The Best Movies of the Master Paul Thomas Anderson, Director Extraordinaire

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His work is known as challenging, uncomfortable, and often emotionally intense, blessed with some of the best performances from some of our most talented actors. Not to be confused with that other cinematic genius, Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us the hallowed Resident Evil saga, Paul Thomas Anderson is known for giving us Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, and most recently, The Master. So, yeah, some of the best films ever. These, in order, are his five greatest masterpieces.
The Best Movies of the Master Paul Thomas Anderson, Director Extraordinaire

1There Will Be Blood (2007)

Based loosely on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, this turbulent, haunting, darkly funny film showcases Daniel Day-Lewis’ instantly legendary performance as cynical, steely oil man Daniel Plainview, a character whose inner darkness eventually proves all-consuming, as do his unwavering ambition and greed. Day-Lewis imbues the vivid, often monstrous character with a voice and manner that render his every utterance quotable, his every expression compelling. As distinctive and memorable as Plainview himself is the bracing score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, serving the underlying madness of the oil boom quite well. Paul Dano makes a remarkable foil/rival to Day-Lewis as shrill California prairie preacher Eli Sunday, the questionable religious counterpart to Plainview’s blatantly secular capitalist hustler. All of this is framed in gorgeous, indelible imagery, thanks to cinematographer Robert Elswit, who rightfully took home an Oscar for efforts. As perfect as film gets.Next >
Honorable Mention

Hard Eight (1996) – This film was Anderson’s first feature, a subtle crime flick that stands at one of the best 90s entries in the genre. Hard Eight stars future Anderson regulars Philip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, as a Nevada gambler and his protégé, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson.


Well, those are just about all the films Paul Thomas Anderson has made, every last one worthy of your attention. If you’ve got some kind of gripe with the order, feel free to let us know with your own version of the list.


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