Every Idris Elba Movie Ranked From Worst To Best



Here is a look at every movie in Idris Elba’s impressive catalog, ranked from worst to best. The British-born actor has quickly become one of the most recognizable and dependable faces in Hollywood, making a name for himself as a versatile and capable performer. Deftly navigating a bevy of different accents and character archetypes, Elba’s meteoric rise to fame has evidently not dampened the actor’s desire to push his limits, a commendable trait that is rewarding for both Idris Elba and fans of his movies alike.

Elba boasts one of the most impressive and diverse careers in Hollywood, appearing in hugely popular film and television series alongside a host of other professional interests. From early supporting roles in prestige dramas to lackluster genre movies to more than a few superhero adventures, Elba’s career is varied in terms of the types of projects he is involved in and their quality. His curiosity and commitment make him a stand-out performer, leading him to steal the spotlight in nearly every role he takes on. With that in mind, here is a look at Elba’s impressive career thus far.



50 Cats (2019)

Macavity the Mystery Cat being sneaky in Cats

Cats is a movie musical based on the long-running Broadway show written by legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Weber and based on the 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Elliot. Elba appears as Macavity, a magical and villainous cat in contest for the gift of rebirth. The film’s blend of live-action and computer animation has been nearly universally rejected as it is filled with poorly-considered and nightmarish sequences that have made it one of the worst-received movies of the last decade, both critically and more generally —though there are some that think Cats is destined to be a cult classic in 10 years time.

49 Prom Night (2008)

Idris Elba in Prom Night

Prom Night is an uninspired remake of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis horror movie by the same name. Donna Keppel’s prom night takes a sadistic turn when a dangerous and obsessive figure from her past returns to exact his revenge. Elba leads the film’s B-story as the officer investigating the mysterious ongoings, Detective Winn. Director Nelson McCormick would go on to direct another poorly-received horror remake the following year, adapting the 1987 Joseph Ruben thriller The Stepfather in 2009.

48 The Unborn (2009)

Idris Elba in The Unborn

The Unborn is a possession movie directed by Foundation creator David S. Goyer. A young woman is haunted by visions of her twin brother that died in the womb, his malevolent tormenting her in search of a way to possess the life that was taken from him. Elba appears alongside a surprisingly star-studded cast, including Gary Oldman and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan, but the impressive talent of the film’s actors was not enough to save what is ultimately one of the most forgettable horror movies of the 2000s.

47 Legacy (2010)

Idris Elba in Legacy
  • Currently unavailable to stream

Legacy (also known as Legacy: Black Ops) is a psychological thriller executive produced by Idris Elba. The story follows Malcolm Gray (played by Elba) as he reflects on the consequences of his past and the potential future for his brother Darnell, an unscrupulous senator with presidential aspirations. The film premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in February 2010 before getting an American release a few months later, failing to garner much notoriety on either occasion.

46 Obsessed (2009)

Idris Elba and Beyoncé in Obsessed
  • Stream now on Paramount+ and Roku

Obsessed is a psychological thriller by The Tudors director Steve Shill. An office temp develops romantic feelings for her boss, relentlessly pursuing him and causing tensions in his marriage as their reluctant love triangle takes a deadly turn. Elba stars alongside Ali Larter and occasional movie star Beyoncé Knowles-Carter in what is ultimately an over-dramatized and underwhelming waste of the actors’ talents. The film claims to take inspiration from the works and styles of Roman Polanski and Alfred Hitchcock, yet it lacks the nuance and atmosphere for which the two directors are known.

45 Second Coming (2014)

Idris Elba in Second Coming
  • Stream now on Peacock, Roku, Hoopla, Kanopy, Plex, and FreeVee

Second Coming is a British drama featuring the directorial debut of Debbie Tucker Green. The story centers around a woman who gets pregnant under unusual circumstances, detailing the emotional turmoil that her predicament causes her, her husband (played by Elba), and their young son. The plot and dialogue are intentionally ambiguous at times in service of the movie’s religious undertones, earning Green a BAFTA nomination amid generally mixed reviews.

44 The Gospel (2005)

Idris Elba in The Gospel

The Gospel is a Christian drama film, retelling the Parable of the Prodigal Son in a modern setting. A Los Angeles musician is called back home to Atlanta after learning of his father’s illness, prompting him to take up a role in his father’s church and forcing him to reevaluate his past decisions. Elba plays the film’s antagonist, Reverend Charles Frank, bringing a degree of life to an otherwise bland and unoriginal rendition of a clichéd story.

43 Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2011)

Idris Elba as Moreau in Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance 2011
  • Stream now on Fubo and Peacock Premium

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel/reboot of 2007’s Ghost Rider based on the Ghost Rider Marvel comics. Nic Cage returns as Johnny Blaze, although many of the details from the first film are altered retrospectively, including the origins of the character’s demonic powers. With the help of Moreau, a French monk played by Elba, Johnny fights to protect the son of the devil (and eventual Ghost Rider) Danny Ketch in order to free himself from his curse and restore his soul. The film is utter bedlam, with Cage’s chaotic performance matched by a frenzied and messy story with little to offer beyond its impressive visuals.

42 The Human Contract (2008)

Idris Elba, Jason Clarke, and Anne Ramsay in The Human Contracat

The Human Contract is a seductive drama featuring the directorial debut of Jada Pinkett Smith. As a tenuous corporate merger nears its close, a chance encounter with a seductive stranger leads Julian Wright down a dark path of self-discovery that could bring an end to both his professional and personal lives as he’s known them. Elba appears alongside an impressive cast including Jason Clarke, Ted Danson, and writer/director Jada Pinkett Smith herself, but the film’s style and story failed to stand out against the wave of similarly dark films in the late 2000s, blending in with the era’s aesthetic and quickly fading to obscurity.

41 No Good Deed (2014)

Idris Elba in No Good Deed

No Good Deed is a psychological thriller directed by Sam Miller, with whom Elba had previously collaborated on the BBC crime series Luther. A stay-at-home mother ends up in the path of an escaped convict’s murderous tirade, putting her and her family’s lives at risk as a result of their seemingly random encounter. Idris Elba is unexpectedly chilling as the movie’s lethal antagonist Colin Evans, but the story’s predictability detracts from the overall suspense of the film, ultimately wasting the performances of its talented cast.

40 The Reaping (2007)

Idris Elba in The Reaping
  • Available to rent and purchase on multiple platforms

The Reaping is a supernatural horror written by Carey and Chad Hayes, the minds behind such horror staples as The Conjuring and House of Wax. Allegedly inspired by real events, the film centers on Katherine Morrissey, a former Christian missionary who strayed from her faith as she attempts to debunk a series of biblical events that plague a small town. The film stirred up a degree of controversy due to its undesirable depiction of Concepción, Chile in its opening scene, which did little to help its already largely negative reviews.

39 The Dark Tower (2017)

Idris Elba in The Dark Tower
  • Stream now on Fubo and FXNow

The Dark Tower is a gloomy fantasy Western, serving as a sequel to Stephen King’s eight-novel The Dark Tower series. The last gunslinger, Roland Deschain (played by Elba) must prevent the villainous Man in Black (played by Matthew McConaughey) from toppling the Dark Tower, a mystical monolith that binds the universe together. The Dark Tower was intended to be the first installment in a movie series based on King’s novels, but the film’s poor performance doomed the franchise, reportedly earning just over half of its $113 million budget.

38 100 Streets (2016)

Idris Elba in 100 Streets
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100 Streets is a British drama from Trying director Jim O’Hanlon. The film is comprised of three separate stories that take place within a one-square-mile area of London, with each protagonist forced to face the consequences of their past in an effort to lead a better life. Idris Elba serves as the movie’s producer and music supervisor as well as leading one of the film’s segments. 100 Streets was a financial disaster, reportedly earning less than $400 worldwide against its $3 million budget, making it the lowest-grossing movie of Elba’s career by a substantial margin.

37 Daddy’s Little Girls (2007)

Idris Elba in Daddy’s Little Girls
  • Available to rent and purchase on multiple platforms

Daddy’s Little Girls is a romantic drama written, directed, and produced by Tyler Perry. When a struggling mechanic (played by Elba) loses custody of his three daughters to his troubled ex-wife, he and his new attorney fight to win them back as a romance blooms between them. Daddy’s Little Girls was the first movie directed by Tyler Perry to not be based on one of his stage plays and is among only a handful in the director’s catalog in which he does not make an appearance. Although reviews for the film are somewhat mixed, Daddy’s Little Girls is among the lowest-grossing movies in Perry’s directorial career, second only to 2014’s Single Moms Club.

36 The Gunman (2015)

Idris Elba and Sean Penn in The Gunman

The Gunman is an action thriller based on the 1981 French novel The Prone Gunman (or La Position du tireur couché) by Jean-Patrick Manchette. Eight years after his retirement from the Special Forces, a PTSD-suffering Jim Terrier (played by Sean Penn) becomes the target of an assassination, forcing him back into a life that he thought he’d left behind. Elba appears as Jackie Barnes, a federal agent and (in some regards) accomplice to Terrier. Despite touting Oscar-winning performers like Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Mark Rylance, the film was a financial failure, earning roughly half of its $40 million budget.

35 One Love (2003)

Idris Elba in One Love
  • Available to rent and purchase on multiple platforms

One Love is a Jamaican romantic drama directed by The Clash videographer Don Letts. A Rasta musician falls in love with a gospel singer during a music competition, finding himself at odds with her religious father who wishes for his daughter to marry within the church. Elba plays Aaron, the young gospel singer’s intended husband. The relatively simple story is saved by an exceptional soundtrack, featuring songs from Bob Marley and Shaggy as well as performances from the cast.

34 Beast (2022)

beast nate idris elba
  • Stream now on Prime Video

Animal attack movies can be thrilling and Elba attempted to get into the genre with Beast. Elba plays a widower who travels to South Africa with his two daughters in an attempt to reconnect with them. However, while out in the wilderness, they find themselves stalked by a territorial lion. Beast doesn’t reinvent anything as it is a pretty standard movie of this type. Yet there are some exciting sequences and a committed performance from Elba that make up for the limited story, all leading to the ending of Beast with the brutal confrontation between Elba and the lion.

33 Takers (2010)

Idris Elba in Takers
  • Stream now on Fubo, Hulu, and Freevee

Takers (formerly known as Bone Deep) is an action thriller written and directed by Texas Chainsaw’s John Luessenhop. A group of professional bank robbers are pulled into a job by a recently-paroled ex-member, but things take a turn for the worse at the hands of a pair of hard-boiled police officers. Takers is not dissimilar from other heist movies of the late 2000s such as Armored or Inside Man, but the film’s star-studded cast set it apart, with Elba appearing alongside T.I., Hayden Christensen, and the late Paul Walker.

32 This Christmas (2007)

Idris Elba in This Christmas

This Christmas is a romantic comedy written, directed, and produced by Preston A. Whitmore II. The film is named for the 1970 Donny Hathaway song of the same name, which is covered by Chris Brown for the soundtrack. The Whitfield family spends Christmas together for the first time in four years, causing strife as a result of their drastically different lifestyles and dredging up memories of their absent father. Elba stands out against the This Christmas cast as Quinten Whitfield Jr., the spitting image of his jazz-playing father, taking on arguably the most complex role in this heart-warming, character-driven Christmas movie.

31 The Losers (2010)

Idris Elba in The Losers
  • Available to rent and purchase on multiple platforms

The Losers is an action film based on the 2003 Vertigo Comic series by Andy Diggle and Mark Simpson (a.k.a Jock). An elite U.S. Special Forces unit is betrayed by the CIA and left for dead, prompting them to mount an offensive on the government agency to take revenge on their corrupt former employer. The Losers features an impressive ensemble cast, including Elba, Chris Evans, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, making excellent use of the actors’ comedic and physical capabilities in spite of the film’s mediocre script.


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