When you look at the list of Matt Damon movies, you soon realize that he has worked with the very best of the best of directors, from Spielberg to Scorsese to Eastwood to Ridley Scott, growing as an actor through the years, though he was mighty good to begin with. In many ways there is an everyman quality to Damon that was perhaps best put to use in The Martian (2015), but it has always been there. And we believe when he is extraordinary as we did with Good Will Hunting (1997) and his gifted psychic in Hereafter (2010) because it comes with such honesty and integrity.
It was alarming to see him as the bad guy in films such The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and more recently in The Departed (2006), yet again because it comes from such an honest place, we believe him. Behind that goofy smile in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) was a laser smart psychotic serial killer capable of doing anything to get what he wants. In The Departed (2006), we see him fall under the spell of Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello, but are also aware he is running the show and will do what he has to do to save his skin.
I loved his performance in The Martian (2015) and in any other year would have cheered for him to win the Oscar, but he has no chance against Di Caprio…no one does, but like his friend Leonardo, the day will come when he wins his own Best Actor. Here is the list of top Matt Damon movies, selected from his impressive filmography. You can stream some of these Matt Damon movies online on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu.
10. The Ocean Series (2001-07)
He may not be the center of attention in films — Clooney and Pitt are — but he still shines in an understated role. He is funny and apt for the part. I have a nagging suspicion that he got the part of Bourne because of Ocean’s Eleven. You can also see his growth as an actor in the films: from a young, enthusiastic actor to a mature performer.
9. We Bought a Zoo (2011)
This may not be a popular choice, but that’s doesn’t take away anything from Damon’s wonderfully understated turn as a father of two children looking for a perfect home for his family. Damon inherent, good-natured personality is such that he is perfect for such type of roles. He has this quality about himself whereby he can dissolve into any character and you immediately forget that he is a global superstar.
8. Behind the Candelabra (2013)
As the used and tossed away one time lover of Liberace (Michael Douglas) Damon is outstanding. Though Douglas got the lions share of awards and reviews. It is a bold and daring performance.
7. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
A highly underrated performance in a highly underrated film. Conceptually, the film may sound outlandish, but somehow the makers were able to pull it off magnificently. When you have a film that right from the outset is based on a complex subject, the actor’s job becomes even more difficult. But thanks to Damon, he makes both himself and the film completely believable.
6. The Informant (2006)
A true story, directed by Steven Soderbergh of a man who was a liar, pure and simple and lost track of what was truth. Bilking his company of more than eleven million dollars, he co-operated with the FBI all the while leading them in a direction away from the money and himself, creating false medical reports, going as far to lie to his wife who incredibly stood by him.
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5. Good Will Hunting (1997)
As a troubled blue collar math genius, his IQ not measurable by man, Damon broke through in a film he and his boyhood friend Ben Affleck wrote and won an Oscar for doing so. The scenes with Robin Williams, slowly uncovering the abuse Hunting has endured crackle with electricity, but Damon holds the rest of the film together too. Heartbreaking and inspiring. His breakdown is shattering.
4. The Departed (2006)
Portraying Colin, a young south Boston kid who falls under the spell of local mob boss Costello (Jack Nicholson) and becomes his eyes and ears inside the police world. Graduating as a detective to infiltrate the investigation of Costello and feed him information, he is a paranoid ass of nerves aware the wrong word could end him. His scenes with Nicholson are chilling.
3. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Tom Ripley is a sociopath, who wants to be in the world of the wealthy so badly he murders his friend Dickie, and assumes his identity, buying and spending his way through Italy and Europe. A homosexual at a time when being one was dangerous, he is quietly terrifying. Watch the eyes….ice cold.
2. The Martian (2015)
As Mark Watney, he brilliantly found the dark humor of being abandoned on Mars and forced to figure out a way to live long enough for them to get back to him. A wise ass, but brilliant as a scientist, he makes us care about him. The scene of him about to blast off, weeping in the rocket, will break your heart as everything that has happened to him has hit home, including the staggering sacrifice the crew made to come back for him.
1. The Bourne Series (2002-07)
If you talk to real secret agents, they will tell you being a CIA operative or a part of any intelligence agency is not cool; it is dangerous. But the beauty of Damon’s performance in ‘The Bourne Series’ is that he makes the job look really cool. The action scenes in the film were the most authentic I have even seen in a film. And the credit for that should go to Damon, who with his incredible swift body movement made the hand combat and chase scenes feel real and gritty. I don’t think there will never be a cooler secret agent than Damon as Bounre. Yes, that includes all the James Bonds as well.
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