Every single Joaquin Phoenix movie, ranked

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
jsarkisian@businessinsider.com (Jacob Sarkisian)
·8 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
The Master/Gladiator/Joker
The Master/Gladiator/Joker

The Weinstein Company/DreamWorks Pictures/Universal Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

  • Joaquin Phoenix has appeared in over 50 films, including movies such as "Her," "Gladiator," "Walk the Line," and "Joker."

  • He has been nominated four times for an Oscar, but has never won.

  • His first film credit came in 1986.

  • Insider ranked Phoenix's performances using the Rotten Tomatoes scores of each of his films, from worst to best.

  • Note: Films without critical ratings were not included. All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

34. Phoenix played Danny in 'Ruskies' in 1987

Russkies
Russkies

New Century Vista Film Company

Synopsis: A group of American boys and a shipwrecked Russian sailor become friends in the midst of the Cold War.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 14%

33. Phoenix played John in 'It's All About Love' in 2003

Its All About Love
Its All About Love

Nimbus Film

Synopsis: Two lovers attempt to save their relationship in a near-future world on the brink of cosmic collapse.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 19%

32. The actor appeared in 1999's '8MM' as Max California

8MM
8MM

Columbia Pictures.

Synopsis: A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 22%

31. Phoenix played Doug Holt in the 1997 movie 'Inventing the Abbots'

Inventing Abbots
Inventing Abbots

20th Century Fox

Synopsis: Two working-class brothers court three wealthy and beautiful sisters in a small Illinois town.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 31%

30. The actor voiced Kenai in 2003's 'Brother Bear'

Brother Bear
Brother Bear

Buena Vista Pictures

Synopsis: When a young Inuit hunter needlessly kills a bear, he is magically changed into a bear himself as punishment with a talkative cub being his only guide to changing back.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%

29. The Oscar-nominee appeared as Ethan Learner in the 2007 movie 'Reservation Road'

Reservation Road
Reservation Road

Focus Features

Synopsis: The lives of two families change forever after a fatal tragedy takes place on Reservation Road.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

28. Phoenix played a trapped firefighter called Jack Morrison in 2004's 'Ladder 49'

Ladder 49
Ladder 49

Buena Vista Pictures

Synopsis: A firefighter, injured and trapped in a burning building, has flashbacks of his life as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Meanwhile, fellow firefighters led by the Chief attempt to rescue him.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 41%

27. The actor played Lucius Hunt in M. Night Shymalan's 2004 movie 'The Village'

The Village
The Village

Buena Vista Pictures

Synopsis: A series of events tests the beliefs of a small isolated countryside village.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%

26. Phoenix played another Max in 1986's 'SpaceCamp'

SpaceCamp
SpaceCamp

20th Century Fox

Synopsis: The young attendees of a space camp find themselves in space for real when their shuttle is accidentally launched into orbit.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

25. The actor took on the daunting role of Jesus Christ in 2018's 'Mary Magdalene'

Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene

Transmission Films/Universal Pictures/IFC Films

Synopsis: Twelve men heard and spread the message of Jesus. Only one woman understood it.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

24. The actor played tormented philosophy professor Abe in 2015's 'Irrational Man'

Irrational Man
Irrational Man

Sony Pictures Classics

Synopsis: A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%

23. Phoenix plays a fictional version of himself in the 2010 mockumentary 'I'm Still Here'

Im Still Here
Im Still Here

Magnolia Pictures

Synopsis: Documents Joaquin Phoenix's transition from the acting world to a career as an aspiring rapper.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 53%

22. In 2007, Joaquin Phoenix starred as night club manager Bobby Green in 'We Own the Night'

We Own The Night
We Own The Night

Columbia Pictures/Universal Pictures

Synopsis: A New York City nightclub manager tries to save his brother and father from Russian Mafia hitmen.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

21. Phoenix appeared in Oliver Stone's 'U-Turn' in 1997 as Toby N. Tucker

U Turn
U Turn

TriStar Pictures

Synopsis: Two lovers attempt to save their relationship in a near-future world on the brink of cosmic collapse.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

20. In 1998, Phoenix played Clad Bidwell in 'Clay Pigeons'

Clay Pigeons
Clay Pigeons

Gramercy Pictures

Synopsis: After hearing that his wife sleeps with Clay, Earl kills himself, making it look like Clay shot him. She doesn't like it when Clay sees another woman instead. Bodies start piling up.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62%

19. Joaquin Phoenix played Willie Gutierrez in 2000's 'The Yards'

The Yards
The Yards

Buena Vista Pictures

Synopsis: Leo is released from prison after serving time for car theft. His plan to go straight falls apart when he meets his corrupt uncle for a job and later an old friend working there. It culminates at the (railroad) yards.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

18. The actor earned his fourth Oscar nomination as Arthur Fleck in 2019's 'Joker'

joker joaquin phoenix
joker joaquin phoenix

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Synopsis: In Gotham City, mentally troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: the Joker.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

17. Phoenix played Lewis in 1998's 'Return to Paradise'

Return to Paradise
Return to Paradise

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Synopsis: Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

16. The actor played US soldier Ray Elwood in 2001's 'Buffalo Soldiers'

Buffalo Soldiers
Buffalo Soldiers

Miramax Films

Synopsis: A criminal subculture operates among U.S. soldiers stationed in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin wall.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

15. Phoenix starred in his first M. Night Shyamalan film in 2002, as Merrill Hess in 'Signs'

Signs
Signs

Buena Vista Pictures

Synopsis: A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

14. Phoenix portrayed hippie private investigator Larry 'Doc' Sportello in 2015's 'Inherent Vice'

joaquin phoenix inherent vice
joaquin phoenix inherent vice

Wilson Webb/Warner Bros

Synopsis: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

13. In 2000, Phoenix took on the role of Abbe Coulmier in 'Quills'

quills joaquin phoenix
quills joaquin phoenix

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Synopsis: In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

12. Joaquin Phoenix earned his first Oscar nomination in 2000's 'Gladiator' as Commodus

joaquin phoenix the gladiator
joaquin phoenix the gladiator

Universal Pictures

Synopsis: A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

11. Phoenix played John Callahan in 2018's 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'

joaquin phoenix don't worry he won't get far on foot
joaquin phoenix don't worry he won't get far on foot

Amazon Studios

Synopsis: On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

10. In 2008, Phoenix appeared in 'Two Lovers' as torn bachelor Leonard Kraditor

Two Lovers
Two Lovers

Magnolia Pictures

Synopsis: A Brooklyn-set romantic drama about a bachelor torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

9. Phoenix earned his first Best Actor nomination for playing Johnny Cash in 2005's 'Walk the Line'

walk the line
walk the line

20th Century Fox

Synopsis: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

8. In 2012, Phoenix was Oscar-nominated for the third time for his role as Freddie Quell in 'The Master'

joaquin phoenix the master
joaquin phoenix the master

The Weinstein Company

Synopsis: A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future — until he is tantalized by the Cause and its charismatic leader.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

7. Phoenix played Bruno Weiss in 2014's 'The Immigrant'

the immigrant
the immigrant

The Weinstein Company

Synopsis: 1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

6. In 2018, Phoenix appeared as one half of 'The Sisters Brothers' as Charlie Sisters

the sisters brothers joaquin phoenix
the sisters brothers joaquin phoenix

Annapurna Pictures

Synopsis: In 1850s Oregon, the infamous duo of assassins, Eli and Charlie Sisters, chase a gold prospector and his unexpected ally.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

 

5. In 1995, Phoenix played Jimmy Emmett in 'To Die For'

To Die For
To Die For

Columbia Pictures

Synopsis: A beautiful but naïve aspiring television personality films a documentary on teenagers with a darker ulterior motive.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

4. The Oscar-nominated actor played Joe in Lynne Ramsay's 2018 movie 'You Were Never Really Here'

you were never really here
you were never really here

Amazon Studios

Synopsis: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

3. Phoenix had a small role in 1989's 'Parenthood' as Garry

Parenthood
Parenthood

Universal Pictures

Synopsis: The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

2. In 2004, Phoenix played Jack Daglish in 'Hotel Rwanda'

Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda

MGM Distribution Co.

Synopsis: Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

1. In 2013, Phoenix played fell in love with an OS as Theodore Twombly in 'Her'

Her
Her

Warner Bros.

Synopsis: In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Read the original article on Insider