Jamie Bell's Birthday: All His Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

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Newsweek

British actor Jamie Bell, who turns 33 today, shot to fame at the age of 14 after playing the lead role in iconic dance drama Billy Elliot, becoming one of the youngest actors to win a BAFTA. “It’s all downhill from there!” he joked. Not quite.

Born on March 14, 1986 in Billingham, a small town in northeast England, Bell took up dancing as a child after accompanying his sister to her ballet lessons. In 1999 he beat more than 2,000 boys to play the lead role in Billy Elliot. He played a young boy who—to the humiliation of his working-class father and elder brother—takes up ballet. Bell’s life changed forever.

"It is very impactful, it means everything, and everything kind of comes back to that," Bell told The Guardian in 2011. "That wasn't really acting to me. That was my life. I'd put ballet shoes down my pants to hide them from my friends. I'd done all this before. So the BAFTA doesn't feel like an achievement. The achievement was getting the role. But I consider that to be extremely lucky."

The movie catapulted Bell to fame and immediately became part of the nation’s canon of classics. It earned $109 million at the box-office on a budget of less than $4 million, spawning both West End and Broadway stage productions. Bell received eight awards in total, from the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role to the British Independent Film Award for Best Newcomer.

But Bell’s trajectory did not go the way of many child stars—he transitioned almost seamlessly into a stable and successful professional career in acting. There have been leading roles in indie movies such as David Gordon Green’s Undertow , David Mackenzie’s Hallam Foe (for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards), and Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Vol II.

He has also starred in blockbusters such as Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005), Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011) and Fantastic Four (2015).

Fantastic Four was panned: “Worse than worthless,” Peter Travers wrote in Rolling Stone, while Hollywood Reporter ’s Todd McCarthy called it “a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens."

But the roles keep on coming. Last year, he picked up another BAFTA nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. This spring sees the release of Rocketman, the hotly anticipated biopic of Elton John, in which he plays Elton’s influential songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin.

To celebrate Bell’s birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank all of his movies from worst to best.

01 Fantastic Four
Twentieth Century Fox

20. Fantastic Four (2015). Total score: 33.76%. IMDb users: 4.3. Metacritic: 27. Rotten Tomatoes: 3.47. Rotten Tomatoes users: 2.1. 
Directed by: Josh Trank. Starring: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell. 
Plot summary: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
What the critics said: "Feels like a 100-minute trailer for a movie that never happens." Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

02 Jumper
Twentieth Century Fox

19. Jumper (2008). Total score: 43.46%. IMDb users: 6.1. Metacritic: 35. Rotten Tomatoes: 3.99. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. 
Directed by: Doug Liman. Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane. 
Plot summary: A teenager with teleportation abilities suddenly finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between those like him and their sworn annihilators.
What the critics said: "Jumper has so many loose ends that it almost cries out for a sequel. This, of course, is intentional. I would say the filmmakers are being a tad optimistic." Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

03 Dear Wendy
Wellspring Media

18. Dear Wendy (2005). Total score: 47.9%. IMDb users: 6.6. Metacritic: 33. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.14. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. 
Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg. Starring: Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Chris Owen. 
Plot summary: A young boy in a nameless, timeless American town establishes a gang of youthful misfits united in their love of guns and their code of honor.
What the critics said: "If Jamie Bell can't rescue a movie, it's probably not salvageable." John Hartl, Seattle Times

04 Man on a Ledge
Summit Entertainment

17. Man on a Ledge (2012). Total score: 49.61%. IMDb users: 6.6. Metacritic: 40. Rotten Tomatoes: 4.83. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Asger Leth. Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Ed Burns, Genesis Rodriguez. 
Plot summary: As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.
What the critics said: "The movie stays aloft on the sparks provided by Banks, Ed Burns (playing a skeptical cop), Anthony Mackie (as a cop to be skeptical about) and particularly, Bell and Rodriguez." Mary F. Pols, TIME Magazine

05 The Chumscrubber
Newmarket Films

16. The Chumscrubber (2005). Total score: 51.44%. IMDb users: 7. Metacritic: 41. Rotten Tomatoes: 4.95. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Arie Posin. Starring: Jamie Bell, Allison Janney, Rory Culkin, Glenn Close, John Heard. 
Plot summary: A darkly satiric story about life crumbling in the midst of a seemingly idyllic suburbia.
What the critics said: "Assimilated into a sprawling ensemble, the prodigiously talented Bell has far fewer opportunities to flex his formidable acting muscles than he did in last fall’s Undertow. Fellow cast members are similarly underserved." Scott Foundas, Variety

06 6 Days
Netflix

15. 6 Days (2017). Total score: 52.99%. IMDb users: 6.2. Metacritic: 36. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.33. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.2. 
Directed by: Toa Fraser. Starring: Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Abbie Cornish, Martin Shaw, Tim Pigott-Smith. 
Plot summary: In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid.
What the critics said: "Bell is terrific—a combination of cocky swagger and perfect focus." Cath Clarke, The Guardian

07 The Eagle
Focus Features

14. The Eagle (2011). Total score: 56.19%. IMDb users: 6.2. Metacritic: 55. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.35. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.1. 
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald. Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong. 
Plot summary: In Roman-ruled Britain, a young Roman soldier endeavors to honor his father's memory by finding his lost legion's golden emblem.
What the critics said: "Tatum and Bell deserve more than the lethargic narrative that follows them across such exquisite wilderness." Ted Fry, Seattle Times

08 Defiance
Paramount Vantage

13. Defiance (2008). Total score: 61.84%. IMDb users: 7.2. Metacritic: 58. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.89. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.6. 
Directed by: Edward Zwick. Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Mia Wasikowska. 
Plot summary: Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.
What the critics said: "Craig and Schreiber are terrific as the slightly thuggish Bielskis, and they're joined by an able supporting cast that includes Jamie Bell and the wonderful Mia Wasikowska." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

09 Filth
Magnolia Pictures

12. Filth (2013). Total score: 61.84%. IMDb users: 7.1. Metacritic: 56. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.19. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.5. 
Directed by: Jon S. Baird. Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent. 
Plot summary: A corrupt, junkie cop with bipolar disorder attempts to manipulate his way through a promotion in order to win back his wife and daughter while also fighting his own inner demons.
What the critics said: "Even when the film falls to pieces, McAvoy's bonkers brilliance will blow you away." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

10 Nymphomaniac
Magnolia Pictures

11. Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013). Total score: 62.56%. IMDb users: 6.7. Metacritic: 60. Rotten Tomatoes: 6.25. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.3. 
Directed by: Lars von Trier. Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman. 
Plot summary: The continuation of Joe's sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman's care.
What the critics said: "Exhaustingly repetitive, this movie attempts many of the same things its predecessor did but with less success." James Berardinelli, ReelViews. 

11 Undertow
United Artists

10. Undertow (2004). Total score: 62.65%. IMDb users: 6.6. Metacritic: 63. Rotten Tomatoes: 5.94. Rotten Tomatoes users: 3.4. 
Directed by: David Gordon Green. Starring: Jamie Bell, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Kristen Stewart. 
Plot summary: John and his sons Chris and Tim relocate to the woods of rural Georgia. Their life together is forever changed when Uncle Deel is released from prison. The tragedy that ensues forces Chris to become a man.
What the critics said: "There's no arguing the revelation of Bell's performance." Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger