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Top 7 Best David Fincher Movies and Reviews

Updated on June 19, 2016
David Fincher - image - Jesse Eisenberg (left) and David Fincher (right) at a press-conference discussing one of David Fincher's movies, The Social Network, a movie based on the start-up of the highly successful social media website, Facebook.
David Fincher - image - Jesse Eisenberg (left) and David Fincher (right) at a press-conference discussing one of David Fincher's movies, The Social Network, a movie based on the start-up of the highly successful social media website, Facebook. | Source

David Fincher, Hollywood's Go-To Man for Directing Psychological Thrillers

First off, let me apologise for the title for this article in case there has been any confusion, as when it states "and reviews" it simply refers to there being reviews included for each of the top movies, and not what could be implied as an included list of the top reviews, whatever they could possibly be. Thanks. Now to the article.

Ever since David Fincher directed the critically acclaimed Se7en in 1995, he has been the go-to director for all of the highest priority psychological thrillers.

It seems that Fincher is one of the few directors in Hollywood who can direct a psychological thriller and make it both critically and commercially successful.

Fincher's most commercially successful movie to-date is the critically acclaimed movie adaptation of the New York Times bestselling book Gone Girl (2014), a movie which was written by the same woman who wrote the book, Gillian Flynn, something which only added to the likely success of the movie. Gone Girl grossed globally $369 million, making it the highest grossing psychological thriller movie of all time, ranking at no.259 on the global box office- for the highest grossing movies of all time (as shown on

David Fincher has directed 10 feature films since the start of his directorial career, and his career is still going strong with the box office grosses increasing with each movie project that he takes on.

Fincher's directing style is something which makes his movies both recognisable, like with a signature, and unique, giving him the edge when it comes to the psychological thrillers that he directs, as this seems to be the sub-genre of movies that he does best.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (team) - Rooney Mara (far left), Daniel Craig (middle) and David Fincher (far right). Unfortunately, the 2011 remake did not wow at the box office making $232 million on a $90 million budget. Not bad. Not great.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (team) - Rooney Mara (far left), Daniel Craig (middle) and David Fincher (far right). Unfortunately, the 2011 remake did not wow at the box office making $232 million on a $90 million budget. Not bad. Not great. | Source

David Fincher's Best Movies (To-Date)

David Fincher may not be the ultimate veteran when it comes to his directorial career, compared to the likes of Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese with more credits under their belt than anyone else, but the movies that Fincher has directed are pure gold, worth every moment of viewing.

Fincher is one of Hollywood's brightest and most trusted directors when it comes to his feature film projects, and in light of this, here are his 7 best feature films, listed from the best down to the least best.

Brad Pitt (World War Z, Inglorious Basterds) & Edward Norton (Birdman, The Incredible Hulk) in "Fight Club" (1999)

Is Fight Club (1999) Fincher's Best?

Where your opinion stands, do you think that Fight Club (1999) is David Fincher's best directorial piece?

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No.1 - Fight Club (1999)

Storyline: (IMDb) An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something so much, much more...

Review: Fight Club (1999) is one of 90s greatest releases, and probably one of the greatest movies of all time, as it was a masterpiece with every scene gripping to the touch.

The drama genre has never seen a movie quite like this one, which has got a psychological edge but still retains the connection between all of its main characters in building their relationships, which is a large part of what the drama genre is about.

The storyline alone would get a lot of the male audiences into the mood for watching it, as it is based around the start-up of an under group fight club, which soon turns into an organised crime unit of agents of anarchy (almost), with a plan to disrupt the system.

Brad Pitt's performance as one of the lead characters was brilliant, and without a doubt one of his best movie performances to-date, as it is the way that he dedicated himself to the character it did so almost effortlessly that helped make the movie so entertaining.

Then teaming up in this movie with Pitt is Edward Norton, the second of the main characters, who has to have had his top-career-acting role in this movie, as he stars and narrates in this movie, suiting each to the best of his abilities. The character seemed almost made for the actor, as it was the first movie that has shown that Norton can dominate the screen almost as much as a co-star with undeniably, ridiculously eye-catching screen-presence, and that of course being Pitt, an actor known for his likability on the big-screen.

Fight Club feels almost like the mix of a solid, hard-hitting drama movie, which has the hint of a psychological thriller thrown into the side. Something which coupled with the brilliantly stunning acting, directing and screenplay writing for the movie made it near unmissable.

Rating: 9.2/10

Official Fight Club (1999) Trailer

Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw, Prisoners), Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron) & Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes) in "Zodiac" (20

Zodiac (2007) - another Jake Gyllenhaal movie for the watching, a hidden gem among his growing filmography
Zodiac (2007) - another Jake Gyllenhaal movie for the watching, a hidden gem among his growing filmography | Source

No.2 - Zodiac (2007)

Storyline: (IMDb) A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer

Review: Zodiac is perhaps that one movie on David Fincher's directorial filmography that is still yet to be seen, but for those giving it some consideration it is an all but too fine masterpiece. To story of the Zodiac killer is one of great intrigue, and should be for any fan of the sub genre, psychological thrillers, as serial killers are an almost go to for this particular sub-genre. And, the Zodiac is a mysterious, unknown killer that eluded law enforcement throughout his reign of murders.

Fincher directed the movie in such a way that it showed in the best of lights that he was capable of making a serial killer movie so great that to truly grasp it all, it is a movie that needs to be watched at least 3 times. It is just that complex and great.

It may be that there is a certain level of fascination inside myself about the Zodiac killer that may have swayed my interest in this movie, but is was shot and executed so precise to the point that it is almost impossible not to find some level of enjoyment in the movie.

The suspense may have been the leading impact for this movie, as in every scene that has a bit of pending danger, or at least the feeling of pending danger is done so brilliantly through the directorial vision and works of Fincher. An unmissable piece of directorial work.

The acting was also phenomenal, and had to be one of Jake Gyllenhaal's better performances of the 2000s, an actor who has gone strength to strength through each role that he has taken throughout his acting career. Gyllenhaal's plays the lead in the movie, a character named Robert Graysmith who works as a cartoonist in San Francisco, but soon finds himself trying to track down the Zodiac killer.

Gyllenhaal has shown through his portrayal as Robert Graysmith in this movie that he has screen-presence and a real sense of belonging in the psychological thriller sub-genre, perhaps a reason why he has found himself doing thrillers on multiple occasions since this movies release.

Robert Downey, Jr. also pops up in this movie as a side character playing a journalist at the newspaper that Graysmith (Gyllenhaal's character) works for, and he is a well-suited actor to the part and dominated the screen when it came to the scenes where he was present. Likely something to do with his magnetic personality and persona which draws the eyes to full attention.

A serial killer type psychological thriller really does not get any better than this. Plus, given the lacklustre box office takings at a global $84 million on a $65 budget, it is almost an incredible shock that this movie was not one of the most success movies of 2007, it's release your. That has to be a crime against quality movies.

Rating: 8.7/10

Ben Affleck & Rosamund Pike in "Gone Girl" (2014)

Before It Became a Film, It Was a book. The New York Times No.1 Bestseller, Gone Girl... Have You Read the Book?

No.3 - Gone Girl (2014)

Storyline: (IMDb) With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Review: Gone Girl (2014) was a book adaptation, and with all book adaptations there is that fear over whether or not the movie will stay true to the book, something that those who have not read the book will have no concerns about, but for those fans who have read the book in pre-mode before the movies release may find this to be of great concern.

But, concern yourselves no more, as this is one of those rarity of movies that was actually written by the author of the novel by the same name, Gillian Flynn, who herself ensured that the movie was sliced down into digestible chunks which would follow the novels storyline events in a cut-down manner which could be entertaining in a movie-style fashion. Something she did to near perfection.

Ben Affleck gets a bad wrap at times for his acting abilities, but in Gone Girl he has really proven that he can take on a serious, well-suited role, and he had the characters personality down to the finest details. Affleck was without any doubt a star to watch in this movie, as he was stunning in his part as Nick Dunne, the husband of a wife who has gone mysteriously missing.

But, it is Rosamund Pike, who played Nick Dunne's wife, Amy Dunne, who was really the highlight for the movie, as she was a ruthless individual in so many ways which she did almost too well. This has to be a new era in Pike's career, as this is her first ever role which is shown that she has the ability to play a leading role that can captivate audiences in so many devastatingly unsocial ways through her most sadistic performance as the lead in this movie.

Alongside David Fincher's tense and thrilling directorial style, this was a hit in the making, giving it that edge which would ensure that all the actors had to do was pull-off their characters, as all of the suspense and smooth running of the camera angles was all but too expertly covered by Fincher, a master at making psychological thrillers.

Rating: 8.5/10

Official Gone Girl (2014) Trailer

Image - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) poster. A movie about living life backwards (in the most bizarre of literal ways)
Image - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) poster. A movie about living life backwards (in the most bizarre of literal ways) | Source

No.4 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Storyline: (IMDb) Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts ageing backwards with bizarre consequences.

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a bizarre and unusual piece of movie making, but has the eyes glued from start to finish, a fact that is undeniably down to the incredible acting by the combined efforts of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

However, this was an unusual and rather out of place project for David Fincher, a director known best for his psychological thrillers, but this was a drama masterpiece, something which the director has shown the ability to adapt into new movie genres. And, a Fincher movie is almost always a great movie, and this one is a highlight for this fact. But, to give a true fact to this matter, this movie received 3 Oscars for various things.

Every now and then there comes an unusual movie with a rather unusual storyline, but as this one has proven, sometimes the unusual is the exact change that is needed to rock the boat of our expectations as audience viewers. A perfect example of a movie where this has been done tremendously, and with so much effort from all of the cast and others involved in its making.

Bizarre! But a wonderful viewing.

Rating: 8.1/10

Brad Pitt & Morgan Freeman in "Se7en" (1995)

No.5 - Se7en (1995)

Storyline: (IMDb) Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Review: Se7en is a psychological movie for the ages, as even now more than 20 years later after its making it is still one of the best psychological thrillers for the sub-genre.

The movie stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as partnering detectives on the hunt for a serial killer played by Kevin Spacey, a sadistic man who will not end his killing spree until he is caught or killed. Brad and Morgan were born for their roles, as they were the perfect detectives, both believable during every second of their screen time.

Brad Pitt is known for many roles that he has done over his now long-stretched acting career, but it was Se7en that showed that he could handle the more serious role which required every ounce of acting skill to make it through to the credits without leaving a scratch of disappointment for film viewers. And, in Brad's case, he was without a doubt one of the key reasons for the success of the movie, not because of his charm or good-looks, but rather for his moving performance in the movie which was captivating at times.

Morgan Freeman, another must-mention actor in this movie, as Freeman always has a way with his words, something which immediately immerses the viewer in the movie, giving a good reason for his presence being in the movie.

The unique camera angles and dark suspense created throughout this stunning psychological masterpiece is all credit to the movies director, David Fincher, who at the time had just completed his first ever psychological thriller movie, and some would say that it was thanks to this stunning movie (Se7en) that Fincher went on to direct all of the other psychological thrillers that he has done so splendidly.

Rating: 8.1/10


The cast - second to the left (Jesse Eisenberg), middle (Andrew Garfield), second to the right (Justin Timberlake), and far right (David Fincher).
The cast - second to the left (Jesse Eisenberg), middle (Andrew Garfield), second to the right (Justin Timberlake), and far right (David Fincher).

Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield & Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network" (2010)

No.6 - The Social Network (2010)

Storyline: (IMDb) Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

Review: Like a lot of people who probably went to the movie theatres to watch this movie, it was down to the simple interest over just how a college kid could start up a social media site and turn it into one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, worth into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

For those who have not yet seen, nor have little understanding over the general storyline for this movie, firstly, make sure to read the storyline above, but to put in blunt it is about the general story of how a group of college kids started up a site on the internet, a website called Facebook, and how it went on to be the most used social media website on the internet, a site with more than 500 million users. Impressive, that is for sure.

But, the best part about the story of how Facebook came to exist is the goings on between the group who created the site, as there was a lot of back-stabbing when it came to the ownership side of the website. Something that tends to come about, like in this instance, when the company (website) begins to be worth something in money. Or, in Facebook's case, tens of billions for the majority shareholder.

The goings on behind the scene when it comes to the creation of Facebook is somewhat inspiring, especially for the young entrepreneurs of today, given that it is the online world which is dominating, and has some of the most secure market shares in the world, Facebook having been at its peak among that most favourable list.

Not a bad movie to watch if you are looking for a bit of motivation to get things done, and in seeing a college aged person make that sum of money it does get the mind thinking about all of the possibilities that are out there, and by out there this refers to the internet. Or, in better words, the profit making machine.

The lead for the movie is played by Jesse Eisenberg, a serious and unmovable object when it comes down to the attitude that the star had when portraying his character as Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and the star character for this movie. Eisenberg certainly took the role seriously in this movie and was well-suited to the role, as he did not so much as flinch when it came down to the perfection for his execution in portraying the character, which was more or less flawless.

Rating: 7.9/10

Screenshot (from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2011) - imaging Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara
Screenshot (from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2011) - imaging Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara | Source

Daniel Craig (Skyfall, Spectre) & Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011)

Before It Became the Film, It Was a Book. The New York Times No.1 Bestseller... Have You Read the Book?

No.7 - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Storyline: (IMDb) Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a book adaptation, so there is always a level of pressure to keep the movies story as close to the events of the book as possible, something that can be quite difficult when it all has to be fit into 158 minutes of runtime. But, this was not a problem where this movie is concerned, as each scene was almost like a shortened version of a chapter from the book.

This is one book-to-movie adaptation that got me a little nervous before seeing the movie for the first time, as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of my favourite novels, but the 2011 adaptation directed by David Fincher was as accurate and as true to the book as a movie is going to get. The characters felt right and the story did not prolong the boring bits, constantly moving onwards into the excitement and tenseness that made the movie edgy but an enjoyable watch.

Daniel Craig (Skyfall, Spectre) played the lead in the movie, a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, and his portrayal of the character was like a direct vision for what was had when reading the novel. Craig has proven through this spectacularly played role that he is more than 007, but rather an adaptable and versatile actor, ready to dominate and become new and interesting roles.

The second lead in the movie, Rooney Mara, playing the awkward, dark, mysterious investigator, Lisbeth Salander, perhaps had the most difficult of roles to portray in the movie, as she was playing a very dark and mysterious character, something many actresses would have failed to do with such screen-presence throughout the movie like the way Mara did.

Fincher's directorial style was to his usual, focusing on closeup camera angles which gives a greater impact when it comes to the expressions of the characters in their roles.

Craig and Mara were a good team in this movie, both offering a unique presence in the movie, something that makes the movie such an great piece of entertainment for a psychological thriller to fill up a couple of hours of spare time.

Rating: 7.9/10

Summary for David Fincher's Top Movies of All Time

David Fincher has shown strong abilities as a director in the heart of Hollywood's big budget thrillers, but more specifically the psychological thrillers, which admittedly have a niche audience, but it should seem that this niche is growing in size consumer-wise, as more cinema-goers seem to opting for the psychological thriller viewing.

It is almost a rarity these days to see a big budget psychological thriller, as there has been heavy speculation over their overall success at the box office, but thankfully there is David Fincher to save the day, as his movies are not only brilliant, but also mostly a success at the box office, making it a likelihood that we are still going to see more psychological thrillers from the director in the future. Especially since there is already talks of a sequel being written for the Gone Girl novel, which is aimed to have another adaptation onto the big-screen (hopefully, once again directed by David Fincher).

David Fincher is now a Hollywood icon, and his movies have led him to victory in most where the commercial success rating is concerned, but all of feature films were critical successes, something that cannot be argued with, as the IMDb ratings are all in the higher figures, a sign that critics and audiences alike were blown away by what they saw.

The feature films not mentioned on this list that Fincher directed includes his first directorial debut, Alien 3 (1992), a movie that did not score all too well with fans received a meagre 6.4/10 on IMDb, but luckily faired well at the box office more than tripling its investment with total world gross (budget- $50 million, global gross- $159 million.

Although, even with the lacklustre reviews and overall score from fans for the Aliens 3 movie, it must be remembered that it was Fincher's first project, and to hone the directorial skill takes time and mistakes so they can learn to from these mistakes and make a better movie next time, until one day that no longer make mistakes, or at least not through a lack of directorial skill. Fincher, however, did have some great camera angles in Aliens 3, which given the intensity of the sci-fi horror that the movie provides certainly needed this to create a tense atmosphere, something he is good at doing.

The second is The Game (1997) starring Michael Douglas, a movie that brings a game to life with interesting pieces to a puzzle being muddled together across the duration of the movie. This was Fincher's second directorial piece, and this time around he was in his zone, directing a mystery, thriller, something which suited his directing style much than that of a sic-fi-horror movie like the Alien franchise.

The third and last feature film not to be mentioned on this list is Panic Room (2002) starring Jodie Foster, Kristen Steward and Forest Whitaker, a stunning line-up of actors who each played their roles with an intensity that kept the suspense rolling throughout the movie. Set in a house (and only in the house), it is difficult to imagine a movie being suspenseful and thrilling with a singular location for filming the entire duration of the movie, but this movie managed to do the impossible as it was entertaining and thrilling throughout, without a hint of a doubt of the movie going sour before its end.

Sadly, none of these final 3 feature films made the cut where this list is concerned, but they are all watchable, but the best of the best of Fincher's movies have been added to the (top) list, and reviewed and rated.

My Favourite!

What's your favourite David Fincher movie?

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Prefer the No-Listers!

Or, is one of your favourite David Fincher Movies not on the lists top-7?

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Talk Time!

Any thoughts that you would like to share, drop them below.


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    • Craig Easom profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from British Empire

      Hey CYong74,

      Thanks for dropping a comment. I too enjoy watching Fincher's work for his camerawork, and come to think of it you are right in saying that his camerawork is often experimental, as it does always feel a little like a shot in the dark. Still, his movies are some of the all time thriller-greats.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 

      2 years ago from Singapore

      Fincher's camerawork is often grungy and experimental, which is what I love watching him for. The whole generation of grunge lighting artists he inspired with Se7en. And of course, that bed scene ...


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