A Hollywood veteran and two-time Oscar-winner, Matt Damon has gained legions of fans by charming audiences with unique roles that span genres. He has solidified his acting chops with performances in dramas, comedies, science fiction, and more. For fans new and old, here are some of the best must-watch movies starring the talented Matt Damon.
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting is perhaps the most appropriate place to start when exploring Matt Damon’s impressive acting career. Here we find him in the role of Will Hunting, a genius-level janitor living in rough South Boston, who is discovered by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In this film, Matt Damon experienced a career break-through and he won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (shared with the script’s co-writer Ben Affleck). The movie itself won two other Oscars, for Best Supporting Actor (Robin Williams) and Best Director for Gus Van Sant.
The Departed was Matt Damon’s first collaboration with revered director Martin Scorsese, who made use of his signature gritty style of filmmaking to give the already-excellent script an extra edge. One of the highest-grossing movies of the 2000s, The Departed tells the story of two men in law enforcement who must attempt to prove their loyalty to the powers that be. Damon plays the role of Colin Sullivan, who is living a double life as a mole for the local Irish mob. The Departed is an intense story of betrayal, loyalty, and violence, and Damon’s performance is outstanding.
The Martian brings a unique style of storytelling to the science fiction genre, with Matt Damon turning in an astonishing performance as Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded and struggling to survive after being abandoned on Mars. At its heart, The Martian is a story about the triumph of the human spirit, as Watney overcomes seemingly impossible odds in an attempt to make it back home. The film gained both popular and critical success, and Damon’s performance as the determined and resourceful Watney earned him numerous award nominations.
Interstellar is a science fiction epic about a team of astronauts sent to explore space in search of a new habitable planet for humanity, who must survive extreme challenging conditions while battling mysterious forces of nature. Damon plays a key supporting role as a scientist whose scientific expertise is crucial to the mission’s success. His performance is especially noteworthy in this Christopher Nolan-directed film, as he must convey an amazing range of emotions and provide perspective into the dangerous unknown.
The inspirational story of Nelson Mandela’s journey to unify South Africa by uniting citizens of different colors via rugby is brought to fruition with an amazing cast that includes Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, and Tony Kgoroge. As Francois Pienaar, captain of the South African rugby team, Damon displays an awesome level of commitment and passion in his performance. His character serves as the driving force behind Mandela’s plan, and the scenes between Mandela and Pienaar are especially powerful.
Courage Under Fire
Courage Under Fire marks Matt Damon’s first time playing a leading role, as he plays Lieutenant Colonel Serling, an army helicopter pilot who is chosen to lead an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a heroic Colonel’s death. Serling’s mission becomes complicated by the various conflicting accounts of the incident, and his own personal issues with post-traumatic stress disorder. Damon’s performance as Serling is thoughtful and convincing, but perhaps the biggest success here is how the filmmakers draw the audience in with the mystery and suspense surrounding the events.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
In one of the best film adaptations of a Patricia Highsmith novel, Matt Damon plays the titular character, a con artist and thief who is hired to travel to Italy to coax a wealthy man’s son back home. The film wastes no time getting to the point, as Ripley refuses to accept the offer despite his desperate need of money, as he soon becomes entranced by the luxurious lifestyle of the bygone era that exists in Italy. The Talented Mr. Ripley is an intense psychological thriller that relies heavily on its star’s ability to lead the audience through an unpredictable narrative.
In this Coen Brothers adaptation of the Charles Portis novel, Matt Damon stars as La Boeuf, a Texas Ranger who joins a young girl on a mission to avenge her father’s death. What follows is a wild ride filled with laugh-out-loud moments and gritty moments of action. Despite his supporting role, Matt Damon’s performance steals the show, as he displays the true grit of a Texas Ranger. Damon has cited this role as one of his favorites, and his performance leaves no doubt why.
The Adjustment Bureau
Damon stars in this science fiction-thriller as David Norris, an ambitious politician whose plans for a successful career are thrown into chaos when he discovers a mysterious organization determined to keep his life on track, irrespective of his decisions. The Adjustment Bureau is an innovative story of fate vs. destiny, as shadowy figure from an alternate universe manipulate events in the mundane world. This story is the epitome of sci-fi suspense, backed by an excellent cast, most notably Matt Damon as Norris.
Matt Damon’s body of work shows him as an actor dedicated to challenging himself and taking risks. From comedies to science fiction thrillers, Damon has proven that he can handle whatever Hollywood throws his way. As this list shows, then, the talented Matt Damon has provided movie fans with plenty of amazing and worthy films, so if you’ve yet to experience the best of his films, these are a great place to start.