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Best Movies Directed by Ben Affleck, Ranked


Throughout his long career, Ben Affleck has proved that he is not only a talented actor but also a very compelling cinematic storyteller. His films are usually situated within the crime genre, and he also incorporates his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, into his stories, making them extremely personal. At the same time, besides Gone Baby Gone, Affleck often stars in his own films. This is no easy feat for a director. It takes talent, experience, and hard work to both direct and act in a film.


With that said, Affleck continues to prove that he can do it. The talented star most recently directed the 2023 biographical sports drama Air, sharing the screen with frequent collaborator and close friend Matt Damon as well as an illustrious ensemble cast including Jason Bateman, Viola Davis, and Chris Tucker. Unsurprisingly, the film earned rave reviews and will likely be a major contender in the ensuing awards season. Affleck grew up in the Boston area and was introduced to the arts at a very young age. During high school, he performed in several plays and became very close with Damon.

Throughout his adolescence, Affleck appeared in independent films as well as television series. Eventually, he and Damon moved to New York City to pursue acting full-time and then to Los Angeles. Affleck began to land bigger roles in films such as School Ties and Dazed and Confused. After receiving an Oscar for his screenplay for Good Will Hunting, he and Damon gained international fame. Since then, Affleck has become a highly respected actor, director, and producer. Let’s look at his directing filmography, ranked.

Update November 8, 2023: This article has been updated to include Affleck’s latest directorial film, Air, and where everyone of the films he has directed can be streamed.


5 Live By Night (2016)

Live by Night

Release Date
December 25, 2016

Director
Ben Affleck

Cast
Ben Affleck, Scott Eastwood, Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Sullivan

Rating
R

Genres
Drama, Crime, Documentary, Thriller

Although Live by Night is considered by many to be the weakest of Affleck’s filmography, he did prove that he could direct an effective period piece. The costume and set design are stunning from beginning to end as Affleck takes moviegoers back to the 1920s. Affleck also stars in the film and gives a very solid performance. The story follows Boston gangsters who go up against members of the Ku Klux Klan in the prohibition era. Affleck also wrote the screenplay adapted from the novel by Dennis Lehane.

What Makes It Great

The film has a fantastic supporting cast featuring great performances from Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, and Zoe Saldaña. It is a riveting period piece that features great drama and several satisfying action scenes that showcase the actor-turned-filmmaker’s skills behind the camera and his ability to captivate audiences with his unique perspective. It was a very ambitious project for Affleck, and although it wasn’t his best, it should certainly be respected.

Rent/Buy on Prime Video

Related: Ben Affleck’s Best Movies of the 2000s, Ranked

4 Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone

Release Date
June 6, 2007

Director
Ben Affleck

Cast
Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan

Rating
R

Genres
Crime, Documentary, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone was a masterclass film that follows Patrick (Casey Affleck) and Angie (Michelle Monaghan) who are two Boston private detectives searching for a missing child. The mother of the child is a drug-addicted criminal, brilliantly played by Amy Ryan. This movie shows audiences the harsh characters that inhabit Boston and introduces them to the dark world of crime that lies there. This was a big gamble for Affleck, as it could have made or break his career when people had written him off, and it got him back on track.

What Makes It Great

The story has twists and turns all throughout its run and will leave viewers guessing until the very last scene. There are several great supporting performances from Ed Harris, Titus B. Welliver, Morgan Freeman, and more. It is a riveting and honest crime drama that is extremely thought-provoking from beginning to end. Ryan went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for her performance, and Affleck garnered widespread praise in his first outing as a bonafide filmmaker; he would ultimately win Best Directorial Debut by the National Board of Review, and the drama landed on numerous critics’ best of lists.

Stream on Paramount+

3 The Town (2010)

the town

The Town

Release Date
September 15, 2010

Director
Ben Affleck

Cast
Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Slaine

Rating
R

Genres
Crime, Documentary, Drama, Thriller

The Town is a riveting crime drama that follows bank robbers in Charlestown, Boston, as they set out to complete one last job, setting their sights on robbing Fenway Park. Doug MacRay (Affleck) leads his crew consisting of his lifelong friends in the daring thefts and eventually forms a romantic relationship with a hostage (Rebecca Hall) from one of his previous heists who is unaware that he robbed her bank.

What Makes It Great

The bank robbery scenes in this film are absolutely riveting and filled with suspense. At the same time, the entire supporting cast brings something to the table. Jeremy Renner gives one of the finest performances of his career and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Blake Lively is an absolute scene-stealer and Rebecca Hall gives an underrated performance. It showcases the Boston streets in a very honest way, and the climax of the film will have audiences on the edge of their seat. The movie includes romance, action, and drama and focuses on the complications of facing one’s past. The movie was also a box office hit, grossing $92 million domestic and $154 million worldwide.

Stream on Paramount+

Related: Ben Affleck’s Best Movies from the 90s, Ranked

2 Air (2023)

Air (2023)

Air (2023)

Release Date
April 5, 2023

Director
Ben Affleck

Cast
Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Chris Messina, Viola Davis, Chris Tucker, Jay Mohr

Rating
R

Genres
Drama

Read Our Review

Depicting the lucrative and massively influential partnership between NBA legend Michael Jordan and Nike’s basketball shoe division in the early 1980s, Affleck’s most recent directorial endeavor Air, focuses on the spectacular efforts of sports marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) as he embarks on a mission to find the influential company a new spokesperson in an effort to save the division. Affleck also portrays Nike co-founder Phil Knight, while Jason Bateman appears as Marketing VP Rob Strasser in the engrossing flick.

What Makes It Great

The acclaimed sports drama winningly chronicles the conceptualization of Air Jordan and features some seriously stellar performances by its talented ensemble cast. Lauded for its exceptional blend of humor, exciting pacing, and feel-good nostalgia, the film was a knockout with critics and audiences, receiving an impressive A CinemaScore and widespread praise upon its debut. Affleck only continues to get better with each project he directs and his impeccable skills behind the camera are on full display in the drama, with the Chicago Reader declaring, “Affleck’s return to the director’s chair is an exceptional success, stimulated by its script and cast.”

Stream on Prime Video

1 Argo (2012)

Argo

Argo

Release Date
March 22, 2012

Director
Ben Affleck

Cast
Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan

Rating
R

Genres
Biography, Documentary, Drama, History, Thriller

Argo tells the story of CIA operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) and his plan to help six U.S. diplomats escape from Iran by disguising them as a film crew. Based on the exhilarating true story deemed the “Canadian Caper” by the media, it chronicles the daring rescue led by Mendez in 1979 during the Iran Hostage Crisis. Every aspect of this film was intriguing and downright thrilling from beginning to end, and it rightfully went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

What Makes It Great

Not only is it an effective spy film, it is also a love letter to cinema. Along Tony’s journey, he is introduced to the bizarre world of Hollywood, meeting interesting characters along the way. During the mission in Iran, there is suspense from beginning to end as audiences watch Tony try to get these diplomats home safely. The movie features great supporting performances from the cast, including Alan Arkin and John Goodman. As well as winning Best Picture, Argo also won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing, and Affleck took home the Golden Globe for Best Director.

Rent/Buy on Prime Video



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