Entertainment

The Best Tom Waits Movies 

Reference
Updated September 23, 2019 704 votes 174 voters 18.7k views 32 items

List Rules Vote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best Tom Waits movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. Tom Waits's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top Tom Waits movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated Tom Waits movies will be at the top of the list. Tom Waits has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest Tom Waits movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining Tom Waits films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best Tom Waits role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest Tom Waits performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

Items on this list include Paradise Alley and Cold Feet.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best Tom Waits movies?" and "What are the greatest Tom Waits roles of all time?"

Tom Waits is no stranger to working with popular directors, including Robert Altman, Tony Scott and Francis Ford Coppola. Is Tom Waits your favorite person to watch on the big screen? You might also want to vote on our best Johnny Cash and David Bowie films lists too.

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Tom Waits, Ellen Barkin, Roberto Benigni

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Down by Law is a 1986 black-and-white independent film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It stars Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni. The film centers on the arrest, incarceration, ...more

More Down by Law 

#842 of 1,009 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #295 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies

2
Ranker Video
Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Steve Buscemi

Released: 2003

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Coffee and Cigarettes is the title of three short films and a 2003 feature film by independent director Jim Jarmusch. The film consists of 11 short stories which share coffee and cigarettes as a ...more

More Coffee and Cigarettes 

#9 of 13 The Most Delightful Bill Murray Cameos #16 of 51 The Best Cate Blanchett Movies of All Time, Ranked Best to Worst

3
Ranker Video
Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Tom Waits

Released: 1991

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, with Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, ...more

More The Fisher King 

#146 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,043 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Ranker Video
Robert Downey Jr., Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins

Released: 1993

Directed by: Robert Altman

Short Cuts is a 1993 American drama film directed by Robert Altman. Filmed from a screenplay by Altman and Frank Barhydt, it is inspired by nine short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver. ...more

More Short Cuts 

#1,125 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #404 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

5
Ranker Video
Monica Bellucci, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder

Released: 1992

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Bram Stoker's Dracula is a 1992 American horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), a ...more

More Bram Stoker's Dracula 

#53 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books The 11 Weirdest Things About Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Ranker Video
Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell

Released: 2009

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a travelling theatre troupe whose leader, having ...more

More The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus 

#577 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #346 of 387 The Best Movies to Watch While Stoned

7
Ranker Video
Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane

Released: 1983

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Rumble Fish is an American 1983 drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on the novel Rumble Fish by S. E. Hinton, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The film centers on the ...more

More Rumble Fish 

#76 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #337 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #229 of 265 The Best Ensemble Movies

8
Ranker Video
Colin Farrell, Olga Kurylenko, Christopher Walken

Released: 2012

Directed by: Martin McDonagh

Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 comedy film written and directed by Martin McDonagh.

More Seven Psychopaths 

#1,144 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #1,089 of 1,196 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #192 of 265 The Best Ensemble Movies

9
Ranker Video
Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Joe Strummer

Released: 1989

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Mystery Train is a 1989 independent anthology film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and set in Memphis, Tennessee. The film comprises a triptych of stories involving foreign protagonists ...more
10
Ranker Video
Wristcutters: A Love Story Tom Waits, Leslie Bibb, Will Arnett

Released: 2006

Directed by: Goran Dukić

Wristcutters: A Love Story is a 2006 American black comedy romance road movie written and directed by Goran Dukić, starring Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, and Shannyn Sossamon. Its premise is set ...more

More Wristcutters: A Love Story 

#51 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way #10 of 26 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown

11
Ranker Video
Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane

Released: 1983

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was released on March 25, 1983. Jo Ellen ...more

More The Outsiders 

#74 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #22 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #402 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
Ranker Video
Mila Kunis, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman

Released: 2010

Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic neo-Western and action film directed by the Hughes brothers, written by Gary Whitta, and starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, ...more

More The Book of Eli 

#102 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,076 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #93 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

13
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Tom Waits

Released: 1987

Directed by: Héctor Babenco

Ironweed is a 1987 American drama film directed by Héctor Babenco. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning homonymous novel by William Kennedy, who also wrote the screenplay. It stars ...more
14
Ranker Video
Ben Stiller, Tom Waits, Hank Azaria

Released: 1999

Directed by: Kinka Usher

Mystery Men is a 1999 American superhero comedy film directed by Kinka Usher and written by Neil Cuthbert and Bob Burden, loosely based on Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics, and starring Hank ...more

More Mystery Men 

#756 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #70 of 165 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time

15
Ranker Video
Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane, Richard Gere

Released: 1984

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Cotton Club is a 1984 drama music film written by William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo and Jim Haskins and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
16
Ranker Video
Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California Iggy Pop, Tom Waits

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California is a 1993 black-and-white short film directed by writer/director Jim Jarmusch shot in Northern California. The film consists primarily of a ...more
17
Ranker Video
Kathy Bates, John Lithgow, Daryl Hannah

Released: 1991

Directed by: Héctor Babenco

At Play in the Fields of the Lord is a 1991 adventure drama film directed by Héctor Babenco, adapted from the 1965 novel of the same name by American author Peter Matthiessen. The ...more

More At Play in the Fields of the Lord 

#517 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #24 of 48 The Best Adventure Movies That Take Place in the Jungle #49 of 76 The Best Kathy Bates Movies

18
Ranker Video
19
Ranker Video

Released: 1988

Directed by: Tony Mitchell

Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night is a 1988 TV film directed by Tony Mitchell.
20
Ranker Video
Tom Waits, William Hurt, Sam Neill

Released: 1991

Directed by: Wim Wenders

Until the End of the World is a 1991 drama science fiction film by the German film director Wim Wenders; the screenplay was written by Wenders and Peter Carey, from a story by Wenders and ...more
21
Ranker Video
Big Time

Released: 1988

Directed by: Chris Blum

Big Time is a 1988 documentary music film written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan and directed by Chris Blum.
22
Ranker Video
Jack Nicholson, Tom Waits, Madeleine Stowe

Released: 1990

Directed by: Jack Nicholson

The Two Jakes is a 1990 American Neo-noir mystery film, and the sequel to the 1974 film Chinatown. Directed by and starring Jack Nicholson, it also features Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly, Madeleine ...more
23
Ranker Video
Paradise Alley Sylvester Stallone, Tom Waits, Terry Funk

Released: 1978

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

Paradise Alley is a 1978 American sports film written and directed by Sylvester Stallone in his feature film directorial debut, who also starred in the role. After Stallone's success with the ...more
24
Ranker Video
Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch, Kevin J. O'Connor

Released: 1987

Directed by: Robert Frank, Rudolph Wurlitzer

Candy Mountain is a 1988 drama film directed by Robert Frank. It was shot in New York City and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
25
Ranker Video

Released: 2008

Directed by: Bill Plympton

Idiots and Angels is a 2008 animated film directed by Bill Plympton.