James Mangold’s Movies, Ranked: From ‘Dial of Destiny’ to ‘Walk the Line’

Throughout his career, James Mangold has adopted the old-school filmmaking style of American auteurs that invigorated the movie landscape, like Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Mann and Sidney Lumet. Barreling toward 30 years in the industry, Mangold has worn many different hats in Hollywood, serving as a director, writer and producer.

To celebrate the world premiere of Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” at the Cannes Film Festival, Variety ranks all of Mangold’s directorial efforts so far.

It all began with his directorial and screenwriting debut “Heavy” (1995), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize, later screening at Cannes. His independent drama, which explores the loneliness of an overweight cook whose life is changed after meeting a waitress at his mother’s tavern, was inspired by one of Mangold’s classmates — and first displayed the filmmaker’s signature gritty style.

Mangold has since forayed into the superhero world with the Hugh Jackman-starring prequel film “The Wolverine,” and more prominently with “Logan,” the first superhero movie nominated for adapted screenplay. Action vehicles have also been his forte, as we witnessed with the best picture-nominated “Ford v Ferrari,” which won Academy Awards for film editing and sound editing. In addition, Mangold’s 2007 film “3:10 to Yuma,” a remake of the 1957 Western, gave Hollywood and audiences hope that remaking the classics isn’t always a bad thing.

Just before Jackman slipped into the role of Wolverine, he starred in Mangold’s fresh 1999 rom-com “Kate and Leopold,” which nabbed the actor his first Golden Globe nom for lead actor (comedy or musical).

Of course, a great filmmaker is not without his fair share of Oscar snubs. When Mangold brought the story of country singers Johnny and June Cash to the screen in “Walk the Line” (2005), his take resonated with both critics and audiences. Stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon secured Oscar noms (with the latter taking home the best actress prize), but Mangold, and the film, came up short in one of the final years of the Academy nominating only five movies for best picture.

Mangold has become known for putting actors in unexpected roles and extracting surprising, affecting performances, as seen with Sylvester Stallone in “Cop Land” (1997).

Next up for the filmmaker is a “Star Wars” prequel film titled “Dawn of the Jedi,” which is set 25,000 years before “A New Hope” and will focus on the discovery of the force. He’s also helming the Bob Dylan biopic “A Complete Unknown” with Timothée Chalamet starring as the legendary folk singer.

Read Variety’s ranking of Mangold’s movies below, along with the best scene from each selection.

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