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5 great Matt Damon movies you should watch

Matt Damon is a man who wears many hats. As an actor, Damon is an A-list star capable of turning in Oscar-nominated performances (The Martian), action spectacles (the Jason Bourne franchise), and invigorating dramas (Oppenheimer). As a screenwriter, Damon won an Academy Award with Ben Affleck for their screenplay in Good Will Hunting. As a producer, Damon has been behind critical hits, including Manchester by the Sea and Air.

Nine times out of 10, you can’t go wrong with a movie featuring Damon. His versatility in multiple genres is why his films have stood the test of time. Next time you sit down to watch something, consider picking one of these five movies in Damon’s filmography.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Robin Williams and Matt Damon sit next to each other on a bench.
Miramax Films

The movie that changed Damon’s life is the 1990s movie Good Will Hunting. Damon, who co-wrote the script with Ben Affleck, stars as Will Hunting, a brilliant 21-year-old from the Southie who works as a janitor at MIT. Will solves a complex math problem left on a blackboard, drawing the attention of Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård).

After Will attacks a police officer, Lambeau helps the genius avoid prison if he agrees to study mathematics under his guidance and attend therapy sessions with Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Backed by terrific performances and a heartfelt script, Good Will Hunting remains a classic over two decades later.

Stream Good Will Hunting on Max.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Matt Damon walks down the street in The Bourne Identity.
Universal Pictures

Jason Bourne is left for dead in the Mediterranean Sea. After being saved by an Italian fisherman, Bourne has no memory of his identity. However, Bourne’s instincts kick in as he shows elite fighting skills, technical prowess, and proficiency in multiple languages.

Through his investigation, Bourne slowly learns about his previous life in the CIA and the organization’s attempt to “fix their mistake” by hiring assassins to kill him. Directed by Doug Liman and written by Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron, The Bourne Identity is an intelligent thriller with edge-of-your-seat action sequences. Additionally, it proved Damon could be a viable viable action star.

Stream The Bourne Identity on Prime Video.

The Martian (2015)

Matt Damon stands in his spacesuit on Mars in The Martian.
20th Century Fox

Damon went to Mars as a wise-cracking astronaut in The Martian. Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, The Martian follows the Ares III crew and their mission to Mars. After a dust storm threatens their mission, the crew evacuates Mars. However, they do it without Mark, who was presumed dead after being hit with flying debris.

Much to the surprise of everyone involved in the mission, Mark survives the crash. Alone on Mars, Mark must figure out how to contact NASA on Earth and live with the little supplies he has left. In his words, Mark has to “science the you-know-what out of this.

Rent The Martian on Prime Video.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley
Paramount Pictures

Damon is a good underdog, a believable action hero, and a compelling dramatic lead. However, Damon has thrived as the villain, especially in The Talented Mr. Ripley. With boyish good looks and a cocky smile, Damon is perfectly cast as Tom Ripley, a con man hired by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf (James Rebhorn) to persuade his son, Dickie (Jude Law), to return to the United States.

Under the ruse that he was a former classmate at Princeton, Tom befriends Dickie and his girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow). Tom wants to live like Dickie, who has wealth, status, and power. Tom is willing to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to get what he wants, going to extreme lengths for a life that’s not his.

Stream The Talented Mr. Ripley on Paramount+.

Air (2023)

Matt Damon sits at his desk on the in Air.

Michael Jordan’s impact on sneakers with the iconic Air Jordan brand is just as miraculous as his play on the court. Nike’s courtship of Jordan is dramatized in Air. In the early 1980s, Nike was known for its running shoes. Their basketball department was nearly nonexistent.

Wanting to compete with Adidas and Converse, Nike’s Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) convinces CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) to go all in on signing Jordan and making him the face of the basketball division. The key to signing Jordan is winning over Michael’s mother, Deloris (Viola Davis). Backed by a stellar cast and Affleck’s sure-handed direction, Air takes an intriguing premise and makes the off-the-court drama as exciting as the actual game.

Stream Air on Prime Video.

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Dan Girolamo
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