10. Promised Land (2012)
Our top 10 Matt Damon movies begins in middle America. Steve Butler represents big business. Natural gas to be exact and the hotly contested business of fracking.
He and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) travel from town to town gaining drilling rights. Because they are often met with stiff opposition, they promote their company as a savior of sorts.
But not everyone shares their vision for the future, and just enough of those small-town voices take root and grow up to challenge them.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook
Release date: December 28, 2012
Runtime: 106 minutes
9. The Rainmaker (1997)
The story of Rudy Baylor v Giant Insurance Company. Who doesn’t love the wide-eyed new attorney?
The Oscar winning actor has got his law degree but no clients. In steps the fast-talking paralegal Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito) and his boss Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke). With a name like Bruiser, you can guess the type of clientele.
But a seismic case threatens to change that seedy perception. Dot Black (Mary Kay Place) is denied coverage for her dying son, and the Baylor and Shifflet team take them on.
A David and Goliath movie moment that will fill you with emotion.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Jon Voight, Mary Kay Place, Mickey Rourke, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Roy Scheider
Release date: November 21, 1997
Runtime: 135 minutes
8. Rounders (1998)
Rounders may not be as popular as the other pictures ranked here, but it’s just as good. Why? Because this flick is about poker and stars Edward Norton, John Turturro, and John Malkovich.
Our star Mike McDermott loses to Russian gangster KGB (John Malkovich). His girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol) finds out, so he promises to quit. And he does for a bit.
But the vow to quit gambling come to an end when his good buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. They just need to win one more hand.
Director: John Dahl
Cast: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol, John Malkovich, Martin Landau
Release date: September 11, 1998
Runtime: 121 minutes
7. True Grit (2010)
Pulling off a convincing Texas ranger is tough for someone from the South. But for a Boston native, nearly impossible.
Film chemistry doesn’t always happen with great actors. Sure, the script can be terrific and the actors the best of the best. But to get the entire production to just click takes more. It takes good luck. And the Cambridge Massachusetts native and crew had that in spades.
“A saucy line will not get you far with me.”
Audiences will follow U.S. Marshal Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, as they track down the wanted for murder Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin).
The two lawmen have been hired by fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) to avenge her father’s murder by Chaney.
Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld, Barry Pepper
Release date: December 22, 2010
Runtime: 110 minutes
6. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Next on our greatest Damon list is based on a true story. American auto designer Carroll Shelby and daring Brit race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) attempt the improbable.
They plan to top longtime 24 Hours of Le Mans Race champion Enzo Ferrari. Yes, that Ferrari. The two just need to develop a car that defies physics and please Ford Motor Company management.
Full Ford v Ferrari review here.
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitríona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas
Release date: November 15, 2019
Runtime: 152 minutes
5. The Departed (2006)
Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes undercover to get dirt on crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Billy makes progress gaining Frank’s trust quickly and all is good.
Well, it is until we met career criminal parading around as a state trooper Colin Sullivan. Colin has weaseled his way into the department to no protect and serve but to rob and steal for Frank too.
But both men’s true identities cannot go unknown forever. All parties concerned figure something is going on and it’s every man for himself.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson
Release date: October 6, 2006
Runtime: 151 minutes
4. The Martian (2015)
Only Jason Bourne can make it home from Mars which is only 162 million miles from earth. The group of scientists travel to the red planet on an exploratory mission.
Due to a meteor storm, one of Forbes’ most bankable stars is missing and presumed dead. Shockingly, to everyone’s surprise, he’s far from it.
Great supporting performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jessica Chastain.
Whether you’re into sci-fi movies or not, The Martian is one of his finest films.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie
Release date: October 2, 2015
Runtime: 141 minutes
3. The Bourne Identity (2002)
One of the most popular characters for our star is a famous assassin. We meet Jason for the first time in France where he first discovers he has special abilities. In fact, he can do lots of amazing things–speak different languages at will and defend himself against anyone.
But there’s just one catch: he cannot remember a thing. True to form, his instincts take over as he begins a globetrotting mission to uncover who and what he has become–a trained killer.
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Franka Potente, Julia Stiles, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Release date: June 14, 2002
Runtime: 119 minutes
2. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Some folks just have it all. And in the case of Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), he does. A privileged young man that falls in love with Italy refusing to return home to the states.
Tom Ripley has a chance meeting with Dickie’s father and claims to know him. Tom manages to convince the senior Greenleaf that he can get Dickie to leave Italy.
Once in Italy—all expenses covered by Father Greenleaf—Tom is swept up by Dickie’s entire life. Wanting to be a cultured, rich, and important person he views Dickie as. But the charade can only last so long. And as a result, Mr. Ripley must go to great lengths to keep things going.
Director: Anthony Minghella
Cast: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn, Sergio Rubini, Philip Baker Hall
Release date: December 25, 1999
Runtime: 139 minutes
1. Good Will Hunting (1997)
How can the first feature you star in be your best? Well, if you’re Mr. American actor you just have “it”. Many actors and non-actors alike talk about learning how to act or being born with the gift. There’s no question our action star is the latter.
Will is a young man that suffered traumatic physical and verbal abuse growing up. And the effects are still with him to this day. He’s extremely intelligent, but the trauma overshadows all that he does.
In fact, we only see progress after he begins seeing therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Initially standoffish, Will is hard to reach. But with motivation from his best friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck) and the love of a new girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver) all seems to go right for once.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Cast: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård, Minnie Driver
Release date: December 5, 1997
Runtime: 126 minutes