The Best Roman Polanski Movies Ranked And Where to Watch them

If you're looking for the best Roman Polanski movies of all time then here is a definitive list. We rank every movie directed by Roman Polanski 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 August 2021 there are 12 films in this list.

List of the Best Movies Directed by Roman Polanski In Order of Popularity

  1. The Pianist
  2. Chinatown
  3. Rosemary's Baby
  4. The Tenant
  5. Tess
  6. Carnage
  7. Bitter Moon
  8. The Ghost Writer
  9. Venus in Fur
  10. Oliver Twist
  11. The Ninth Gate
  12. The Lamp

The top 12 Movies directed by Roman Polanski

1. The Pianist

Rated: R

8.5/10

In this adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945," Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw.

2. Chinatown

Rated: R

8.1/10

JJ 'Jake' Gittes is a private detective who seems to specialize in matrimonial cases. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis, builder of the city's water supply system, of having an affair. Gittes does what he does best and photographs him with a young girl but in the ensuing scandal, it seems he was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray. When Mr. Mulwray is found dead, Jake is plunged into a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest, and municipal corruption all related to the city's water supply.

3. Rosemary's Baby

Rated: Approved

8.0/10

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into an apartment in an opulent but gothic building in Manhattan. Their landlord Edward "Hutch" Hutchins attempts to dissuade them from doing so: the building has an unsavory history. They discover that their neighbors are a very friendly elderly couple named Roman and Minnie Castevet, and Guy begins to spend a great deal of time with them. Strange things begin to happen: a young woman Rosemary meets in the laundry commits suicide, Rosemary has strange dreams and hears strange noises and Guy becomes remote and distant. Then Rosemary falls pregnant and begins to suspect that her neighbors have special plans for her child.

4. The Tenant

Rated: R

7.7/10

In Paris, the shy bureaucrat Trelkovsky rents an old apartment without bathroom where the previous tenant, the Egyptologist Simone Choule, committed suicide. The unfriendly concierge (Shelley Winters) and the tough landlord Mr. Zy establish stringent rules of behavior and Trelkovsky feels ridden by his neighbors. Meanwhile he visits Simone in the hospital and befriends her girlfriend Stella. After the death of Simone, Trelkovsky feels obsessed for her and believes his landlord and neighbors are plotting a scheme to force him to also commit suicide.

5. Tess

Rated: PG

7.3/10

Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her anything she wants in return for sexual favors. The second of these men is Angel Clare, the son of a parson and an apprentice farmer. Angel and Tess fall in love with each other. Tess has to decide if she will divulge to Angel her past relationship with Alec, which if she does may jeopardize their own relationship. But if she doesn't, Tess also has to figure out if the secret will haunt her and thus jeopardize their relationship in other ways.

6. Carnage

Rated: R

7.2/10

In Brooklyn Bridge Park, eleven year old Zachary Cowan strikes his eleven year old classmate Ethan Longstreet across the face with a stick after an argument. Among the more serious of Ethan's injuries is a permanently missing tooth and the possibility of a second tooth also being lost. Their respective parents learn of the altercation through Ethan's parents questioning him about his injuries. The Longstreet parents invite the Cowan parents to their Brooklyn apartment to deal with the incident in a civilized manner. They are: Penelope Longstreet, whose idea it was to invite the Cowans, she whose priorities in life include human rights and justice; Michael Longstreet, who tries to be as accommodating as possible to retain civility in any situation; Nancy Cowan, a nervous and emotionally stressed woman; and Alan Cowan, who is married more to his work as evidenced by the attachment he has to his cell phone and taking work calls at the most inopportune times. Although the meeting starts off civilized enough, it quickly degenerates after an unfortunate incident by Nancy. The degeneration of their meeting not only has to do with their boys' fight, but also the other couple's fitness as parents, the state of their respective marriages and their place in a crazy world.

7. Bitter Moon

Rated: R

7.2/10

British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's bar. Later he meets her crippled American husband Oscar, who tells him their story. While living in Paris for several years trying to be a writer, he becomes obsessed with a woman he met by chance on a bus. He tracks her down and they start a steamy love affair. Soon Oscar finds himself enslaved body and soul by her love, and continues to tell Nigel the details of this relationship in various stages over a number of visits to Oscar's cabin.

8. The Ghost Writer

Rated: PG-13

7.2/10

An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material.

9. Venus in Fur

Rated: Not Rated

7.2/10

An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production.

10. Oliver Twist

Rated: PG-13

6.8/10

In the Nineteenth Century, orphan Oliver Twist is sent from the orphanage to a workhouse, where the children are mistreated and barely fed. He moves to the house of an undertaker, but after an unfair severe spank, he starts a seven day runaway to London. He arrives exhausted and starving, and is soon welcomed in a gang of pickpockets lead by the old crook Fagin. When he is mistakenly taken as a thief, the wealthy victim Mr. Brownlow brings Oliver to his home and shelters him. But Fagin and the dangerous Bill Sykes decide to kidnap Oliver to burglarize Mr. Brownlow's fancy house.

11. The Ninth Gate

Rated: R

6.7/10

In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but he does not accept her offer. When Corso returns to Bernie's bookstore, he finds his friend murdered in the same position of an engraving. Corso travels to Toledo, Spain, to meet the Ceniza twin brothers and learn more about The Nine Gates. During his journey in Europe, Corso is pursued by Liana and her bodyguard, who belong to the sect The Order of the Silver Serpents, and is protected by a mysterious Girl with supernatural powers. Meanwhile, the owners of the two other exemplars of The Nine Gates are murdered. Corso becomes obsessed with the book and discloses the truth about it.

12. The Lamp

Rated: N/A

6.5/10

In waning winter light, a doll maker works in his shop, a kerosene lamp beside him, a jumble of dolls and doll parts, whole and broken, surrounding him. There are noises, too: a cuckoo ...