Rick Moranis is a beloved Canadian actor, comedian, musician, songwriter, writer, and producer. Having started his career on Canadian television in the sketch comedy series Second City Television (SCTV), he made a name for himself in Hollywood and has appeared in 23 movies.
In 1997, he started a long break from acting to dedicate his time to his two children as a widower, following the tragic death of his wife, costumer designer Ann Belsky, in 1991.
He has done a small amount of voice acting since his hiatus began, but, rather excitingly, Moranis has signed on to appear in a new sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, called Shrunk, though the release date isn't known yet.
In this piece, we'll rank all 23 movies Moranis has appeared in, starting with the best and working down.
1 – Ghostbusters (1984, directed by Ivan Reitman)
Ghostbusters is a supernatural horror comedy and the first installment in the eponymous franchise. It's about a trio of eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and soon find themselves having to save the world from a long-dormant evil goddess.
It stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the eponymous team, with Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Moranis in supporting roles. The whole cast performs phenomenally, and Moranis is hilarious as the nerdy Louis Tully, who gets possessed by the demon Vinz Clortho, AKA the Keymaster. Ghostbusters is the finest film of its type ever made. It's both scary and funny, as a horror comedy should be; the story is great, the casting is perfect, the special effects are excellent, and it features some iconic lines and a legendary theme song. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song for “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.
2 – L.A. Story (1991, directed by Mick Jackson)
L.A. Story is a satirical rom-com about a television weatherman in Los Angeles, California, who, finding himself in a dead-end relationship with a high-maintenance girlfriend, wants to find real love in the city.
It stars Steve Martin as Harris K. Telemacher, the weatherman, with Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant, and Marilu Henner in prominent supporting roles. Along with Chevy Chase, Woody Harrelson, Paula Abdul, and Martin Lawrence, Moranis has an uncredited cameo as a gravedigger, which is rather funny. L.A. Story is a fun love letter to Los Angeles that's sweet, silly, hearty, and provides plenty of giggles.
3 – Parenthood (1989, directed by Ron Howard)
Parenthood is a family comedy-drama movie about the attempts of three siblings to raise their children in their different styles and their handling of the highs and lows involved in that process.
Its star-studded cast includes Steve Martin, Tom Hulce, Martha Plimpton, Keanu Reeves, Jason Robards, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, and Moranis, who plays Nathan Huffner, a research scientist married to one of the siblings, and he's a delight along with everyone else. Parenthood is a thoughtful, funny, lovely film portraying a realistic slice of American life. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for Dianne Wiest and Best Original Song for “I Love to See You Smile” by Randy Newman.
4 – Little Shop of Horrors (1986, directed by Frank Oz)
Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy musical movie and an adaptation of Alan Menken's 1982 off-Broadway musical, itself an adaptation of the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors. It's about a nerdy flower shop worker who discovers an unusual sentient carnivorous plant that feeds on human flesh.
Moranis stars as Seymour Krelborn, the florist, and is superb in the role. The outstanding supporting cast includes Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Levi Stubbs, James Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and Bill Murray. Little Shop of Horrors is a camp romp that's funny, occasionally scary, and teeming with great characters and catchy songs. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song for “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space” by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
5 – Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989, directed by Joe Johnston)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a sci-fi family comedy movie about a struggling inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his neighbors' kids. They inadvertently get thrown out with the trash and must work together through a backyard wilderness to return to the house and return to full size.
Moranis plays Wayne Szalinski, the inventor whose shrink ray causes all the problems, and the energetic cast also includes Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman, Kristine Sutherland, Thomas Wilson Brown, Jared Rushton, Amy O'Neill, and Robert Oliveri. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a vibrant, funny, sweet, charming film with an amusing premise that the whole family will love. The special effects are also impressive, especially for the time.
6 – Strange Brew (1983, directed by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas)
Strange Brew is a comedy movie loosely based on elements of Shakespeare's Hamlet. It's about a pair of Canadian brothers who get jobs at a brewery, only to discover that something rotten is happening there.
It stars directors Dave Thomas and Moranis as brothers Doug and Bob McKenzie, and they give incredibly likable performances. Paul Dooley and Max von Sydow also appear in prominent roles. Strange Brew is a funny, pleasant-natured, and somewhat nutty film aimed at beer lovers – that much becomes evident from the moment the MGM lion gives out a hilarious drunken belch.
7 – My Blue Heaven (1990, directed by Herbert Ross)
My Blue Heaven is a crime comedy movie based on the life of mobster Henry Hill (just like Goodfellas was in the same year). It's about an uptight federal agent tasked with protecting a larger-than-life former gangster with a heart of gold living under witness protection in a California suburb.
It stars Steven Martin as former mobster Vinnie Antonelli and Moranis as FBI agent Barney Coopersmith. The pair have great chemistry and are hilarious together. Joan Cusack, Melanie Mayron, Bill Irwin, Carol Kane, and Daniel Stern also appear. My Blue Heaven is a funny take on an intriguing concept. It's fast-paced and joyous, and Steve Martin playing a surprisingly convincing Italian is worth watching regardless of everything else.
8 – Streets of Fire (1984, directed by Walter Hill)
Streets of Fire is a neo-noir rock musical about a mercenary who gets hired to rescue his ex-girlfriend, the lead singer of a band that a motorcycle gang has kidnapped.
Michael Paré stars as Tom Cody, the mercenary, and Diane Lane as Ellen Aim, the singer. They aren't great together, but the supporting cast saves the day. Moranis plays Billy Fish, Ellen's current boyfriend, and is terrific. Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, E.G. Daily, Bill Paxton, and Deborah Gaye Van Valkenburgh also appear. Streets of Fire is an ambitious mix of genres. It's undoubtedly flawed but innovative and stylish, with striking visuals and catchy songs.
9 – Spaceballs (1987, directed by Mel Brooks)
Spaceballs is a space opera parody movie that primarily sends up Star Wars and other famous franchises like Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, The Wizard of Oz, Transformers, and Planet of the Apes. It's about a star pilot for hire and his trusty sidekick who must rescue a princess and save a planet from the clutches of an evil regime.
Moranis plays Dark Helmet, a parody of Darth Vader and the chief enforcer of the eponymous evil Spaceballs regime, and he's a delight. The cast is a who's who of top stars and comedy icons, including director Brooks, John Candy, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, and Joan Rivers. Spaceballs isn't among Brooks' finest work, but it's a decent spoof with funny characters, fantastic references, and amusing visual gags. It is, however, uneven and, at its time of release, came several years too late in mimicking Star Wars to be particularly impactful or relevant.
10 – Ghostbusters II (1989, directed by Ivan Reitman)
Ghostbusters II is a supernatural horror comedy, the second installment in the Ghostbusters franchise and the sequel to 1984's Ghostbusters. In the film, set five years after the original, the eponymous team has been sued for the destruction they previously caused and is out of business. However, they return to action when a new paranormal threat emerges in the form of a 16th-century Carpathian tyrant trapped in a painting.
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson reprise their roles as the eponymous team, and Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Moranis return in support, alongside Peter MacNicol, who's brilliant as Janosz Poha. Moranis plays Louis Tully again in an amusing fashion. Ghostbusters II is far inferior to its predecessor, thanks mainly to its lack of edge due to targeting more young viewers, but it's still funny with excellent special effects. Sadly, it's poorly paced, with a villain nowhere near as compelling as Ghostbusters' Gozer.
11 – Brother Bear 2 (2006, directed by Ben Gluck)
Brother Bear 2 is a direct-to-video animated fantasy musical comedy-drama movie and the sequel to 2006's Brother Bear. It continues the adventures of bear brothers Kenai and Koda, but this one focuses more on Kenai's friendship with a young human from his past.
Patrick Dempsey and Jeremy Suarez lead the voice cast as Kenai and Koda. Support comes from Mandy Moore, Dave Thomas, Michael Clarke Duncan, Catherine O'Hara, Wanda Sykes, and Moranis, who reprises his role as Rutt, a comedic Canadian moose, from the first film. Brother Bear 2 is a heartwarming, charming film with intriguing characters, an excellent score, and a lovely message about longstanding friendship. However, its animation is hardly the most polished, the story is weak, and the whole thing feels unnecessary.
12 – Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992, directed by Randal Kleiser)
Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is a sci-fi family comedy movie, the sequel to 1989's Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and the second installment of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise. This one sees the newest addition to the Szalinski family, two-year-old Adam, accidentally exposed to his father's new industrial-sized growth machine, gradually causing him to grow to an enormous size.
Moranis wonderfully reprises his role as Wayne Szalinski, and Marcia Strassman, Amy O'Neill, and Robert Oliveri return as his family members. Lloyd Bridges, John Shea, and Keri Russell also appear in prominent roles. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid is sure to make children laugh, and the cast tries their best with the material, and the special effects are sound, but the story is limited, and it only has one joke: Adam getting bigger.
13 – Brother Bear (2003, directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker)
Brother Bear is an animated fantasy musical comedy-drama movie about a young Inuit hunter who needlessly kills a bear and gets magically transformed into one as punishment.
It stars Joaquin Phoenix as the voice of Kenai, the young hunter, and Jeremy Suarez, the cub who becomes a brother to Kenai. The supporting voice cast includes Dave Thomas, Jason Raize, D. B. Sweeney, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Moranis, who plays funny Canadian moose Rutt for the first time with great comic astuteness. Brother Bear is a gentle, sweet, colorful film with lovely characters that children and adults can find amiable. However, it's unexciting and generally unremarkable. It received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
14 – Little Giants (1994, directed by Duwayne Dunham)
Little Giants is a family sports comedy movie about two brothers living in their hometown of Urbana, Ohio, who coach rival Pee-Wee Football teams, one an elite team and the other a team of misfits.
Moranis plays Danny O'Shea, the misfits' coach, and Ed O'Neill plays Kevin O'Shea, his brother who coaches the elite team. Little Giants is a sometimes fun underdog story that anyone who ever got rejected can relate to. It's a thoughtful film with some decent comedic moments, but it's highly unoriginal and derivative and far inferior to similar movies like 1976's The Bad News Bears.
15 – Brewsters' Millions (1985, directed by Walter Hill)
Brewster's Millions is a comedy movie based on George Barr McCutcheon's 1902 novel and the seventh film based on the story. It's about a minor-league baseball player who must spend $30 million in 30 days to inherit $300 million. However, there are strict conditions regarding how he can use the cash.
It stars Richard Pryor as Montgomery Brewster, a pitcher, and John Candy as Spike Nolan, his best friend and a catcher, and their longstanding chemistry is evident. Lonette McKee, Stephen Collins, and Hume Cronyn play major supporting roles. Moranis has a minor role as Morty King, an annoying man who mimics people and is suitably irritating but oddly endearing. Brewster's Millions is not as funny as it should be, given the talent on display, and it's slow-paced, but it does have some amusing moments, and the cast does the best they can with the material.
16 – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys (2001, directed by Bill Kowalchuk)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys is a direct-to-video computer-animated Christmas adventure musical movie and a sequel to the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special.
The voice cast includes Kathleen Barr as Rudolph, Jamie Lee Curtis, Scott McNeil, Richard Dreyfuss, Garry Chalk, and Moranis, who provides the voice of the Toy Taker and Mr. Cuddles with equal adeptness. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys is an appropriately festive film with a weak story and poor-quality animation. However, a talented voice cast gives spirited and energetic performances, which saves it to a degree and makes it worth watching.
17 – The Wild Life (1984, directed by Art Linson)
The Wild Life is a coming-of-age comedy-drama and a spiritual sequel to 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It's about a hedonistic high-school wrestler and his parties with his friend at a swinging-singles apartment complex.
It stars Chris Penn as Tom Drake, the wrestler, with a fine supporting cast of Lea Thompson, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Jenny Wright, Eric Stoltz, Hart Bochner, Randy Quaid, and Moranis, who humorously plays Harry, a trendy department store manager. The Wild Life is funny in parts, thanks to a strong cast providing some lively characters, but the main character is insufferably irritating, and, more often than not, the whole thing is dull.
18 – Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997, directed by Dean Cundey)
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves is a direct-to-video sci-fi family comedy movie, the sequel to 1992's Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, and the third installment in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise. In this one, inventor Wayne Szalinski accidentally shrinks himself and his family with his shrink ray.
Moranis reprises his role as Wayne Szalinski and is as enthusiastic as ever. The supporting cast includes Eve Gordon, Bug Hall, Robin Bartlett, Stuart Pankin, Allison Mack, Jake Richardson, and Mila Kunis. Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves is a wholesome film that's sadly unoriginal, unfunny, and unnecessary. Moranis aside, the whole cast gets replaced and is far inferior to the originals. However, children may get entertained by it.
19 – The Flintstones (1994, directed by Brian Levant)
The Flintstones is a family comedy movie based on the 1960-1966 animated television series. In an imagined “modern” Stone Age world, the eponymous working-class family learns that money can't buy happiness after matriarch Fred inadvertently gets a significant job promotion.
It stars John Goodman as Fred Flintstone, Moranis as Fred's best friend Barney Rubble, Elizabeth Perkins and Rosie O'Donnell as their wives, and Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, and Elizabeth Taylor in supporting roles. The Flintstones is a terrible film that badly wastes beloved source material. The cast does their best, and the production design is admirable, but it's poorly written, unfunny, and mind-numbingly dumb. Some of the movie's humor might amuse children, but anyone else will be bored stiff.
20 – Club Paradise (1986, directed by Harold Ramis)
Club Paradise is a comedy movie about a group of tourists who try to turn a seedy nightclub into a luxurious resort and the subsequent series of increasingly unlikely events.
Its star-studded cast includes Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole, Jimmy Cliff, Twiggy, Adolph Caesar, Eugene Levy, and Moranis, who's funny as Barry Nye, a man obsessed with marijuana and women. Club Paradise feels like an overly long sketch show in which only some gags work. Its overreliance on one-liners and insult humor is bordering on desperation. The roles played by Williams and O'Toole should have gone to John Cleese and Bill Murray as initially intended, as it would've been much better if they'd gotten cast.
21 – Splitting Heirs (1993, directed by Robert Young)
Splitting Heirs is a British black comedy movie about a duke dying and leaving his title and wealth to his adult son, prompting an argument about who the real son is between the one who was found as a baby and raised in the United States or the one abandoned as a baby and raised by a Hindi family in London.
Moranis plays Henry, the United States-based son, and Eric Idle as Tommy, the one in London. They both give fun performances. Barbara Hershey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cleese, and Sadie Frost also appear. Splitting Heirs isn't intelligent or fast-paced enough to maintain viewers' interest. Still, the energetic performances of the talented cast have to be admired, given what they have to work with.
22 – Big Bully (1996, directed by Steve Miner)
Big Bully is a black comedy movie about two men, a childhood bully and his former victim, a published author, reconnecting as adults when the latter returns to his hometown to teach at his old school, resulting in the bully continuing his antagonistic ways.
It stars Rick Moranis as David Leary, the author, and Tom Arnold as Roscoe “Fang” Bigger, his bully. The pair try their best but lack comedic chemistry. Julianne Phillips, Carol Kane, Jeffrey Tambor, and Don Knotts also appear. Big Bully is a poor film with corny humor, poor dialogue, and an incredibly annoying character in Arnold's Roscoe Bigger. You'll feel more and more sorry for Moranis as this one progresses.
23 – Head Office (1985, directed by Ken Finkleman)
Head Office is a satirical black comedy movie about a lazy womanizer getting employed at a multinational conglomerate's headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, where chaos is a daily occurrence.
Judge Reinhold plays Jack Issel, the slacker who joins the Chicago-based corporation. The likes of Don Novello, Jane Seymour, Wallace Shawn, Danny DeVito, and Moranis also appear. Moranis plays Howard Gross, a screaming executive who dies of a heart attack. He deserves far better than having to appear in this movie and does his best. Head Office is virtually humorless, with no edge, and mind-numbingly dull.
Paul Rose Jr is the Editor in Chief of Wealth of Geeks & manages the Associated Press program for The Insiders network. He has worked as TV News Producer, Forensic Analyst, and Train Conductor, among many other things. He’s the former TV Editor for InfuzeMag and owns more books, DVDs, and comics than most people have seen in their lifetimes. When he’s not writing or editing on Wealth of Geeks, he exercises his creative muscle writing screenplays and acting in film and television in Los Angeles, CA.