Ben Affleck's 25 best and worst movies ranked
Ben Affleck has appeared in countless films over the years — from Oscar-winning dramas and cheesy rom-coms to explosive action flicks and raunchy comedies. In honor of the A-list actor’s 49th birthday on Aug. 15, 2021, Wonderwall.com is counting down his best and worst movies — from “Justice League” to “Good Will Hunting” and everything in better.
Keep reading to see where your favorites rank…
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No. 25: “Gigli”
Two of Hollywood’s brightest stars have never shined so dimly… Ben Affleck and real-life love Jennifer Lopez delivered the atrocious 2003 comedy “Gigli.” They starred as low-level mobsters tasked with kidnapping a powerful prosecutor’s brother — a kind young man with an intellectual disability — as a bargaining chip to keep their boss out of prison. It tanked at the box office, earning just $7 million on a budget of $75 million, and scored an embarrassing 7% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
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No. 24: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
According to Rotten Tomatoes, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” landed with just 29% of critics. (Ouch!) But the grim 2016 superhero showdown is still Ben Affleck’s highest grossing film — and even though we can recognize that the effects-heavy blockbuster had its problems, we have to admit that we still enjoyed the experience of watching it. It’s got Batman and Superman, after all!
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No. 23: “Paycheck”
Ben Affleck starred as an engineer who undergoes regular memory wipes in the 2003 sci-fi action flick “Paycheck,” which seriously disappointed critics, scoring a harsh 27% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, the John Woo-directed adaptation of a 1952 novelette of the same name did well at the box office. While audiences worked extra hard to follow the film’s convoluted plot, Ben won his first Razzie Award thanks to his performance in the film.
No. 22: “Glory Daze”
Ben Affleck starred as slacker Jack Freeman — a listless art major facing his impending graduation from the University of California, Santa Cruz — in the sometimes-funny 1996 indie comedy “Glory Daze.”
No. 21: “Daredevil”
Superhero movies had yet to enter their golden age when “Daredevil” debuted in 2003, so we give the origin story — in which Ben Affleck starred as the titular blind attorney and vigilante — a pass for being more than a little cheesy. It frequently ranks along with “Green Lantern” and “Fantastic Four” as one of the worst superhero flicks ever made, but be honest: You liked it the first time you saw it in theaters!
No. 20: “The Way Back”
The one that got away… We’ll never know what could’ve been if only more people had seen 2020’s “The Way Back” before mass theater closures rocked Hollywood amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ben Affleck starred as an alcoholic ironworker who steps in to coach the basketball team at the high school where he was once the star player. The A-list actor — who’s battled alcoholism himself — earned raves for his performance in the sports drama, which scored an impressive 83% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 19: “Justice League”
Expectations were high when DC’s “Justice League” premiered in 2017. Sadly, the ensemble superhero action flick couldn’t deliver. Critics loathed the convoluted plot, the thin character development and the exhausting action sequences. (The original “Justice League” scored a 40% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) To make matters worse, it ultimately cost Warner Bros. around $60 million by failing to reach its extremely hefty break-event point of $750 million at the box office. … But against all odds, this story has a happy ending: In early 2021, HBO Max released director Zack Snyder’s cut of “Justice League” as a six-part epic with a run time of more than four hours. It was a night-and-day difference. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” scored an impressive 94% fresh rating with audiences and a 71% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 18: “Smokin’ Aces”
Ben Affleck portrayed bail bondsman Jack Dupree in the uber-violent 2007 ensemble action flick “Smokin’ Aces.” Though the film received mixed reviews from critics, it’s noteworthy for its all-star cast, which includes Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pine, Jason Bateman, Taraji P. Henson, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Common, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Matthew Fox and Joel Edgerton.
No. 17: “Forces of Nature”
Ben Affleck starred as the straight-laced Ben — who has a series of misadventures with Sandra Bullock’s free-spirited Sarah while traveling from New York City to Savannah, Georgia, where he’s set to wed another woman — in the touching (yet frustrating) 1999 romantic comedy “Forces of Nature,” which scored a 45% rotten rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 16: “Boiler Room”
Ben Affleck portrayed Jim Young — the co-founder of a shady brokerage firm where Giovanni Ribisi’s college dropout works — in the underrated 2000 crime drama “Boiler Room,” which actually scored a 66% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes and earned two Film Independent Spirit Award nominations: best first feature and best first screenplay.
No. 15: “The Sum of All Fears”
Ben Affleck starred as the beloved CIA hero Jack Ryan — who’s also been portrayed by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Chris Pine and John Krasinski in various projects over the years — alongside Morgan Freeman as CIA Director William Cabot in the 2002 spy thriller and box office hit “The Sum of All Fears.”
No. 14: “Jersey Girl”
Ben Affleck has appeared in several of Kevin Smith’s films over the years, including the 2004 rom-com “Jersey Girl,” in which he starred as a New York City publicist who relocates to the suburbs of New Jersey to raise his daughter after his wife (played by Ben’s real-life love Jennifer Lopez) dies in childbirth. While the movie is just fine, it often ranks among Kevin Smith’s worst films for being the least Kevin Smith-y of his projects.
No. 13: “Triple Frontier”
Ben Affleck starred opposite Oscar Isaac and others as a former Delta Force officer and real estate agent in 2019’s “Triple Frontier,” which follows a group of former Special Ops soldiers who reunite for a heist job in South America. The Netflix film received mostly positive (but not necessarily glowing) reviews from critics and was viewed by more than 63 million member households in its first four months of release on the streaming platform, making it a verifiable hit.
No. 12: “School Ties”
Ben Affleck portrayed Chesty Smith — one of the anti-semitic bullies who targets Brendan Fraser’s Jewish student David Greene at an elitist Massachusetts prep school — in the ’50s-set “School Ties.” The 1992 drama — in which Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell and Anthony Rapp also starred — was well-received by critics, though it failed to make waves at the box office.
No. 11: “Dogma”
Ben Affleck starred as fallen angel Bartleby in the irreverent — and hilarious! — 1999 comedy “Dogma.” Writer-director Kevin Smith earned a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for best screenplay for the film, which performed well at the box office and with critics alike!
No. 10: “Pearl Harbor”
Swoon! Ben Affleck starred as pilot Rafe McCawley opposite Kate Beckinsale as nurse Evelyn Johnson in the 2001 war film and love story “Pearl Harbor.” Critics loathed the Michael Bay-directed epic, which has a 24% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But it was a huge hit at the box office — and with us! It also scored four Oscar nominations: best visual effects, best sound, best original song for Diane Warren’s “There You’ll Be” and best sound editing, which it actually won.
No. 9: “Chasing Amy”
Ben Affleck starred as comic book artist Holden McNeil, who romances lesbian Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), in 1997’s “Chasing Amy.” The rom-com — which won the Film Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay and scored a nomination for best feature — frequently ranks among writer-director Kevin Smith’s best movies and has achieved cult status over the years. It even performed relatively well at the box office, earning $12 million on an extremely modest budget of just $250K.
No. 8: “The Town”
Ben Affleck wrote, directed and starred in 2010’s “The Town.” He portrayed Doug MacRay, a career criminal who robs a bank with his childhood friends and then falls for the only witness to their crime. The film was a huge hit with critics and at the box office.
No. 7: “Shakespeare in Love”
Ben Affleck portrayed English actor Ned Alleyn in the 1998 romantic drama “Shakespeare in Love.” The film earned 13 Academy Award nominations and ultimately won seven Oscars, including best picture and best original screenplay.
No. 6: “Mallrats”
Ben Affleck starred as Shannon Hamilton — the sleazy manager of a clothing store at the titular mall — in our favorite Kevin Smith movie: 1995’s “Mallrats.” Though the comedy failed to impress critics (and bombed at the box office), it’s achieved cult status over the years.
No. 5: “Argo”
Ben Affleck directed and starred in 2012’s “Argo,” a historical drama centered around CIA operative Tony Mendez’s mission to rescue six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis. The film earned seven Academy Award nominations and ultimately won three Oscars: best editing, best adapted screenplay and best picture.
No. 4: “Armageddon”
Ben Affleck starred as A.J. Frost — a blue-collar deepwater driller who teams up with NASA to save the Earth from impending doom — in 1998’s “Armageddon.” Despite poor reviews from critics, the Michael Bay-directed sci-fi disaster flick was a huge hit at the box office. It also earned four Oscar nominations. (It’s been more than two decades, but even now, when “Armageddon” is on TV, we still don’t wanna miss a thing!)
No. 3: “Gone Girl”
Ben Affleck earned raves for his performance as a man suspected of murdering his wife in the 2014 psychological thriller “Gone Girl.” Critics loved the David Fincher-directed adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel, which was a major hit at the box office and earned four Golden Globe nominations including best picture and best screenplay.
No. 2: “Dazed and Confused”
The 1993 coming-of-age comedy “Dazed and Confused,” in which Ben Affleck portrayed bully O’Bannion, is one of our all-time favorite movies. The extremely low-budget independent film, which was written and directed by Richard Linklater, has a 92% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 1: “Good Will Hunting”
Ben Affleck and childhood pal Matt Damon co-wrote the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting,” in which they also starred: Matt as the titular mathematics whiz and Ben as his best friend, Chuckie. The duo took home the Oscar for best original screenplay during the 1998 Academy Awards — and sealed their fates as two of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
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