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The 10 best Ben Affleck movies, ranked

From "Dazed and Confused" to "Gone Girl," these are the best movies of Ben Affleck's career

Ben Affleck in Argo.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Few actors have had stranger, more polarizing careers than Ben Affleck. After bursting onto the scene with a genuinely great movie, his career meandered through action movies, sports movies, and a wide array of other genres. What unifies Affleck’s best work onscreen, though, is its ability to take advantage of his unique combination of good looks and smarm. Sometimes, Affleck finds great ways to direct himself, and other times, he gives himself over to someone else’s vision. What unites each of these movies, though, is that Affleck is excellent in them.

Without further ado, here’s our list of the best Ben Affleck movies.

10. Dazed and Confused (1993)

10. Dazed and Confused
Genre Comedy
Stars Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Matthew McConaughey
Directed by Richard Linklater
Dazed and Confused is one of the best sports movies ever made in which not a single game is played. The movie tells the story of the last day of school as a group of young eighth graders begin to learn the ropes of their high school. It’s a sprawling ensemble movie that’s really about what it’s like to get older and watch your young life pass you by. The movie w0uld be much higher on this list of Affleck had a more substantial role in it, but he’s mostly relegated to the foolish high school bully here. He plays the part well, but it’s not exactly one of the meatiest roles of his career.
Dazed and Confused (1993) - Official Trailer - Matthew McConaughey Movie HD

9. Dogma (1999)

9. Dogma
Genre Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino
Directed by Kevin Smith
Another early project that takes advantage of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s friendship, Dogma is one of Kevin Smith’s most successful projects. In spite of its relatively high concept, both Affleck and Damon are delightful as they take on more sinister roles. It helps that they’re supported by Smith himself as well as a lineup of other stellar actors, chief among them being Alan Rickman. Affleck’s career as a movie star had some pretty definitive highs and lows, but this was definitely an early peak for both him and Damon. 
Dogma (1999) Official Trailer

8. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

8. Shakespeare in Love
Genre Romance, History, Comedy
Stars Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush
Directed by John Madden
Affleck absolutely excels at playing pompous, hilarious characters, and he doesn’t take on that kind of role often enough. He’s not one of the leads in Shakespeare in Love, but he plays a temperamental actor for whom the volatility of Romeo and Juliet‘s initial production becomes a problem. Affleck gets several of the funniest lines of the entire film, and when the secret at the heart of the movie is revealed, he’s one of the few who seems to have the correct response. He may be temperamental, but he’s fundamentally a good guy.
Shakespeare in Love | Official Trailer (HD) - Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow | MIRAMAX

7. Triple Frontier (2019)

7. Triple Frontier
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime, Adventure
Stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam
Directed by J.C. Chandor
Affleck has made his fair share of dad movies, but Triple Frontier is one of the daddest movies he’s ever been involved in. In this story about a team of special forces agents who decide to steal from a drug kingpin in South America, Affleck plays the eldest member, and ostensible leader, of the group. Few actors better play the kind of world-weary but competent men that Affleck specializes in, and Triple Frontier is a showcase for that type of performance. When things inevitably go wrong for the group, it’s Affleck who seems to know how to best play almost every moment. 
Triple Frontier | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

6. The Last Duel (2021)

6. The Last Duel
Genre Action, Drama, History
Stars Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Adam Driver
Directed by Ridley Scott
Affleck is excellent at toggling effortlessly between lead and supporting work, and The Last Duel is proof that he can be excellent in a more comic role. The film tells the story of a sexual assault from three diverging perspectives, but none of those perspectives is Affleck’s character’s. Instead, he plays the lord in charge of the whole affair, and the person who ultimately has to preside over the duel that serves as the movie’s climax. Affleck is genuinely hilarious in the role, even if his sexual politics are as medieval as this movie’s setting. 
The Last Duel | Official Trailer | 20th Century Studios

5. Argo (2012)

5. Argo
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin
Directed by Ben Affleck
The movie that earned Affleck his Best Picture win, Argo is, above all else, a rousing good time. Telling the story of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 through a uniquely Hollywood lens, the movie is the exact right balance of thrills and laughs. It features a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Alan Alda, John Goodman, and Bryan Cranston. Affleck was famously snubbed in the directing race for his work on Argo, but his victory in Best Picture was likely more than enough to leave him satisfied. 
Argo - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

4. The Way Back (2020)

4. The Way Back
Genre Drama
Stars Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins
Directed by Gavin O'Connor

Possibly the most personal movie that Affleck has ever starred in, The Way Back is a deeply emotional film about a former high school basketball star who returns to that school as the film’s coach. Although the movie follows a few conventional sports movie beats, it’s much more interested in exploring the story of Affleck’s character’s alcoholism and the ways it ripples through the rest of his life. Affleck is genuinely wonderful in the film, which is refreshingly unusual in spite of its many familiar trappings.

THE WAY BACK - Official Trailer 2

3. The Town (2010)

3. The Town
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall
Directed by Ben Affleck
Maybe the most thrilling movie Affleck has ever directed, The Town is also one of the most Boston movies ever made. Affleck stars as the leader of a gang of bank robbers who has no real attachments outside a single member of his crew. When he falls in love with the bank teller from one of their heists, he decides he wants to leave his criminal life behind, but he finds that more difficult than he could have anticipated. None of this is exactly revolutionary, but Affleck tells the story in such a captivating manner, and every element is so tight, that The Town has become an almost instant classic. 
The Town - TV Spot # 6

2. Good Will Hunting (1997)

2. Good Will Hunting
Genre Drama
Stars Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck
Directed by Gus Van Sant

The movie that launched by Affleck and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting is much more focused on Damon’s star power than it is on Affleck’s. Even so, Affleck plays such an emotionally intelligent, supportive friend that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. Affleck’s character even gets closer near the end of the movie when he realizes that his friend, an actual genius, has finally left his small life behind and is moving on to bigger and better things. It’s a bittersweet moment, and one that Affleck captures absolutely perfectly.

Good Will Hunting | Official Trailer (HD) Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck | MIRAMAX

1. Gone Girl (2014)

1. Gone Girl
Genre Mystery, Thriller, Drama
Stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon
Directed by David Fincher

No movie harnesses Affleck’s energy more perfectly than Gone Girl, which takes advantage of the darkness that seems to be lurking behind so many of his most well-known characters. Affleck plays Nick, a man who becomes the lead suspect in his wife’s sudden disappearance. The twists and turns of Gone Girl are best left unspoiled, but Affleck is perfect as the midwestern everyman who may or may not have just murdered his wife. The fact that you root for Nick even while kind of hating him is part of the movie’s brilliance, and part of the reason it deserves this top spot.

Gone Girl | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

If you’re looking for more great movies, we’ve also got lists of the best Brad Pitt movies, the best George Clooney Movies, and the best Jake Gyllenhaal movies.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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