The 10 Best Roman Polanski Movies, Ranked

5. The Fearless Vampires Killer (1967)

The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck is a 1967 horror comedy film directed by Roman Polanski co-starring himself with future wife Sharon Tate. In the film a professor Abronsius and his assistant, Alfred, go to a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires. Alfred falls in love with the inn-keeper’s young daughter Sarah. The film has also been adapted to a musical named Dance of the Vampires.

Polanski’s ‘Fearless Vampire Killers’ is a beautifully shot film that is well accompanied by the director’s meticulous eye for detail. The music in the film is also masterfully composed and suits the spoof horror every step of the way. Performances in the film are very believable, including Polanski himself who is in his very rare comedic role. The dialogues are witty and funny, and the comedy overall is very well guided and polarising.


4. Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, and starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. Shot in London it was Polanski’s first English-language film and second feature-length production.The film debuted at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival receiving critical acclaim and currently is considered one of Polanski’s greatest works.

Repulsion is a great example of a film that explores the theme of ‘fear’ without having to involve ghosts, monsters or serial killers. It is a disturbing masterpiece which after 50 years still manage to pack a punch and hit the audience’s psychology hard. Catherine Denueve is fantastic in the film as she plays a complex character in Carole with great fragility and vulnerability. Repulsion is disturbing, creepy, downright shocking and will leave you mouth-gaping when the credits roll.


3. The Knife in the Water (1962)

Knife in the Water is a 1962 Polish drama film co-written and directed by Roman Polański, which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film follows an ageing man inviting young man on his sailing trip. The young man ends up fooling Andrzej and makes love to his young wife Krystyna. Knife in the water is Polanski’s first feature work and is still today considered one of his greatest. The film holds a perfecto 100% score on rotten tomatoes.

Knife in the Water is a film where mind games between old and young, bourgeois and working class become physical. The story is simple and using three actors in one location, the film puts other big films into shame. It is a film that relies a whole lot on the atmosphere creates and as we get more familiar, the creepier and more unsettling it gets.


2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The cast stars Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes andd Ruth Gordon in the lead. In the film a young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

The tone of the film is set right from the beginning as the credits begin with an insidious music. What follows is a perfectly structured and crafted film that will nail your ass to the seat. Every performance in the film is ridiculously brilliant especially Mia Farrow as the paranoid mother. The film is so subtly perfect as to giving away what needs to be known and putting aside the rest. Polanski is at his best here, with a film that will make your skin crawl.


1. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne. The film stars Jack Nicholson as detective Jake Glites and Faye Dunaway as Mrs Murway. At the 47th Academy Awards, the film received 11 oscar nominations to its name. In the film a detective is hired by a lady to spy on her husband, the builder of the city’s water system. The detective soon finds himself caught in a web when the husband is murdered.

Boasting some of the greats of Hollywood’s ’70s golden age on top form, this is cinema at it’s very best. Whenever a debate on the greatest films of all time pop ups, Chinatown is never far away and deservedly so. The script is downright brilliant and the characters in the film are very memorable. Polanski’s genius allows this complex mystery film easy to follow and keep the audiences engaged. Jack Nicholson as the lead is ever so good, and Dunaway is just as impressive despite the limited screen time.

Read More: Nicholas Sparks Movies