Gilliam. There’s no way he’s on here ahead of many deserving auteurs if I didn’t think Brazil was much closer to the 50th best film of all-time than the 183rd best where TSPDT consensus has it. Man, I wish he made both more overall films and more archiveable films- and without an archiveable film since 1998 I fear it may be over for Gilliam. Unmistakably, his case is hurt by having only 6 archiveable films but although there may be some misses along the way in his career there is no compromise in Gilliam. I adore his individual creative signature.
Best film: Brazil. It’s not only a massive “M” masterpiece and a top 10 film of the 1980’s (I’ve got it at #8) but an unbelievably ‘Gilliamesque’ film. It’s simultaneously one of the greatest fantasy films, sci-fi films, and comedy films of all-time.
total archiveable films: 6
top 100 films: 1 (Brazil)
top 500 films: 2 (Brazil, 12 Monkeys)
top 100 films of the decade: 4 (Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Fisher King)
most overrated: none- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has decent enough reviews for a Gilliam film (he, like Lynch and von Trier have really poor metacritic average scores for their level of genius) but I have it out of the archives— I still need to give it another look.
most underrated: 12 Monkeys. It’s been long enough and there’s no good reason this fantastic film hasn’t emerged on the top 1000 of all-time. Definitely underrated.
gem I want to spotlight: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – speaking of underrated- somehow this is still “rotten” on RT. It’s one of Depp and Del Toro’s best performances and the drug use as surrealism is really a perfect marriage of Gilliam and Hunter S. Thompson.
stylistic innovations/traits: Gilliam is both gothic and romantic. His films are directed with eccentric fervor and clearly a cartoonish fantasy. Typically his stories revolve around outsiders repelling against a rigid organization. There is surrealism and insanity in all of his films. These are showcased by brilliant editing, unconventional acting, costume, and a busy and deliciously hyperbolic mise-en-scene. He uses canted angles, wide fisheye lens, and a sort of retro-fitted, garbage-art clutter for his production design. Gilliam is a unique maverick.
- 12 Monkeys
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- The Fisher King
- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
- Time Bandits
By year and grades
|1981- Time Bandits||R|
|1988- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen||HR|
|1991- The Fisher King||HR|
|1995- Twelve Monkeys||MS|
|1998- Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas||HR|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives
its not my fvavrotie movie, i need to watch it again though but im surprised monty python and the holy grail isnt on here because it is a super loved film and quite orignal
@m – Thanks for visiting the page here. Yeah it is a little surprising. I saw it once and didn’t think it was very good. I’m probably due for a rewatch.
[…] 68. Terry Gilliam […]
I’d move him up like 20 spots, I know he’s inconsistent but man, when he’s on he’s really on. I mean he is just so visually creative and unique. I’d love to see him and David Lynch make a movie together.
I hope I like Brazil on my next rewatch of it soon, I never liked it every time I tried it. 12 Monkeys is the only film of his I love, I rate it as one of the best movies of the 90s, 3rd best in 1995 after Seven/Heat. Absolutely hated his Holy Grail movie, couldn’t get through that garbage. I’ve never seen Brazil all the way through, I always stop, but I will try to watch it all the way through.
Are The Zero Theorem(2013) and The Brothers Grimm(2005) the only unarchivable films of Terry Gilliam?
@Malith- The Zero Theorem was just added.
Next time you update this list will Gilliam jump up 5-7 spots? I see you’ve added 6 more of his films to the archives and upgraded Fisher King, Fear & Loathing and Baron Munchausen to MS’s. That’s a solid change in how his films are seen.
Not 6. 7 I think. The Meaning of Life is regarded as co directed by Gilliam because he directed the opening prologue The Crimson Permanent Assurance segment. So he has 13 archivable films.
@Harry- Yes, I think that sounds about right.
Given the upgrade on The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, I am curious as to whether you would
put it as Gilliam’s 2nd best film to Brazil?
@James Trapp- not by a wide margin- but yes- that’s where I have it now
@Drake – sounds good, it’s getting a 4K release soon. I watched Brazil again recently and was blown away