The best Ryan Gosling movies of all time

With such a diverse filmography, picking the best Ryan Gosling movies isn't easy, but we've got it covered with everything from La La Land to Drive

What are the best Ryan Gosling movies? As an actor, Ryan Gosling almost always seems to pick brilliant roles in amazing movies, with an incredibly impressive filmography so far in his career. And, as a human being, he seems like a really fun, down to earth, genuine guy. Basically, Ryan Gosling is just an absolute legend, and we love him!

From his baby-faced beginnings in various TV series, to early movie roles like Remember the Titans, all the way to the very top with Oscar-nominated turns in huge musical movies like La La Land, Gosling has done a bit of everything. He’s been to the moon, he’s been to the future, he’s fallen in love, and he’s stomped a guy’s head to smithereens in an elevator. We call that range.

But what are the best Ryan Gosling movies? We took on the challenge of picking out the ten best movies from his eclectic career. Sadly, his Papyrus sketch for Saturday Night Love is ineligible for this list, otherwise, it would have been an easy winner. But, the ten choices we have gone for, are essential viewing, nonetheless.

What are the best Ryan Gosling movies?

  • La La Land
  • Drive
  • The Nice Guys
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • First Man
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love
  • Blue Valentine
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Half Nelson
  • The Notebook

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

La La Land (2016)

I could wax lyrical about La La Land all day. It’s a stunning film from start to finish, with phenomenal choreography, sumptuous set design, and meticulous costume design. The soundtrack of original music from composer Justin Hurwitz, too, is so catchy and uplifting.

Ryan Gosling earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Seb, and the chemistry he and Emma Stone share on screen is beautiful to watch. From enemies sitting in traffic, to reluctant acquaintances, to being madly in love, and then losing each other; the love story of this romance movie always warms my soul and tears it apart in equal measure.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in Drive

Drive (2011)

He may not say much in Drive, with his unnamed character more comfortable with grunts and hard stares, but I’ll be damned if you can find me someone who looks cooler than this on screen. With his scorpion bomber jacket and twiddling a toothpick between his teeth, Gosling’s iconic look in this movie makes him one of the most recognisable characters of the 21st century.

This neon-soaked, super-stylish crime story is one of the best thriller movies of all time, and the synth soundtrack that accompanies it is the perfect compliment to the action-packed joyride that Nicolas Winding-Refn brings to the big screen.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys (2016)

Although he was Oscar-nominated for his role in La La Land, arguably Ryan Gosling’s best performance of 2016 was in this hilarious buddy comedy movie. Starring opposite Russell Crowe (who knew that guy was so funny?), Gosling offered slapstick comedy of the highest order, as the hapless detective Holland March.

The greatest travesty of Hollywood remains the fact that The Nice Guys 2 doesn’t exist yet, and doesn’t appear to be in the pipeline anytime soon either. We need more, Shane Black, so make it happen!

The Best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Ana De Armas in Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

It’s never easy to follow in the footsteps of one of the most revered sci-fi movies of all time, but Blade Runner 2049 more than holds its own and even enhances the rich legacy of the Blade Runner franchise. Denis Villeneuve does an incredible job of putting together the jaw-dropping dystopian world, for one of the finest big screen spectacles of recent years.

Gosling, too, had a tough job on his hands, to fill the shoes of Harrison Ford as the protagonist of this sequel. But, of course, he’s up to the task. As K, he is enigmatic, effortlessly cool, and surprisingly nuanced, as the story delves deeper into the mystery of the replicants.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man

First Man (2018)

Ryan Gosling teamed up with La La Land director, Damien Chazelle, once again in 2018 for this movie based on a true story, starring as Neil Armstrong. What makes this movie so special, is that for a story about mankind landing on the moon, we actually focus more on the men behind the mission, and the unimaginable physical and mental toll the operation had on those involved.

Justin Hurwitz once again provides an exceptional musical score, this time opting for haunting instrumentals rather than catchy showtunes. And, of course, Chazelle and his crew achieve unbelievable results in the technical elements of First Man, from awe-inspiring cinematography to immersive sound design.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

While Gosling is better known for his cool-guy roles and more dramatic performances, he is definitely an underrated comedy performer. Crazy, Stupid, Love is one of the best rom-com movies ever, and that’s all down to Gosling and the rest of the ensemble cast.

He shines in the romantic elements in another collaboration with Emma Stone, while his humorous dynamic with Steve Carell is side-splittingly good. And, who can forget the big brawl that erupts when David Lindhagen shows up? Cringeworthy chaos at its finest!

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine (2010)

It would have been very easy for Gosling to settle into being the stereotypical, good-looking guy who plays the love interest in cheesy romance flicks, but thankfully, that hasn’t been the case. Gosling flexed his talents as a dramatic performer in 2010, in this utterly heart-breaking story of a broken marriage.

He and Michelle Williams are so convincing in their performances in Blue Valentine, that you genuinely feel every brutal moment of their break-up, and my god it hurts! Arguably, this is Gosling’s best performance ever, and that is saying something.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

From his best performance to his most bizarre. But, don’t let the picture fool you, there is a surprising amount of poignant, very serious subject matter in Lars and the Real Girl. When it’s at its weirdest, it’s so much fun, but when it cuts to the core of the emotional facets of Lars’ situation, you can’t help but feel for this oddball.

Not enough people talk about Lars and the Real Girl, and it’s definitely one of Gosling’s most underrated films and performances, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re a fan of the Gos. Come for the sex doll, the moustache, and the Fairisle jumpers, stay for the trauma and tears.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson

Half Nelson (2006)

Ryan Gosling actually earned his first Oscar nomination way back in 2006, with this gritty, independent drama movie. Gosling stars as Dan Dunne, a middle-school teacher with a drug addiction – heavy stuff, I know! As the addiction becomes harder and harder to hide, and his life falls apart, it’s down to one of Dunne’s students to help him out of this hole.

The movie also features MCU actor Anthony Mackie in a supporting role, and is another of Gosling’s more under-the-radar offerings, even with the Oscar nomination. This is Gosling like you’ve never seen him, and further displays his fantastic range as a performer.

The best Ryan Gosling movies: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in The Notebook

The Notebook (2004)

This is where it all really kicked off for Ryan Gosling, with The Notebook being one of the most popular movies of the 2000s, propelling the actor to stardom. You couldn’t go anywhere in 2004 without women fawning over The Notebook, and men pretending they didn’t enjoy it when really they did.

The Notebook is a rare example of a movie based on a book that does the source material justice, and with the star power of Gosling and Rachel McAdams, this movie is still a huge part of popular culture today.

So, that’s the best of the best from the Gos! If you want to explore the filmography of more actors, check out our guides to the best Oscar Isaac movies, and the best Emily Blunt movies.