15 Best Winona Ryder Movies Of All Time

POSTED BY Omer Ahmed, UPDATED ON November 9th, 2023
15 Best Winona Ryder Movies of All Time

Winona Laura Horowitz, more commonly known as Winona Ryder, was born on October 29, 1971, in Rochester. She is one of the most popular and brilliant actresses Hollywood has ever seen and is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award and two Academy Award nominations. She has worked alongside great actors in some of the most successful movies ever made. Here we take a look at the 15 best Winona Ryder movies of all time:


15. The Iceman (2012)

The Iceman (2012)

The Iceman is based on the life of a real-life murderer and criminal, Richard Leonard Kuklinski. The film features an interesting plot where a man involved in multiple criminal activities, including murder, fraud, and burglary, strives to keep his profession a secret from his wife and children. The film features Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta in lead roles.

The film was not very well received by critics who criticized its screenplay and direction for its poor performance. However, the actors delivered brilliant performances that were said to be responsible for whatever success the film could receive.


14. Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek is a reboot of the popular Star Trek television series and the eleventh film in the franchise. The film follows the original plot where Captain Kirk and Spock put away all their differences to join forces against Nero, a Romulan from the future, which poses a grave threat to humanity.

The hype created around the film before its release was massive. A lot of effort was put into all the promotions for the film, including the trailer. Several huge companies such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, Esurance, Kellogg’s, Burger King, and Intel Corporation were declared as promotional partners for the film. Start Trek had a huge reception grossing 4 million USD on its opening day.

The film was a huge hit and broke records of several movies, including its own, becoming the highest-grossing movie of the franchise with a total of 385.7 million USD. The film is considered a masterpiece exhibiting perfection in all aspects, from screenplay to special effects to music tracks. Star Trek has a record-high approval rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.


13. Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan Winona Ryder

The psychological horror drama stars Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, and Barbara Hershey in primary roles. Natalie Portman plays the role of a passionate ballerina fuelled with envy, hate, and jealousy to achieve excellence as she is faced with a potential competitor who threatens her position in Swan Lake, the opening play of the season for New York City Ballet Company.

Black Swan premiered at the 67th Venice Film Festival and received a standing ovation from the audience. Black Swan was a huge success and became one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. It received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award for Portman and two Golden Globe Awards for Portman and Kunis.


12. Reality Bites (1994)

Reality Bites 1994

The romantic comedy Reality Bites revolves around the lives of four recently graduated friends in their youth who struggle to figure out their lives, careers, and relationships. The four friends live together in Houston, Texas. Lelaina, played by Winona Ryder, is an aspiring filmmaker who is documenting her and her friends’ lives as they take on new adventures every day.

The film received mixed reviews from critics but became quite a popular film among young adults over time and is widely labeled as a Generation X picture. 


11. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

The psychological thriller Girl, Interrupted is based on the memoir of a young woman Susanna Kaysen, played by Winona Ryder. The film follows her experiences as she is admitted to a mental institution for troubled young women when she attempts suicide.

The film was not received well by critics and was panned for its predictability element and melodrama. However, the performances of Angelina Jolie and Ryder received critical acclaim, with Jolie receiving several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


10.  Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Resurrection is the fourth installment in the Alien franchise and is set 200 years after the events of Alien 3, released in 1992. The plot follows the attempts of The United States Military to clone Aliens. A turn of events changes the whole direction of the situation, and suddenly the team is making every attempt to save their lives from the resurrected.

The film received mixed reviews from critics. The film was better than its prequel but still lacked the elements that made the first two entries of the franchise a classic sci-fi horror hit. The film was praised for its visual effects and performances delivered by the cast, especially Sigourney Weaver. In a survey conducted by CinemaScore, the film received an average grade of B− on a scale of A+ to F.


9. Beetlejuice (1988)

Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice

The fantasy comedy Beetlejuice revolves around the lives of the deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland. They have now taken residence in their country home since their demise in an unfortunate accident. Things become difficult for them when a mother and her teen daughter move in. The plot follows an exciting turn of events as the deceased couple tries to scare the family away and with the introduction of an interesting character of the poltergeist, Beetlejuice.

Beetlejuice was a commercial success and was also well-received by critics. The film was referred to as a “comedy classic” by Pauline Kael. The film grossed 84.6 million USD worldwide against a production budget of just 15 million USD.


8. The Age of Innocence (1993)

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Age of Innocence, directed by Martin Scorcese, is an adaptation of the romantic drama novel of the same name by Edith Wharton. The film casts Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, and Miriam Margolyes in lead roles. The plot revolves around a wealthy lawyer Newland Archer who seems to be leading a pretty regular and happy life with his fiancée May until May’s charming cousin Countess Ellen Olenska appears in the scene. Archer seems to be overly attracted to her. She finds in her the passionate and sensual love it seems he had been missing out on.

The film became one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year and is still considered one of Scorcese’s finest works. The film won several awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe Award: Best Supporting Actress for Winona Ryder.


7. Little Women (1994)

Jo March little women 1994

Little Women adapts the classic 1868-69 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. It features very beautifully the lives of four sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, who are making their way through their lives as they enter adulthood and are met with new experiences that profoundly impact their lives. 

The film was a huge success and was lauded by critics and the audience for its brilliant screenplay and colossal performances delivered by the actresses. Gillian Armstrong’s ingenious direction gave the classic a new life as it’s retold several years later once again. The film received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award: Best Actress for Winona Ryder.


6. The Crucible (1996)

The Crucible 1996 Winona Ryder

The Crucible is based on the 1953 play of the same title written by Arthur Miller, who is also the writer of the movie. The historical drama centers around the life of a young married man, John Proctor, who wants to make things right as he ends his affair with a young woman, played by Winona Ryder. Making things right doesn’t come to John as quickly as he expected, as Abigail takes a dark path to seek revenge

Critics lauded the film for its intricately planned drama elements. The performances of Daniel-DayLewis and Winona Ryder received critical acclaim. However, the film didn’t perform very well at the box office earning only 7.3 million USD.


5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an adaptation of the classic 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The movie stars Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, and Anthony Hopkins in lead roles.

The movie was a huge commercial success and grossed 215 million USD worldwide against a production budget of 40 million USD. The film received several awards and nominations, including three Academy Awards. The performances delivered by the cast were brilliant except for Keanu, who was criticized for his performance and English accent.


4. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Winona Ryder in A Scanner Darkly

Image Source: IMDb

A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 animated adult sci-fi thriller film based on the 1977 novel of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick. In a dystopian future, America is seen to be losing the war against drugs. A cop goes undercover as an addict to get to the core of this whole drug operation. In his pursuit to end this entire drug mafia, he starts losing himself as he becomes involved with a dangerous brain-damaging drug, “Substance D”.

The film casts some of the film industry’s biggest names, such as Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, and Woody Harrelson. The film generally received favorable reviews from critics and was praised for its excellent screenplay and adaptation of the novel.


3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands

The American fantasy romance revolves around the life of an artificial humanoid Edward, played by Johnny Depp. The death of his creator halted his creation, and thus, he is left with a pair of blades and scissors for his hands. A kind suburban saleswoman takes him in. Edward falls in love with her daughter, Kim, played by Winona Ryder. Though made of pure love, this relationship turns out to be not so easy for Edward as he is treated as an outcast by society.

The film was received quite well by critics making it a huge success. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone stated:

“Burton’s richly entertaining update of the Frankenstein story is the year’s most comic, romantic, and haunting film fantasy.”

Tim Burton, the director, considers this movie his finest work. The film also received several awards and nominations.


2. Night on Earth (1991)

Night on Earth (1991)

Night on Earth follows the brief encounters of five cab drivers, working in different parts of the world, with five very different customers.

With an approval rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film did quite well with respect to critics. The brilliant screenplay, acting, and great soundtrack earned the movie a good reputation among the audience.


1. Heathers (1988)

Winona Ryder in Heathers

Image Source: IMDb

Heathers went on to become one of the greatest cult classics of the 80s. It centers around Westerburg High School in Ohio. The whole school fears the popular clique, Heathers, which comprises Heather Chandler, Heather Duke, Heather McNamara, and Veronica Sawyer, played by Winona Ryder. Veronica, at this point, is sick of the drama, hate, and cruelty that breeds within the clique and wants to return to her old bunch of nerdy friends.

The plot takes a serious turn when Veronica starts dating a newcomer Jason Dean, and one of the Heathers gets murdered. Although the film did not perform well at the box office but went on to become one of the most praised films by critics. Over time the film has attained a cult status among the audience and is still one of the most popular coming-of-age films of all time.


Honorable Mentions

  • Destination Wedding (2018)
  • Looking for Richard (1996)
  • Mermaids (1990)

What are your favorite films of Winona Ryder? Share with us in the comments!

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