There are many things that define movies directed by Edgar Wright. Brilliant needle drops. Laugh-out-loud moments by the barrelful. And characters subtly telling you at the beginning what’s going to happen throughout the movie. There’s really no such thing as a bad Edgar Wright movie, so consider this a ranking from great to greatest. By looking at each of his films, we can dissect what makes him such an idiosyncratic filmmaker and why each new film he comes out with is met with intense anticipation from movie lovers. We’ve left his first feature, A Fistful of Fingers, off the list because it’s rather difficult to see — it’s practically a lost film. These are the best Edgar Wright movies of all time, so grab a pint and let’s go to the Winchester.
By the way, make sure to stick around after the list is complete. We’ve added a few surprises at the end for all you Wright fans out there.
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EDGAR WRIGHT DIRECTING STYLE
6. Don’t (2007)
This one’s a bit of a cheat since it’s only a 90-second fake trailer Edgar Wright made for 2007’s Grindhouse, the double-feature that’s an oft-forgotten bit of Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. It’s also 90 seconds that’s very much worth your time if you want to see Wright skewer horror cliches. In the trailer, a group of people enter a haunted house filled with every horror under the sun as an ominous voice over mentions all the things you “don’t” want to do while you’re there.
All Wright films show you can do a lot with a little. Director Wright doesn’t need a feature-length film to delight audiences. The only bad part is that it makes us want to watch a full-length version of this story idea.
GREAT EDGAR WRIGHT FILMS
5. Baby Driver (2017)
Edgar Wright has mostly dabbled in satirical films over his career, and while Baby Driver has plenty of funny moments, it’s mostly a straight-up action-thriller with the most perfectly-curated soundtrack ever put in a film. The opening credit sequence is pure delight as lyrics to the song playing pop up all around Baby getting himself a coffee, and it’s a genuine masterclass in what makes Wright such an effective filmmaker. He hones in on every detail so that nothing feels like an afterthought.
Plus, the music isn’t just there for music’s sake. Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a tinnitus-stricken getaway driver who uses music to guide him through every heist. That is until he meets a waitress who inspires him to leave this life of crime behind. If the film has any faults, it’s that some of the characters don’t feel as fully realized as they could have been, but when you have a movie this fun, it’s an easy fault to forgive.
EDGAR WRIGHT SCREENPLAY
4. The World’s End (2013)
The World’s End is the last film in Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, and it’s a bit of a departure from the other movies in that lineage. Shaun of the Dead parodies the best zombie movies of all time and Hot Fuzz parodies amazing action films. And The World’s End draws influence from body swapping science-fiction films, which isn’t as well-known of a genre as the other two. It also differs in the tone, which is a bit of a bummer but ultimately works for the kind of story this movie is trying to tell.
The movie follows Gary (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old alcoholic, who gets his old chums together for one last pub crawl. It’s a depressing look into how nostalgia can give one rose-tinted glasses and make you believe the past was better than it actually was.
EDGAR WRIGHT MOVIES LIST
3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is what happens when you throw everything and the kitchen sink at your audience. Every frame has something new to notice. From character quirks to fun video game nods, you could pause at almost any moment and find a ton of bonuses. Wright didn’t have to go that hard, but, by gum, he did.
Everything about the film just works. The visuals are stunning, and the action is impressive. We’d even go to say this movie has the best action scenes you’ll find in any Edgar Wright film. Plus, the cast is absolutely stacked with a bunch of talented actors who would go on to make it back, like Chris Evans, Brie Larson, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
There’s genuinely no other film like Scott Pilgrim, and perhaps that’s the reason why it bombed at the box office. Fortunately, new generations of film enthusiasts seem to be discovering it, which is great because this is one movie we don’t want to forget.
EDGAR WRIGHT VISUAL STYLE
2. Hot Fuzz (2007)
A parody needs to do more than simply make fun of its subject. It needs to stand on its own as a piece of entertainment while pushing the genre forward. More than anything else, you need to approach the subject matter with love instead of derision or else you end up with something mean-spirited that’s at risk of becoming dated.
Hot Fuzz sends up buddy-cop action-comedies, but you can also tell Wright has a profound appreciation for movies like Point Break and Bad Boys. He takes plot devices from the genre and adds his own signature style, so even if you’ve never seen a buddy-cop movie before, you don’t have to in order to enjoy this piece of hilarious art.
THE BEST EDGAR WRIGHT MOVIE
1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Edgar Wright’s first film is still his best. Shaun of the Dead has perfected the "funny zombie movie," expertly balancing scares with hilarious moments. The film follows the titular Shaun as he attempts to win back his girlfriend in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The movie establishes everything that would go on to define Wright as a filmmaker, including something we haven’t really touched on yet.
Shaun of the Dead has a fairly basic character arc. Shaun has to learn to be a more mature person so that Liz will want to get back together with him. Of course, this maturity comes under extreme circumstances: a zombie outbreak. But Wright never loses sight of the humanity of these characters. While it’s a comedy, the moment when Shaun has to kill his mother turning into a zombie is genuinely heartbreaking. And it’s that attention to the characters that’s come to define Wright’s films.
Humor and foreshadowing aside, Wright understands what makes his characters tick. He draws you in with flashy visuals, funny gags, and the classic Edgar Wright montage explaining how the plot will proceed, but his films stay with you because characters learn how to grow up, how to think for themselves, or how to accept friendship.
Wright’s only made five real films, but each one lasts because he understands how to get audiences to relate to his characters even if they’re bashing zombie brains in.
EDGAR WRIGHT TOP MOVIES
Other Edgar Wright Projects
Edgar Wright is one of the best directors working today, and he’s managed to do it with only five features to his name. But that doesn’t mean he’s been slouching. Here are more movies by Edgar Wright (as well as some other interesting projects) you may not have known about.
Wright showed his acumen for the movie parody early on with 1993’s Dead Right. The film parodies old action movies from the ‘70s, most notably Dirty Harry. It’s shot entirely on SVHS, and while it’s rough around the edges, it shows what Wright would be capable of.
A Fistful of Fingers
If you can find a copy of 1995’s A Fistful of Fingers, you should watch it at your earliest convenience. It’s technically Wright’s first feature-length film, and he’s gone to great lengths to ensure no one can watch it. It’s a 78-minute Western he made for about $15,000 that sadly never found a distributor and has since been lost to the annals of time.
While Wright had been making short films since the 1980s, he got his big break with the British sitcom, Spaced. The show would go on to define what Edgar Wright scripts would consist of and bring him together with his muses, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Music Video for “Colors”
Edgar Wright has directed music videos for the likes of The Bluetones and Mint Royale in the past. His films naturally incorporate pop songs well into the action, so it only makes sense his talent would translate to music videos. His best work to date is the 2018 video for Beck’s “Colors.”
Best comedy movies of all time
Edgar Wright has mastered the art of the gag. From clever wordplay to physical comedy, anyone who wants to know how to make a hilarious film needs to watch the complete Edgar Wright filmography. And while you’re at it, make sure to check out these great comedies over the decades. Comedy may be open to interpretation, but after reviewing this list, you’ll know exactly what kind of comedy suits your needs best.