Skip to main content

10 Mark Ruffalo movies you have to watch (that aren’t Marvel)

These are the best Mark Ruffalo movies that have nothing to do with the Hulk

Mark Ruffalo at Comic-Con
Mark Ruffalo is interviewed at a convention. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

When looking at all of the actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mark Ruffalo has arguably enjoyed the greatest amount of success outside of the superhero realm. Ruffalo experiments with different genres and Oscar-worthy films to carry a high level of respect from his peers and fans at home. Watching any Mark Ruffalo movie instantly allows someone to see how he absorbs himself into a role and becomes an entirely different person.

Ruffalo started his career in supporting roles before becoming the Hulk. Since his worldwide fame as the green antihero, Ruffalo has been granted opportunities in large ensemble casts next to some of Hollywood’s best talent. These are the best Mark Ruffalo movies you can watch that have nothing to do with Marvel, and they will give you a complete picture of his dramatic and comedic skills on the big screen!

10. Begin Again (2013)

10. Begin Again
104m
Genre
Comedy, Music, Romance, Drama
Stars
Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine
Directed by
John Carney
Watch on Amazon

Ruffalo and Keira Knightley create a dynamite pairing as a singer and music producer both down on their luck and looking for a break to save their careers. Ruffalo and Knightley’s palpable energy and electric chemistry carry what would otherwise be a benign music film. Begin Again was released during the prime of Ruffalo’s Marvel surge but doesn’t get a lot of critical recognition a decade later.

9. Collateral (2004)

9. Collateral
120m
Genre
Drama, Crime, Thriller
Stars
Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Jada Pinkett Smith
Directed by
Michael Mann
Watch on Paramount+

Mark Ruffalo often receives no recognition for his role in Collateral, an action film most known for forcing Tom Cruise into an antagonist role. Cruise plays an assassin who forces Jamie Foxx’s character to drive him to his killing destinations. Ruffalo plays the main police officer caught in the crime spree, desperately trying to prevent it.

8. Dark Waters (2019)

8. Dark Waters
127m
Genre
Drama, Thriller
Stars
Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins
Directed by
Todd Haynes
Watch on Amazon

Dark Waters puts Mark Ruffalo in a different position than fans would expect: starring in a legal thriller. Ruffalo plays Robert Bilott, a lawyer who tried to make DuPont accountable for unethical business practices and pollution. Ruffalo was already familiar with the genre of “trying to dig up dirt on powerful people” because of Spotlight, but Dark Waters has a different tone and makes Ruffalo carry more of the weight.

7. The Kids Are All Right (2010)

7. The Kids Are All Right
106m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Stars
Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by
Lisa Cholodenko
Watch on Amazon

Mark Ruffalo plays a man who gets involved in the lives of his biological children after serving as a surrogate to a lesbian couple. The movie examines the ups and downs of queer people raising kids, how society wears down people through discrimination, and how the people surrounding same-sex couples can help and hurt the success of a family. The Kids Are Alright should be at the top of your Pride Month movie list.

6. Zodiac (2007)

6. Zodiac
163m
Genre
Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Stars
Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards
Directed by
David Fincher
Watch on Amazon

Everyone loves a good serial killer film, right? Mark Ruffalo compliments the uber-talented cast of Zodiac, the story of several San Francisco detectives who try to identify and capture the titular psychopath from the 1970s. The fact that the real criminal who committed the heinous acts still hasn’t been arrested over 50 years later makes the plot of the movie ripe for interpretation by genius director David Fincher.

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
108m
Genre
Science Fiction, Drama, Romance
Stars
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst
Directed by
Michel Gondry
Watch on Amazon

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will always be Jim Carrey’s dramatic masterpiece. The movie follows Carrey’s character as he attempts to overcome heartbreak through memory removal, a creative genre mixture of sci-fi and romance that many films today don’t possess. Ruffalo plays another man struggling with his love affairs, and it fits nicely into his portfolio of sidekick roles that make up a large majority of his non-Marvel career.

4. You Can Count on Me (2000)

4. You Can Count on Me
111m
Genre
Drama
Stars
Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick
Directed by
Kenneth Lonergan
Watch on Amazon

Laura Linney (mainly known by younger audiences for her performance in Ozark) and Mark Ruffalo bombastically resonate with audiences who know the joys and pain of tumultuous brother-sister relationships. Linney and Ruffalo play siblings who come together after a period of estrangement, desperately trying to make a change in their lives, both to varying degrees. The film represents the peak of good, old-fashioned family dramas, and it’s unfortunate that it has gone under the radar almost a quarter-century after its release.

3. Poor Things (2023)

3. Poor Things
142m
Genre
Science Fiction, Romance, Comedy
Stars
Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe
Directed by
Yorgos Lanthimos
Watch on Amazon

The most recent effort on this list featuring Ruffalo, Poor Things cleaned up at the Academy Awards with special consideration given to Emma Stone’s performance. Yorgos Lanthimos’ film looks at a woman whose body and mind don’t match in maturity levels after an experiment places a baby’s brain inside a fully grown conduit. Willem Dafoe steals the show at times as the doctor who completes the procedure, but Raffalo’s chemistry with Stone makes the proceedings inescapable. The movie is one of the best romantic science fiction stories of the 2020s so far.   

2. Foxcatcher (2014)

2. Foxcatcher
134m
Genre
Drama, Thriller
Stars
Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by
Bennett Miller
Watch on Hulu

Foxcatcher examines the murderous corruption within the du Pont family, specifically the violent John du Pont. While the film is most known for Steve Carell’s depiction of the aforementioned rich convict, Mark Ruffalo goes bar-for-bar with Carell as du Pont’s victim, Olympic wrestler David Schultz. Anybody interested in the messy, behind-the-scenes madness of America’s ultra-wealthy and the abuse that happens behind closed doors when it comes to Olympic athletics will jump right into this story and become immersed instantly. The movie proved both Ruffalo and Carell’s worth outside of their typecastings.

1. Spotlight (2015)

1. Spotlight
129m
Genre
Drama, History
Stars
Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Directed by
Tom McCarthy
Watch on Amazon

When you combine a strong moral compass to a historical biopic, use incredible actors to tell the story, and care deeply about making a different through filmmaking, you get the wonderous Best Picture winner, Spotlight. Mark Ruffalo stars as one of the main reporters at The Boston Globe who dug up dirt on the despicable pedophilia and child abuse within the Catholic Church in the early 2000s. The movie might be a sore spot for devout Catholics, but the message is clear: organized religion must be held accountable for the bad it causes in the world just as much as the good it inspires. Ruffalo’s performance stood out in the ensemble cast and helped bring renown and respect to his name at the height of his career. 

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek, Quote.com, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
The best movies on Amazon Prime to watch in June
Add these Prime movies to your watchlist this month
Remote close-up watching TV

Amazon Prime has one of the largest libraries of content in the world filled with good movies to watch. Whether you want to watch a comedy movie or a crime drama television show, Amazon probably has what you're looking for as far as the best movies to stream right now. When there's so much to watch, it can be hard to sort through everything to find the best viewing options, though. Thankfully, we're here to help. We've already compiled a list of Amazon Prime TV shows for you to enjoy. And, if you're looking for the best movies to watch right now, we've also found a selection of the best movies on Amazon Prime for you to browse.

If you're looking for more than just the best Amazon Prime movies, we've also found the best Netflix movies, the best Hulu movies, the best Disney Plus movies, and the best Netflix documentaries to stream right now.

Read more
The best shows and movies to watch on Apple TV Plus in June
Apple TV+ has an impressive library that includes great movies and shows
Austin Butler in Masters of the Air.

When computer company Apple announced that it was getting into the streaming TV game, there were plenty of people who were skeptical about the company's ability to pull it off. Why would the tech giant, which is most known for the Macintosh and the iPhone, have any credibility in making television shows? It doesn't seem the two ideas would mesh in any meaningful way, but in the years since Apple TV Plus launched, the company has come up with some pretty impressive original shows, and it picked up a Best Picture Oscar on top of that.
What's even more impressive is that these Apple TV shows and movies run the gamut from comedy to drama, and are all set in wildly different and imaginative places. Apple may be best known for making great phones, but it turns out it knows how to tell pretty interesting stories, too. These Apple TV movies and shows are the cream of the crop and the best on this streaming service.
If you're looking for more great stuff to stream, you should also check out our lists of the best shows on Netflix, the best shows on Hulu, and the best shows on Disney Plus.

Masters of the Air (2024)

Read more
The best movies on Max you can stream in June
New to Max? Here are the top movies to start with
Timothee Chalamet in Dune Part 2.

Now that HBO Max has rebranded as Max, it's the right time to get acquainted with all of the great movies to watch on the streaming service. In addition to large portions of the Warner Bros. catalog, it also has tons of seminal, classic films, as well as plenty of foreign releases. Because the catalog is so big and rich, there are about 250 titles that could go on this list. There's a wealth of options to choose from whether you're into action movies or comedies, and you shouldn't feel limited by the selection below.
Instead, you should treat it as a jumping-off point of HBO Max movies, one that will hopefully allow you to explore many of the titles that didn't quite make the cut. Max has great movies in every genre and from every period of film history. This is just a sampling of the best movies on Max. And if you're looking for more Max content, we've rounded up the best shows on Max to watch right now.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Read more