The 20 Best Ben Affleck Movies Ranked

No recent Hollywood star has had the public highs and lows of Ben Affleck. Throughout his twenty-plus years in the film industry, Affleck has been a figure of acclaim, derision, and controversy. But at the end of the day, we're still rooting for Affleck as he continues surprising us.

Affleck broke out with his childhood friend Matt Damon thanks to their award-winning screenplay for "Good Will Hunting," a film they also starred in together. Affleck and Damon's off-screen friendship predates their many film roles together. During his early career, Affleck's personal life drew much attention in the press, making him a prominent target of tabloid media.

After a series of critically-panned movies, including "Gigli," "Bounce," "Jersey Girl," and "Daredevil," Affleck rebounded by stepping behind the camera for his directorial debut "Gone Baby Gone" in 2007. He soon became one of the best directors of the 21st century. Affleck temporarily set aside working on new directorial projects when he was cast in the DC Extended Universe as Batman. He first appeared as Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." Unfortunately, the film was a massive disappointment. He'll get another chance to portray the character in 2022's "The Flash."

Here's a ranking of Ben Affleck's top 20 films to date.

20. The Accountant

Ben Affleck had a rough year in 2016. Within 12 months, he suffered through the massive critical and financial failures of both "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" and his directorial project "Live by Night." Despite those crushing disappointments, he managed to appear in one of the most underrated films of his career. "The Accountant" is a thrilling action vehicle that perfectly merges a high-concept story with completely ludicrous plot twists. It's a universe that would be well worth revisiting in multiple installments.

Affleck stars as Chris Wolff, a kind-hearted accountant who operates a private office. Outside of his day job, Wolff secretly searches for financial crimes using his genius-level fiscal skills. Wolff is also an autistic man who avoids most social interactions. Affleck is remarkable in the role, and despite all of the silly conspiracy storylines in the film, his character is depicted with sensitivity and seriousness.

19. Triple Frontier

"Triple Frontier" is a good movie that is made great by the personal touches the cast brings to the story. There's nothing about the premise that's particularly remarkable — although it is nice to see a relatively small-scale, R-rated action movie aimed at adults that isn't part of a franchise. What makes the film so spectacular (aside from some truly gripping set pieces) is how it genuinely focuses on broken men who are having a tough time coping.

The film follows five former military men who decide to utilize their training to plot a heist on a South American drug operation. Nicknamed Redfly (Ben Affleck), Pope (Oscar Isaac), Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), Benny (Garret Hedlund), and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), the loose band of friends gets in over their heads, and their daring robbery turns into a grueling fight for survival. Affleck is particularly strong as a struggling father who is willing to cross moral boundaries to provide for his children.

18. Armageddon

One of the most entertaining stories from Ben Affleck's behind-the-scenes interactions is recounted in his infamous DVD commentary for "Armageddon." Affleck questioned director Michael Bay on the logic of having drillers train as astronauts to save humanity from an impending asteroid strike and asked why the plan wasn't to simply train astronauts how to drill. Bay reportedly told him to shut up because it was "a real plan."

Nevertheless, Affleck completely commits to the sheer absurdity of "Armageddon." It's about as dumb as big blockbusters get, but Affleck and his co-stars are at least having fun playing up the story's melodramatic aspects. Affleck's romance with Liv Tyler is so riddled with clichés that it's comical. Still, he seems to enjoy fawning over her. During the film's last moments, his tearful goodbye to Bruce Willis is so sincerely overacted that it's hard to tell whether to laugh or cry in response.

17. Mallrats

Ben Affleck's collaborations with Kevin Smith have allowed him to take on roles that are outside his comfort zone. Comfortable with the "Clerks" director's outrageous sense of humor, Affleck's work with Smith has given him the confidence to take on parts that seem distant from his typical performances. In Smith's 1995 comedy "Mallrats" he portrays villainous clothing store manager Shannon Hamilton. Affleck is such a naturally likable guy that it's always a treat when he plays the bully.

The film centers on two best friends (Jeremy London and Jason Lee) who are both struggling in the aftermath of romantic breakups. They have nothing better to do than just hang around the mall and talk about comic books. Lee appears as the foul-mouthed Brodie Bruce, who, despite his immature nature, has genuine affection for his ex-girlfriend, Rene Mosier (Shannen Doherty). When Rene begins dating Shannon, Brodie has to convince her that, while he's imperfect, he's not the slimy creep that Shannon is.

16. Changing Lanes

In the wake of the financial failure of Ridley Scott's "The Last Duel," Ben Affleck spoke about the film industry's lack of support for mid-budget dramas that aren't connected to franchises. Affleck was likely talking about films such as "Changing Lanes." While the film is only two decades old, the idea of a two-handed star vehicle that's aimed at adults feels like it's from a completely different era. "Changing Lanes" mixes in themes of race relations, legal malpractice, and class mobility in an entertaining 99 minutes that features a lot of Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson shouting at each other.

The film centers on a car accident between Black insurance salesman Doyle Gipson (Jackson) and the white Wall Street attorney Gavin Banek (Affleck). Both men are in the middle of rushing to important events. Gipson is trying to get to a custody hearing with his ex-wife over his sons, and Banek is trying to complete a power of appointment filing. The conflict between the two forces both men to consider each other's points of view.

15. To the Wonder

Ben Affleck has appeared in so many bad romantic comedies that it's easy to forget what a genuinely compelling romantic lead he can be. Affleck possesses the requisite charisma and good looks, but he also has a versatility that makes him well-attuned for projects that aren't mainstream. Is there any director that's less mainstream than Terrence Malick? The beloved arthouse filmmaker has a history of making films that some consider masterpieces, but others find unwatchable.

Malick's 2012 film "To The Wonder" follows the challenges that Neil (Affleck), an American man, and his Ukrainian bride Marina (Olga Kurylenko) face when they move to a small town in Neil's home state of Oklahoma. Their initial encounters are a textbook romance (they even meet in Paris), but they're gradually forced to deal with the reality of watching their fairytale relationship turn into an average marriage. Malick's outside-the-box filmmaking techniques include some strange visual choices, but Affleck and Kurylenko have undeniable chemistry.

14. School Ties

One of Ben Affleck's earliest screen roles came in the coming-of-age classic "School Ties," a film that launched the careers of many of the young male stars who would dominate the screen in subsequent decades. Set in 1955, the film focuses on David Greene (Brendan Fraser), a Jewish teenager who is accepted to an elite Massachusetts prep school on a football scholarship. Greene must conceal his religion to escape the vicious anti-Semitism of the era.

Greene's chief rival is Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon). Charlie initially takes a liking to his new classmate, but he turns on him when his own academic and athletic pursuits begin to fall flat. Soon, Charlie seizes an opportunity to embarrass David over his heritage. Affleck has a key supporting role as Charlie's buddy and supporter, Chesty Smith. It's a darker take on the bond the two would share on-screen in "Good Will Hunting."

13. State of Play

The political drama "State of Play" was released during a transitional period in Ben Affleck's career. A string of critically-panned star vehicles resulted in Affleck stepping into more supporting roles. During this time, Affleck also struggled with negative media attention. He had the ambition to be great at his craft but wasn't taken seriously. His "State of Play" character Congressman Stephen Collins deals with similar struggles.

Collins leads an investigation into private military contractor PointCorp. He intends to take the federal investigation to the group's work overseas. However, his campaign for governmental honesty is offset by a personal scandal. Sonia Baker (Maria Thayer), a young researcher on his staff, tragically dies in an apparent suicide. Collins and Baker were having an affair, and he's forced to spend time addressing her death. The sensationalized news coverage ends up dominating the headlines. He clearly wants to continue pursuing his investigation, and Affleck shows the difficult position that Collins is in. He recognizes what he did was wrong, but it has nothing to do with his goal. Unfortunately for him, that goal isn't sensational enough that the press wants to focus on it.

12. Dazed and Confused

Ben Affleck is both a great leading man and a very enjoyable character actor. Although some stars have been labeled "character actors in movie star bodies," Affleck can do both and has proven it since the very beginning of his career. "Dazed and Confused" came out before Affleck was a household name, and he's hardly the only breakout star from Richard Linklater's seminal coming-of-age comedy.  Linklater's style is very realistic but with a hint of the ridiculous. Affleck embraces that tone with an exaggerated version of the type of bully many of us faced growing up.

PArt of the film centers on a group of middle school boys as they deal with the struggles of transitioning into high school. One of those challenges is the cruelty of older bullies. There's no bully more ruthless than Affleck's Fred O'Bannion, a brutish oaf who takes joy in beating the incoming freshman class (especially Mitch, played by Wiley Wiggins). He's much older than the average bully because he failed to pass his senior exams multiple times. Affleck is comically loutish as this hulking beast. 

11. Dogma

Ever since his breakout turn in "Good Will Hunting," Ben Affleck's career has been closely linked to his childhood best friend Matt Damon. It's been fascinating to watch both of their careers develop, and Damon is a much different actor than Affleck. There's a unique spark when the two because of their off-screen bond. Genuine chemistry isn't something that can be easily replicated. When these two Boston kids are bouncing off each other, it is simply delightful.

Affleck tends to take a back seat to his buddy. As good as Affleck is in "Good Will Hunting" and "School Ties," Damon has the most more and more compelling character arcs. Affleck shows up as his loyal supporter and personal champion. They got a chance to appear on more equal footing in 1999 with Kevin Smith's outrageous religious satire "Dogma."

Affleck and Damon star as Bartleby and Loki, a pair of angels who are cursed to live on Earth. Cast out of heaven by God for their indiscretions, they enjoy pulling holy pranks on mortals during their stay. Much of the movie feels like Affleck and Damon are just hanging out together as the heavenly pair walk around and make snide comments.

10. The Company Men

Ben Affleck has certainly had some humbling experiences in his career. However, audiences are still invested in him. Despite being a very wealthy, privileged Hollywood actor, Affleck is inherently likable has maintained an underdog spirit.

In the 2010 drama "The Company Men," Affleck plays a privileged character who is forced to take a closer look at what he has. Released only a few years after the financial crisis, a film centered around the hardships of the white, upper-middle-class men could have easily come off as completely insensitive. Thankfully, it doesn't take the privileges these characters have for granted. "The Company Men" also doesn't make any sweeping judgments on whether or not white men are justified in feeling like they've lost hope. It simply presents a series of small moments in which the characters are forced to reassess their livelihoods.

Affleck stars as white-collar family man Bobby Walker. Bobby is let go from his shipbuilding company and has a difficult time finding work. He's stood up for interviews and forced to relocate his family to a more modest home. He has to ask for help when he feels embarrassed to do so. Affleck makes Walker empathetic but not a complete victim.

9. The Last Duel

Ben Affleck is often at his most effective when you least expect it. 

There seemed to be a lot of risks involved in the development of Ridley Scott's historical epic "The Last Duel." Although the film has a male director, it tells a true story of women's suffering. Affleck and Matt Damon co-wrote the film with Nicole Holofcener. The film is a nuanced depiction of the complexities of truth. Although the context is historical, the story feels timely and shows how much Affleck has matured as a writer.

"The Last Duel" tells the story of the last officially sanctioned duel fought in France. It is presented as a three-part narrative. Each section has a different character's voice behind it. The first is from Matt Damon's Sir Jean de Carrouges, a knight whose wife has accused his best friend of raping her. The second section is from the perspective of that friend, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who sees his pursuits as romantic.

The final section is referred to as "the truth." It contradicts the previous two segments by showing the events from the perspective of de Carrouges' wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer). She reveals how toxic both men are.

Affleck appears in the film as comic side character Count Pierre d'Alençon. The haughty Count despises de Carrouges and mocks him incessantly. A story this grim doesn't necessarily need comic relief, but Affleck's flourishes help flesh out the nuances of this era of history.

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8. Chasing Amy

As an actor, Ben Affleck has definitely evolved over time. Many of his early roles deserve another look in terms of tone and nuance. Some of his films play much differently in a modern context than they did during their initial release. Affleck has made mistakes, but he has also shown that he is willing to improve. It's worth looking back at what his intentions were with some films that seem problematic now. Kevin Smith's 1997 romantic comedy "Chasing Amy" is one of those films.

"Chasing Amy" features breakthrough depictions of fluid sexuality and gender dynamics. The frank sexual politics may have shocked more conservative audiences in the late '90s, but in the 2020s, the film is more than a little out of touch. "Chasing Amy" would feel horribly insensitive if it were released now.

Smith is known for his crassness, but there's no doubting his sincerity. Smith and Affleck are a bit naive with their attempt at reaching out to an underrepresented community. However, there's an earnestness in seeing both men do something more ambitious within the View Askewniverse.

Affleck is taught to be a more sensitive person in the film itself. His character, comic book artist Holden McNeil, works through his crush on lesbian comic book writer Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Admas). BY the film's climax, Holden sees that nothing about sexuality is set in stone.

7. The Way Back

"The Way Back" is the most personal performance of Ben Affleck's career so far. It was a part that he couldn't have played earlier in his career and truly shows his maturation as an actor.

The story of "The Way Back" feels specific to Affleck's own public struggles with alcoholism.  It's impossible to watch the film and not see Affleck healing. Although it has the familiar beats of other inspirational sports movies, its commentary on recovery is more nuanced.

Affleck stars as Jack Cunningham. Jack is a former high school basketball star whose life has taken a downward spiral since his youthful achievements. A personal tragedy causes him to retreat into seclusion and alcoholism. However, Jack gets a surprising offer on a particularly tough day at work.

When the basketball coach at his old high school unexpectedly dies, Jack is offered the opportunity to step in and mentor the young boys on the team, giving him the chance to do something he really loves again. At the same time, he's able to guide troubled young men and help them avoid the mistakes he made.

6. The Tender Bar

"The Tender Bar" asks Ben Affleck to do one of the things he does best: be a likable presence. Affleck has always been a charming guy, but it's fascinating to see him transition from a romantic lead into an older mentor character in a role that demands maturity.

"The Tender Bar" gave Affleck the chance to work alongside director George Clooney, another actor turned director. Like Affleck, Clooney also went from being a frequent tabloid subject to a great dramatic filmmaker. "The Tender Bar" tells a very personal story about the pressures of artistic achievement — a subject that both Clooney and Affleck can relate to.

The film is based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer. In the film, Tye Sheridan plays JR Maguire who rises from poverty to attend college. Due to the absence of his alcoholic father, he has a volatile home life. However, he finds a mentor in his uncle Charlie (Affleck). Charlie is a local bartender and offers him practical advice about growing up. Charlie gives his nephew confidence in his abilities by treating him as an adult.

5. Hollywoodland

The 2006 noir "Hollywoodland" shows the realities of playing a superhero on-screen. Ironically, this is something Ben Affleck knows a lot about. The film was released only a few years after his embarrassing turn as Matt Murdock in "Daredevil" and a decade before he stepped into the role of Bruce Wayne in the DC Extended Universe.

Allen Coulter's film centers on the life and shocking death of the star of the original "Superman" television series, George Reeves. Reeves' death was marked by unusual circumstances. Conspiracy theorists and prying journalists have questioned official reports ever since the Los Angeles Police Department's investigation wrapped.

"Hollywoodland" shows Reeves' life in flashbacks as his death is investigated by private detective Louis Simo (Adrien Brody). The film shows how the ambitious young Reeves came to Hollywood with big dreams and became a sensation when he was cast as Superman. The role made him a hero in the eyes of virtually every little kid in the country.

However, Reeves struggled with depression and alcoholism, and he was not taken seriously by Hollywood when he tried to take on more dramatic parts. As Superman he was bulletproof, but in real life, he felt constantly vulnerable.

4. The Town

With 2007's "Gone Baby Gone," Ben Affleck proved that he could be taken seriously as a filmmaker. Few actors turned directors have launched themselves with directorial debuts as strong. Affleck has worked with some of the greatest directors of all time, and he's certainly learned a thing or two.

However, Affleck took on an even more challenging task with his second effort as a feature filmmaker, "The Town." It is often hard for directors to top themselves after an impressive first film. Affleck also stars in the film which forced him to reestablish himself as an actor.

Affleck stars as bank robber Doug McRay. McRay works with a crew of heist experts that he grew up with. Among them is the wild and unpredictable James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner). Affleck gives Renner the flashier role, taking the subtler character of Doug for himself.

Like "Gone Baby Gone" and "Good Will Hunting," "The Town" is set in Affleck's hometown of Boston. In the film, Affleck incorporates insights that make Boston feel like a character, making the story feel more personal.

3. Good Will Hunting

"Good Will Hunting" is the most important film of Affleck's career. Thanks to their heartfelt screenplay, it was instrumental in launching him and his best friend Matt Damon in the film industry. It's rare that two unknown screenwriters get the opportunity to work with a major Hollywood filmmaker like Gus Van Sant. It's even more shocking that the two friends were also able to star in the film together. The success of "Good Will Hunting" shows the underdog spirit that Affleck and Damon still embody. Their ecstatic Academy Award acceptance speech for best original screenplay is one of the most endearing moments of their friendship.

"Good Will Hunting" is a window into the perspectives of two aspiring kids who got a shot at their dreams. However, there's nothing about Affleck and Damon's success that is unearned. Despite their youth, they take a sensitive look at familial healing, childhood trauma, and growing up.

"Good Will Hunting" shows the ease with which Affleck can play a supporting part. Damon stars as the eponymous Will Hunting, a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a genius-level aptitude for mathematics. However, Will isn't given the opportunity to take advantage of his gifts. He also copes with feelings of guilt because of his difficult childhood. Affleck plays Charlie Sullivan, Will's best friend who gives him encouragement throughout. Charlie reminds Will of his Boston heritage but insists that his friend uses his skills to make a better life for himself. Affleck, however, isn't even the chief scene-stealer — That honor belongs to the late Robin Williams as Dr. Sean Maguire.

2. Gone Girl

"Gone Girl" satirizes media sensationalism and shows the trauma that being in the spotlight can inflict. Ben Affleck's character Nick Dunne deals with having every detail of his life scrutinized. It was a perfect role given Affleck's own battles with tabloid media. "Gone Girl" is a very disturbing but surprisingly funny thriller. Affleck is simultaneously detestable and sympathetic in his role. As Bruce Wayne, Matt Murdock, and Jack Ryan, Affleck has portrayed characters saddled with serious expectations before. Still, the stakes were especially high for Affleck in this adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel. 

In the film, Nick finds that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing. The two have serious marital problems, and Nick is questioned by the police in the aftermath of Amy's disappearance. Consequently, Nick is hounded by the press and has his secrets revealed to the public. The film tracks the events that lead up to Amy's disappearance as the investigation unfolds. Each flashback changes the audience's perception of Nick and Amy. 

1. Argo

"Argo" combines all the themes that Ben Affleck has explored throughout his career. The film features innovation during a time crunch, a satirical commentary on the film industry, and the struggles of a loving father to connect with his children. It tells an incredible true story of creative people who are up against a seemingly unsolvable problem. Although based in fact, it is a story that feels uniquely suited for Affleck.

"Argo" is based on the memoir of CIA agent Tony Mendez. Mendez (Affleck) is called in to save American lives during the 1979 Iranian Revolution after protesters storm the U.S. embassy. Much of the American staff is taken hostage, but six people manage to escape.  Given the fragile state of world politics, an official military operation cannot be orchestrated, and the United States doesn't want to risk provoking further conflict in the Middle East.

With time is running out, Mendez comes up with a brilliant way to extract the Americans. He engineers a plan to transport them to safety under the guise that they are a Canadian film crew in the middle of shooting a science fiction film called "Argo."

In "Argo," there is no need for Affleck to create artificial tension. He instead focuses on the natural stakes of the story, showing his respect for the real heroes while making the film seem more realistic. Although the film won the Oscar for best picture in 2013, the Academy failed to nominate Affleck for best director.