The 12 Best Movies Starring Robert Downey Jr.

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By Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr.’s 50-year career celebrated through 12 ranked films, showcasing his diverse characters and cinematic journey.

With a career spanning over half a century, Robert Downey Jr. has emerged as a Hollywood legend, etching his name in the annals of entertainment history. From his initial struggles to his meteoric rise, Downey Jr.’s journey has been one of transformation, resilience, and remarkable achievements. His performances have not only garnered two Oscar nominations and three Golden Globes but also captivated audiences worldwide. As we delve into his unparalleled contributions to the silver screen, we are presented with a diverse array of characters that showcase his acting prowess.

In this exploration of Robert Downey Jr.’s cinematic legacy, we embark on a journey through his 12 best films, each carefully ranked based on their Rotten Tomatoes critics’ scores and IMDb ratings. Beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, these films offer a glimpse into the depth and range of Downey Jr.’s talent. From thrilling mysteries to iconic superhero portrayals, his roles have left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Join us as we celebrate his artistry and reflect on the cinematic gems that have solidified his status as an iconic figure in the realm of acting.

12. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Average Tomatometer: 86% | IMDb Score: 7.5

In Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” Downey Jr. assumes the role of Harry Lockhart, a petty crook inadvertently thrust into a complex murder mystery. Blending suspense, romance, and humor, the film showcases Downey Jr.’s impeccable comedic timing and chemistry with co-stars Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, and Corbin Bernsen. Notably, this film marked a turning point in Downey Jr.’s career, heralding his resurgence and paving the way for his subsequent triumphs.

11. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Average Tomatometer: 92% | IMDb Score: 7.4

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” marks Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Although his role is relatively limited, Downey Jr.’s inclusion lends authenticity to the film’s narrative, solidifying the connection between Spider-Man and the larger MCU. As a mentor figure to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, Downey Jr.’s charismatic performance adds depth to the superhero landscape.

10. Zodiac

Average Tomatometer: 90% | IMDb Score: 7.7

In David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” Downey Jr. assumes the role of Paul Avery, a journalist investigating the enigmatic Zodiac killer. The film meticulously chronicles the hunt for the elusive serial killer, capturing the toll it takes on those involved. Downey Jr.’s portrayal infuses the narrative with intrigue and complexity, contributing to the film’s intense atmosphere.

9. Good Night, and Good Luck

Average Tomatometer: 93% | IMDb Score: 7.4

George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck” casts Downey Jr. as Joseph Wershba, a journalist navigating the challenges of exposing Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist campaign. This black-and-white drama delves into the role of media in holding power accountable, with Downey Jr.’s understated performance adding gravitas to the ensemble cast.

8. Captain America: Civil War

Average Tomatometer: 90% | IMDb Score: 7.8

“Captain America: Civil War” thrusts Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark into an ethical quagmire as he grapples with his fellow heroes. His portrayal explores the internal conflicts of the Avengers, delving into the clash of ideals and moral dilemmas. Downey Jr.’s performance adds depth to the film’s exploration of loyalty and sacrifice.

7. Avengers: Infinity War

Average Tomatometer: 85% | IMDb Score: 8.4

“Avengers: Infinity War” unites Downey Jr.’s Iron Man with an ensemble of heroes in a battle against the formidable Thanos. His portrayal contributes to the film’s emotional weight, emphasizing the camaraderie and chemistry among the heroes. The film’s audacious narrative and Downey Jr.’s compelling performance resonate with audiences.

6. Richard III

Average Tomatometer: 96% | IMDb Score: 7.3

“Richard III” reimagines Shakespeare’s tale in a 1930s setting, with Robert Downey Jr. portraying Rivers. His performance adds layers to the film’s exploration of power dynamics and moral complexities. The film’s unique perspective and Downey Jr.’s contribution make for a compelling cinematic experience.

5. The Avengers

Average Tomatometer: 91% | IMDb Score: 8.0

In “The Avengers,” Downey Jr. leads the charge as Tony Stark/Iron Man, spearheading the inaugural team-up of Marvel’s iconic heroes. The film’s monumental success redefined the superhero genre and solidified Downey Jr.’s role as a linchpin in the MCU. His charismatic performance elevated the film to unprecedented heights.

4. Short Cuts

Average Tomatometer: 95% | IMDb Score: 7.7

Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” weaves a tapestry of interconnected lives, with Downey Jr. among the ensemble cast. His portrayal contributes to the film’s mosaic of human experiences, skillfully navigating the complexities of relationships and emotions. Altman’s direction and Downey Jr.’s performance create a captivating narrative mosaic.

3. Iron Man

Average Tomatometer: 94% | IMDb Score: 7.9

Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” heralds Downey Jr.’s iconic role as Tony Stark. The film’s success revitalized both Downey Jr.’s career and the superhero genre, marking the inception of the MCU’s unparalleled triumph. Downey Jr.’s portrayal embodies Stark’s transformation from arms dealer to superhero, laying the foundation for the MCU’s expansive narrative.

2. Avengers: Endgame

Average Tomatometer: 94% | IMDb Score: 8.4

“Avengers: Endgame” casts Downey Jr. at the forefront, anchoring the culmination of Marvel Studios’ Infinity Saga. His portrayal as Iron Man resonates deeply, infusing the film with emotional resonance and a sense of closure. Downey Jr.’s journey as Iron Man reaches a poignant zenith, contributing to the film’s monumental impact.

1. Oppenheimer

Average Tomatometer: 93% | IMDb Score: 8.6
The 12 Best Robert Downey Jr. Movies Ranked

In Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” Robert Downey Jr. shines as Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the USA Atomic Energy Commission. His performance in this recent release attests to his enduring talent, garnering critical acclaim. With the film’s accolades and Downey Jr.’s powerful portrayal, “Oppenheimer” emerges as a testament to his post-MCU trajectory.