David Cronenberg's Birthday: His 15 Best Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

Newsweek analyzes data from Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank David Cronenberg's 15 best movies.
David Cronenberg’s Birthday: His 15 Best Movies Ranked from Worst to Best Newsweek

David Cronenberg, who turns 76 today, is a Canadian director best known for movies such as Dead Ringers, The Fly and Eastern Promises.

Born in Toronto on March 15, 1943, Cronenberg had a diverse set of interests while growing up—first studying science at the University of Toronto before switching to English language and literature in his final year.

His interest in movies was sparked when a classmate, David Sector, made a movie called Winter Kept Us Warm, starring some of Cronenberg's friends. "It never occurred to me that you could make a movie. It was unlike someone growing up in L.A. where everybody's parents were in the business. In Toronto, no one's parents were in the movie business because there wasn't a movie business," he told The Guardian in 2014.

After making a few short films and art-house features with government funding, Cronenberg's fourth movie Rabid was the first to get international distributors. It was illustrative of the "body horror" genre that Cronenberg would go on to pioneer, focusing on themes of sexual experimentation and physical and psychological violations of the human body—the main character in Rabid finds an orifice under her armpit.

Many of his movies—such as The Brood, Scanners and Videodrome—continued in this style, but his more recent films—such as A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method—have been more conventional dramas .

"People confuse you with your work in a very direct way," he told The Guardian in 2013. "You make scary, horror films, so you must be a scary, horrible person." He recalled how Martin Scorsese once confessed to being scared to meet him, to which Cronenberg replied: "You're the guy who made Taxi Driver and you're afraid to meet me?"

The Fly, released in 1986, is likely to be the movie he is most remembered for. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, the movie centers around a mad scientist who morphs into a fly-like creature after an accident in the lab. It became his biggest box office hit—grossing $60 million on a budget of $9 million—and a critical success to boot.

Cronenberg's most recent movies, 2012's Cosmopolis—an adaptation Don DeLillo's novel of the same name—and 2014's Maps to the Stars—a Hollywood satire—both drew mixed critical reviews and limited attention. His next project is slated to be a television series, but there has been no confirmation as to what it will be about.

To celebrate David Cronenberg's birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank his 15 best movies.

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