Matt Damon is one of the most successful Hollywood actors of all time. The 52-year-old American, who dropped out of Harvard to forge a career in the movie industry, has since gone on to rake in the big bucks from the box office.

In fact, films starring Damon have grossed over $3.88 billion collectively in North America alone. He has demonstrated his ability to play an exceptional lead role, as well as a string of intriguing support acts throughout the years.

It all started for Damon in 1988 after an appearance in Mystic Pizza. However, it wasn’t until the mid-to-late 1990s when Damon’s Hollywood career would really take flight. He’s never looked back and, in over three decades of service to the movie industry, Damon has been involved in some incredible storylines.

Below, we’ve hand-picked a cluster of movies which we believe characterize Damon’s movie career to date.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

This is comfortably one of Damon’s most memorable appearances on the big screen – and one of his earliest too. It’s particularly significant and somewhat poignant because it’s the first screenplay co-written by Damon alongside long-time friend, Ben Affleck.
The plot is about a young mathematician, and stars Damon, Affleck and the late Robin Williams. With just a $10 million budget, the movie grossed $225 million. Damon and Affleck won Best Original Screenplay at the 70th Academy Awards, and Williams also earned an award for Best Supporting Actor. The Hollywood Reporter placed it comfortably inside its top 100 films of all time back in 2014.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Just months after Damon’s “overnight success” in Hollywood, he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s iconic World War II-themed movie, Saving Private Ryan. He was given the fleeting title role of the film, which goes to show the esteem in which Damon was already held within the movie industry.

For Damon’s name to be attached to a film which grossed over $480 million at the box office was another feather in his cap.

Rounders (1998)

Rounders has grown in popularity more as the years have elapsed. Damon’s performance in this movie was somewhat overshadowed by his role in Saving Private Ryan the same year, but Rounders has steadily developed a cult following within the global poker community. In the early 2000s, when online poker started to boom, a growing number of viewers started to see the movie in a different light as their understanding of this classic card game grew.

Although it didn’t prove to be an immediate box office success, it’s fair to say Rounders is now regarded one of the finest poker-themed movies in history. Online poker has continued to grow from strength to strength in the 21st century, aided largely by improving broadband connectivity and device compatibility, not to mention a growing choice of payment methods for deposits and withdrawals, including a plentitude of e-wallets.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Damon’s appearance as Jason Bourne in Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity in 2002 would catapult him into a new realm of Hollywood. Damon was a huge success as Bourne, even performing many of his own stunts.

It proved to be the first of many instalments in the Bourne film series, which is why we felt The Bourne Identity was so significant to Damon’s career. The last of five Bourne movies were shot in 2016, titled simply Jason Bourne.

The Martian (2015)

Ridley Scott enlisted the services of Damon in 2015 to play the lead role in The Martian, inspired by Andy Weir’s best-selling novel. Damon played the role of astronaut, Mark Watney, who was stranded on Mars and forced to try and survive while NASA spent several weeks and months attempting to rescue him.

Damon’s performance earnt him rave reviews, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor, cementing him as a truly elite Hollywood star.

In truth, we could have reeled off several more movies, not least the Ocean’s Trilogy running between 2001 and 2007, and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed in 2006. However, this quintet of titles have been major landmarks in Damon’s career to date, demonstrating his evolution into an established, in-demand Hollywood actor.

* Banner image attributed to Nicolas Genin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to watch The Martian

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