The best Jude Law movies, from Sherlock Holmes to Cold Mountain

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Jude’s Law is known for his hugely successful film career, but many may not know that his acting journey started in the theater. After his first Oscar nomination, Law’s film career really took off, and he’s kept busy working with some of the most talented directors in the business. His work continued to garner him critical acclaim, and at some point he established himself as one of the most talented actors out there.

Law has starred in everything from prestige dramas to blockbusters, and his next film is Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets, which is slated for release on April 15 this year. For the Harry Potter spin-off series, Law plays a younger version of the iconic character Albus Dumbledore, previously played by the two Richard Harris and Michel Gambon, Headmaster of Hogwarts. In addition to his prolific film career, Law has also worked in television, most notably in the HBO drama The young pope. On top of all that, he continued to perform on the theater stage over the years. We’ve rounded up what we think are the most essential movies he’s starred in over the years.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley


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Image via Paramount Pictures

Law’s cinematic breakthrough came in his supporting role as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmiththe film follows a young man named Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) that gets lost in a path of stolen identities.

Law was chosen after writer and director Antoine Minghella given his performance in The wisdom of crocodiles. Law actually learned to play the saxophone for his musically talented character. Law’s character had to be the kind of man charming and attractive enough to justify Ripley’s obsession with him, and Law proved to have the looks and the charisma for the part. But, aside from being a wealthy, handsome man with a pretty face, Law imbued Dickie with an underlying sense of darkness and cruelty that hinted there was much more lurking beneath the surface.


In reality, The Talented Mr. Ripley is packed with excellent performances delivered by a cast who are now all huge stars, including Gwenyth Paltrow, Cate Blanchettand Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film is almost universally adored, and for good reason – it’s an excellent psychological thriller that continues to haunt long after viewing.

cold mountain


Picture via Miramax

cold mountainbased on the novel of the same name by the author Charles Frazierfeatures Law alongside an all-star cast, including Nicole Kidman, Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Donald Sutherlandand Renee Zellweger, among others. The film follows Law’s character, Inman, a Civil War Confederate soldier who struggles to find the woman he loves in the midst of the war. The performances were praised across the board, with Zellweger and Law in particular receiving critical acclaim for their work.


We consider cold mountain an essential Jude Law, as it was the first film in which he was nominated for an Oscar for his work. Although only Zellweger won an Oscar for this film, it was, for many, the first film that really gave Law a showcase for his talent on a mainstream stage.

Anna Karenina


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The next film on our list had Law working with the director Joe Wright in his adaptation of the famous romance novel Anna Kareninaby Leo Tolstoy. Wright already had a history of success with adapting source material similar to this, as he had done Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. This time around, Wright took more visual risks with the film, while maintaining his mastery of the period romance genre.

The film takes place primarily on a stage, with rotating props that create transitions that make the viewer feel like they are looking at an elaborate play. Law plays Count Alexei Karenin, Anna Karenina’s eldest husband (Keira Knightley). While the two don’t exactly share a passionate or affectionate relationship, their marriage is much more complicated than just a mismatch. Law and Knightley show that their characters have genuine hints of respect for each other, despite all the resentment that defines most of their interactions.


sherlock holmes


sherlock holmes is just one of the few franchises that Law has been involved with over the course of his career, other than Harry Potter and the MCU. In this action-packed adaptation of the classic sherlock holmes characters and stories of a famous author Arthur Conan DoyleLaw plays Holmes’ loyal sidekick, Watson.

The Law is a highlight of the film, which has Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role of Sherlock Holmes himself. The two make a solid team, as Downey Jr.’s performance borders on camp and Law grounds the action-packed, highly stylized film. Watson’s role is one of Law’s most famous throughout his career.

Vox Lux


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Picture via neon

Law’s latest big work is coming Vox Luxa film about the life of a young woman named Celeste Montgomery, played by Rafey Cassidy and Natalie Portman. When tragedy prompts Celeste and her sister to start making music, Celeste is noticed by a man who offers to manage her music career. Law plays the manager in question, a sleazy guy who takes young girls under his wing and ends up sleeping with Celeste’s sister.


A time jump replaced Raffey with Portman as Celeste, though Raffey still plays Celeste’s daughter. Time in the spotlight has not been kind to Celeste as despite her success she has had to deal with many struggles including drug and alcohol addiction which led to a very public outrage. Throughout it all, Law’s character continued to work with Celeste and enjoy her music career. He allows her to use drugs and the two are shown to have a sexual relationship which seems to work as an additional member of their professional relationship. While many films have touched on the subject of stardom, no other has done so well. Vox Lux.


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