Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

All Joaquin Phoenix Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After making three movies in the ’80s credited as Leaf and then disappearing, Phoenix returned to the public eye, this time under his birth name Joaquin, for 1995’s To Die For. In that Gus Van Sant erotic thriller, Phoenix plays a high schooler seduced by Nicole Kidman to murder, thus beginning the actor’s penchant for performing disturbed, frequently mordant characters, carried further through the ’90s in movies like Clay Pigeons, 8MM, and U-Turn.

Phoenix became a near-household name after playing sword-and-sandal scumbag Commodus in Best Picture-winner Gladiator, in which he got his first of three Oscar acting nominations. But for several years after, Phoenix remained in character actor mode, taking supporting roles if he found the movie compelling (Quills, Hotel Rwanda, Signs), in between lead star parts such as in Buffalo Soldiers and The Village.

In 2005, Phoenix broke into that echelon of truly transformative actors, owning the Johnny Cash role in Walk the Line, which walked him right into a second Oscar nomination. A long period of reunion collaborations has followed, working frequently with clearly favored directors: To Die For‘s Gus Van Sant (Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot), James Gray (Two Lovers, We Own the Night), Rwanda‘s Terry George (Reservation Road), and P.T. Anderson for Inherent Vice and The Master, the latter marking the most recent time he became an Oscar nominee.

And yet more just might be on the horizon with the imminent release of Joker, the one-off R-rated portrait of comicdom’s most famous villain, which has courted no shortage of controversy and buzz, including a Golden Lion win at Venice Film Festival. So put on that smile and happy face as we rank all of Joaquin Phoenix’s movies by Tomatometer!

#33

Russkies (1987)
14%

#33
Adjusted Score: 9.543%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three young boys discover a stranded Russian sailor on the shores of Key West in this well-meaning but unexciting drama.... [More]
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 19.001%
Critics Consensus: It's All About Love has ambitious ideas and an impressive cast, none of which are put to compelling use in this dramatically inert and narratively incoherent sci-fi drama.
Synopsis: In a near-future world, environmental damage causes flash ice ages and gravity loss, and people who experience devastating grief and... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Vinterberg

#31

8MM (1999)
22%

#31
Adjusted Score: 25.22%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Tom Welles is a surveillance specialist-what used to be known as a "private eye"-but his version of the profession is... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 31.887%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of two closely linked, small town Illinois families dangerously intersect in this domestic drama set in the 1950s,... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#29

Brother Bear (2003)
37%

#29
Adjusted Score: 40.373%
Critics Consensus: Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting.
Synopsis: Driven by the emotional and joyous rhythms of five great new songs from Academy-Award (R) winner Phil Collins, "Brother Bear"... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Blaise, Bob Walker

#28

Reservation Road (2007)
38%

#28
Adjusted Score: 41.201%
Critics Consensus: While the performances are fine, Reservation Road quickly adopts an excessively maudlin tone along with highly improbable plot turns.
Synopsis: A tale of anger, revenge, and great courage, the film follows two fathers as their families and lives converge. On... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#27

Ladder 49 (2004)
41%

#27
Adjusted Score: 45.295%
Critics Consensus: Instead of humanizing the firemen, the movie idolizes them, and thus renders them into cardboard characters.
Synopsis: Baltimore firefighter Jack Morrison, making the transition from inexperienced rookie to seasoned veteran, struggles to cope with a risky, demanding... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#26

The Village (2004)
43%

#26
Adjusted Score: 49.006%
Critics Consensus: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan's signature twist ending disappoints.
Synopsis: M. Night Shyamalan, the creative mind behind The Sixth Sense and Signs, wrote and directed this characteristically atmospheric thriller. The... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#25

Mary Magdalene (2019)
45%

#25
Adjusted Score: 49.565%
Critics Consensus: Mary Magdalene has obvious reverence for its subject; unfortunately, it lacks enough momentum or depth of character to make her story interesting.
Synopsis: Set in the Holy Land in the first century C.E., a young woman leaves her small fishing village and traditional... [More]
Directed By: Garth Davis

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 45.204%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This is an eerily prescient family adventure starring Kate Capshaw as Andie, a frustrated NASA astronaut who's never actually been... [More]
Directed By: Harry Winer

#23

Irrational Man (2015)
46%

#23
Adjusted Score: 53.275%
Critics Consensus: Irrational Man may prove rewarding for the most ardent Joaquin Phoenix fans or Woody Allen apologists, but all others most likely need not apply.
Synopsis: When a burned-out, brilliant professor - one who believes in lessons from life rather than textbooks - takes a job... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#22

I'm Still Here (2010)
53%

#22
Adjusted Score: 56.338%
Critics Consensus: As unkempt and inscrutable as Joaquin Phoenix himself, I'm Still Here raises some interesting questions about its subject, as well as the nature of celebrity, but it fails to answer many of them convincingly.
Synopsis: Oscar-nominated Walk the Line star Joaquin Phoenix announces that he's retiring from acting to launch a hip-hop career as his... [More]
Directed By: Casey Affleck

#21

We Own the Night (2007)
57%

#21
Adjusted Score: 61.664%
Critics Consensus: Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.
Synopsis: At the height of a bloody 1980s struggle between New York City police and a Russian mob that targeted law... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#20

U-Turn (1997)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 62.628%
Critics Consensus: U-Turn is a lurid, stylish lark that boasts striking moments but lacks the focus and weight of Oliver Stone best work.
Synopsis: Oliver Stone takes a breather from politics with this violent and frequently very funny black comedy about a gambler whose... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#19

Clay Pigeons (1998)
62%

#19
Adjusted Score: 64.437%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: David Dobkin made his feature directorial debut with this comedy thriller about an ordinary guy mistakenly viewed as a serial... [More]
Directed By: David Dobkin

#18

The Yards (2000)
64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 67.026%
Critics Consensus: Featuring strong performances and direction, The Yards is a richly textured crime thriller with an authentic feel.
Synopsis: An ex-con struggles to make a clean life for himself, but his job in a Queens, New York subway rail... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 72.918%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This remake of Force Majeure (aka Uncontrollable Circumstances), a 1989 film with Alan Bates and Kristin Scott Thomas, recalls the... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#16

Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 76.411%
Critics Consensus: Overall, this caustic comedy hits more of its targets than it misses.
Synopsis: It's 1989. The Berlin Wall is about to fall; but outside of Stuttgart, West Germany, at the Theodore Roosevelt Army... [More]
Directed By: Gregor Jordan

#15

Inherent Vice (2015)
73%

#15
Adjusted Score: 82.072%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: "Inherent Vice," is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#14

Signs (2002)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 79.73%
Critics Consensus: With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.
Synopsis: Following the smash hit The Sixth Sense (1999) and the under-performing follow-up Unbreakable (2000), directing phenom M. Night Shyamalan returns... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#13

Quills (2000)
75%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79.284%
Critics Consensus: Though hard to watch, this film's disturbing exploration of freedom of expression is both seductive and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: The Marquis de Sade was a man who liked to stir up trouble, at a time when his native France... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#12
Adjusted Score: 83.351%
Critics Consensus: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot avoids inspirational biopic clichés thanks to sensitive work from writer-director Gus Van Sant and the admirable efforts of a well-chosen cast.
Synopsis: John Callahan has a lust for life, a talent for off-color jokes, and a drinking problem. When an all-night bender... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#11

Gladiator (2000)
76%

#11
Adjusted Score: 83.136%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Synopsis: A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#10

Two Lovers (2008)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 87.753%
Critics Consensus: Two Lovers is a complex, intriguing, richly-acted romantic drama
Synopsis: A depressed young man moves back in with his parents and finds his life turned upside down as he struggles... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#9

Walk the Line (2005)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 89.893%
Critics Consensus: Superior acting and authentic crooning capture the emotional subtleties of the legend of Johnny Cash with a freshness that is a pleasure to watch.
Synopsis: "Walk the Line" follows the early years in the career of American music legend Johnny Cash. The young Cash sets... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#8

The Master (2012)
85%

#8
Adjusted Score: 93.987%
Critics Consensus: Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.
Synopsis: A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master unfolds the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7

The Immigrant (2014)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88.72%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful visuals, James Gray's confident direction, and a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard combine to make The Immigrant a richly rewarding period drama.
Synopsis: In James Gray's THE IMMIGRANT, Ewa Cybulski (Marion Cotillard) and her sister sail to New York from their native Poland... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 95.242%
Critics Consensus: The Sisters Brothers rides familiar genre trails in occasionally unexpected ways - a satisfying journey further elevated by its well-matched leading men.
Synopsis: From acclaimed director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, A Prophet), and based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, THE SISTERS... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Audiard

#5

To Die For (1995)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 91.439%
Critics Consensus: Smart, funny, and thoroughly well-cast, To Die For takes a sharp - and sadly prescient - stab at dissecting America's obsession with celebrity.
Synopsis: The price of fame is murder -- or at least it is in the mind of one woman in New... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#4
Adjusted Score: 100.479%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly elevated by a typically committed lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay as one of modern cinema's most unique -- and uncompromising -- voices.
Synopsis: A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control,... [More]
Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

#3

Hotel Rwanda (2004)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 96.231%
Critics Consensus: A sobering and heartfelt tale about massacre that took place in Rwanda while most of the world looked away.
Synopsis: Ten years ago some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda--and... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#2

Parenthood (1989)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 94.987%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by a delightful cast, Parenthood is a funny and thoughtfully crafted look at the best and worst moments of family life that resonates broadly.
Synopsis: This feel-good ensemble comedy tracks a quartet of suburban siblings and their families over the course of a single summer.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#1

Her (2013)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104.335%
Critics Consensus: Sweet, soulful, and smart, Spike Jonze's Her uses its just-barely-sci-fi scenario to impart wryly funny wisdom about the state of modern human relationships.
Synopsis: Spike Jonze takes the helm for this comedy about a withdrawn writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

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