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Matt Damon: Breaking Down his Top Films


Few actors are as well-known as Boston-born Matt Damon. Damon stepped onto the scene with hard-hitting acting and writing credits for his work with Ben Affleck on Good Will Hunting. From there, Damon began his illustrious career. To date, he’s taken home awards from the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and the Emmy Awards as a writer, actor, and director.

For the most part, Damon is known for his brainier roles. Not only did he help pen and star in Good Will Hunting, a story about a genius stuck in a maintenance job, and later hits like The Departed. The latter is a hard-hitting crime drama based in Boston. Both are witty, intelligent, and well-paced.

Damon is also known for being in a few well-known franchises. The most well-known is The Bourne Franchise. Though the last release wasn’t as critically acclaimed as other releases, his laconic character will be remembered for decades to come. Franchises and intellect aside, Damon is also known for having an X-factor.

With appearances in the Ocean’s 11 franchise and hits like Rounders, Damon has also excelled in his roles related to casinos. The latter was particularly impactful because it spurred interest in poker. Only shortly after the film’s release, online casinos took off around the world. Though players can now use online casino terminology guides to learn the basics, Rounders was the first time millions heard terms like blinds and ante.

In fact, it’s remembered as one of his best acting roles. Like many other Damon-led projects, it has flown under the radar for many fans. Let’s take a closer look at some of his best projects that aren’t quite as well known.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

There’s nothing quite like seeing one of Hollywood’s sweethearts get their hands a little dirty. That’s certainly the case with The Talented Mr. Ripley, a book that was adapted for the screen that covers a particularly devastating conman. Damon steps into the shoes of Mr. Ripley and paints a touching, haunting picture of a psychopath who desperately wants to be someone else. It’s a role he’s never quite repeated, and one that you’re not likely to forget.

The Martian (2015)

The Martian hasn’t aged well—but Damon’s performance helps save this hefty project. This film covers a doomed mission of an American astronaut on Mars. The mission goes awry and Damon must keep his wits to communicate that he’s alive and needs to be saved. Though the entire project rings with American propaganda and a dangerous perspective on science, Damon’s performance is a master class in earnest emotion.


True Grit (2010)

Once again we’re covering a book-turned-film. True Grit is also a classic in the Western genre. The Coen brothers project was a huge undertaking, even with a lineup including Damon, Josh Brolin, and Jeff Bridges. But the result is a remake of a classic Western masterpiece, with Damon serving as its backbone as he plays a Texas lawman on the hunt for the film’s wayward hero, played by Bridges.

Ponyo (2008)

Who knew that Damon rubbed elbows with Studio Ghibli? Though Ponyo isn’t regarded as one of the best projects from Hayao Miyazaki or the studio, Damon’s voice acting shines through. The movie covers an underwater fairytale in which a little goldfish wants to become human and, in doing so, creates conflict for a little village. Damon’s voice acting is a real treat in this film, along with performances by Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, and Tiny Fey.

AIR (2023)

This new release flew under the radar for many—but it’s a fantastic drama that’s unlikely to be forgotten. Ben Affleck wrote and directed the film, which covers the rise of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, along with Jordan’s early dealings with Nike. Though the drama takes a few liberties, it’s largely a true depiction of how Nike and Jordan helped put sports fashion on the map. While the story might sound a bit dry, Damon and the rest of the studded cast flawlessly bring their characters to life.