The Biggest Matt Damon Movies Of All Time

Matt Damon has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for the better part of three decades, and with good reason. The Harvard-educated thespian gives his all to whatever happens to be his current project, whether he's supporting an ensemble cast, appearing in a bit part, or leading a big-budget blockbuster — a tendency that's been evident from his early days on the big screen. Damon's debut came with one lonely line of dialogue in the acclaimed 1988 drama, Mystic Pizza, and throughout the early-to mid-nineties, he made big impressions with supporting turns in flicks like the Denzel Washington military drama, Courage Under Fire, and the John Grisham adaptation, The Rainmaker. But it was his collaboration with his friend Ben Affleck in 1997's Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote and which gave him his first lead role, that put him on the radar of casting agents in a major way.

In the next few years, Damon would lead or appear in major supporting roles in such dramas as 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley, 2000's All the Pretty Horses, and The Legend of Bagger Vance that same year — and in 2002, he proved that he could even carry a slam-bang action film (and, eventually, franchise) with his surprisingly physical lead role in the Robert Ludlum adaptation, The Bourne Identity. That film cemented his place on Tinseltown's A-list, and according to The Numbers, films in which Damon has appeared have raked in an eye-watering $8.5 billion at the worldwide box office over the course of his storied career.

With numbers like that, you may be wondering just which films were Damon's highest all-time grossers. Well, we've got the answers — and here they are, in ascending order of global box office take.

The Bourne Ultimatum is a high-powered sequel

The Bourne series turned out to be one heck of a cash cow, as the five films have combined for over $1.6 billion worldwide, according to The Numbers. The flicks follow the travails of Jason Bourne, an amnesiac super-spy often at odds with his handlers. Damon famously sat out the fourth installment, 2012's The Bourne Legacy, with Marvel Cinematic Universe star Jeremy Renner filling in as Aaron Cross, another black ops specialist. Perhaps the series' producers figured that the old switcheroo wouldn't matter much to audiences, since 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum had absolutely cleaned up with $444 million worldwide — making it the franchise champ, and Damon's fifth-highest grossing outing ever.

They were, of course, wrong. The Bourne Legacy turned out to be the second-lowest grossing film in the entire series, behind only the first, and Damon returned to the role of Bourne for 2016's Jason Bourne, which righted the ship with a $416 million global take. If Damon has a signature role, it must be Bourne — and The Bourne Ultimatum sits atop the franchise for good reason. It's a rollicking, expertly-crafted thriller that sees Damon and the entire production team in top form; it won three Academy Awards for its film editing, sound editing, and sound mixing, and it's easily the most critically well-received film of the entire franchise, with an eye-popping 92 percent Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. All of the Bourne flicks (yes, even the Renner outing) are worth a watch if you're a fan of action-packed spy thrillers — but Ultimatum is the cream of the crop, and one of the best entries into the genre of the last two decades.

Ocean's Eleven is a heist comedy for the ages

In between Good Will Hunting and The Bourne Identity, one of Damon's highest-profile roles was in the 2001 heist thriller Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack classic. The flick surrounded Damon with the kind of ensemble cast that most young actors can only dream of being a part of; it starred George Clooney as master criminal Danny Ocean; Brad Pitt as his always-hungry partner in crime "Rusty" Ryan; Elliott Gould as veteran crook Reuben Tishkoff; Don Cheadle as the pragmatic Basher Tarr; the late Bernie Mac as the steel-gripped Frank Catton; and the great Carl Reiner as Saul Bloom, an old hand in it for one last score. Damon appeared as Linus Caldwell, the son of one of Danny's old partners who's a chip off the old block.

The cast of Ocean's Eleven had once-in-a-lifetime chemistry, and the screenplay by Ted Griffin (who would go on to co-write Ridley Scott's crime thriller Matchstick Men and contribute to the acclaimed FX television series The Shield) was a masterclass in clockwork efficiency. Plus, the flick was every bit as hilarious as it was thrilling; one wonders what might have been if Clooney and Pitt had decided to form a comedy duo. Ocean's Eleven would spawn a franchise: two sequels in 2004's Ocean's Twelve and 2007's Ocean's Thirteen, plus a Sandra Bullock-led spin-off in 2018's Ocean's Eight. But — in contrast to the Bourne movies — none of those reached the critical or box office highs of the first film, which grossed $450 million worldwide — Damon's fourth-best box office showing.

Saving Private Ryan is one of the greatest war movies ever made

Another film that helped to raise Damon's profile in a big way during his early years in Tinseltown: 1998's Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg's widely-acclaimed war epic, perhaps the greatest example of that genre ever put to film. Damon's role was a relatively small, but crucial one: he portrayed the titular Private First Class James Ryan, who goes missing in action after the events of D-Day, June 6, 1944. With all three of his brothers killed in action within days of each other, General George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell) orders a small squad of men led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) to retrieve Private Ryan, and bring him home. 

The film was a product of the great respect and admiration felt by both Spielberg and Hanks for the fighting forces who helped turn the tide of World War II, and it led directly into a further collaboration between the two as producers on the acclaimed 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, which followed members of the very same unit (the 101st Airborne, known as "Easy Company") as they navigated the final few years of the war. That miniseries also featured its take on the events of D-Day — but Saving Private Ryan will forever be remembered for its depiction of the event, the single most realistic and brutal depiction of the chaos of war that has ever been seen on the screen. The film garnered a $482 million worldwide box office take, and Damon's nuanced performance helped to edge him ever closer to the A-list.

The Martian is a tense sci-fi masterpiece

The second-highest performing movie in Matt Damon's filmography features his most assured, relatable lead performance, and it may be his best all-around film: 2015's The Martian, a movie in which Damon's botanist astronaut Mark Watley is the only character onscreen for a significant portion of the run time. Set in 2035, the flick depicts a manned mission to Mars which goes catastrophically awry thanks to an unforeseen dust storm, causing the crew to abort and depart for Earth. Watney, whose biometric monitors are damaged in the storm, is presumed dead — causing him to be stranded all alone on the red planet. Returning to base, Watney must use all of his wits, scientific know-how, and knowledge of botany to establish communication with Earth, and keep himself alive until a rescue mission can reach him.

The Martian is a fantastic-looking film thanks to veteran director Ridley Scott, and the screenplay by Drew Goddard (based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel of the same name) is about as flawless a script as any director could ever hope to use. The flick was fittingly nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Picture and one for Adapted Screenplay, and it struck a major chord in the pop culture consciousness; Watney's proclamation, "I'm gonna have to science the s**t out of this," is among the more memorable lines from any picture of the last decade. As admirable as Scott's and Goddard's work on the flick is, the demanding lead role required a heavy hitter, and Damon fit the bill — he's a big part of the reason The Martian cleaned up to the tune of $630 million worldwide, which also happens to be good for Scott's second-best total (behind 2000's Gladiator) of all time.

Interstellar contained a secret Matt Damon cameo

Christopher Nolan's 2014 sci-fi drama Interstellar was bound to be a massive hit; it was his first film after completing the Dark Knight trilogy, and audiences expected (and got) a brain-bender on par with the director's hugely successful 2010 film Inception. It's the story of former NASA engineer Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), set in the far-flung future of 2067, in which the world has been rendered all but uninhabitable. Cooper is brought back into the NASA fold to spearhead what is almost certain to be his final mission: to pilot the starship Endurance, carrying thousands of frozen human embryos, through a mysterious wormhole that was traversed by other astronauts decades in the past. Those astronauts sent back data indicating that there are habitable planets on the other side — and it's up to Cooper and his crew to investigate, and attempt to secure a future for all of humanity.

Damon's role in Interstellar is a glorified cameo, and it was actually kept secret prior to the film's release. He portrays the head-slappingly named Hugh Mann, one of the astronauts sent through the wormhole in the past. Based on his report, it's thought that the planet he landed on might represent humanity's salvation — but it's discovered that the data he sent back to Earth was false, that the planet he landed on was actually a barren wasteland, and that he transmitted the phony data only in hopes of being rescued. In fact, the real reason Matt Damon's Interstellar role was kept a secret, according to Nolan, was that the actor's innate ability to project integrity and competence helped to keep the audience from seeing his heel turn coming.

It was another small-but-crucial role, and Nolan's savvy and effective gambit only proved that audiences have come to have a very solid grasp on Damon's strengths as an actor — and that Damon is also skilled enough to deftly subvert those expectations when the situation calls for it. Interstellar grossed a whopping $677 million worldwide, making it Damon's biggest box office performer — so far, anyway.