Five of the best Matt Damon movies

Last updated 05:00 03/10/2015
Matt Damon

Matt Damon is back on top form in The Martian, but what's your favourite film of the Hollywood A-lister?

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Matt Damon gets a lot of grief for, well, being Matt Damon. You can't help but say his name like his puppet version does in Team America World Police.

Poor Matt has been in the Hollywood wilderness a bit since his big box-office Bourne  days. While he's made quality cameos (True Grit), acclaimed indie work (Behind the Candelabra) and solid sci-fi (Elysium), any lead roles have just fizzled. The likes of Hereafter, Promised Land and We Bought a Zoo didn't exactly light the world on fire.

Not only that, he's been in a long-running - and very funny - feud with Jimmy Kimmel, who regularly closes Jimmy Kimmel Live with, "Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time."  And he's even had the hastag #damonsplaining trend lately after some foot-in-mouth comments on gay actors.

But I've got a lot of love for Matt, especially his early work when I was an  impressionable uni student, and I'm over the moon he's returned to form in The Martian.

He carries the movie with ease, providing a lot of laughs, charm and dramatic chops to make it a must watch. 

In honour of his stellar performance as the stranded spaceman, here are my top five Matt movies.

Good Will Hunting - 1997

Before Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were Hollywood stars, they were just a pair of desperate actors shopping their thriller screenplay about a genius targeted by the FBI.

After some sage advice from Rob Reiner to drop the thriller aspect and focus on the relationship between Will and his therapist, it was picked up by Harvey Weinstein and became a sleeper hit.

For good reason, as Good Will Hunting gives you a case of the feels every time you watch it - made all the more poignant after the passing of Robin Williams, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role.

And it contains one of Damon's best scenes ever... How do you like them apples?

Rounders - 1998

Damon was on a straight flush like nothing else in the late nineties, and following his cameo in Saving Private Ryan he made the now cult-classic poker film Rounders.

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Way before poker was televised and became a worldwide pastime, Rounders nailed the high-stakes tension and treated the whole thing like a classic sports underdog movie.

Damon is ace as a young poker-faced pup but he's upstaged by the always watchable John Malkovich.

The Talented Mr Ripley - 1999

Proving Good Will Hunting was no fluke, Damon showed his acting, and musical, chops in the suspenseful and gorgeous Talented Mr Ripley.

Damon lost 30 pounds for his role, and is completely unsettling as Patricia Highsmith's creepy but somehow likeable character. He learnt to play the piano for his role and even sings on his cover of jazz standard My Funny Valentine.

Director Anthony Minghella originally wanted Tom Cruise as Ripley but after seeing Good Will Hunting cast Damon. 

The Bourne Identity - 2002

Bourne was box office gold for Damon, blowing the then-stale Bond films out of the water and completely changing the game for spy-thrillers.

Director Doug Liman approached Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and even Sylvester Stallone before settling on Damon, who turned out to be born for Jason Bourne and did most of his own stunts.

Discarding gadgets and over the top set-pieces, Bourne had realistic fights that were fast and dirty, and one of cinema's great car chases in Paris.

Damon made two sequels before Jeremy Renner stepped in for The Bourne Legacy, but Matt's back for Bourne 5, a post-Edward Snowden / austerity themed thriller hopefully not called Bourne Again. 

The Departed - 2006

Probably the last 'big' picture Matt Damon was involved in, and what a picture. 

Martin Scorsese finally landed his first Best Director Oscar for this taut and electric gangster drama that features outstanding performances from Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson.

A  remake of the equally brilliant Infernal Affairs, once you watch the engrossing opening, with The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter, you just won't stop.

Damon plays the undercover gangster with a charming menace, especially in scenes with the stunning Vera Farmiga.

If you can't get enough of Boston's beloved actor, here's his entire film career acted out with James Corden. What's your favourite Matt movie?


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