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Keira Knightley Movies: Our 10 Favorite Films Starring the English Leading Lady

Our favorites featuring the princess of period pieces!

Keira Knightley plays regal royalty and leading ladies with the same skill and prowess that she plays youthful ingenues — all that to say that her movies over the years have appealed to the masses.

From the commercials and TV movies of her youth to now starring in some of the most celebrated period dramas and major blockbusters of the last two decades, the London born starlet has come a long way.

The 38-year-old actress, who made her debut in 1993 on an episode of BBC’s Screen One, continues to stun year after year, part after part. Here, take a look at our ranking of the 10 best Keira Knightley movies over the course of her career. Where did your favorites land?

10 best Keira Knightley movies, ranked

10. Never Let Me Go (2010)

Keira Knightley stars alongside Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield in this haunting dystopian drama that follows three students who attend an English boarding school. Growing up in the confines of the institution, they eventually come to learn that they are all clones, and their ultimate purpose as they grow into young adulthood is to serve as organ donors.

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Complicated by the romantic feelings that form amongst members of the group, ultimately creating a complicated love triangle, they must come to terms with what lies ahead of them with the time they have left.

9. Anna Karenina (2012)

Keira Knightley shines in this scandalous period drama as Anna Karenina, a married woman who becomes entangled in an affair with calvary officer Count Vronsky (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson). When the affair becomes known to her husband (played by Jude Law), she must make a decision about her future.

8. Colette (2018)

Keira Knightley stars as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, an author who comes to write a series of novels under her husband’s name.

As these novels rise in popularity and the couple receives more and more recognition, Colette attempts to make her identity known as the true mastermind behind these works.

7. Love Actually (2003)

This quintessential Christmas rom-com consists of a star studded cast, telling the stories of multiple couples and characters, whose lives intertwine during the holiday season.

Keira Knightley stars as Juliet, who comes to learn that her husband’s best man, Mark, who was believed to dislike her all along, has actually been harboring feelings toward her that he’s tried to mask with coldness and distance.

Related: ‘Love Actually’ is Celebrating It’s 20th Anniversary — See The Cast Then And Now

6. Begin Again (2013) Keira Knightley movies

Begin Again chronicles the relationship between two characters played by Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo stars as Dan, a record executive who gets let go from his label, while Knightley stars as a musician named Gretta, who has just broken up with her newly successful musician boyfriend and writing partner.

The two meet when Dan hears Gretta perform at a club, and the two begin to collaborate musically on an album recorded all throughout New York City.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Keira Knightley made her debut in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series in 2003 in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as Elizabeth Swann, the daughter of a governor who is kidnapped by pirates because of her possession of a valuable coin.

Blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), a pirate, set out to save Elizabeth from her captors.

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4. Bend It Like Beckham (2002) Keira Knightley movies

Bend It Like Beckham tells a story of a young Indian girl, Jess (Parminder Nagra), who lives in London with her traditional family and has a passion for soccer. Often playing in the park with friends, a girl named Jules (Keira Knightley), who plays for a local women’s amateur team, invites her to try out.

When her skills land her a spot, her parents are vehemently against it, forcing her to participate behind their backs. Simultaneously, she’s dealing with her growing romantic feelings towards her coach.

3. Atonement (2007) Keira Knightley movies

Cecelia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy) are a young couple infatuated with one another.

When Cecelia’s younger sister makes a false accusation against Robbie when she witnesses an assault involving someone she thought was him, he and Cecelia are ripped apart when he lands in prison.

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2. The Imitation Game (2014) Keira Knightley movies

Mathematical genius Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), along with his team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), work to crack German codes during WWII.

When they eventually achieve success, an aspect of his personal life is revealed and met with grave repercussions, tarnishing his name and incredible work.

1. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

One of the most beloved Keira Knightley movies, the British actress stars as Elizabeth Bennett, who is a subject of her parents’ pressure to marry.

When she initially meets the cold and judgemental Mr. Darcy, she is turned off by his behavior toward her. However, as time progresses and they get to know one another better, this love story for the ages unfolds.

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