10 Best Ella Purnell Movies and TV Shows, Ranked

Movies


In the wake of Amazon’s bold adaptation of the renowned post-apocalyptic video game series Fallout, Ella Purnell, the show’s leading star, has stormed into the spotlight, becoming a household name seemingly overnight. However, Purnell is hardly new to the Hollywood scene. Debuting in the 2010 romantic drama Never Let Me Go, in which she starred alongside Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, Purnell has spent the fourteen years since meticulously manifesting a remarkable career, appearing in a diverse array of films and television series.




Building up a varied back catalog of work over these years, Purnell continues to display a penchant for choosing projects that push boundaries for both herself and viewers. She recently admitted a desire to play a villain in an interview with Collider’s very own Perri Nemiroff for Collider’s Ladies Night segment. Jumping from genre to genre in her work, the London-born actress has adeptly established a strong foothold in the overcrowded entertainment realm. These are Ella Purnell’s best movies and television shows, solid and even acclaimed projects that cement her as a remarkably talented performer with a bright future ahead.



10 ‘Kick-Ass 2’ (2013)

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Image via Universal Pictures

Brought to the screen by Truth or Dare producer Jeff Wadlow, Kick-Ass 2 adheres to the sequel playbook, amplifying this superhero saga while fiercely maintaining its hard R rating for unabashed violence. While more civilians begin to don their own masked crusader identities after the events of Kick-Ass, Chloë Grace Moretz‘s Hit Girl and Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s Kick-Ass team up with an ex-mob enforcer turned born-again Christian, Colonel Stars (Jim Carey), to take on a team of supervillains led by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

In Kick-Ass 2, Purnell takes on the role of Dolce, the ignorant high school bully who famously mutters the line “Who is Stan Lee?” to a bewildered Hit Girl. The embodiment of the mean girl archetype, Dolce adds a dose of antagonism but ultimately remains a borderline background character. Despite her limited appearance, likely to have hardly been noticed at the time of the movie’s release in 2013, Purnell does a great job earning her character’s loathsome reputation.


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Kick-Ass 2

Release Date
July 17, 2013

Runtime
113

Writers
Jeff Wadlow , Mark Millar , John Romita Jr.

9 ‘Army of the Dead’ (2021)

Directed by Zack Synder

Kate Ward stands infront of an out of focus sign
Image Netflix

Released by Netflix in 2021, Zack Snyder‘s zombie-heist action film Army of the Dead follows an unlikely group of mercenaries with a violent disposition who are hired to break into and loot a supposedly unbreakable safe, inconveniently located in the middle of a zombie-infested Las Vegas. Portraying Kate Ward, the daughter of the film’s main character and leader of the heist crew, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), Purnell’s performance is the film’s best.


Entertaining, if not necessarily compelling, Army of the Dead is a solid effort from Snyder, thanks largely to a game cast that elevates the material. Perhaps the only character in the film with any emotional depth, Kate’s inclusion is peculiar, as she is written into the story rather clumsily. Stranded among a team of seasoned killers, one can’t help but wonder: why is she there to begin with? The script fumbles this crucial question, offering little more than a stark ultimatum delivered by Kate herself: “I’ll go in with you, you keep me safe, or I’ll sneak in after and probably die…”. Regardless of the script’s shortcomings, Purnell pulls out the metaphorical big guns, acting-wise.

army-of-the-dead-soundtrack-artwork

Army of the Dead

Release Date
May 14, 2021

Runtime
139

Writers
Joby Harold , Shay Hatten , Zack Snyder


8 ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ (2016)

Directed by Tim Burton

Emma Bloom looking at someone and smiling in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Image via 20th Century Studios

For her debut Hollywood lead role as an adult, Purnell embodies the peculiar character of Emma Bloom, an eighty-eight-year-old suspended in time as her teenage self, in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Based on Ransom Riggs novel of the same name, the story unfolds within the confines of Miss Peregrine’s sanctuary, a place reminiscent of the X-Men’s mansion, where extraordinary youngsters with peculiar abilities find refuge.

The ever-peculiar TimBurton brings the wonders of the novel’s world to life with his signature visual flair. This tale also boasts a stellar cast, including EvaGreen as the enigmatic Miss Peregrine, AsaButterfield as the curious protagonist Jake, and SamuelL.Jackson as the menacing Barron. Set against a backdrop of mystery and adventure, Purnell’s wondrous and wistful performance as Bloom is at the very heart of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, whose powers of air manipulation and flight are elegantly embodied by the actress.


7 ‘Ways to Live Forever’ (2010)

Directed by: Gustavo Ron

A young girl and boy looking intently ahead in the open field in Ways to Live Forever
Image via World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation

Released in the same year as Purnell’s debut feature, Never Let Me Go, the actress’s role is substantially larger in Gustavo Ron’s touching coming-of-age story Ways to Live Forever. Following a young boy named Sam, who forms a bucket list of adventurous experiences after he is diagnosed with life-threatening leukemia, the film is a stirring story of finding hope and humor in the wake of hopelessness, told from the perspective of a character who faces death before he’s even had the proper chance to live.


Ways to Live Forever

is a stirring story of finding hope and humor in the wake of hopelessness.

While receiving a blend of critical responses, Ways to Live Forever garnered praise for its sincere exploration of morbid topics like illness and loss and the effects they have on the lives of everyday people. Especially praised were the compelling performances of its young cast, notably Purnell as Kaleigh, Sam’s first love. Coincidentally, Purnell had actually read the book on which the film is based only a few months prior to auditioning, bringing to her audition a pre-existing familiarity with Kaleigh. Director Gustavo Ron states this fateful insight caused him to see Purnell as the quintessential Kaleigh from the get-go.

Rent on Amazon


6 ‘Sweetbitter’ (2018 – 2019)

Created by Stephanie Danler

Tess and Jake talking behind a bar counter in Sweetbitter
Image via Starz

The intoxicating world of Stephanie Danler’s bestselling novel, Sweetbitter, comes the life in one of the best shows on Starz. It follows Tess (Purnell), a young woman who finds herself drawn into the vibrant and chaotic world of an upscale New York City restaurant. Under the guidance of the enigmatic restaurant manager, Jake (Tom Sturridge), Tess navigates the complexities of the culinary world while simultaneously learning a thing or two about human connection.

Sweetbitter
is a flirtatious dramedy that explores themes of self-discovery while demonstrating the frustrations of sexual tension that can develop in high-pressure workplaces.


The lines between ambition and temptation run parallel, depicted in this flirtatious dramedy that explores themes of self-discovery while accurately demonstrating the frustrations of sexual tension that can develop in high-pressure workplaces. With Danler at the helm as showrunner and lead writer, expertly adapting her book for the screen, Sweetbitter serves up a delicious blend of drama, romance, and coming-of-age storytelling that pairs well with a glass of wine and makes for a satisfying two-season fling, never outstaying its welcome.

WATCH ON STARZ

5 ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ (2018)

Directed by Sandra Goldbacher

Hester Argyle looking intently at someone off-camera in Ordeal by Innocence
Image via BBC One

In this three-part TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1958 novel Ordeal by Innocence, Purnell embodies the adored baby of the Argyll family, Hester. True to any Christie whodunit, the tale kicks off with a murder. It’s Christmas 1954, and the affluent philanthropist Rachel Argyll meets her demise courtesy of a nasty blow from a decanter while at home in the Argyll family estate, Sunny Point. As blood spills and accusations fly, a stellar cast led by BillNighy swiftly dives into unraveling the tangled web of lies surrounding this gruesome murder.


Released during a time when Christie’s works were going through a cinematic revival, the miniseries made the most of the genre’s boom. Shot amid the lush gardens and sweeping stairways of Ardgowan Estate, a majestic 18th-century mansion on the Scottish coast near Glasgow, the drama soaks in the authentic grandeur of the grounds, making for a deviously entertaining and engaging watch. Existing in the confines of a more niche genre, the series never garnered the kind of massive response that Fallout did. Even so, Ordeal by Innocence is a worthy and rich murder mystery that absolutely delivers on its premise.

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Ordeal by Innocence

Release Date
August 10, 2018

Seasons
1

Watch On Apple

4 ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ (2021-2024)

Created by Kevin and Dan Hageman

The ensemble characters of Star Trek: Prodigy standing against a nebula background
Image via Paramount+


Star Trek: Prodigy, the brainchild of the Hageman brothers known for The Lego Movie and Hotel Transylvania, is the first animated Star Trek series for a younger audience. Set in 2383, the show introduces a diverse group of new characters whose galaxy-spanning adventures kick-off after they discover a long-lost Starfleet vessel known as the USS Protostar. Making her voice acting debut, Purnell is Gwyndala, a female Vau N’Akat and a seriously badass alien with a seriously badass backstory.

An artificially created clone, Gwen is made by the last known surviving member of the Vau N’Akat species, a warrior known as The Diviner. Living up to the show’s fun bit of writing, Purnell brings a real vulnerability and depth to this character, showcasing her versatility and a natural knack for voice acting, a trait she would prove again in Arcane. Praised for its animation and lighthearted tone, Star Trek: Prodigy is among the most singular entries into the franchise’s long-running canon.


Star Trek Prodigy Poster

Star Trek: Prodigy

Release Date
October 28, 2021

Seasons
2

Watch on Netflix

3 ‘Yellowjackets’ (2021-Present)

Created by: Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson

Jackie looking shocked while covering herself with a comforter in Yellowjackets
Image via Showtime 

Before she ventured out of Vault 33 and into the nuclear wasteland of Fallout, Purnell was best known for Yellowjackets, where she plays the charismatic team captain, Jackie Taylor. Inspired by the true events of the 1972 Andes Flight Disaster, as seen in Netflix’s chilling feature Society of the Snow,Yellowjackets sees Jackie navigating intense power struggles and harrowing shifts in morality after a catastrophic plane crash leaves her and the other members of the WHS Yellowjacket’s stranded in the Canadian wilderness for over a year.


Unbelievably, Purnell almost missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as she was initially hesitant to join the project, expressing concerns in interviews that audiences would strongly dislike the character. Undoubtedly enough, however, Jackie became a fan favorite, with Purnell’s portrayal of the charismatic yet conflicted team captain serving as a major draw for viewers. Yellowjackets offers a rich, eerie, and poignant look at human nature and the true meaning of survival, and Purnell’s pivotal role perfectly showcases these themes.

2 ‘Fallout’ (2024)

Created by: Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Lucy standing in a Vault looking over her shoulder toward the camera in Fallout
Image via Prime Video


When whispers began to circulate that Amazon was first in line to adapt Bethesda Studios’ titanic video game franchise, Fallout, the internet instantly caught fire with speculation. Early Reddit threads saw fans pointing fingers at the likes of stars TomHolland and RonPerlman as their dream actors to embody the series’ player-driven character, the Lone Wanderer. So, when it was announced that Purnell would take the role, the decision certainly came as a shock to some fans, who could not have guessed just how perfect she would be in this iconic role.

Brought to life by a collective of visionary minds, the project includes the talents of JonathanNolan (Westworld) as producer and director of the first three episodes, GrahamWagner (SiliconValley) as showrunner, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Captain Marvel) as lead writer. Purnell is no stranger to video game adaptations, having previously showcased her talents in Netflix’s Arcane, based on League of Legends. However, Fallout came with a unique sense of pressure to do right by the fans and source material, given the sheer size and long-lasting nature of the game’s fanbase. Alas, everything worked out; Fallout enriches its beloved source material by offering the perfect marriage of Western and sci-fi, rising on the strength of Purnell’s outstanding performance.


Fallout TV Show New Poster

Fallout

Release Date
April 11, 2024

Seasons
1

Watch on Prime

1 ‘Arcane’ (2021-Present)

Created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee

Vi and Powder looking out over Piltover in Arcane
Image via Netflix

Arcane is the best project in Ella Purnell’s career so far. As the first major screen adaptation of Riot Games’ massively successful video game, League of Legends, Arcane marks a pivotal moment for the franchise, which became the most popular eSports game worldwide in 2023. Under the guidance of showrunner Christian Linke, Arcane blossoms, successfully taking the franchise beyond the gaming world with this immersive, high-speed animated story.


The series follows a group of young orphans who, in a desperate bid to earn some serious bread and a little street cred, bite off more than they can chew, igniting events that threaten the stability of their lives. Purnell absolutely shines as Jinx, one of the most beloved champions in the MOBA. A reluctant leader, Jinx must come to terms with being a role model for her crew, especially her little sister, Vi (HaileeSteinfeld). Throughout the series, Jinx and Vi’s relationship undergoes tremendous stress, and as events unfold, the sisters find themselves at the center of a brewing conflict set to consume their world. Arcane‘s second season will premiere in November of this year, continuing this riveting and wildly imaginative series.

jinx-arcane-poster

Arcane

Release Date
November 6, 2021

Seasons
2

NEXT: The 10 Best ‘Fallout’ Quotes, Ranked



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