Michael Mann, like all great directors, is a filmmaker with numerous trademarks. His films are often concerned with morality and crime, pitting ingenious criminals against those trying to bring them down. He likes scenes shot at night, thrilling action sequences interspersed with slow-burning character interactions, and methodical scripts.
Noted for his heavily character-driven narratives and epic action scenes, Mann got his start in TV writing for shows like Starsky & Hutch and Miami Vice (which he would remake as a movie over twenty years later).
Since 1981, he's has directed 11 feature films, typically going three to six years between projects, and he's had a hand in everything from fantasy misfires to political thrillers, buddy-cop action flicks to historical war dramas.
Though not all of his films have carried the same level of success, Mann has made a name for himself as one of the best directors of his generation, and for this list we're going to rifle through his eclectic and mostly brilliant filmography to separate his biggest missteps from his beloved classics.
With that in mind, here are all 11 Michael Mann features ranked worst to best.
11. The Keep (1983)
Almost every director has an early-career misfire that is probably best forgotten, and for Michael Mann that's The Keep.
Based on the novel by F. Paul Wilson and starring the likes of Ian McKellen, Scott Glenn and Gabriel Byrne in roles they surely regret, the "horror" follows a group of Nazi soldiers who accidentally awaken an evil spirit and are forced to ask a Jewish doctor (McKellen) for help in stopping it.
The Keep features a number of subplots and inconsequential supporting characters that Mann loses track of throughout the film's somehow-dragging 90-minute runtime, and between the laughably bad visual effects, poor sound mixing, bizarre Tangerine Dream-penned soundtrack and bland character work, it's definitely a film worth skipping.
The upside? Mann has said there's a 210-minute Director's Cut out there, but thankfully it hasn't seen the light of day...and hopefully never will.