The 11 Best Movies From The Coen Brothers

The Coen Brothers movies have a unique way of storytelling. It helps make their films some of the most iconic and well-loved. From timeless, award-winning classics to dark comedies and cult classics, the Coen Brothers always deliver. 

Movies from the minds of Joel Daniel Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen span many genres and styles, which frequently subvert or parody. 

1. FARGO (1996)

Fargo (1996)
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,

Fargo is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987, where Jerry, a Minneapolis car salesman, has gotten into debt. He is so desperate for money that he hires two thugs to kidnap his wife. Jerry will collect the ransom from her wealthy father, paying the thugs a small portion and keeping the rest to satisfy his debts.


No Country For Old Men (2007)
Image Credit: No Country For Old Men (2007)

While out hunting, Llewelyn Moss finds the gruesome aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he cannot resist the cash left behind and takes it. The hunter becomes the hunted when a merciless killer named Chigurh picks up his trail. No Country For Old Men boasts a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is considered by movie buffs to be one of the best movies ever made.


Burn After Reading (2008)
Image Credit: Focus Features

When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst falls into the hands of Linda Litzke and Chad Feldheimer, the two gym employees see a chance to make enough money for Linda to receive life-changing cosmetic surgery. Predictably, events whirl out of control for the duo doofuses and those in their orbit. 

4. HAIL, CAESAR (2016)

Caesar (2016)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and filmmakers at Capitol Pictures. His latest assignments involve a disgruntled director, a singing cowboy, a beautiful swimmer, and a handsome dancer. As if all this wasn’t enough, Mannix faces his biggest challenge when Baird Whitlock gets kidnapped while in costume for the swords-and-sandals epic of the same name, Hail, Caesar!


The Big Lebowski (1998)
Image Credit: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is The Big Lebowski. The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job. His wife has been kidnapped, and he needs a reliable bagman. The Dude is aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet, and Donny, the master of stupidity. 

6. TRUE GRIT (2010)

True Grit (2010)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

After an outlaw named Tom Chaney murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross hires Rooster Cogburn, a boozy, trigger-happy lawman, to help her find Chaney and avenge her father. The bickering duo is not alone in their quest, for a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf is also tracking Chaney for his own reasons. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice. True Grit is one of Hailee Steinfeld’s first roles, for which she received lots of praise. She has since gone on to star in many more movies.


Raising Arizona (1987)
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

When an incompetent robber marries a policewoman, the couple discovers they are infertile. In order to appease his wife’s longings for a child, the man steals one from a set of quintuplets, but mayhem ensues when the child’s rich father sends a rabbit-shooting bounty hunter after the kidnapper. Raising Arizona exposes a troubled, imperfect family unit, often aspiring to the unattainable American Dream.

8. BARTON FINK (1991)

Barton Fink (1991)
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

Set in 1941, an intellectual New York playwright Barton Fink accepts an offer to write movie scripts in Los Angeles. He finds himself with writer’s block when required to do a B-movie script. His neighbor tries to help, but he continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him. 


Miller's Crossing (1990)
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

When the Italian Mafia threatens to kill a crooked bookie, Irish mob boss Leo O’Bannon refuses to allow it, chiefly because he’s dating the bookie’s sister. Leo’s right-hand man, Tom Reagan, is also seeing her on the sly, and when he’s found out is obliged to switch sides, going to work for the Italian mob amidst a dramatically escalating gang war over liquor distribution.

10. A SERIOUS MAN (2009)

A Serious Man (2009)
Image Credit: Focus Features

Larry Gopnik is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the seams. His wife is leaving him, his jobless brother has moved in, and someone is trying to sabotage his chances for tenure. Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis, but whether anyone can help him overcome his many afflictions remains to be seen. 


O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Ulysses Everett McGill is having difficulty adjusting to his hard labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off the chain gang with simple Delmar and maladjusted Pete. Then the trio sets out to pursue freedom and the promise of a fortune in buried treasure. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, their hasty run takes them on an incredible journey of awesome experiences and colorful characters. Brotherhood is a key theme in O Brother, Where Are Thou? as it shows how true brotherhood surpasses things like race and religion.

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The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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