In honor of yesterday’s 19th anniversary of David Lynch’s iconic film ‘Mulholland Drive,’ here are his top five films to watch now!

Written by: Tea Kingley – October 20th, 2020 3:16 pm pst

19th Anniversary of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive

Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

David Lynch is one of the most iconic writers/directors alive today. His surrealist, often horror-leaning style has made his work super recognizable and has earned him multiple Academy Award Nominations. Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of Mulholland Drive, which is widely regarded as his best films, so in honor of this anniversary here are the top five David Lynch films that you should check out now!

Credit: Allstar/Brooksfilm/Studiocanal

  1. David Lynch’s second feature film was The Elephant Man, a historical drama about the titular severely deformed British man in late 19th century London. The film features beautiful performances by John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, earning it a total of eight Academy Award nominations. The Elephant Man is much more traditional in its style and narrative structure than most of Lynch’s work, so it’s a good place to start if you’re not too keen on surrealism yet.

Credit: AFI/Libra/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

  1. Preceding The Elephant Man is Lynch’s feature directorial debut Eraserhead, and it’s on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to genre as an experimental body horror film. The black and white film tells the story of a man who is left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape. Notably, the film’s score and sound design were also created by its writer, director, producer, and editor David Lynch, and it has been praised for its intricacy in this respect. The film was one of 25 films added to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress in 2004, cementing its status as “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, and hopefully now cementing its spot at the top of your watchlist.

Credit: Park Circus/MGM Studios

  1. Next up is Blue Velvet, a 1986 film that blends the psychological thriller, mystery, and neo-noir genres as Lynch so often does. The star studded cast including Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern depict a young college student who finds a severed human ear in a field, and it only gets stranger from there. The film is not for the faint of heart, with plenty of disturbing scenes of both a violent and sexual nature (often, both at once), but if you can handle it I would definitely recommend giving Blue Velvet a watch.

Credit: Ciby 2000/Asymmetrical Productions/October Films

  1. Coming in at number two is Lost Highway, a 1997 neo-noir film starring Patricia Arquette and Bill Pullman. The film is one of Lynch’s more polarizing, with some dismissing it as incoherent, but I personally loved it. The film follows a tormented musician who is thrown into a world of murder, doppelgangers, surveillance, and confusion, and it really must be seen to be believed. If you love trippy movies that make you think, Lost Highway is the one for you.

Credit: Universal Pictures

  1. The number one best David Lynch movie is of course Mulholland Drive, a psychological thriller and mystery starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. Watts plays a fresh faced aspiring actress who just moved to Los Angeles and has a… let’s just say complicated relationship with an amnesiac woman who is recovering from a car accident. Reminiscent of Black Swan (read my list of the top Darren Aronofski films here) and with one of the biggest, most mind-blowing twists in any film I can think of, Mulholland Drive is simply a must watch.

Credit: ABC/Spelling Ent./CBS Paramount Domestic Television

BONUS: David Lynch is also very well known for his 1990 TV show Twin Peaks, which has become a cult classic despite only having two original seasons. The mystery series stars Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean as an FBI special agent and local detective who are trying to solve the murder of Laura Palmer, the local homecoming queen. The series is widely regarded as one of the best shows ever made and, like much of Lynch’s work, is known for its offbeat humor, surrealism, and distinctive visual style. The film also led to Lynch’s creation of a prequel movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and the show itself returned in 2017 for a third season starring MacLachlan and other members of the original cast.

About The Author:

Tea Kingley is a senior at Emerson College who is majoring in Marketing and Film. She is passionate about all things entertainment and loves being both in front of the camera and a member of the crew. Tea also enjoys marketing, social media, and writing. She’s a TV, movie, and pop culture aficionado. Tea is always eager to discuss the latest releases and news.

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