David Lynch Birthday Special: From Eraserhead to Mulholland Drive, Ranking All Movies Made by the Director as Per IMDB Rating (LatestLY Exclusive)

Sreeju Sudhakaran
·5-min read

David Lynch is the kind of filmmaker who makes films that, well, we don't really know how to best express them. Hoy many of you have tried to figure out what exactly Mulholland Drive wants to tell you? Or the surrealism of Inland Empire? Or how the protagonists got switched in Lost Highway? Or whatever the heck was that hideous baby in Eraserhead? Or did we miss out on something bizarre in The Straight Story? David Lynch and his body of work are an enigma that move fanatics will continue to dissect for many more years to come and discover something new. Just like we have done in the past! After Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, 7 More Mind-F**k Movies You Should Check Out Right Now!

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Making his debut in 1977 with low-budget but totally mindf**k Eraserhead, David Lynch has only made 10 movies in his filmography (apart from a couple of TV special films), Each, however, are special in their own and has made for plenty of conversation material among movie buffs in trying to decipher their themes, meanings and whether Lynch is trying to simply mess with our brains. He is also popular for directing the '90s supernatural mystery series Twin Peaks, and its 2017 sequel/reboot.

On the occasion of David Lynch's 75th birthday, let's look at all the 10 movies (not the TV Specials) that he directed and rank them as per the user rating on IMDB. From the highest to the lowest, here's what we found.

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The Elephant Man

A Still from The Elephant Man

IMDB Rating: 8.1

Less surreal and more heartbreaking, the 1980 film, starring an unrecognisable John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, is about a disfigured man who is being ostracised for his looks, while he wallows at the fact that, save for one kindly doctor, the judgement doesn't penetrate his exterior appearance.

The Straight Story

A Still from The Straight Story

IMDB Rating: 8.0

As the title suggests, the most peculiar thing about this 1999 dramedy is that it lacks the usual Lynchian surrealism and is a sweet story of an elderly man who travels across the country on a lawnmower to be with his sick brother. Seriously, Mr Lynch, is there some bizarre element that we missed in here?

Mulholland Drive

A Still from Mulholland Drive

IMDB Rating: 7.9

It is really hard to explain this very strange movie, that came out in 2001 and stars Naomi Watt and Justin Theroux. Filled with seemingly unconnected plotlines and dream-like situations, including one weird but terrifying jump scare, Mulholland Drive can be seen as a criticism on degrading situation of Hollywood. Or just merely weird!

Blue Velvet

A Still from Blue Velvet

IMDB Rating: 7.7

A dark thriller that came out in 1986, Blue Velvet contains, albeit very less, surrealism of Lynch that matches its brooding tone. Moreover, it is most talked about for a very terrifying turn from Dennis Hopper, easily ranking among the best antagonists of all time.

Lost Highway

A Still from Lost Highway

IMDB Rating: 7.6

Kinda overshadowed by the strangeness that was Mulholland Drive, this 1997 mystery thriller leaves you with more questions than answers, and has some very shocking twists that we are still trying to work out. Like, how can a man switch places with someone else one day in prison, and how that disappearance is never explained? The movie stars Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette and Louis Eppolito.


A Still From Eraserhead

IMDB Rating: 7.4

His debut film was enough a hint to denote how Lynch's future filmography would be like. Made on a very low-budget that does affect some special effects, Eraserhead still stand out today for its creepy imagery and BG score, surreal sequences and a plot that could be a satire on capitalism, or parenthood. We are still figuring this out!

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

A Still from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

IMDB Rating: 7.3

A companion piece to Lynch's cult series Twin Peaks, this 1992 mystery thriller is as strange and eerie as the show, though it is a little underwhelming in essence. The movie stars Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, and Mädchen Amick.

Wild at Heart

A Still from Wild at Heart

IMDB Rating: 7.2

In a way, this 1990 film, starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, is David Lynch's idea of making a romcom. Only it is darker, occasionally nauseating and but gripping. An underrated piece for sure. Nicolas Cage Birthday Special: Cool or Weird? 11 Movie Quotes Only This Hollywood Star Has The Gall To Pull Off!

Inland Empire

A Still from Inland Empire

IMDB Rating: 6.9

This 2006 film is the last time Lynch ever directed a mainstream movie. Starring Laura Dern (in one of her career-best performances), Inland Empire continues Lynch's obsession with surreal imagery, but doesn't exactly create the same kind of impact as the previous-mentioned films.


A Still from Dune

IMDB Rating: 6.5

In 1984, David Lynch made his most ambitious film, trying to pull of a movie adaptation of 1965 Frank Herbert novel, Dune. The result turned out to be his most underwhelming effort to date, as even the director criticised his own film, alleging studio interference. With the upcoming Dune remake, can Denis Villeneuve do a Blade Runner 2049 and pull off what Lynch couldn't do? The trailer did look promising enough!