is completely wrong. There is not a single movie in its proper place.

Nov 30 10 - 3:53pm

The Man Who Wasn't There is my single favorite Coen Brothers movie. So go figure.

Nov 30 10 - 6:00pm

I take issue with putting Barton Fink so high, and above Raising Arizona and The Hudsucker Proxy. Both are better than Fink, a well done movie but unavoidably torturous given the subject matter is writer's block - my worst nightmare.

Nov 30 10 - 11:02pm

I know some people think of it as The Movie That Wasn't There, but you should give it another shot.

Nov 30 10 - 11:15pm

Are you kidding?? Walter Sobchak MAKES The Big Lebowski. John Goodman nailed that role. It was like he was born for it. His rants are the best part of that movie, in my opinion.

Otherwise, good article. Who doesn't love the Coen brothers?

Dec 02 10 - 10:59am

"You know, for kids!"--Love that movie!

Dec 02 10 - 1:08pm

This list is way out of order, Throw "O Borther" and "The Hudsucker" down on the bottom half. "Miller's Crossing" is there best, I can't believe it gets slighted in this list. At least "Ladykillers" is at the bottom where it deserves but is it really better than "the man who wasn't there"?? I think not

Dec 02 10 - 2:49pm

"Miller's Crossing" is excellent.

Jan 17 12 - 9:40pm
Abernathy Pook

Agreed. While it is wonderful to see so many people exibit enough excitement to debate the order of excellence an overall fabulous collection of films by the Coen Brothers, I recommend everyone take a second look at Millers Crossing. Fight as we may over which films are the best, we can always look forward to an excellent cast, fantastic dialog, suspence, silliness, twisting plots and a quirkiness that is undefinably delicious and distintively Coen.

Dec 02 10 - 5:25pm

WTH?! The slugline says ranked Best to worst then counts down to the Best.... I'm so confused. That set me up as a doubter from the git-go. Raising A would go to the bottom in my sequence and Miller's and some of the "higher numbered/worst" ones should be in the top. I hate it when math gets involved. Just fraks up the whole mix.

Dec 03 10 - 12:43am

Okay, it's not my favorite Coen (that would be O Brother Where Art Thou) movie but I really like Hudsucker Proxy and I thought everyone else did too! Then again, I like Intolerable Cruelty...well actually I like 3/4ths of it. The end is obnoxious.

Dec 03 10 - 6:08am
thomas r white

Bad Santa ?

Dec 03 10 - 9:31am


Dec 03 10 - 9:49am
Jimmy Ether

Millers Crossing is easily top three along with Fink and O' Brother. Fargo should be kicked a bit down that list.

Dec 03 10 - 10:38am

This list is shit.

Dec 03 10 - 12:44pm

I love the Hudsucker Proxy. One of my favorite movies ever. Only argument is that I'd have Miller's Crossing higher, but everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Dec 03 10 - 1:05pm
Captain Celluloid

Sorry, but there are no truly BAD Coen Brothers films.

There is no WORST here -- every Coen Brothers film is SO far above the norm
that they don't deserve this kind of lazy condescension.

It seems a disingenuous Fool's Errand to title this piece BEST TO WORST LIST.

Jan 07 12 - 8:43am

At last, some sense to this discussion. The Coens are truly the most innovative filmakers ever. I particularly enjoy the atmosphere they create with every production. If forced I would put The Man who Never Was up high with Fargo close.

Feb 24 12 - 4:36pm

Agreed! Their entertainment value has me looking for more. I can not say that about other directors. At times its spoon feed and other times the value may be hidden. A few have been mediocre in storyline. I find there is more than a few, to put on the top of the list.

Dec 03 10 - 3:53pm
Mikey Boy

This is terrible. I like almost all of these films, but to put No country for Old Men seventh is absurd. It should be 1 or 2. The Big Lebowski and O Brother are the best of the comedies. Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing are more like training exercises when they hadn't fully developed their greatness. Also, the Man Who Wasn't There is actually a pretty good film, and definitely better than the lesser comedies. Barton Fink: meh.

Dec 03 10 - 7:41pm
the dude

gotta say. fargo is a masterpiece, but it lacks the depth and re-watch value of some of their others like lebowski or o brother.

and the man who wasnt there...easily top 5.

fun list!

Dec 04 10 - 6:31am

I understand that a list like this is extraordinarily hard to make, due to the overall impressiveness of the entire Coen catalog. I do, however, think you need to take a second look at The Man Who Wasn't There. The cinematography is outstanding. Shot for shot, outstandingly done. And listen to Thornton's narration to find several gems within the writing. As for the concept and execution of the story being boring; What's boring about taking a man that no one gives a second look and showing the overall destruction he can create for everyone in his vicinity? Also, as is with all Coen films, the minor characters are all outstanding, and no one is inconsequential. Give it a second look with an open mind. You'll like it more with every watch.

Dec 04 10 - 11:40pm

I noticed someone mentioned in one of the films, one must pay attention. This is true with every Coen film. otherwise, you'd get bored or confused. To me its Impossible to rank these films. Each one has a Flavor. Each film has a Hidden concept, character, or even a whole other film. or in the case of Lady Killers, a Short story by Mr Poe. Find Hidden Treasure in all of these films.

Dec 06 10 - 10:22am

Thanks for defending Hudsucker! Such a great film.

Dec 07 10 - 12:29pm

There's nothing worse than a hack with a thesaurus.

Dec 12 10 - 3:16pm

props to hudsucker!

Dec 19 10 - 10:10pm
CE's list is retarded. I hope everyone realises this. It's embarrassing, because it point-blank proves that you don't know shit about cinema. All their films are at the least good films. They range from good to masterpiece. This is the COEN brothers ranked, as it should be.

14. Intolerable Cruelty 7/10
13. A Serious Man 7/10
12. Hudsucker Proxy 7/10
11. Burn After Reading 8/10
10. The Ladykillers 8/10
9. Blood Simple 8/10
8. Raising Arizona 8/10
7. Barton Fink 8/10
6. O Brother, Where Art Thou? 8/10
5. Miller's Crossing 9/10
4. The Big Lebowski 9/10
3. The Man Who Wasn't There 9/10
2. No Country For Old Men 10/10
1. Fargo - 10/10

Dec 21 10 - 2:28am
peg leg meg

this list is great. i couldn't agree more about fargo and hudsucker proxy

Dec 27 10 - 12:56am

"Oh! Brother" is one of my all-time favorites! LOVE that movie :)

Jul 18 12 - 2:33am

If you like the music rent Down From The mountain, the concert by all the musicians in the movie. .

Dec 28 10 - 2:32am

this list is poop. the man who wasn't there is sensationally funny and not some dull exercise, and intolerable cruelty is nothing near the hollywood claptrap the list maker makes it out to be. that accuasation is really laughable, both are, actually. also, the author's qualifiers for each of the picture (i could do with less of walter's yelling, some found o brother annoying, sometimes the light from the screen made my eyes hurt) are just bizarre. and missing out on miller's crossing punch and humor is just daft. the person making a best of list of the coens films should actually know what they're talking; this list maker doesnt even seem to know why he likes several of the movies listed here. miller's crossing doesn't play like some dull boardwalk empire episode. and if you like hudsucker proxy you like it; i don't care if a good deal of people find jennifer jason leigh annoying in it, ignore that baloney. they're annoying. and this list is dull.

Dec 29 10 - 7:18pm

However you rate them, the Coens are genius writers and directors. They have their finger on the pulse of darkness and light. They know "what evil lurks in the hearts of men."

Jan 16 11 - 10:52pm

The coen brothers films are very overrated , they have poor story lines

Mar 07 11 - 9:18pm
Uncle Skreetch

an astute critique

Mar 07 11 - 9:19pm
Uncle Skreetch


Jan 26 11 - 4:23am

I think most would agree that Barton Fink is exactly where it should be on this list. Although Fargo is an astounding film, I do agree that it just doesn't stand up to repeat viewings like Fink does, or even Big Lebowski. Miller's Crossing was my introduction to the 'Coen genre' so I have a hard time being unbiased by that when I say it is top three material at least.

Jan 27 11 - 2:04am
Andrew Werling

I couldn't get past the first ten minutes of Miller's Crossing, so I'm with you. Raising Arizona and Oh Brother Where Art Thou were highly overrated (in my opinion), and Blood Simple should be higher. So just fix all that, bump up Lebowski and No Country and we agree! (Actually there are three or four on this list that I haven't seen.

Jan 29 11 - 9:18pm

To each his own. The true triumph of the Coens is the way they polarize opinions. Here is my list.

1)Fargo (All-time All-American Classic)
2)Blood Simple
3)No Country for Old Men
4)The Big Lebowski
5)Miller's Crossing
6)Raising Arizona
7)A Serious Man
8)Barton Fink
9)The Ladykillers
10)O Brother Where Art Thou?
11)Intolerable Cruelty
12)The Man Who Wasn't There
13)Burn After Reading
14)The Hudsucker Proxy

I would stick True Grit somewhere between A Serious Man and O brother.

Feb 01 11 - 1:15pm
Guy w/ Film Degree

The only good thing about this list, is that it proves this person should never again be allowed to make a numbered list.

Feb 03 11 - 12:56am

Hear Hear! I'm glad there are others like me who also like "Hudsucker", as well. Long live the Hud! ;)

Feb 05 11 - 1:29am

Fine, I'll say it. The Hudsucker Proxy is my favorite movie of all time. It should be a New Years film tradition the way It's a Wonderful Life or a Christmas Story are a week earlier. Flawless film from top to bottom, including the mezzanine.

May 29 11 - 9:33pm

Amen. I watch it every year; it's mahvelous.

Feb 05 11 - 11:04am
Film Critic

My favorites were Razing A, O Brother, and Hudsucker. Great writing and cinematic style. No Country was quite thought provoking. Fargo was OK, but long dull periods like Minnesota itself. Lebowski was novel, but not that entertaining. Burn After reading was sewage.

Feb 13 11 - 7:06am

I agree with a lot of your list. Hudsucker is under appreciated. Barton Fink is the only Coen brothers' film I couldn't sit through, but that was a decade ago and I should give it another chance.

No Country for Old Men is probably third; it's a fight between that and Raising Arizona. For me Lebowski and Fargo are on a whole other plane above. I think those two films are guaranteed a place on any 'greatest films of all times' list, with Fargo being a strong contender for its top spot. Some comments questioned Fargo's replay value yet I have seen it easily as many times as I have the Big Lebowski—a film I doubt anyone can question the repeatability of. I wouldn't want to admit how many times I've seen either one.

Oh, yeah, you betcha, yeah. Heh, my first boyfriend is from Minneapolis; maybe that's why I . . .

Mar 06 11 - 6:29pm

Burn After Reading is woopsie, but the others are not woopsie

Mar 07 11 - 9:16pm
Uncle Skreetch

I just don't even know why you made this list

Mar 17 11 - 5:57pm

just went through 5 classic coen bros. aside from the excess violence that permeates almost allof their work, the 5 were generally enjoyable. the exception Barton Fink. could barely stand 20 years ago in a theater. On DVD I made ample use of the fast forward. It's not satire and it's not comic. its gruesome. there's not a character we can empathize with. it's like a root canal where the novocaine wears off before the drilling is finished.

Mar 20 11 - 11:03am

It's a testament to the breadth of styles and the quality of these films that the rankings given by the author and the commenters are all so different.

Get ready haters: my fave -- Barton Fink. The dialogue is so crisp, and there are so many memorable characterizations. I just love when the ****-faced Faulker-esque guy can be heard screaming "Where's ma honey?!!!" in the background. And Turturro is amazing, as is Goodman. Hard to imagine that the guy who plays the lead in this movie is the same guy as Jesus in Lebowski.

Mar 20 11 - 10:40pm

1. Fargo
2. Big Lebowski
3. A Serious Man

Mar 21 11 - 3:06pm

Every one of these pictures is a gem! A remarkable body of work from these gifted auteurs!

Apr 06 11 - 5:50am

This kind of ranking is near-impossible with their amazing body of work:

The only Coen brother movies that I dislike are Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty.

The Man who Wasn't There is under-rated.

A Serious Man is under-rated.

Burn After Reading - seriously under-rated

Fargo is a bit over-rated. Felt like a re-tread of Blood Simple.

I prefer Miller's Crossing - Barton Fink and Raising Arizona.

Barton Fink - Millers' Crossing - Raising Arizona - my personal favorites.

True Grit - Blood Simple - No Country for Old Men -

Apr 13 11 - 10:51am

I'm out of league here. Too much brain power on dspialy!

Apr 13 11 - 11:28pm
Eryn Richardson

You can really tell a Coen Borthers movie - just watched Miller's crossing and did not know that it was a Coen movie going in but i could tell half way though and knew it was. - Good movie.

Apr 22 11 - 11:55pm

Wow. Miller's Crossing continues to be the most under-appreciated masterpiece. The characters are written so beautifully and acted to perfection, particularly by Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, Albert Finney, and John Turturro. For once, we have a gangster movie that puts its energy into plot and character instead of trying to be a monument to machismo. And then there's the beautiful photography and design, and the music... Miller's Crossing is way too full of quality to meet with so much indifference!

Apr 26 11 - 2:28pm

I've never visited this site before linking to this list.
It's terrible in every way.
But I appreciate the effort.

Apr 26 11 - 2:29pm

p.s. I'm just hacking on ya.

Apr 27 11 - 2:37pm

Oh Brother, Fargo, No Country, Lebowski, and the others... They're all great. The Coens hit so many human nature chords, and so fluidly, that there's something for everyone, and everyone surely has their favorites.

May 05 11 - 5:17am

Interesting read - but what hilariously silly comments this article has inspired! The Coens are capable of such diversity and consistent high quality that I imagine my similar list would be different from one to day to the next, their films are uniquely difficult to rank. Personally I love their sense of absurdity and playful narrative ambiguities the best ... O Brother and A Serious Man probably typify this the best and would be my favorites (for today at least).

May 19 11 - 11:28am

The Big Lebowski The Only Movie I wAS Watched For Coens aND it Is So Funny :)

May 20 11 - 11:42pm

Okay, "Fargo" is a very fine movie. But perhaps #1 on your best movies of all time list?

Are you familiar with movies such as "Casablanca", "Annie Hall", "The Godfather", "The Third Man", "Citizen Kane", "Goodfellas", "The Deer Hunter", "Network", "Manhattan", "Duck Soup", "The 400 Blows", "The Hustler", "The Lives of Others", "Blade Runner", "Unforgiven"... well of course I've only scratched the surface and this is another contentious argument but even if you don't agree with all of these, you must admit that the list of possible contenders of movies from ALL times that are superior to "Fargo" would be formidable.

May 30 11 - 7:46pm
Champs Choice

The Coen's movies are so unique, diverse, and usually brilliant that it's almost impossible to rank them. But, a nod to Miller's Crossing as their best, and in my all time top 5 (Godfather I and II, The Good, Bad, and Ugly at the top). Doesn't get nearly enough acclaim. The Hudsucker Proxy is a great example of their ability to go into so many different realms in such an amusingly quirkly and amazingly clever way

Jun 04 11 - 6:42am
Kel Sellers

I dont think I have laughed so hard a coen brothers scene as I did during the last few minutes of Burn After Reading. Deserves better.

Jul 25 11 - 9:41am

Totally agree. Great casting. Never realised Pitt was so versatile. And all those CIA guys so up themselves probably total reality.

Jun 06 11 - 6:47pm

You, sah, do the brothers' work a great injustice not by ranking them in a list, but by attempting to explain them in a hierarchical manner. Pearls before swine, they are. (lol i've been watching "The Ladykillers")

Jul 18 11 - 7:52pm

I realize that ranking movies in a venue like this is thankless job, but you might consider backing up your selections with a bit more than just “hey, that’s how I feel.” There are really strong arguments to be made for Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? or for Blood Simple, but you don’t make them. Somehow after two pages I assumed you’d start to get at a reading of the Coen Brothers or what one can say about their oeuvre as a whole, but your approach seems more interested in wit than insight. That’s not good film reviewing.

Jul 22 11 - 4:01am
Pessimist Darkly

Lebowski, Miller's, No Country, Fargo and True Grit all top 3!!!!

Aug 02 11 - 3:18pm

Hudsucker Proxy was a great film and Jennifer Jason Leigh was perfect in the role, and easily the best performance in the films, and the best part. She nails the fast-talking actresses of the late-early to mid 20th Century, which was hilariously wonderful. I am nit sure why more do not like it.

Aug 18 11 - 3:18pm

Thank you for placing Barton Fink at number 2 (I'd go as far to place it at number 1, but I won't quibble). I have never understood why people go on and on about The Big Lebowski while pretty much ignoring Barton Fink. Barton Fink is a better constructed film and while it is quite dark it's brilliant and the tone is pitch perfect!

Sep 03 11 - 5:36pm

You are indeed a brave man. I don't think I could rank a Coen movie. I love them all. That being said Raising Arizona is my favorite. The worst Coens' movie is far better than most of the other Box Office hit's out there. BTW Lady Killers was on cable a few months ago, and I had totally forgotten how funny it was. Yeah Tom Hanks was perhaps a bit over the top, but as in all the Coens' movies (EXCEPT for "Burn After Reading"), it's all about Story and Texture.

Sep 05 11 - 1:50am
Coen Blahers

Coen bros excel in vapidity

Sep 24 11 - 12:47pm


Nov 17 11 - 9:35pm

out of all of them. . . the DUDE, man.

Nov 22 11 - 11:38pm
Ted Burke

As usual with Coen Brothers films, The Man Who Wasn't There is visually stunning, and has it's share of odd touches and sublime moments that set the film makers from the rest of the herd, but I thought it was the least interesting of their films. The varying elements of a James Cain flavored noir thriller filtered through Camus-toned existentialism and the zany insertion of UFOs makes me think of bright guys brain storming against deadline; much of the meaning of Coen Brothers movies is open ended and deferred, but this film just couldn't merge the oddities. Billy Bob Thorton, though, needs special credit for maintaining his granite faced deadpan in a film full of eagerly demonstrative actors.

Dec 29 11 - 7:01pm

15. The Ladykillers
14. Intolerable Cruelty
13. True Grit
12. Blood Simple
11. Miller's Crossing
10. The Man Who Wasn't There
9. A Serious Man
8. No Country for Old Men
7. Burn After Reading
6. O Brother Where Art Thou?
5. Fargo
4. The Hudsucker Proxy
3. The Big Lebowski
2. Barton Fink
1. Raising Arizona

Jan 07 12 - 9:14am

For me any Coen Movie is about atmosphere and pace and individual performances. Billy Bob Thornton deserved an Oscar for his performance in The Man Who never Was as did Wiliam H Macy in Fargo. Tuturro and Goodman all shine in each film they grace. Its Film Noir at it's best and even the bad films are great compared to the general shite that passes for entertainment in Hollywood Land. I couldnt list them as they all offer something different dependant on my mood but long may the Coens reign as simply the best filmakers ever with Tarantino a close second

Jan 20 12 - 3:16am
John Kay

A Serious Man is their best by quite a bit, and the most personal. People severely miss the point of that movie. It works so well as a black comedy, a Biblical retelling, and most of all as a way of them to express Nihilistic nature of their art/life.

Jan 29 12 - 10:28am

serious man

Jan 31 12 - 1:14pm

Seriously, hating on a Coen brothers (aside from Intolerable Cruelty) is like saying you like new George Lucas reboots/prequels/sequels--its simply disingenuous. I really enjoyed even the lesser of these movies, particularly the comedies. I disagree that the Ladykillers was sluggish, I actually thought it was well paced given its irreverence. Tom Hanks was good, though his intensity at times took away from any potential immersion factor, but in particular I thought he was overshadowed by JK Simmons (who always seems severly underappreciated to me) and even Marlon Wayans, who were more akin to those types of roles and were both quite entertaining, even though I'm not typically a fan of the latter.

I also enjoyed Burn After Reading, though once again the most entertaining parts of this movie were the brief scenes with the clueless, nonchalant bit role titled simply "CIA Superior" played by JK Simmons. I did go into it hoping Brad Pitt would be more entertaining, but I wasn't so disappointed by his character that it broke the film, and the rest of the cast was excellent.

And, of course, maybe you simply have to be a Coen fan but Hudsucker was tremendous.

Feb 22 12 - 3:08pm

Choosing the best Coen brothers film is a tough call.

I can immediately discount A Single Man, which bored me to tears, Intolerable Cruelty, which was pure popcorn, and Ladykillers, which was a pointless remake of a much better original film.

Predictable, perhaps, but I'd have to go for No Country as their best, followed by Fargo and then The Big Lebowski.

Apr 07 12 - 9:23pm
Cinema & Spice

Check out our cooking show inspired by films to WIN two coen brothers DVDS!

May 01 12 - 11:30pm
Leo Plainview

If the question is movie the answer is O Brother, Where Art Thou? If we are going for film it's No Country for Old Men. NCFOM is an artist's dream. The theme of it is fantastic and I think the good vs. evil hits home to anyone and everyone that watches it with that theme in mind. Fargo is great but I think it lacks the use of motifs that NCFOM seems to be able to hit. I'm guessing that one of the reasons No Country was low on the list is because it is an adaptation and I think we need to reflect on how the Coen's interpretted the book and how the book was a fantastic success in and of itself. Just my opinion but so is this list and all the comments under it

Jul 07 12 - 7:47pm

In my opinion, No country for old man should be N0. ! The content of the movie shows how deep and complex is the human nature. There is serious social issues represented in the dialogues, Tha acting was superb.

Jul 15 12 - 11:21am

Love your desceiption of Barton Fink i watched it last night and loved it

Jul 17 12 - 3:41am

I was disappointed to see The Man Who Wasn't There make it to the worst movie spot. This movie had some great performances and captures the 50s era really well, reflecting the conventional empty souled life of a barber played by Billy Bob Thornton, his duplicitous materialistic wife McDormand, but the best was the egomaniacal lawyer by Shaloub, a fantastic departure from his meek Monk character

Aug 05 12 - 10:24am
Coen Fan

I love the Coen films. Thanks for this list! I've added them all to my Amazon Prime Watchlist!

Aug 11 12 - 3:21pm
Tom N

Raising Arizona has got to be one of my favorite movies ever. If I were to name 3, I'd inclue The Sound of Music, Raising Arizona, and Local Hero

Raising Arizona is an epic myth , set in a Time and Place, poking fun unendingly at our societies mores and a not so veiled story of "Everyman" confronted with the straightjacket of the world we live in.. the heart below our external facades, our petty foibles, the frustrations of relationships.

The chase scene, while being a very top one in terms of action, in its absurdity connected to what we must viscerally love about chases... a vicarious experience in just running away from all that dogs us (and like the dogs in that chase ? ) . But, even during that chase, the story itself goes on, the story of the internal struggle of man between finding his place in the world in which he does not fit and his willingness to fit and take on the role and constraints of husband (turn hear dear).

Well, certainly a love it or hate it thing. In this case ... a love or hate relationship with the notion of a "fairy tale" I believe... some find that sort of thing vapid.. others allegorical distillations of epic themes of the humanity

Sep 04 12 - 5:30pm

1. Lebowski
2. Barton Fink
3. Fargo
4.Blood Simple
5.No Country For Old Men
6.Raising Arizona
7.Miller's Crossing
8.O Brother, Where Art Thou?
9.True Grit
10.Burn After Reading
11.A Serious Man
12.The Ladykillers
13.The Man Who Wasn't There
14.Intolerable Cruelty

Sep 07 12 - 7:33pm

The first three in the list are correct, but after that ... lord have mercy, what are you smoking? Hudsucker, O Brother and the deadly-bad Ladykillers against The Man Who Wasn't There?

God loves movies, he and Paul Ryan told me so. They also told me that this list is really the abomination referreenced in Leviticus. Repent!

Sep 07 12 - 7:47pm
Gah some more

And Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple and ... oh I can't stand it. This list makes Baby Jesus cry.