The Best Jonathan Demme Movies Ranked And Where to Watch them

If you're looking for the best Jonathan Demme movies of all time then here is a definitive list. We rank every movie directed by Jonathan Demme based on their popularity score from IMDB from best to worst. Click on the ‘see more’ button to find out where to watch them in Australia covering all streaming services. In July 2021 there are 15 films in this list.

List of the Best Movies Directed by Jonathan Demme In Order of Popularity

  1. The Silence of the Lambs
  2. Stop Making Sense
  3. Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Neil Young: Heart of Gold
  6. Jimmy Carter Man from Plains
  7. Storefront Hitchcock
  8. The Manchurian Candidate
  9. Neil Young Journeys
  10. Citizens Band
  11. Married to the Mob
  12. Beloved
  13. Ricki and the Flash
  14. Swing Shift
  15. The Truth About Charlie

The top 15 Movies directed by Jonathan Demme

1. The Silence of the Lambs

Rated: R

8.6/10

FBI trainee Clarice Starling works hard to advance her career, including trying to hide or put behind her West Virginia roots, of which if some knew would automatically classify her as being backward or white trash. After graduation, she aspires to work in the agency's Behavioral Science Unit under the leadership of Jack Crawford. While she is still a trainee, Crawford does ask her to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist imprisoned thus far for eight years in maximum security isolation for being a serial killer, he who cannibalized his victims. Clarice is able to figure out the assignment is to pick Lecter's brains to help them solve another serial murder case, that of someone coined by the media as Buffalo Bill who has so far killed five victims, all located in the eastern US, all young women who are slightly overweight especially around the hips, all who were drowned in natural bodies of water, and all who were stripped of large swaths of skin. She also figures that Crawford chose her as a woman to be able to trigger some emotional response from Lecter. After speaking to Lecter for the first time, she realizes that everything with him will be a psychological game with her having often to read between the very cryptic lines he provides. She has to decide how much she will play along as his request in return for talking to him is to expose herself emotionally to him. The case takes more dire turns when a sixth victim is discovered, this one from who they are able to retrieve a key piece of evidence if Lecter is being forthright as to its meaning. A potential seventh victim is high profile Catherine Martin, the daughter of Senator Ruth Martin, which places greater scrutiny on the case as they search for a hopefully still alive Catherine. Who may factor into what happens is Dr. Frederick Chilton, the warden at the prison, he an opportunist who sees the higher profile with Catherine, meaning a higher profile for himself if he can insert himself successfully into the proceedings.

2. Stop Making Sense

Rated: Not Rated

8.6/10

David Byrne walks onto the stage and does a solo "Psycho Killer." Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz join him for two more songs. The crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians and two back-up singers join the band. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. Bryne appears in the Big Suit. The backdrop is often black, but sometimes it displays words, images, or children's drawings. The band cooks for 18 songs, the lyrics are clear, the house rocks. In this concert film, the Talking Heads hardly talk, don't stop, and always make sense.

3. Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids

Rated: N/A

7.8/10

The final performance of Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids' 20/20 Experience World Tour, filmed in 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

4. Philadelphia

Rated: PG-13

7.7/10

Andrew Beckett, a gay, HIV positive lawyer, is fired from his law firm in fear that they might contract HIV from him. After Andrew is fired, in a last attempt for peace, he sues his former law firm with the help of a homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller. During the court battle, Miller sees that Beckett is no different than anyone else on the gritty streets of the city of brotherly love, sheds his homophobia and helps Beckett with his case before AIDS overcomes him.

5. Neil Young: Heart of Gold

Rated: PG

7.7/10

A film shot over during a two-night performance by Neil Young at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

6. Jimmy Carter Man from Plains

Rated: PG

6.9/10

Late in 2006, President Jimmy Carter tours the U.S. promoting his provocative "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Demme's camera follows Carter from city to city, home to Plains (population 635), visiting a Habitat for Humanity site in New Orleans, and talking on radio and TV with Teri Gross, Charlie Rose, Diane Rehm, Jay Leno, Larry King, Wolf Blitzer, Tavis Smiley, and Al Jazeera and Israeli pundits, discussing Palestine's plight and the policies of Israel. Critics speak as well. Between events, Carter talks about Camp David, recent travels, being married, speaking Spanish, and wisdom he learned from Rachel Clark, his nanny. A montage of speeches, awards, and travels ends the film.

7. Storefront Hitchcock

Rated: PG-13

6.6/10

Rock-music lover and feature-film director Jonathan Demme takes on eccentric British singer-songwriter, Robyn Hitchcock, in an ambitious concert film. Setting up a stage in a New York storefront, Hitchcock plays with his back to the glass, while an audience looks on inside and passersby view the action through the window.

8. The Manchurian Candidate

Rated: R

6.6/10

When his army unit was ambushed during the first Gulf War, Sergeant Raymond Shaw saved his fellow soldiers just as his commanding officer, then-Captain Ben Marco, was knocked unconscious. Brokering the incident for political capital, Shaw eventually becomes a vice-presidential nominee, while Marco is haunted by dreams of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in Kuwait. As Marco (now a Major) investigates, the story begins to unravel, to the point where he questions if it happened at all. Is it possible the entire unit was kidnapped and brainwashed to believe Shaw is a war hero as part of a plot to seize the White House? Some very powerful people at Manchurian Global corporation appear desperate to stop him from finding out.

9. Neil Young Journeys

Rated: PG

6.5/10

This past May, Neil Young brought his solo tour to Toronto's Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. Jonathan Demme was on hand to capture the two nights, which highlighted new songs from the album Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois, mixed with classics like "Ohio" and "I Believe in You." At sixty-five, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity that balances his wisdom and experience. It's no wonder he's been an inspiration to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth. In Neil Young Journeys, Demme intersperses the Massey Hall concert footage with brief scenes from a road trip through Ontario. Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbors and their daughters. As he drives past bulldozers transforming the landscape, he remarks, 'It's all gone... it's still in my head.'

10. Citizens Band

Rated: PG

6.4/10

This movie interlaces the stories of several characters in a small town united by their use of CB (citizen's band) radio. Paul LeMat is the local CB coordinator who has time for little else in his life. His father, Roberts Blossom is a sour old man who is nice on the radio. Charles Napier is a trucker hospitalized after an accident, with hilarious consequences.

11. Married to the Mob

Rated: R

6.2/10

Angela deMarco is unhappily married to high Mafia member Frank deMarco. When Frank is killed, Angela takes the opportunity to break free of the Mafia world entirely and start a new life. But Frank's boss, Tony Russo, begins to court the unresponsive Angela. The FBI begins surveillance on her, thinking her to be his new mistress. FBI agent Mike Downey goes undercover as Angela's neighbor, but soon finds himself attracted to Angela himself.

12. Beloved

Rated: R

6.0/10

After Paul D. finds his old slave friend Sethe in Ohio and moves in with her and her daughter Denver, a strange girl comes along by the name of "Beloved". Sethe and Denver take her in and then strange things start to happen...

13. Ricki and the Flash

Rated: PG-13

5.9/10

A woman named Linda leaves her family to pursue her dream of being a rock star. And she hasn't achieved the notoriety she hoped for. Her ex-husband calls her to tell her that her daughter suffered a breakdown because her husband left her. She goes back to Indianapolis. But her daughter doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. But she stays and tries. And her sons also don't welcome her warmly.

14. Swing Shift

Rated: PG

5.9/10

Jack and Kay Walsh are typical of many couples of the 1940s, where he is the breadwinner and she the housewife dependent upon him to do the man's duties around the house. Jack believes one of their neighbors in the housing complex in which they live in Los Angeles is white trash - he letting her know so at every opportunity, while Kay is quietly curious about her. That neighbor is streetwise Hazel Zanussi, an aspiring singer who does get a chance to sing on occasion at the club managed by her casual boyfriend, Biscuits Toohey, although he relegates her to being one of the taxi dancers more often against her wants, while he cheats on her behind her back despite truly having feelings for her. Hazel just wants to make an honest living. Their worlds are turned upside down on December 7, 1941 when the US enters WWII with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Jack immediately enlists in the Navy, and while he will send money home, his decision leaves Kay largely to fend for herself. Against what she knows are Jack's wishes, Kay decides to follow the request made by the government to the female population to do their part in the war effort by getting an assembly line job at a factory, in Kay's case as a riveter at Santa Monica-based MacBride, a military aircraft manufacturer. Hazel, too, gets a job there. Despite a rocky start based on how Hazel knows Jack feels about her, Kay and Hazel become best friends in the process, largely in their and their fellow female employees needing to stand up to the taunts by their less than enthusiastic male colleagues. Working for a living and having Hazel as a friend results in Kay standing on her own two feet for the first time, including making important decisions on her own. Kay is pursued romantically by their line leadman, Lucky Lockhart, who sees himself more as a musician, a trumpeter, than a factory worker. Kay has to decide how far to go with Lucky, to whom she is admittedly attracted, but she does not want to betray Jack, especially due to the reason for his absence. With all these issues going on in Kay's life, she will be tested to see if she can go back to her previous life in all its aspects if and when Jack makes it home, especially after the war.

15. The Truth About Charlie

Rated: PG-13

4.7/10

A young woman in Paris is about to divorce her husband when she discovers... he's dead; and all their money is gone. She meets a mysterious man, who tells her that the money was really his, and he wants it back, seemingly convinced that she's hiding the cash. Meanwhile, more people end up dead...