John Cleese Movies: 12 Greatest Films Ranked Worst to Best – Gold Derby

John Cleese is best known as a member of the British comedy troupe Monty Python. Let’s look back at the Oscar-nominated funnyman and his 12 greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1939 in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England, Cleese rose to prominence thanks to the British sketch series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” which ran for four seasons on the BBC from 1969-1974. The troupe — which also included Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin — revolutionized comedy with their surreal, experimental sketches, the best of which were assembled into the film “And Now for Something Completely Different” (1971). This led to other cinematic outings, including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975), “Life of Brian” (1979) and “The Meaning of Life” (1983).
Cleese achieved big screen success of his own with “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988), which he wrote and starred in as an uptight English barrister who becomes entangled in an elaborate jewel heist with a pair of Americans (Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline) and an animal-loving Brit (Palin). The film brought him Oscar, BAFTA and WGA bids for Best Original Screenplay, plus a Golden Globe nomination and BAFTA victory for Best Actor.
On the TV side, Cleese won another BAFTA in 1980 for his signature role as a befuddled hotel owner in “Fawlty Towers,” which brought him another bid in 1976. He competed for the British Academy’s TV prizes again for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” in 1970 and 1971. At the Emmys, he took home a prize for his guest turn in “Cheers,” competing in that category again for “3rd Rock from the Sun” and “Will & Grace” and once more for producing the nonfiction special “The Human Face.” He’s also got a Grammy nom for the spoken word album “The Screwtape Letters.”
Tour our photo gallery of Cleese’s 12 greatest films, including some of the titles listed above, as well as “Time Bandits” (1981), “Clockwise” (1986), “Rat Race” (2002) and more.
On the latest episode, Oscar experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen debate whether “Everything Everywhere All the Time” supporting stars Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis will both be nominated.

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Take a trip back to the Academy Awards ceremonies of the recent past with Gold Derby’s Oscars Playback series. Hosts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen recap every Oscar ceremony of the 1990s — as well as some added bonus shows. Joyce and Chris tackle the highs and lows of each show and see how the winners aged. It’s a wonderful night for Oscar, whenever you watch!
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