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David Lynch Movies ranked - worst to best

Updated on September 24, 2012

In the world of film making David Lynch is a one off American Original. Born on January 20, 1946, Lynch has been making films which have left audiences scratching their heads for over three decades. Nobody makes films like David Lynch.

To describe a David Lynch film is pretty near impossible, but I will try anyway. They are characterized as being surreal, weird and often quite dark and disturbing. Sitting through a 3 hour David Lynch film is no easy task. It can be an exhausting and frustrating experience, but it can also incredibly rewarding. Lynch films are all about the detail, the viewer will see what they want to see, whether or not that is what the films intended is open to interpretation. I became a big fan after watching the film “Mulholland Drive”, on first viewing it made absolutely no sense to me but after watching it a second time I was hooked and felt compelled to go out and watch every film he has made. This hub is a countdown of my favourite David Lynch films from worst to best.


This movie is based upon a science fiction novel of the same name. The plot centres around a privileged young man who is sent to a giant sand planet to collect a spice. Not just any spice, this spice is an all powerful spice which the empire depends on for space travel. The movie is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds, the acting is mostly clunky and the dialogue is heavy going and devoid of any humour. If you are a sci-fi buff you might enjoy this movie, otherwise steer clear.

Inland Empire

This is a real trippy movie.... it gets stranger and stranger as it goes on. I've watched Inland Empire twice and I couldn't begin to try to explain what it’s about. The movie is basically one 3 hour dreamscape and the sequencing of the movie is impossible to follow. This is hardcore David Lynch, completely uncompromising, off the wall and original but for me this was just too much weirdness and surrealism in one movie.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

As somebody who didn’t watch the Twin Peaks Television series this film was a little difficult to get into. The film is the prequel to the TV series and it chronicles the last days of Laura Palmer and her descent into self destruction. The film is harrowing to watch as her life unravels fuelled by the long term sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Difficult to watch at times, this movie may be more one for the fans of the TV series.

David Lynch on Amazon


David Lynch’s first film and maybe his strangest, which by Lynch’s standards is quite an achievement. The movie is about a man, his girlfriend and a very disturbing, deformed baby set in some grey residential/industrial wasteland that makes pre-unification East Berlin look like a Southern Europe summer getaway. To say the movie is bleak doesn’t do it justice. This movie is the most depressing thing I have ever seen on the screen. The first time I watched Eraserhead I was unnerved by it. It was one of those movies that stays camped within the memory bank for a long time...for the wrong reasons. I watched it again years later to try to make some sense of it, but a repeat viewing didn’t make it any easier to watch. I didn’t enjoy this movie at all but I will say it is an incredibly original and uncompromising film.

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart is a weird, dark road trip movie following two lovers “Sailor” (Played by Nicholas Cage) and “Lula” (played by Laura Dern) as they are chased around heartland America by a series of freakish killers who are sent by Lula’s crazed mother. The film contains much of the David Lynch surrealism and weirdness of his later work but I really didn’t enjoy this film as much as his later work and I am at a loss to explain why.

The Elephant Man

By Lynch’s standards this movie is pretty conventional. As the title suggests the film tells the tale of the Elephant Man, based on the true story of a severely disfigured man in the early 19th century London. “The Elephant Man” contains none of the Lynch surrealism of most of his work, instead the film is a faithful rendition of the story.

The Straight Story

A David Lynch Disney Movie, that is unusual even by David Lynch's standards. This is very much NOT the surrealist Lynch, but as per the title a straight ahead, sweet, haunting, very human view of life from the seat of a lawnmower. Comparing this movie to other Lynch films seems a little pointless because it is so different to his other work, but it shouldn’t be discounted, this is a great human story.

Lost Highway

Unlike "The straight Story" Lost Highway IS very much a David Lynch film. Surreal, perplexing but also completely gripping. The film starts with a strange encounter at a party where a man is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison. From there the film gets really crazy, as the main character along with the viewer is caught up in a Nightmarish world trying to make sense of it. I loved this movie and it ranks as one of my favourite Lynch films.

Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet is about a small town college student who finds an ear in a field which leads him into a seedy world of violence and depraved sex, courtesy of a crazed psychopath played by Dennis Hopper. Blue Velvet is quite disturbing in places, but it manages to marry Lynch’s abstract appeal with a gripping storyline that is not too difficult to follow.

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive to me is the perfect David Lynch Movie. Like his best work it is a complete head spinner in the best way possible. Mulholland drive is almost impossibly difficult to piece together on first viewing, which makes it so rewarding when you do manage to piece it together. The lead is played by Naomi Watts who is brilliant throughout the movie as is the stunning Laura Harring. I would recommend this movie to anybody who is unfamiliar with the work of David Lynch, it is well worth the effort.


Submit a Comment

  • Paul Fisher profile image

    Paul Fisher 

    4 years ago from United Kingdom

    It's actually on youtube! Be prepared for proper puzzled expressions. It has a kind of moral to it though, not totally freewheeling into obscurity.

  • Theeyeballkid profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago

    Thanks Paul, I've not seen Grandmother, will look out for it. If it's anything like Eraserhead, i'll be prepared to be traumatised.

  • Paul Fisher profile image

    Paul Fisher 

    4 years ago from United Kingdom

    Eraserhead is quite the oddity. Have you seen the short film 'Grandmother'? It's the same sort of style and extremely different. Another cool blog, I liked this.

  • Theeyeballkid profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago

    Hehe I didn't realise it threw off lefties as well, that is good to know!

    Thanks for commenting mts.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I do agree with you on Mulholland Drive...the first time I saw it (as a left handed guy) even I was thrown off by this film. I have watched this movie a few times and it has gotten better...cheers


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