10 Best Matt Damon Movies | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Matt Damon made his professional acting debut in 1988’s Mystic Pizza and in the years since he has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s best and most bankable stars. He’s played both heroes and villains in his long and successful career and has portrayed a wide number of other characters that fall somewhere in between these archetypes.

If you’re a fan of the actor, you will likely have your own contenders for the movies that should be put in a ‘top 10 list.’ We have picked out our choices but let us know what your favourite Matt Damon movies are in the comments section below.

True Grit (2010)

Less a remake of John Wayne’s 1969 movie and more an adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name. Jeff Bridges stars as Deputy U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, the cantankerous cowboy originally played by Wayne, and Hailee Steinfeld plays 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross who hires Cogburn to kill Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the hired hand that murdered her father.

Both Bridges and Steinfeld were nominated for an Oscar for their excellent performances but they, like the film itself, failed to win any Academy Awards.

Matt Damon stars as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, a man who has his own reasons for tracking down Chaney. The movie doesn’t give him the biggest role of his career but he still manages to deliver a memorable performance during his limited time on screen. Joel and Ethan Coen direct this enjoyable western adventure which is far grittier and far more faithful to the novel than the slightly cheesy movie that came before it.

The Martian (2015)

Director Ridley Scott’s movie career has always been a bit hit and miss but he seems to excel in the sci-fi genre. Alien and Blade Runner are evidence of this and so too is this enjoyable crowd-pleaser. The Martian is a visually stylish and often quite thrilling movie that stars Damon as Mark Watney, a luckless young astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars when his crew is forced to evacuate their planned mission.

Damon has had plenty of starring roles in his career but none like this one where, for the majority of screen time, he is the only actor we see on screen. Thankfully, he turns in an excellent performance as the man forced to survive on Mars alone so we never get bored of watching him, even during the scenes where he does little more than potter around in his Mars-based greenhouse planting potatoes!

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Matt Damon as an action star? He didn’t seem to be the obvious choice for the role of Jason Bourne when this movie was first announced, but despite low expectations from some, Damon managed to surprise everyone as the amnesiac superspy.

Whether he’s scaling walls, dispatching bad guys in bruising hand-to-hand combat scenes, or taking part in some thrilling foot chases, the actor is every inch the action hero that he is called to be. As he is equally adept at acting as he is at fighting, he also draws us into the emotional plight of the agent who sets out on a complicated mission to discover his forgotten identity.

Doug Liman’s movie isn’t the best of the cinematic series – that accolade might go to Paul Greengrass’s The Bourne Ultimatum – but as it was the first movie that showcased Damon’s ability to play a Bond-life figure, it more than deserves its place in our top 10 list.

The Departed (2006)

In Martin Scorsese’s convoluted but thrilling crime thriller, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Billy Costigan, an undercover cop tasked with infiltrating a mob syndicate, and Damon stars as Colin Sullivan, a hardened young criminal who simultaneously infiltrates a police unit as an informer. When both organizations realize they have a mole in their ranks, Billy and Colin race to uncover the identity of each other before their double lives are exposed.

The movie is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, which itself was based on a real-life situation that took place in Boston, the location of Scorsese’s movie. Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen also star in this exciting crime pic but it’s Damon who gives the standout turn here, playing against type as a man who is outwardly decent but secretly rotten to the core.

We Bought a Zoo (2011)

Matt Damon hasn’t starred in many movies that are suitable for family viewing so We Bought a Zoo is something of an anomaly on his resume. It’s a surprise that he hasn’t starred in more movies like this though as he is a likeable screen presence, with a friendly demeanour that should make him a natural contender for movies that both young and old can enjoy together.

The actor stars as Benjamin Mee, a lonely widower with two kids, who quits his newspaper job and moves to a new house that has a dilapidated zoo attached to it. While managing his grief, he spends his time getting the zoo into shape and eventually forms a relationship with Scarlett Johansson’s animal-loving zookeeper. Damon gives a warm and sincere performance as Benjamin although he is occasionally upstaged by the animals that he looks after, including the 650-pound grizzly that (in the movie at least) suffers from depression!

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

In director Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller novel, Damon stars as young conman Tom Ripley who is hired by a wealthy magnate to travel to Italy to track down Dickie (Jude Law), the son of the influential businessman. Ripley doesn’t know the young millionaire but pretends that he does to earn the money being offered to him. After getting caught up in the junior playboy’s life and relationships, Ripley decides to make Dickie’s luxurious lifestyle his own and the movie takes a chilling turn from then on.

In Highsmith’s novel, Ripley was a detestable sociopath with few redeeming qualities. In the movie, he is still fairly despicable but thanks to Minghella’s screenplay and Damon’s layered performance, we get to see glimpses of his humanity so he’s far more than just a cold and calculating psychopath.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Damon stars as the Private Ryan of the title but it’s a long time before we get to see him on screen. In Spielberg’s gruelling and emotional World War 2 movie, Tom Hanks takes the lead and the majority of the screen-time as Captain John Miller, the man who sets out with his squad to find Private James Ryan and bring him home. When the two men eventually meet, Miller’s mission is compromised because the young soldier is determined to stay put and complete his duty.

Damon excels as the all-American hero and Hanks is as reliably good as he always is. But despite the quality of their performances, it’s the battle scenes that are often given the most attention in discussions about this movie, not least the harrowing Omaha Beach sequence that accurately reflects the real-life moments when many American soldiers lost their lives on D-Day in 1944.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

In this Philip K. Dick adaptation, Damon stars as David Norris, a popular young congressman who discovers the world is being controlled by a mysterious group of men that run the bureau of the title. These snappily-dressed figures are seemingly in charge of fate, which is a massive inconvenience to David, as his burgeoning romance with a beautiful dancer (Emily Blunt) is threatened by the forces that are trying to send him down a different path.

Unfairly compared to Inception around the time of its release, this is a movie that is more a love story than a sci-fi actioner. Damon and Blunt are an attractive couple and we genuinely want them to end up together. Fear not if you’re not into romance movies, however, as this still works as a fun chase thriller, with a plot that throws up philosophical questions around the nature of fate and our ability to shape our own futures.

Le Mans ’66 (2019)

If you have an aversion to racing movies, don’t worry! While there are a lot of thrilling scenes that take place on the race track, the movie is also an exploration of the relationship between Carroll Shelby (Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale), the two men who worked together to bring the fastest race car to the gruelling Le Man’s event.

Both actors turn in excellent performances; Bale as the world-class race-car driver and Damon as the automotive designer tasked with developing the car that would see Ford take the victory over Ferrari. The actors give the movie its heart so while the racing sequences are undeniably gripping, you won’t be bored whenever the movie focuses on the bond between the two men and the behind-the-scenes events that show their commitment to the world of racing.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Damon famously wrote the screenplay for this one with his buddy Ben Affleck and they won an Oscar for their writing efforts. Their inspirational and heartwarming story focuses on a lowly janitor (Damon) who is far cleverer than many of the other math students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) where he works. The wayward young man’s mathematical gift is noticed by one of his professors but while his future seems bright, his inner demons threaten to get in the way of his potential.

As Will, the man with a heartbreaking past, Damon gives an exceptional performance. He is matched by Robin Williams who eschews his usual comedy stick to deliver a powerful performance as Will’s therapist and he won the Best Supporting Oscar for his work.

Damon went on to make bigger and bolder movies after Good Will Hunting but very few of them have had the emotional power of this near-classic movie.

And there we have it, our picks for our 10 favourite Matt Damon movies!

What do you think of our list? Have we included your favourites? Or have we missed any must-watch movies? We love to hear from you so do feel free to let us know in the comments below!

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