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The best Matt Damon movies, ranked

From Good Will Hunting to Ford v. Ferrari, these are the best Matt Damon movies that you can stream right now

For more than 25 years, Matt Damon has been one of the great movie stars of his or any generation. What makes Damon so special is that he has plenty of charm, and can definitely lay it on when he needs to, but he’s not a one-trick pony. Damon can play idiots, sociopaths, and basically any other type of role that Hollywood wants to throw at him. He’s an expert comedian and a wonderful dramatic actor, and he easily stacks up against the great movie stars of all time.

10. Ford v Ferrari (2019)

10. Ford v Ferrari
Drama, Action, History
Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal
Directed by
James Mangold
Watch on Hulu
Damon is one of our great movie stars, but he may be even better when he works as a co-lead. In Ford v. Ferrari, he plays the automotive designer who teams up with a temperamental driver, played by Christian Bale, to attempt to win the Le Mans race. Damon and Bale have wonderful chemistry together, and Damon’s level-headed persona is perfectly suited for the role. He may not have the showier of the two parts, but this is Damon in pure movie star mode, and few actors are more perfectly suited for a role like this than he is.
FORD v FERRARI | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

9. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

9. Ocean's Eleven
Thriller, Crime
George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García
Directed by
Steven Soderbergh
Watch on HBO Max
In Ocean’s Eleven, Damon is self-consciously cast as the young upstart who plays off of George Clooney and Brad Pitt’s more experienced thieves. It’s a supporting role, but one that established that Damon was more than capable of hanging with the likes of Pitt and Clooney. Damon’s Linus is meant to be smart and naturally gifted but quite green, and the many scenes where Clooney and Pitt’s characters have to go over the rules of heisting are some of the best in the movie. Damon becomes a surrogate audience figure, and although he’s not the movie’s main character, it wouldn’t work without him.
Ocean's Eleven (2001) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

8. True Grit (2010)

8. True Grit
Drama, Adventure, Western
Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon
Directed by
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Watch on Amazon
Another supporting role for Damon, True Grit also may be the best performance he’s ever delivered. Playing a Texas ranger who joins up with a young girl and a US marshal on a quest to deliver the man who murdered the girl’s father to justice, Damon is playing an out-and-out fool and seems to relish the opportunity that the role provides him. This is Damon in a purely comic mode, and he’s rarely been funnier than he is here. The Coen brothers’ True Grit is a genuine masterpiece, and the only reason it’s not higher on this list is that Damon is not at the center of it.
True Grit - Trailer

7. Margaret (2011)

7. Margaret
Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by
Kenneth Lonergan
Watch on Amazon
The story of Margaret‘s long journey to the screen is too much to get into here, but Damon’s supporting performance is absolutely crucial to what makes the movie work. Damon plays a teacher who strikes up a highly inappropriate relationship with one of his students, but what makes the movie great is that he’s very much just one part of this girl’s journey. Here, we get to see how quietly despicable Damon can be, even as he acts like a supportive teacher who only cares about his student’s best interests.
Margaret (2011) HD Movie Trailer - Kenneth Lonergan New Film

6. The Departed (2006)

6. The Departed
Drama, Thriller, Crime
Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon
Directed by
Martin Scorsese
Watch on Netflix
Another great example of Damon in a co-lead role, The Departed features Damon as a cop who is secretly working for the mob. At the same time, Leonardo DiCaprio is a gangster who is really an undercover cop, and the two attempt to ferret one another out without being caught themselves. This is one of Scorsese’s most thrilling films, in large part thanks to Damon and DiCaprio’s dueling turns in the central roles. Damon got to whip out his full Boston accent here, and he used all of the charm he has in his back pocket to make you understand the movie’s most despicable character.
The Departed (2005) Official Trailer - Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson Movie HD

Read more: The best Leonardo DiCaprio movies of all time 

5. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

5. The Bourne Ultimatum
Action, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn
Directed by
Paul Greengrass
Watch on Amazon
The best action franchise of Damon’s career, The Bourne Ultimatum is the ideal representative from the franchise on this list. The sequel ranks among the best ever made, and that’s thanks in part to Paul Greengrass’s contribution to both this film and its predecessor. Really though, The Bourne Ultimatum just has a thrilling combination of good plotting and inventively made action, and it proved to be the perfect capper to the original trilogy of Bourne films. The less said about subsequent installments in this franchise, the better.
The Bourne Ultimatum Official Trailer #1 - David Strathairn Movie (2007) HD

4. The Last Duel (2021)

4. The Last Duel
Action, Drama, History
Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Adam Driver
Directed by
Ridley Scott
Watch on Amazon
Perhaps an unlikely contender for a spot this high on the list, but The Last Duel is maybe the most underrated movie of the 2020s to date. Starring Damon as a noble knight who discovers that his wife is claiming that she was raped, the film is told in a Roshomon-like structure, offering three different perspectives on the events at its center. Damon is once again tasked with playing a doof here, but her performs the role admirably and then graciously steps out of the way to allow Jodie Comer, the film’s real star, to shine. The titular duel at the movie’s climax is thrilling, but that’s basically true for every moment of The Last Duel from beginning to end.
The Last Duel | Official Trailer | 20th Century Studios

3. The Martian (2015)

3. The Martian
Drama, Adventure, Science Fiction
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels
Directed by
Ridley Scott
Watch on Amazon
The Martian has a sprawling, star-studded ensemble, but it’s Matt Damon’s movie from front to back. Telling the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who has to figure out how to survive there for years, the movie relies so heavily on Damon’s charm and charisma that it’s hard to imagine any other actor taking on the part. Damon makes surviving alone on Mars seem downright fun at moments, and The Martian is a great story about solving problems one at a time. It’s science fiction, but the kind that’s deeply rooted in real science.
The Martian | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

2. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

2. The Talented Mr. Ripley
Thriller, Crime, Drama
Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law
Directed by
Anthony Minghella
Watch on Paramount+
Coming on the heels of Good Will Hunting,  The Talented Mr. Ripley proved that Damon was going to have a long, long career in Hollywood. Here, he plays Tom Ripley, an obsessive con man who becomes ensconced in the life of a wealthy and powerful young man. All of the charm that Damon displayed as Will Hunting is totally absent here, replaced by an emptiness that feels both terrifying and sad. Tom Ripley is dangerous, and in spite of his square jaw and conventional leading man looks, Damon knows exactly how to make him feel like a real threat.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Read more: The best Ben Affleck movies of all time

1. Good Will Hunting (1997)

1. Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck
Directed by
Gus Van Sant
Watch on Amazon
The movie that definitively launched Damon and won him an Oscar, Good Will Hunting had to be at the top of this list. Damon plays Will, a brilliant mathematician who is scared of building a life based on his brilliance. The movie lives and dies on the performances of both Damon and Robin Williams, and the movie is still a tear-jerker all these years later. Is it a little sentimental? Maybe, but if you’re not weeping by the end of the movie, you don’t deserve everything that Damon has to offer.
Good Will Hunting | Official Trailer (HD) Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck | MIRAMAX

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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 Charleston Post & Courier, and Paste Magazine.

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