From Pirates of the Caribbean to Bend It Like Beckham, British beauty Keira Knightley has starred in some great movies! Whether you’re looking to binge-watch a Keira Knightley lineup, or are just in search of a good movie to watch, we’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for the 30 best Keira Knightley movies, ranked.
1. The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
At once both inspiring and heartbreaking, The Imitation Game is a biopic about Alan Turing, the English mathematical genius who is tasked with cracking the German Enigma code during World War II. Keira Knightley plays Joan Clarke, a member of Turing’s code-breaking team and his one-time fiancée. The Imitation Game was nominated for a slew of awards, and Knightley herself was recognized with an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Director: Gore Verbinski
The kick-off film in the massively popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ranks as Keira Knightley’s second best movie. Knightley plays Elizabeth Swan, a governor’s daughter, who is in love with a lowly blacksmith and follows him onto a pirate ship captained by the eccentric “Captain” Jack Sparrow.
Director: Joe Wright
Based on the powerful bestselling novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement tells the story of 13-year old Briony Tallis, an aspiring writer who irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. Atonement won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and while it received a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, it didn’t win that year. Knightley was also nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance as Briony’s older sister, Cecilia.
4. Pride & Prejudice
Director: Joe Wright
Two years before Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright teamed up for Atonement, they worked together on this fantastic adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. The classic story tells the tale of middle-class, middle-sister Elizabeth Bennett, who finds herself attracted to the rich, yet totally proud, Mr. Darcy. The film received four Oscar nominations, including one for Knightley in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role.
5. Oliver Twist
Charles Dickens’s classic novel about a young orphan named Oliver Twist was adapted into this well-received TV movie in 1999. The four-episode series follows Oliver as he meets a pickpocket on the streets of London, only to be taken into a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master. Knightley portrays Rose Fleming, who is eventually discovered to be Oliver’s maternal aunt.
6. Love Actually
Director: Richard Curtis
Love Actually has been called “the ultimate romantic comedy,” and rightly so! Written and directed by Richard Curtis, the film follows eight very different couples as they deal with their love lives in various ways. Knightley plays Juliet, a newlywed who is shocked to learn that her husband’s best friend is in love with her. Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, and Martin Freeman also star, among others.
7. Doctor Zhivago
Based on the classic Russian novel by Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago stars Knightley as Lara, a beautiful young woman loved by three men: a doctor, a mogul, and a revolutionary. Their lives become intertwined along with the drama of the Russian Revolution. The four-hour miniseries also stars Sam Neill, Kris Marshall, and Hans Matheson. It was nominated for Best Drama Serial at the BAFTA Awards and Best Miniseries at the Satellite Awards.
8. Begin Again
Director: John Carney
Starring Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Adam Levine, Begin Again is the story of a chance encounter between a disgraced music executive and a young singer-songwriter. The film, written and directed by John Carney, was nominated for a number of awards, including an Oscar for Best Original Song.
9. Official Secrets
Director: Gavin Hood
Official Secrets is the true story about a British whistleblower who leaked information to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Knightley stars as whistleblower Katharine Gun, while Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Goode, and Matt Smith also star.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Director: Gore Verbinski
Director Gore Verbinski and stars Knightley, Johnny Depp, and Orlando Bloom returned for Dead Man’s Chest, the follow up to The Curse of the Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In this installment, Jack Sparrow races to recover the heart of Davy Jones in order to avoid enslaving his soul to Jones’s service.
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Everest is based on the true story of Robert “Rob” Edwin Hall, a climber from New Zealand who, on May 10, 1996, began his final ascent towards the summit of Mount Everest. But with little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing Rob and his fellow climbers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever experienced by man. Knightley plays Rob’s wife, Jan, who stays at home to prepare for the birth of their daughter.
12. Never Let Me Go
Director: Mark Romanek
Never Let Me Go is a drama with a sci-fi twist that is based on the bestselling novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. The story follows three friends — played by Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield — from their school days into young adulthood, when the reality of their world in which they live becomes apparent to them. Knightley was nominated for Best Supporting Actress awards by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films; the British Independent Film Awards; and the Evening Standard British Film Awards; to name but a few.
13. The Jacket
Director: John Maybury
Fantasy drama The Jackettells the story of a Gulf War veteran who is wrongly accused of murder and sent to an insane asylum for violent criminals. Once there, he becomes the target for a doctor’s experiments. Knightley portrays Jackie, a woman from the veteran’s past with whom he is in love.
14. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Director: Gore Verbinski
The third installment of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean is ranked as Keira Knightley’s 14th best movie. Knightley’s Elizabeth Swan, Will Turner, and Captain Barbossa must sail off the edge of the map to find and rescue Jack Sparrow. The movie received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Fantasy Film, along with two Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Makeup and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
15. The Duchess
Director: Saul Dibb
The Duchess is an historic biopic about the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, an 18-century aristocrat who was reviled for her extravagant personal and political life. Knightley portrays Georgiana. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell, and Charlotte Rampling, among others. Knightly earned a nomination for Best Actress at the British Independent Film Awards.
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Pure is about a 10-year old boy named Paul who is raising his younger brother and trying to support his heroin addict mother. To help himself cope with this tough situation, Paul befriends a waitress named Louise, portrayed by Knightley. The film did well on the film festival circuit, and won a number of awards for its young star, Harry Eden.
17. Coming Home
Starring Joanna Lumley and Peter O’Toole, Coming Home is a 1998 television miniseries about the Carey-Lewis and Dunbar families in the years before and after World War II. Knightley appears in the miniseries’ first episode, playing the younger version of Emily Mortimer’s Judith.
18. Collateral Beauty
Director: David Frankel
Collateral Beauty is a star-studded drama about a man (Will Smith) who has endured unbelievable tragedy. He responds emotionally by writing letters to Love, Time, and Death. Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, and Helen Mirren also star.
Director: Wash Westmoreland
As evidenced by this list, many of Knightley’s best films are period pieces, and Colette is no exception. Inspired by a true story, Colette is about the popular 19th-century French author who was pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon the books’ success, Colette fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms along the way. Dominic West and Fiona Shaw also star.
20. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an apocalyptic comedy about a man (played by Steve Carell) who decides to seek out his high school sweetheart as an asteroid nears Earth. Accompanying him is a neighbor, portrayed by Keira Knightley, who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.
21. Bend It Like Beckham
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha wrote and directed Bend It Like Beckham, a sleeper hit about Jess, the daughter of orthodox Sikhs who rebels against her parents’ traditionalism and joins a soccer team. Keira Knightley stars as Jules, one of Jess’s teammates. The movie, which was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes, proved to be one of Knightley’s star-making roles.
22. Anna Karenina
Director: Joe Wright
In 2012, Knightley teamed up with director Joe Wright for the third time, this time to reimagine the Russian classic Anna Karenina. The actress portrays the film’s titular character, a 19th-century aristocrat in St. Petersburg who enters into a life-changing affair with Count Alexei Vronsky. Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Alicia Vikander, and Domhnall Gleeson also star.
23. Last Night
Director: Massy Tadjedin
Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Eva Mendes star in this romantic drama about a married couple who are apart for one night while the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he is attracted. As he tries to resist temptation, his wife reunites with a past love.
24. A Dangerous Method
Director: David Cronenberg
Based upon the stage play by Christopher Hampton, A Dangerous Method recounts the intense relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Knightley portrays Sabina Spielrein, a patient who suffers from hysteria, but who ultimately becomes Jung’s lover. Knightley’s portrayal of Sabina earned her a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress.
Director: Lynn Shelton
In Laggies, Knightley plays Megan, a young woman in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. When her boyfriend proposes, Megan panics. She escapes to the home of her new friend, 16-year old Annika, who lives with her single father. Chloe-Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell also star in this movie which proved a hit amongst audiences on the film festival circuit.
This television miniseries was produced by the SyFy Channel. It imagines the scenario in which Peter Pan and the Lost Boys go from orphans running around the streets of turn-of-the-century London, to living in Neverland, the land of eternal youth. Keira Knightley appears in the miniseries as Tinkerbell.
27. King Arthur
Director: Antoine Fuqua
There have been myriad retellings of the classic tale of King Arthur. In the 2004 version by director Antoine Fuqua, Knightley plays a courageous Guinevere who is just as warrior-like as the Knights of the Round Table. The movie also stars Clive Owen as Arthur, Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot, Joel Edgerton as Gawain, and Hugh Dancy as Galahad.
28. The Aftermath
Director: James Kent
In The Aftermath, Jason Clarke and Keira Knightley play a British colonel and his wife who are assigned to live in Hamburg directly following World War II. Unfortunately, tensions arise between the couple and the German who previously owned their new home, played by Alexander Skarsgard.
29. The Edge of Love
Director: John Maybury
Starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, and Matthew Rhys, The Edge of Love is about two free-spirited young women connected by the brilliant and charismatic poet who loves them both. Interestingly, The Edge of Love was written by Knightley’s real-life mother, Sharman Macdonald.
30. The Hole
Director: Nick Hamm
One of Knightley’s first films, The Hole is about four teenagers at a British boarding school who secretly uncover a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a bomb shelter. The film was well received by critics on the film festival circuit, and even earned Knightley the Best Debut statue at the Empire Awards.