Benedict Cumberbatch steals many of the scenes he appears in as one of the most prolific British actors of modern times. He started out with a strong interest in acting and carried his love of Shakespeare until his time at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before he landed his first several big-time roles.
The best Benedict Cumberbatch movies and TV shows cover almost every imaginable genre. He appeared in high-quality romantic comedies, sci-fi flicks, traditional dramas, action thrillers, blockbuster superhero films, and more.
1. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Few movies go as far as 12 Years a Slave. This results in an unforgiving, harsh, and necessary look at slavery in the past without any filter or censorship. The near-flawless performances from the cast only add to the already engrossing story worthy of all the awards it received.
2. Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange feels like a typical superhero origin story in many ways. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a man who gains a new life with unparalleled magical powers after an accident. Despite its typical premise, the characters and their relationships with one another elevate it beyond the usual Marvel results.
3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
This crossover Marvel film sees the likes of Spider-Man traveling around with Iron Man and Thanos battling against Captain America. The impressive ensemble cast and intense amount of action leave little room for focus on specific characters outside of a few exceptions like Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.
4. The Power of the Dog (2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch takes the lead role in a Western movie of all things, and it pays off in the end. The cowboy thriller somehow works well with an immense amount of drama, gore, and action that takes a look at Cumberbatch’s brutal Phil Burbank. Of all Benedict Cumberbatch movies, this one stretching his acting talents the most.
5. Sherlock (2010-2017)
This contemporary take on the classic detective Sherlock Holmes puts Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. He gives perhaps the strongest iteration of Holmes in history, with four fantastic seasons exploring some of the character’s most thrilling cases.
6. The Hollow Crown (2016)
This star-studded take on the Shakespeare tale has some of the most impressive production quality out of any BBC TV series. Stars like Tom Huddleston, Patrick Stewart, and David Morrissey help each of the few episodes stand out.
7. The Imitation Game (2014)
The brilliant story of the real-life Alan Turing gets the silver screen time it deserves with this exceptional historical drama. Cumberbatch gives Turing the performance his tale deserves as he navigates a technical battle against the Nazis and a restrictive society. The Imitation Game deserves special mention among Benedict Cumberbatch movies: it netted him his first Oscar nomination.
8. The Courier (2020)
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this fascinating spy thriller that differentiates from others with its adaptation of real-life events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cumberbatch puts on one of the best performances of his career as the unnerving lead.
9. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Cumberbatch joins the cast of this J.J. Abrams-led Star Trek blockbuster sequel. It elevates past the original with a broader cast of phenomenal actors, stellar visual effects, and a gripping adventure.
10. Marvel’s What If…? (2021)
This animated Marvel series brings back many of the famous stars from the live-action films, including Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, for riveting looks at what could have been. Cumberbatch has a massive role in exploring the other parallel versions of his character.
11. 1917 (2019)
This disturbing and gritty war film provides a look at World War I without filters or holding anything back. It tells the thrilling tale of two British soldiers who must make an impossible journey across enemy lines to save the lives of many.
12. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
The grand finale to the Infinity Stone saga means Cumberbatch’s Strange doesn’t quite have as large of a role as in previous movies. However, his few scenes make up for this alongside the most spectacular and well-made film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
13. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Cumberbatch’s role in the third Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movie remains small but impactful. The wondrous multiversal movie puts fan service at the movie's center, but it pays off in dividends with a focused experience.
14. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The second film in The Hobbit trilogy sees Bilbo Baggins and his pals continue their journey into the strongest entry in the prequels. It balances its action and bombastic scenes with Benedict Cumberbatch’s dragon role Smaug, for an entertaining fantasy adventure.
15. The Mauritanian (2021)
This powerful and gut-wrenching look at the memoir “Guantánamo Diary” lands well among Benedict Cumberbatch movies with its tremendous cast and cinematography. The likes of Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, and Tahar Rahim bring this necessary story to life in a meaningful way.
16. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
The second Doctor Strange movie challenges Benedict Cumberbatch, who takes on the multiverse with a couple of different takes on his Marvel superhero. The story has some awkward execution, but it pays off with emotional value and Cumberbatch’s terrific chemistry with Rachel McAdams.
17. Atonement (2007)
This successful movie adaptation of a classic romance novel sees James McAvoy and Keira Knightley star as the lead couple torn apart by lies and deceit. It has powerful performances from the cast and a strict adherence to its World War II-era setting.
18. Amazing Grace (2006)
This powerful historical drama follows the true story of William Wilberforce and his fight against slavery in Great Britain. It dramatizes the events just well enough without getting too over-the-top and still containing excellent performances from the cast.
19. Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
The penguins from the Madagascar film series received their spin-off movie. It starred Cumberbatch as the arrogant Agent Classified, who brings an excellent edge and comedic flair to this film. It offers a solid watch, but its plot and jokes feel a bit one-note.
20. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
The grand finale to the prequel Lord of the Rings trilogy has the spectacle and action fans come to expect from the property. While it lacks some of the heart and storytelling quality of the past two films, stars like Martin Freeman still give it their all.
21. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
This animated remake of the classic Dr. Seuss holiday tale lacks some of the heart and impact of the live-action version. It tells the story well enough with some colorful and cheery animation, but the casting feels a bit off.