The best films of Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick is undoubtedly one of the greatest filmmakers in history. Astute social satire, unconventional framing techniques, and complex narratives are some of the issues Kubrick’s films are known for. For this reason, we intend to continue this article The best films of Stanley Kubrick to introduce you.

The best films of Stanley Kubrick

Kubrick went to different styles and ideas for his films and even some of his projects never reached the stage of release. However, the filmmaking career of this great director includes 12 big titles, which we have tried to briefly introduce in the rest of this article.

Note that the rating is not included in this list and the movies are not in any particular order.

Fear and Desire

Fear and Desire
Style: Drama / Anti-war
Release year: 1953
Actors: Frank Silvera / Paul Mazursky / David Allen
IMDB rating: 5.4

Fear and Desire is Kubrick’s first directorial experience, which he made at the age of 24, so it can be said that this anti-war film was almost a short student project, which is far from his other works. “Fear and Lust” will make for a fascinating watch for Kubrick fans, but it may be a bit difficult for casual viewers to watch.

Fear and Desire is about a group of soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines in an imaginary war. Unlike Kubrick’s later films, where we get to see some incredibly graphic images, there is nothing subtle about Fear and Desire.

Killer’s Kiss

Killer's Kiss
Style: Crime / Noir
Release year: 1955
Actors: Jimmy Smith / Iron Kane / Frank Silvera
IMDB rating: 6.6

Kubrick’s second film, Killing Kiss, is certainly a head and neck better than Fear and Desire, but it’s still a work of filmmaking that sought to complement current trends more than showcase its own innovation. Compared to Kubrick’s other films, Killer’s Kiss is probably his most subversive film.

What Kubrick did with this film and its low budget is quite remarkable, but in the end it is considered a simple take on the work of “Billy Wilder” or “John Huston”.

The story of the movie Killing Kiss is about a boxer named Davy Gordon (Jamie Smith) who tries to save his neighbor Gloria Price (Irene Kane) from her abusive boyfriend Vincent Rapallo (Frank Silvera) and goes through a lot to do so. will be


Style: Comedy / Drama / Psychological
Release year: 1962
Actors: James Mason / Peter Sellers / Shelley Winters
IMDB rating: 7.5

For the film Lolita, Kubrick went to the novel of the same name by “Vladimir Nabokov”, the Russian writer, and adapted it. The film tells the tragic story of a middle-aged man named “Humbert” falling in love with a teenage girl named “Lolita”.

Despite its rich content, Kubrick’s Lolita isn’t as shocking or cruel as you’d expect from this director, but the director portrays a predatory relationship and makes good use of the dark comedy. David Lynch, the director who owns the style of world cinema, has made Lolita as one of his favorite films.


Style: Historical/epic drama
Release year: 1960
Actors: Craig Douglas / Laurence Olivier / Peter Yustineff / John Green
IMDB rating: 7.9

Kubrick’s film Spartacus is also based on the novel of the same name by “Howard Faust” and is considered the only film of this director’s career over which he did not have full artistic control.

The film stars Kirk Douglas as the producer and plays Spartacus, who leads a rebellion against the tyrannical Roman Republic. Douglas played one of his most important roles in this film, and Spartacus is undoubtedly a classic, but if you look at it as one of Kubrick’s films, there is not much special about it.

Spartacus also won four Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Set Design, and was generally well received by the public and critics.

The Killing

The Killing
Style: Strip
Release year: 1956
Actors: Sterling Hayden / Colin Gray / Vince Edwards
IMDB rating: 8.0

The Killing is one of the most influential films ever made and Kubrick’s first relatively professional film. The film tells the story of a group of criminals who decide to rob the safe deposit box of a horse racing track. Although the film did not sell very well, it was well received by critics and Quentin Tarantino was inspired by it to make Reservoir Dogs.

Unlike Killer’s Kiss, which was like an imitation of clich├ęd film noir, The Killing fulfills the audience’s expectations in the best possible way. Although the film is not as philosophically rich as Kubrick’s later works, he does well to create an outstanding title by the usual Hollywood standards.

Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory
Style: Drama / Anti-war
Release year: 1957
Actors: Kirk Douglas / Ralph Meeker / George McCready
IMDB rating: 8.4

Anti-war films are among Kubrick’s favorite themes, and Paths of Glory is in many ways a more mature version of his earlier attempts to express this theme, such as Fear and Desire. The story of the film takes place during World War I, and in it we witness the trial of a French colonel named Dax, played by Craig Douglas, who is tried by the court for preventing his men from participating in a suicide mission.

Compared to Spartacus, this time Douglas has the task of playing a more complex character and he has done it in the best possible way.

Dr. Strangelove

Dr.  Strangelove
Style: Satire/black comedy
Release year: 1964
Actors: Peter Sellers / George C. Scott / Sterling Hayden
IMDB rating: 8.4

One of the reasons why Kubrick will always be regarded as a fascinating filmmaker is that despite the dark subjects he often tackles, he never fails to provide a sense of humor.

Usually, there are some elements of humor in all his films, and without a doubt, his only comedy film with the full name Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of the funniest and most devastating films he has ever made.

The film tells the story of a psychotic army general and head of the US Air Force base named “Jack the Ripper” who decides to launch a missile attack against the Soviet Union, and then when the president and politicians of the United States find out about it, they try to Stop these attacks.

Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket
Style: war / drama
Release year: 1987
Actors: Matthew Modine / Adam Baldwin / Vincent Dan Afrio
IMDB rating: 8.3

Among some movie fans, there is a misconception that Full Metal Jacket was successful only in its first half. The first hour of Kubrick’s war film shows the brutal training of US Marines. “R. “Lee Ermey” plays the role of Sergeant Hartman in this movie, and he coped well with this role.

After showing how the riflemen are trained, the story of the film goes into the real war and it is equally fascinating and terrifying.

With the film Full Metal Jacket, Kubrick tried to criticize the excessive violence used to turn the youth into a soldier as well as the killing machine of the US military. The film shows the best mental and psychological problems caused by war for young people.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange
Style: Criminal
Release year: 1971
Actors: Malcolm McDowell / Patrick Magee / Miriam Carlin
IMDB rating: 8.3

A Clockwork Orange shows just how ahead of its time Kubrick was, and the 1971 dystopian classic remains one of the most influential films ever made.

Orange Cookie highlights Kubrick’s abilities more than anything else; Visually appealing, it seamlessly builds a complete mythology and delves into complex philosophical underpinnings with its literary insights.

To make this film, Kubrick went to a novel with the same name (Orange Cookie) by “Anthony Burgess” and criticized the ignorance of teenagers and social conditions in it. Set in a dystopian version of Great Britain, it follows a young man named Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) and his gang who commit rape, robbery and torture.

Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon
Style: Drama / Historical
Release year: 1975
Actors: Ryan O’Neill / Marissa Branson / Patrick Magee
IMDB rating: 8.1

Barry Lyndon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Usually, three-hour films become boring for viewers after a while, but Kubrick has managed to implement a completely entertaining story in this three-hour film.

In this film, Ryan O’Neill plays one of the most complex film characters of all time, a man in the 18th century who is part of a simple country family and falls in love with his cousin but cannot marry her. After that, Barry goes to war and many things happen to him, and he marries a widowed countess for her wealth, and in this way, the way for his promotion is opened.

In Barry Lyndon, Kubrick goes for a different kind of anti-war film that narrates the Seven Years’ War of the 18th century from an unusual perspective.

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut
Style: Mystery / Drama / Psychological
Release year: 1999
Actors: Tom Cruise / Nicole Kidman / Sydney Pollack
IMDB rating: 7.5

Kubrick made the most disturbing Christmas movie ever with Eyes Wide Shut. His last film was released after his death in 1999, and of course from the beginning with Censorship had encountered

Kubrick used symbols in this film and although at the beginning we were supposed to be faced with a simple story about the problems of a married couple, but the story becomes complicated over time and this may confuse most of the audience. Nevertheless, Eyes Wide Shut is undoubtedly one of Stanley Kubrick’s best films and has become one of the most enduring works of cinema history.

The Shining

The Shining
Style: Horror / Psychological
Release year: 1980
Actors: Jack Nicholson / Shelley Duvall / Barry Dennen
IMDB rating: 8.4

Kubrick is a filmmaker who does his work with extremes and in “The Shining” (The Shining) he went to the formation of madness in a human being so that viewers and movie fans are faced with one of the best films of the psychological horror genre. All the issues described in this film, just like the mind of Jack Torrance, the main character of the film, can be examined and labeled but perhaps cannot be truly explained.

The Shining is Kubrick’s only horror film based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. In this movie, a writer along with his wife and child have to take care of a hotel during the winter as a raider, but things happen that make the father of the family crazy. Undoubtedly, The Shining is one of Stanley Kubrick’s best films.

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey
Style: Science fiction / epic
Release year: 1968
Actors: Keir Dooley / Gary Lockwood / William Sylvester
IMDB rating: 8.3

2001: A Space Odyssey is considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, which has had a great influence on other science fiction films. The film is a vision of the future and a window to the past, a critique of technological dominance and, in addition, includes the concept of searching for the creator.

The story of the film, although it cannot be explained briefly, is about mankind encountering a piece of mysterious black stone in space, which apparently had an impact on the evolution of humans, and also during the trip to the planet Jupiter, humans receive a signal from one of these stones.

With 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick created a masterpiece in every sense, which continues to inspire many films, as well as critics understand new things from it.

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Frequently asked questions about Stanley Kubrick’s best films

What are the best films of Stanley Kubrick?

Stanley Kubrick made many films in his career, but The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut and 2001: A Space Odyssey can be considered as Stanley Kubrick’s best films.

What are the first films made by Kubrick?

The three films Fear and Desire (produced in 1952), Killer’s Kiss (produced in 1955) and The Killing (produced in 1956) are the first films of this director.

What is the story of Kubrick’s Shining movie?

In The Shining, Kubrick goes to the style of psychological horror and portrays the story of a man who falls into madness.

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