What are the best Ben Affleck movies? He has an acting career stretching back to the 1980s and is now just as well-known for his work behind the camera too. The man has tried his hand at everything, from superheroes, to action hero roles, to being a romantic lead, and to being the weird husband of a missing woman.
Affleck has had an unusual career, from his early success as the wunderkind co-writer behind ‘90s movie Good Will Hunting to his time as the lead of big romance movies, and his rocky tenure as a Batman actor in the DC Universe. Variety is the spice of life, and Affleck has done just about everything over the years.
We’ve delved back through Affleck’s filmography to bring you the best Ben Affleck movies. There’s plenty to enjoy, including some of the best movies of recent years. So let’s dive in.
The best Ben Affleck movies are:
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League
- The Town
- The Way Back
- The Last Duel
- Good Will Hunting
- Gone Girl
10. Armageddon (1998)
Spectacle doesn’t come much grander than a disaster movie, and spectacle-makers don’t come much noisier than Michael Bay. Combine those two factors and you have action movie Armageddon, which follows a team of drillers sent by NASA to stop an asteroid before it hits Earth and kills us all.
Affleck plays AJ Frost, who is one of the members of the driller team led by Bruce Willis‘s character. He also happens to be dating Willis’s daughter in the movie, which makes him braver than any of us. It’s a big, dumb movie of the sort that Bay does so well.
The less said about Affleck and Bay’s other collaboration in Pearl Harbour, the better. When there’s a whole song in Team America World Police about how bad it is, it has to be one of the worst movies ever made.
9. Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Affleck’s first foray into superhero movies was the poorly received Daredevil in 2003, but he returned to the pages of comic books when he played Batman in Zack Snyder’s run of DC movies. The series came to a head in team-up movie Justice League, but made much more sense when the superior extended cut Zack Snyder’s Justice League arrived in 2021 after controversial fan protests.
This version of the movie is more coherent and character-focused, providing Affleck with more to do as Bruce Wayne. He’s due to reprise the role in The Flash later this year, but it would be a shock to ever see him don the cowl again after that.
8. Air (2023)
Affleck’s latest is a movie based on a true story, following the boardroom decisions at Nike that led to the company wooing Michael Jordan to be the face of their basketball shoes. As well as directing the movie, Affleck stars as Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight.
The drama movie allows Affleck to reunite with buddy Matt Damon and marries the thrills of a sports movie with some more traditional biopic storytelling. And then there’s the fact Viola Davis is in it. What more could you want?
7. The Town (2010)
After making his directorial debut in 2007 with Gone Baby Gone, Affleck stepped behind the camera again for this crime thriller movie set on the streets of his native Boston. And the movie marked a first for Affleck, as he was directing himself in the lead role of Doug MacRay – boss of a criminal gang who rob cash trucks and banks.
It’s a pretty conventional thriller, but one given real life by its tense shootouts and by the Oscar-nominated supporting performance of Jeremy Renner as the gang’s resident loose cannon. Affleck holds it all together on both sides of the camera, and he’s impressive wearing both of his filmmaking hats.
6. The Way Back (2020)
The best actors thrive when given the opportunity to work with very personal material. Affleck got that opportunity with The Way Back, in which he mined his own troubles in order to play an alcoholic who is asked to come and coach basketball at the high school where he was once a star player on the court.
It was very close to home for Affleck, who had suffered a relapse in his own fight against addiction during pre-production. This slightly uncomfortable edge of reality gives real heft to what could have been a very conventional underdog sports drama, and it’s one of Affleck’s strongest performances.
5. The Last Duel (2021)
Affleck’s role in Ridley Scott’s multi-perspective historical epic The Last Duel might be a minor one on screen – he co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Damon and Nicole Holofcener as well – but he certainly makes an impression. Affleck portrays the flamboyant Peter II, Count of Alençon, who was a key figure in the run-up to the titular conflict between the characters played by Damon and Adam Driver.
The movie struggled at the box office, but found a much bigger audience when it was added to Disney Plus. It’s a knotty, intriguing drama, and it deserves the number of eyes it now has upon it.
4. Dogma (1999)
Both Affleck and his friend Damon have been regular members of director Kevin Smith‘s casts in the “View Askewniverse” movies. They took the lead roles in the strange religious satire Dogma, in which the duo play exiled angels who believe they’ve found a loophole that would enable them to return to heaven under God’s nose. Unfortunately for them, that would erase the whole of existence.
It’s a very unusual movie and one with prickly edges, but Smith’s screenplay does a great job of balancing its shifting tones. Affleck really gets to spread his wings – both literally and figuratively – in the third act, providing a rare opportunity to see him as a true movie villain. In that spotlight, he thrives.
3. Good Will Hunting (1997)
The movie that introduced the world to two young writers with prodigious talent, Affleck and Damon won Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars for this ’90s classic. Damon leads the cast as Boston-born maths prodigy Will Hunting, with Robin Williams as the counsellor trying to turn his life around and Affleck in a smaller role as Will’s drinking buddy Chuckie.
It’s an affectionate movie that tells its story very smartly thanks to an ensemble of great performances. This might not be one of Affleck’s biggest triumphs as an actor, but there’s no denying that he’s one of the reasons it’s so good.
2. Argo (2012)
Sometimes an amazing true story can lay the table for a movie to really fly. And those true stories don’t get much better than the CIA coming up with a fake science fiction movie to free hostages from Iran. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, the CIA agent responsible for putting the plan together and leading it to its conclusion.
Argo definitely stands as Affleck’s most mature work as a director, with the movie winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Affleck can consider himself very unfortunate not to have even been nominated for Best Director or Best Actor. He deserved an Oscar for the airport scenes alone. They’re as tense as a group of people shuffling through a building can possibly be.
1. Gone Girl (2014)
One of the biggest strokes of genius in David Fincher‘s twisty thriller movie Gone Girl is the acceptance that, when given the chance, Ben Affleck can be deeply unsettling. Most of the mystery in this adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel comes from the fact that it’s easy to believe that Affleck’s bizarre, aloof husband killed his wife (Rosamund Pike).
As the story unfolds and one of the best movies based on books plays its hand, Affleck never lets the audience in to his character, leaving the possibility open that he’s the one responsible for everything that’s happening on screen.
In a movie that refuses to ever give straight answers and exists firmly in frustrating and fascinating shades of grey, the deployment of Affleck at his most mercurial is a perfect piece of casting. It’s the crowning achievement of his movie career.
So there you have it, the best Ben Affleck movies ever made. There’s plenty more of him to come on both sides of the camera, so this list could certainly expand as he continues to challenge himself. Or he’ll just keep working with Matt Damon. We’re thrilled either way.
For more of the best cinema has to offer, check out our lists of the best time travel movies, the best teen movies, the best anime movies, and the best horror movies. We’ve also got you covered on all of the new movies heading to screens in 2023, or you find out more about his latest release with our guide on how to watch Air.