According to Studies & Stuff, This Is the Greatest Coen Brothers Movie Ever Made

Everyone's got an opinion when it comes to movies made by the Brothers Coen.

You can even break up these die hard fans into subgroups. See, some prefer classic comedic Coen: Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski. Some prefer dark Coen: Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country for Old Men. And then there are the 5 people on the planet who prefer The Ladykillers.

Because of the ranges in tone, story, and genre, it's no wonder why the Coen Brothers' films are so divisive among their viewers -- and because they're so divisive, no one has ever really agreed on a solid ranking of their films. Sure, Fargo, Raising Arizona, and No Country always seem to hover around the top, but the top 5 tends to change quite a bit based on who is compiling the list.

However, Criticwire has done a little studying -- and stuff. They took a look at a bunch of Coen Brothers film rankings from different sites and averaged each film's rank to come up with kind of a definitive ranking of the Brothers' greatest films. They explain how they went about it:

Limiting our scope just to lists that include the Coens' brand-new "Hail, Caesar!," we averaged the rankings published by VultureGQYahooThrillistThompson on Hollywoodthe Washington Post, and the Atlantic, to come up with an overall meta-ranking, which is about as close to consensus as you're going to get. 

So, here they are -- all 16 Coen Brothers films ranked from greatest to Ladykillers.

  1. Fargo
  2. Raising Arizona
  3. No Country for Old Men
  4. Blood Simple
  5. Barton Fink
  6. Miller’s Crossing
  7. Inside Llewyn Davis
  8. The Big Lebowski
  9. A Serious Man
  10. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  11. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  12. Hail, Caesar!
  13. True Grit
  14. The Hudsucker Proxy
  15. Burn After Reading
  16. Intolerable Cruelty
  17. The Ladykillers

Clearly, you can see that Fargo was #1 -- which I'm totally okay with. In fact, I'm okay with the entire top 5 minus Barton Fink -- I think it'd do the ol' switcheroo with The Big Lebowski there, but only because the line "Shut the fuck up, Donny," runs through my head every single day when I get stuck in traffic.

What do you think of the rankings? Which is your favorite Coen Brothers' film? Let us know in the comments!     

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Lebowski is a comfortable second place for me. Arizona should be lower. True Grit underrated. Serious Man will age well. None of them are bad, though some don't quite make for a convincing whole - are lacking the rug to really tie them together, if you will. Even so, the lesser ones are all noble experiments in style and storytelling. Yet to see Caesar. I love their work dearly.

February 8, 2016 at 5:36PM


15. Burn after Reading ?!
Damn, this is one of the funniest comedy I watched in the past 10 years !

February 8, 2016 at 6:54PM


"No Country For Old Men" is their best.

February 8, 2016 at 7:01PM


The title to this article sounds like something off of Buzzfeed. It should read, "According to Studies & Stuff, Fargo Is the Greatest Coen Brothers Movie Ever Made".

February 8, 2016 at 7:34PM

Andrew Klein
Camera Department

Raising Arizona is in my personal top 5 (Yup...all time). So many weird/inside jokes in my family that can be traced back to that movie.

- We all say "huh" in a really deep voice if we don't understand something. Pulled from the prison scene where the inmate says he feels like he is a woman trapped in a mans body.

- We think a swift turn of the head with an accompanying sound effect is hilarious. From the scene where the biker rides up on the prison and (somehow) senses a rabbit behind him.

-John Goodman eating cereal while smoking a cigarette and telling Holly Hunter she should breast feed because "she appears to be capable".

It is still "the bar" for a comedy, as far as I'm concerned. I'm glad others agree. We always thought we were alone in our love of it.

February 8, 2016 at 11:08PM, Edited February 8, 11:22PM

Luke Neumann

I suppose I'm content with this list. Not what I'd have said, honestly, but no major complaints here.

For me, I would have chosen 'No Country for Old Men', 'Fargo', 'Inside Llewyn Davis', 'The Big Lebowski', and 'Miller's Crossing' for my top five.

February 8, 2016 at 11:35PM

Dan S
Film Student, Director

nooo.... Miller's Crossing in 6th position!!!
Probably the best one but at least in top 3!!!

February 9, 2016 at 2:22AM


Seems like a good list. I still haven't seen Inside Llewyn David or Hail Caesar. I'd probably have True Grit way higher.

February 9, 2016 at 3:39AM


If people who hang out on this website write their own rang list of Coen Brother movies with only one rule, how many times did you see the movie, we would get some pretty interesting results. We would see in what kind of movies "film enthusiasts" enjoy and, if enjoyment has anything to do with how good movie is, we will see which is better. And this doesn't make any seance. But still..
1. The Big Lebowski
2. Fargo
3. No Country for Old Men
4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
5. Burn After Reading
6. The Ladykillers
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. The Man Who Wasn’t There
9. A Serious Man
10. Blood Simple
11. True Grit
Everything else seen only once.

February 9, 2016 at 3:46AM, Edited February 9, 3:46AM


Ladykillers > Cruelty > Burn After Reading

These are their bottom 3 for sure but I'll take Ladykillers every time over the mean-spirited, pandering Burn.

But honestly, they've made so many great films that speak to so many people in so many different ways that it's almost impossible to get a consensus on what their definitive top 10 or 5 are. How many filmmakers have that kind of refused? Even someone like Hitchcock, you know which five films almost everyone is going to put at the top.

February 9, 2016 at 4:34AM, Edited February 9, 4:42AM

Alex Chancey
Editor, Filmmaker

I liked No Country, but I would flip-flop it with Miller's Crossing. That's a waaay underrated film IMO.

February 9, 2016 at 5:06AM

thomas j castillo

Agreed! Miller's Crossing never disappoints. I've seen it at least 8 times, many of that in the theater, and there is so much to love in that one.

February 12, 2016 at 8:02PM

Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics

I agree with the last four being the last four. Past that it's all a scramble for me. True Grit is definitely underrated. It's sort of perfect storytelling. Barton Fink's my personal favorite. It resonates with me the most.

February 9, 2016 at 7:04AM

Steven Bailey

#1 should be 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

February 9, 2016 at 8:07AM

Brendan Sweeney
Producer, Writer, Director

I rank them in groups.
A: The Big Lebowski
Raising Arizona
No Country For Old Men

B. Blood Simple
Miller's Crossing

C. O Brother
Barton Fink
True Grit
Burn After Reading

Still need to see Serious Man, The Man Who Wasn't There, Hail Caesar

February 9, 2016 at 10:12AM, Edited February 9, 10:11AM

Pete Balistrieri

The Hudsucker Proxy is so underrated, and I am certain it is underseen as well. I am certain that the screwball comedy aspect is off-putting to most, but damn if it isn't charming. Newman, Robbins and Leigh are all terrific, Deakins cinematography is astounding, the editing is fantastic, the set design is straight out of Metropolis and Brazil, the visual gags are hilarious and the "You know, for kids" hula hoop scene is probably the Coen's greatest single scene.

February 10, 2016 at 6:17AM


From the title of the article I could guess who wrote it. Keep up the good work, "NFS" editors. I'm one step closer to unsubscribing.

February 15, 2016 at 9:33AM


The Coens are like Shakespeare - you can break them down across categories. In terms of comedy scripts, there are endless lines that have become idiom in my family, including many from Ladykillers (Did Othell blow the Shofur?, You brought your bitch to the Waffle Hut?), but my faves are Raising Arizona and Liebowski. Best 'tragedies' are No Country and Fink. Then there are Musicals, Noir (Man Who Wasn't There a masterpiece). Hell, they're all good!

January 6, 2018 at 6:57PM

Tom Hunter
teacher of film