Main menu


Rhys Ifans' Best Movies & TV Shows, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes

featured image

Rhys Ifans is one of the UK’s most respected and beloved character actors. Known for his quirky and daring choices, Ifans doesn’t shy away from major blockbusters or small indie films, playing lead and supporting roles with the same ease.

The Welsh actor is back with a vengeance, playing the scheming Otto Hightower in HBO’s massive hit, House of the Dragon. This acclaimed project is a welcome addition to Ifans’ already impressive resumé, adding another Certified Fresh project in Rotten Tomatoes and cementing him as one of the most versatile actors working today.


Nanny McPhee Returns (2010) – 75%

Emma Thompson returns as Nanny McPhee in the accurately named Nanny McPhee Returns. The plot sees the magical nanny come to the aid of Isabel Green, a young mother struggling to raise her family while her husband is fighting in WWII. The film co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, and Ifans.

RELATED: 10 Of Emma Thompson’s Funniest Roles

Ifans plays the film’s antagonist, providing most of the conflict with his particular brand of eccentricity, thus playing an integral part in the film. His performance is supporting, but his impact on the story is still considerable, and a large reason why Nanny McPhee Returns received positive reviews from critics.

Greenberg (2010) – 76%

Ben Stiller is famous for his fan-favorite comedies, but he has occasionally delved into dramatic territory; Greenberg is one such example. The film stars Stiller as a man who moves to Los Angeles to house-sit for his brother and figure out his life. Noah Baumbach directs, with Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Ifans co-starring.

Ifans plays a supporting and somewhat small role in the film, which revolves around Stiller and Gerwig, who both received positive reviews for their performances. The film itself was well received, although few critics noted Ifans’ contributions; indeed, the role is slightly thankless and he is easily outshined by his co-stars.

Official Secrets (2019) – 82%

Ifans appears with his House of the Dragon co-star Matt Smith in 2019’s Official Secrets. Based on the true story of whistleblower Katharine Gun, the film stars Keirs Knightley opposite a large ensemble cast that included Ifans and Smith alongside Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode.

RELATED: Keira Knightley’s 10 Best Period Pieces, Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes

Ifans plays Ed Vulliamy, The Observer’s DC match. He is a crucial ally to Knightyley’s Katharine but remains a supporting player in a story that revolves entirely around her. Official Secrets received positive reviews from critics, who praised its authenticity, Knightley’s performance, and the film’s many supporting players, including Ifans.

House Of The Dragon (2022-Present) – 83%

House of the Dragon chronicles the events leading up to the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war that weakened the Targaryen dynasty and laid the foundations for its eventual decline. Ifans plays Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King and one of the main architects of the conflict.

HBO already renewed House of the Dragon for a second season, cementing it as one of 2022’s most successful shows. Ifans’ role has the potential of becoming as popular as Tywin Lannister or Littlefinger. Indeed, Otto Hightower is one of the best characters in the Dance of the Dragonsand his scheming will consecrate him as one of the most infamous antagonists in the blossoming franchise.

Notting Hill (1999) – 83%

Starring Julia Roberts, one of the most iconic actresses of the 1990s, and Hugh Grant, then at the peak of his rom-com powers, Notting Hill is iconic. The film follows a shy English library owner who falls in love with a famous American movie star. Ifans plays Spike, the flaky Welsh roommate to Grant’s character.

Notting Hill is one of the superior rom-coms of the late 90s. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised the lead performances and the plot’s familiar yet wholesome vibe. However, Ifans was the film’s breakout star, receiving considerable praise for his performance, including a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 2000 BAFTA Awards.

Misbehavior (2020) – 86%

misbehavior follows the controversial Miss World 1970 pageant, which saw a group of Women’s Liberation activists protest the event and featured the coronation of Miss Grenada, the second Black woman to win the crown. The film stars an ensemble cast including Keira Knightley, Leslie Manville, Greg Kinnear, and Ifans. The Welsh actor plays British TV host Eric Morley, who also founded the Miss World pageant.

The film received positive reviews from critics. Significant praise went to the script and humor, although many critics noted the cast as the film’s strongest assets. With veterans like Ifans, Knightley, and Manville, it’s easy to see why the film succeeded. Indeed, although their roles are supporting, each of these venerable performers gets a chance to shine in the irreverent but endearing story.

The Phantom Of The Open (2021) – 86%

Blending elements of the biopic and the comedy-drama genre, The Phantom of the Open follows the exploits of British golfer Maurice Flitcroft. Academy Award winner Mark Rylance plays Flitcroft, with Sally Hawkins and Ifans co-starring. Ifans assumes another antagonistic role, playing Mackenzie, Flitcroft’s nemesis on the golf field.

The Phantom of the Open received positive reviews from critics, who praised its heartwarming and uplifting story and Rylance’s lead performance. Ifans also attracted positive comments, with many reviewers celebrating his chemistry with Rylance and comedic timing.

Primary (2013-2019) – 95%

Sherlock Holmes is a prevalent figure in movies and television. The CBS procedural Elementary follows an updated version of Sherlock Holmes, played by Johnny Lee Miller, solving crimes in modern-day New York alongside his partner, a gender-bent version of Watson played by Lucy Liu.

Ifans guest-starred during the show’s first seasons as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s older and self-aggrandizing brother. He portrayed the character for seven episodes, which explored his contentious dynamic with Sherlock. Critics reacted positively to Ifans’ take on Mycroft, but the character’s death from a brain aneurysm left his relationship with Sherlock unresolved.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010) – 96%

Notorious street artist Banksy directed this 2010 documentary about Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant obsessed with Los Angeles street art. Ifans serves as Exit Through The Gift Shop‘s narrator, adding a peculiar sense of eccentricity to an already absurdist narrative.

RELATED: 10 Best Documentaries Of 2022 So Far, According To Metacritic

Exit Through the Gift Shop received universal acclaim upon its release. Critics praise the documentary’s approach to its subject, celebrating its tone, humor, and Ifans’ highly entertaining and ironic narration, although some questioned whether it was genuine or a mockumentary. Still, the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Academy Awards.

The Parting Glass (2019) – 100%

True Blood alum Stephen Moyer made his directorial debut with 2019’s The Parting Glass, written by Dennis O’Hare. The film stars an ensemble cast, including Ed Asner, Anna Paquin, Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon, O’Hare, and Ifans, and follows a group of siblings that reunite to reminisce about their recently departed sister.

The Parting Glass premiered at the 2018 Edinburgh International Film Festival. It received only a few reviews, but most were positive. The cast received the most praise, with many noting their chemistry and celebrating their dynamic. Ifans’ character is a lot more subdued than some of his other roles, and although he doesn’t necessarily stand out, he works perfectly well with his co-stars. Some movies are more about the ensemble than the individual performances, and The Parting Glass is the perfect example.

NEXT: Game Of Thrones Seasons Ranked, According To Their IMDb Average