(Photo by New Line, 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

All 21 David Cronenberg Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Over the course of six decades, David Cronenberg has built a bloody, slimed-over, and warped throne of flesh and bone to sit upon as the king of body horror. His first two films, Stereo and Crimes of the Future, are little-seen, ready for Cronenberg fans to re-discover and find that his obsession with pushing the boundaries of science, sexual perversity, and our oh-so-tenuous grasp on our physical self was present from the beginning.

Rabid and The Brood made more of a squeamish splash with general audiences. And in the ’80s, Cronenberg came into his own: Scanners was all over horror magazines for its legendary exploding head sequence. The Dead Zone contributed to a hot streak of Stephen King adaptations happening across the industry, following Carrie and The Shining. The Fly was the rare excellent remake and had the good sense to parade Jeff Goldblum around in his underwear (and vomit). And Videodrome seemed to best express Cronenberg’s vision of how the self can be utterly compromised by sinister forces.

The ’90s saw Cronenberg experimenting with an expanded dramatic palette (M. Butterfly, Naked Lunch) with varied results, which would pay dividends in the following decade. That’s when he released A History of Violence, which would become his highest-grossing movie, be nominated for two Oscars, and mark the start of a fruitful collaboration with Viggo Mortensen. The actor was nominated for the Oscar in their follow-up Eastern Promises, which boasts a bath house fight that’ll please those who think the tighty-whities Goldblum wore in The Fly were too much clothing. The third Viggo movie was A Dangerous Method, a kinky yet classy flick of psychology that brought in Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender.

And you know how Robert Pattinson is your new favorite actor, especially after you had written him off for those Twilight movies? You can thank Cronenberg for giving Pattinson the opportunity to do weird roles to shake up his image, in movies like Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars. Cronenberg has appeared to have retired in recent years with the shifting movie and media landscape. If that’s the case, then it’s been an impressive, influential, and gross – really, really gross – career, which we’re celebrating now with all 21 David Cronenberg movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#21

M. Butterfly (1993)
43%

#21
Adjusted Score: 43.935%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg reins in his provocative sensibility and handles delicate material with restraint, yielding a disappointing adaptation that flattens M. Butterfly into a tedious soap opera.
Synopsis: David Henry Hwang adapted his Tony Award-winning play for this fact-based drama about a French diplomat who enters into a... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#20

Crash (1996)
59%

#20
Adjusted Score: 61.456%
Critics Consensus: Despite the surprisingly distant, clinical direction, Crash's explicit premise and sex is classic Cronenberg territory.
Synopsis: After surviving a brutal car wreck, commercial director James Ballard finds himself slowly drawn to a mysterious subculture of people... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#19

Stereo (1969)
60%

#19
Adjusted Score: 43.986%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The first film by director David Cronenberg, the black and white, hour-long feature Stereo is more self-consciously avant-garde, and less... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 43.766%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fans of innovative Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg will recognize the emergence of a his unique voice in this 1970 project,... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 66.558%
Critics Consensus: Narratively unwieldy and tonally jumbled, Maps to the Stars still has enough bite to satisfy David Cronenberg fans in need of a coolly acidic fix.
Synopsis: Meet the Weiss family, who are making their way in Hollywood rife with money, fame, envy, and relentless hauntings. Stafford... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#16

Cosmopolis (2012)
65%

#16
Adjusted Score: 71.347%
Critics Consensus: Though some may find it cold and didactic, Cosmopolis benefits from David Cronenberg's precise direction, resulting in a psychologically complex adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel.
Synopsis: New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#15

Naked Lunch (1991)
69%

#15
Adjusted Score: 71.072%
Critics Consensus: Strange, maddening, and at times incomprehensible, Naked Lunch is nonetheless an engrossing experience.
Synopsis: David Cronenberg and William S. Burroughs: a potent, disgusting combination. This is not actually a film version of the infamous... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#14

Rabid (1979)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 74.703%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Porn star Marilyn Chambers heads the cast of the early David Cronenberg horror effort Rage. The plot concerns a deranged... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#13

Existenz (1999)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 76.594%
Critics Consensus: Gooey, slimy, grotesque fun.
Synopsis: Set in the near-future, eXistenZ depicts a society in which game designers are worshipped as superstars and players can organically... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#12

Scanners (1981)
74%

#12
Adjusted Score: 76.197%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 83.547%
Critics Consensus: A provocative historical fiction about the early days of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method is buoyed by terrific performances by Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, and Viggo Mortensen.
Synopsis: Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes the unbalanced yet beautiful... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#10

Videodrome (1983)
80%

#10
Adjusted Score: 84.229%
Critics Consensus: Visually audacious, disorienting, and just plain weird, Videodrome's musings on technology, entertainment, and politics still feel fresh today.
Synopsis: Videodrome is a pulsating science fiction nightmare about a world where video can control and alter human life.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#9

The Brood (1979)
81%

#9
Adjusted Score: 82.184%
Critics Consensus: The Brood is a grotesque, squirming, hilariously shrill exploration of the bizarre and deadly side of motherhood.
Synopsis: As the result of an unorthodox scientific experiment, a woman gives birth to a group of murderous, sexless mutant children.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#8

Dead Ringers (1988)
82%

#8
Adjusted Score: 84.455%
Critics Consensus: Dead Ringers serves up a double dose of Jeremy Irons in service of a devilishly unsettling concept and commandingly creepy work from director David Cronenberg.
Synopsis: Based extremely loosely on a true story, Dead Ringers stars Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Irons. You read right--Irons essays the... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#7

Spider (2002)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88.521%
Critics Consensus: Ralph Fiennes is brilliant in this accomplished and haunting David Cronenberg film.
Synopsis: Spider is set in the East End London in the 1960s and '80's. A deeply disturbed boy, Spider, 'sees' his... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 94.278%
Critics Consensus: A History of Violence raises compelling and thoughtful questions about the nature of violence, while representing a return to form for director David Cronenberg in one of his more uncharacteristic pieces.
Synopsis: Tom Stall is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#5
Adjusted Score: 86.117%
Critics Consensus: Shivers uses elementally effective basic ingredients to brilliant effect - and lays the profoundly unsettling foundation for director David Cronenberg's career to follow.
Synopsis: A gripping exercise in body horror and social paranoia, prolific Canadian director David Cronenberg's debut feature offers a startling look... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#4

Fast Company (1979)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 73.202%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When race car driver Lonnie Johnson is replaced by his most fierce competitor, he schemes to steal and race the... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#3

Eastern Promises (2007)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 95.62%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg triumphs again, showcasing the Viggo Mortensen's onscreen prowess in a daring performance. Bearing the trademarks of psychological drama and gritty violence, Eastern Promises is a very compelling crime story.
Synopsis: Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin is a driver for one of London's most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#2

The Dead Zone (1983)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 94.706%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations.
Synopsis: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#1

The Fly (1986)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.955%
Critics Consensus: David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy.
Synopsis: Considered fairly gruesome in its day, the original 1958 The Fly looks like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood compared to this 1986... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

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