Whether in the drama “Good Will Hunting” or in the action film “The Bourne Identity”: Matt Damon has impressively demonstrated his versatility several times over the course of his 30-year acting career. But what are the best Matt Damon films?
By Katharina Stanienda
“Good Will Hunting” (1997)
In 1997, Matt Damon was considered in Hollywood the Shooting star par excellence, even though he has actually been an actor since 1988. The reason for the sudden attention was his film “Good Will Hunting”, with which the actor celebrated his international breakthrough alongside Ben Affleck and Robin Williams.
In the drama, Matt Damon slips into the role of the boy prodigy Will, who despite his intelligence keeps himself afloat with lousy jobs and comes into conflict with the law. His only hope: Professor Maguire, one of the few people who can find access to the gifted boy.
In the movie “Good Will Hunting” Matt Damon not only starred, but also wrote the script with his friend Ben Affleck. In 1998 this was rewarded with both an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
“Saving Private Ryan” (1998)
The success that Matt Damon celebrated with the film “Good Will Hunting” finally brought the actor additional role offers. For example, Steven Spielberg engaged Matt Damon just one year later for his Oscar-winning war epic “Saving Private Ryan”.
In it Matt Damon plays the eponymous hero and US soldier James Ryan, who was missing in enemy territory during the Second World War. After his three brothers have already died in the service of the American army, a troop led by Captain John Miller, played by Tom Hanks, is supposed to find the only surviving son and bring him home. But why is James Ryan’s life worth risking eight other soldiers?
After “Good Will Hunting” Matt Damon appeared again in 1999 alongside his good friend Ben Affleck – in the film “Dogma”. In it, the two play the fallen angels Loki and Bartleby, who try to make their way back to heaven. One or the other victim does not stay away.
In addition to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the film also has other top-class cast. Among others, Alan Rickman, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock as well as Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, better known as Jay and Silent Bob, will be there.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999)
In the highly acclaimed film “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, Matt Damon, as Tom Ripley’s working-class child, happens to have a taste for the Italian Dolce Vita. And that’s exactly what the impostor and fraudster don’t want to give up so quickly – no matter what the cost.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. In addition to Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman are also involved.
“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
Admittedly: Matt Damon is not in the lead role in “Ocean’s Eleven”, but only one of numerous supporting actors, nonetheless the actor does his job as pickpocket Linus pretty well. Together with Danny Ocean alias George Clooney and other accomplices, who are played in the Heist film by Brad Pitt, Andy García and Casey Affleck, among others, the criminal relieved three casinos in Las Vegas by 150 million dollars.
The film is absolutely worth watching. So it’s no wonder that the sequels “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” weren’t long in coming. And of course Matt Damon was on board again.
“The Bourne Identity” (2002)
When it comes to Matt Damon films, there is one strip that should not be missing: The talk is of “The Bourne Identity”. In it, the Hollywood star plays a CIA agent who has lost his memory and tries to track down his true identity. However, he has no idea that he is part of a conspiracy.
“The Bourne Identity” laid the foundation for a successful, high-speed film franchise. Matt Damon also enjoyed box office success a few years later with the sequels “The Bourne Conspiracy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum”.
There is no question that Matt Damon produced a brilliant acting performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese’s “Departed”, which was awarded in four categories at the 2007 Academy Awards – including best film.
In the gangster thriller Matt Damon plays the policeman Colin Sullivan, a pupil of Mafia boss Costello, who works as a mole in an elite unit in Boston and thus sabotages the investigation into organized crime. But the police have also sneaked into the mafia clan with an undercover agent. An exciting game of cat and mouse begins.
“True Grit” (2010)
Meanwhile, Matt Damon plays the vain Texas Ranger LeBoeuf in the Coen brothers’ film “True Grit”. As this he goes in search of the criminal Tom Chaney – as well as the 14-year-old Mattie and the hardened warrior Rooster Cogburn, played by Jeff Bridges, who want to bring down Chaney for the murder of Mattie’s father.
“True Grit” is the film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Charles Portis from 1968 and was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 2011. Although the reviews were positive, the Coen brothers’ western failed to win an Oscar. This makes it one of the most nominated films without an Oscar.
“Liberace – Too much of a good is wonderful” (2013)
In his most unusual role, viewers saw Matt Damon in the film “Liberace – Too much of a good thing is wonderful” at the side of Michael Douglas. In the biopic of the virtuoso pianist and superstar of the 60s and 70s, Matt Damon as Scott Thorson is introduced to the world of glittering costumes and golden candlesticks. A love relationship develops between the simple boy from the provinces and the show star, but it is put to the test over time.
“The Martian – Save Mark Watney” (2015)
In 2015 Matt Damon starred in the movie “The Martian – Save Mark Watney”. The space film tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who is left behind after an accident while on a mission on Mars. While the “Martian” tries everything to survive, NASA tries to save its crew member at the same time.
In the Ridley Scott film, Matt Damon was able to convince across the board as an astronaut believed to be dead. The reward: A Golden Globe in the category “Best Actor in a Comedy / Musical”.
“Le Mans 66: Against Every Chance” (2019)
In the new film with Matt Damon, the Hollywood star becomes a real racing legend: the former Le Mans winner from 1959, Carroll Shelby, is hired by Ford as a designer to build a sports car. The goal: The car should compete in the famous 24-hour race with competitor Ferrari. Together with his friend and car mechanic Ken Miles (Christian Bale), he succeeds in the seemingly impossible: in 1966 they beat Le Mans with their Ford GT40 – even if their victory has a bitter aftertaste.
- “Stillwater” (Drama, Thriller; Release in USA: November 6, 2020)
- “The Last Duel” (Drama; Cinema release in Germany: October 14, 2021)