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Every Heath Ledger Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Versatility and trail-blazing were two distinct qualities of Heath Ledger, an actor dedicated to his craft and who was always seeking the next big challenge. Ledger was wildly thoughtful and artistic, keen to capture the world through his own unique perspective. As an actor, he pushed the boundaries of storytelling through vibrant, interesting characters. Ledger was a performer that could never be placed in a box. His friends, former lovers, and associates — who all vouched for his creative genius in the documentary "I Am Heath Ledger" — understood that the actor's raw talent and drive to pursue something new at every turn were fueled by his passion.

Throughout Ledger's short life, he managed to create a body of work that is as diverse in the genre department as it is from a critical reception standpoint. As well, Ledger never let failure bring him down. He always managed to command the screen. Like so many actors who have passed away, a certain interest in Ledger's work has endured in the years since his death. Let's examine that work and rank the titles of Ledger's filmography from the least impactful to the absolute best.

The Order

Perhaps one of the stranger entries in Heath Ledger's body of work, "The Order" takes a supernatural thriller spin on its religious premise. Directed by Brian Helgeland who also helmed "A Knight's Tale" in which Ledger starred, "The Order" didn't exactly land with critics and was ultimately a box office bust. Ledger stars as a priest by the name of Alex Bernier who is part of the titular Carolingian order, a fictional group of clergy who combat the forces of darkness. The leader of the order, Father Dominic (Francesco Carnelutti), has mysteriously perished and it's up to Alex to investigate.

Alex begins to believe that Father Dominic's death was caused by a Sin Eater. These individuals have the power to remove sin from a soul as the person is dying, thereby cleansing their spirit and enabling them to enter the pearly gates of Heaven. Like any mystery, this one also has its own twists and turns. Ultimately, the pacing of the film was horrid and struggled desperately to make the audience care about the eventual outcome.

The Brothers Grimm

Heath Ledger's first big foray into the realm of fantasy, "The Brothers Grimm" sees the actor partner with the star power of Matt Damon to bring the fantastical pair of siblings to the big screen. The brothers Wilhelm (Damon) and Jacob (Ledger) are known throughout the land for defeating mythical creatures. Ultimately, however, they're nothing more than conmen who trick villagers into believing they hunt monsters in exchange for notoriety and money. Of course, their crimes catch up with them and they are arrested. In order to seek amnesty, they must embark on a quest to solve the case of several disappearances in the village of Marbaden. This is where the real magic begins and many of the famous stories associated with the Brothers Grimm are referenced.

Ultimately, the combined star power of Damon and Ledger couldn't save this film from the tongue lashings of critics. The film garnered several negative reviews. Film critics often cited a messy narrative that didn't have any real emotional hinges to keep viewers connected to the world. The movie wasn't exactly a commercial success either.

Ned Kelly

Set during the Victorian age in the British colony of Victoria in Australia, "Ned Kelly" tells the story of the titular real-life character portrayed by Heath Ledger. The man is wrongfully arrested after being accused of stealing a horse that he found in the wild that was actually stolen by a man named Wild Wright. After spending three years in prison, Ned Kelly returns home. He defeats Wild Wright in a boxing match and subsequently falls for the wife of another gentleman in town, Julia (Naomi Watts). A feud eventually erupts between law enforcement officers and Ned after one of them attempts to abuse Ned's sister. One thing leads to another and Ned becomes a fugitive alongside his brother Dan (Laurence Kinlan) and their friends Joe (Orlando Bloom) and Steve (Philip Barantini). They start up a Robin Hood-type enterprise as a gang of thieves who give to the poor.

"Ned Kelly" performed moderately with the critics offering mixed reviews overall. The film portrayed the real-life tale of Ned Kelly and his fall from grace at the behest of false accusations. Ultimately, the portrayal is largely accurate, offering a glimpse at one of Australia's most notorious historical figures — despite its potentially lacking entertainment value.


In this mashup of romance, comedy, and drama, Heath Ledger portrays the historical figure Casanova, a promiscuous Venetian socialite at the height of his sexual escapades. But his popularity is beginning to catch up with him. Casanova is warned by a friend who also happens to be The Doge (a Venetian ruler) that he may be exiled if he doesn't marry and cease his lifestyle of fornication and debauchery. Casanova does find the one in the form of Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller) who is hiding from the law while publishing illegal feminist works under a male name. However, because Francesca is meant to meet another aristocrat for a potentially arranged marriage, Casanova begins impersonating different people between the two parties in order to win Francesca. Of course, his lies get him into plenty of trouble.

This was another film that fell in the mixed critical reception category. While some found the whimsy and charm of Ledger's character amusing, others were not entertained by his portrayal of Casanova — they found it lacked substance.

The Four Feathers

This war drama features Heath Ledger in the role of Harry Feversham, a British officer prior to the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884. However, after orders come down to engage in the operation, Harry has a moral conflict with the command. As a result, he resigns from his position and is seen as a disgrace and coward by his friends and family. Even his fiancé breaks off her engagement with him. However, Harry proves his quarrel wasn't simply masking cowardice, as he springs into action when he hears that his friend's regiment is in danger. This harrowing tale chronicles the ordeals Harry endured to save and protect his friends despite their lack of respect for his earlier decision.

The film ultimately garnered mixed reviews and was seen as a box office failure. The worldwide gross didn't manage to break even with the film's budget. Despite its financial failure, "The Four Feathers" is a capable film that depicts a thrilling drama rooted in a historical setting.


In a far more drama romance than "Casanova," Heath Ledger stars in this indie adaptation of the Luke Davies novel "Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction." The film follows Dan (Ledger) and Candy (Abbie Cornish) as a couple who are experiencing the life-altering travails of heavy drug addiction. The film is segmented into three acts labeled as Heaven, Earth, and Hell. In the beginning, the pair experience the temporary ecstasy of finding new love and engaging in passionate sex while consistently flying high on heroin. Of course, their addiction drags them to some very low and dark places — making them willing to do the unthinkable for the next high. The movie follows their relationship through its darkest hours.

"Candy" received a mixed reception from critics. As a small indie film, it didn't make a box office splash only earning just over $2 million worldwide. The film requires a certain temperament to watch, and dramatically depicts the destructive force of severe drug addiction.

Lords of Dogtown

"Lords of Dogtown" is a period piece depicting a competitive crew of skateboarders living in Santa Monica during the 1970s. The film follows Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk), and Stacy Peralta (John Robinson), a trio who enjoy a passion for surfing and skateboarding. Heath Ledger plays the role of Skip Engblom who owns the Zephyr Surf Shop. Skip sees how capable Jay, Tony, and Stacy are as skateboarders and creates a competitive team called the Z-Boys. The film follows the Z-Boys as they rise to fame. It also depicts how each one of them copes with their newfound skateboarding careers and success.

"Lords of Dogtown" was a box office bomb only grossing half of its budget worldwide. The film did receive mixed critical reactions, however. And despite its failures, the film gathered fans in the long-term — it's become something of a cult classic.

A Knight's Tale

One of Heath Ledger's earliest starring roles was in the 2001 film "A Knight's Tale." This film is a mish-mosh of drama, romance, and comedy — sort of a fictional Americanized take on the medieval practice of jousting and combat. "A Knight's Tale" offers a sense of intentional levity and fantasy with a rock n' roll soundtrack that includes Queen. Ledger plays the role of a peasant named William Thatcher. The hook of the film is that he begins posing as a knight — and he gains fame and glory, winning competition after competition. It's a crowd-pleasing film that sees a champion rise from his low social class all the way to the top through his own will and determination.

Because of the film's intent to prelude a rousing jousting competition to the backdrop of Queen's "We Will Rock You," some critics weren't entirely on board with the anachronism, feeling a sense of time displacement. However, other reviewers saw the film for what it strove to be: a not-so-serious medieval romp. Ultimately, "A Knight's Tale" gained mixed reviews.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Heath Ledger's final film was "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." It was released posthumously. The film was only partially complete at the time of Ledger's death. So, other actors stepped in to help complete Ledger's role of Tony Shepard. The differences in appearances were explained by visual transformations within the titular Imaginarium. The film follows Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) who leads a theatre troupe. The Imaginarium is a portal to a dream world and is utilized by the troupe in their acts. Ultimately, it offers those who enter the choice between the achievement of self-fulfillment or to reside in ignorant bliss. The Devil appears as Mr. Nick, often taunting Dr. Parnassus for those who choose a life of ignorance. Tony joins the troupe after nearly being hanged to death. His journey among the troupe ultimately takes center stage.

The film received mixed to positive reviews and performed moderately in the box office. "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" capped off Ledger's career — one that was tragically cut short.

The Patriot

The semi-historical epic "The Patriot" depicts a father and son among the throes of the Revolutionary War. Mel Gibson plays the role of colonist Benjamin Martin while Heath Ledger portrays his son, Gabriel. Benjamin votes against the burgeoning war with Great Britain and voices his opposition. And the Revolution begins. Benjamin must eventually take up arms to defend his home from the invading armies. The film depicts a harrowing tale of war, tragedy, and triumph amid one man's bid to protect his remaining family. While some of the main characters are fictional, they're based on real-life historical figures.

The film was a box office success grossing nearly double its budget. It also received positive remarks from film critics. At the time, "The Patriot" was Ledger's biggest film to date. Securing this role opened the gates to more varied opportunities for the budding young actor in Hollywood.

10 Things I Hate About You

Heath Ledger's first big break on the silver screen was a leading role as the bad-boy Patrick Verona in "10 Things I Hate About You." Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the new kid in school and he becomes infatuated with Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik). He wishes to ask her out, but her father won't allow her to date until Bianca's older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. Bianca also wishes to date the senior Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan). Joey begins an arrangement with Patrick Verona, paying him to court Kat so that he, in turn, can date Bianca. Patrick agrees and begins making advances toward Kat who initially rejects him. Eventually, however, the two make a connection. The film excels in its portrayal of teen angst, romance, and heartache.

"10 Things I Hate About You" took a unique approach to the oversaturated genre and ultimately won the praise of many reviewers. The film was also seen as a financial success, setting Ledger up for a healthy future in Hollywood. Not bad for an actor's first-time wide theatrical release.

Two Hands

While "Two Hands" was a 1999 Australian film, it didn't come to the United States until it hit home video in 2005. The movie is considered a crime film with a comedic bend, following a small-time crook named Jimmy (Heath Ledger) who is tasked by a crime boss named Pando (Bryan Brown) to retrieve a woman near Bondi beach. Pando pays Jimmy $10,000 in advance. When Jimmy finds that the woman isn't home, he goes swimming. Instantly, Jimmy finds his luck diminishing fast — thugs steal his cash making him indebted for a task he didn't complete. Even worse, the car Jimmy was driving (he had borrowed it from an associate to the mob) is stolen. In an effort to dig himself out of this money pit, he plots a crime spree to pay off his debts.

"Two Hands" received praise for a rewarding narrative and excellent pacing. The film also attracted other budding star talent — Jimmy's love interest, Alex — portrayed by Rose Byrne. "Two Hands" is a lesser-known film that has flown under the radar for most fans of Ledger's work — but even if you're not a fan, it deserves some attention.

I'm Not There

This musical drama is based on the life of Bob Dylan. While the work is purely fiction, it features the stories of six individuals who embody a different aspect of Dylan's persona. The film, of course, features music from the famous singer and each vignette is period appropriate, according to the life Dylan lived. Heath Ledger portrays Robbie Clark, an actor playing one of the other characters in a biographical film. His fame catches up with him and his marriage begins to crumble. Ledger is joined by five other notable actors portraying the other characters that make-up the life of Bob Dylan. That cast includes Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, and Ben Whishaw.

The film met critical acclaim and has a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans of the musician will appreciate the depiction of his life, albeit through the lens of several fictional characters.

Monster's Ball

The 2001 drama "Monster's Ball" depicts the fractured relationship of a father and son who both work as correctional officers in a state prison. Billy Bob Thornton plays the role of Hank Grotowski and Heath Ledger portrays his kid Sonny. Peter Boyle plays Hank's father Buck, who is retired from the same career and is as prejudiced as they come. He influences Hank to toughen Sonny up — but Hank only manages to push his son further away. For example, Hank diminishes Sonny's kind-hearted nature as being weak. The film paints a bleak picture of the impact one father can have on his kid's future. Halle Barry plays the role of Leticia Musgrove, the wife of a man executed under Hank and Sonny's watch at the facility. She and Hank later bond over their own anguish and grief. 

The film received positive reviews and critical acclaim. And Berry won an Academy Award in the Best Actress category. It's a tragic story that underscores the toxicity that often runs rampant in parts of society that can deeply affect our most intimate relationships if we let it.

Brokeback Mountain

This 2005 American romance and western drama is, perhaps, Ledger's second most famous role just under his turn as the Joker in "The Dark Knight." The film chronicled the intimate relationship between cowboys, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal). The pair are hired to look after a herd of sheep during the summer on Brokeback Mountain. It is here that they develop an intimate relationship with one another. Ultimately, because of the stigma behind their sexual preferences, they go their separate ways and marry women who they both start families with. 

The two manage to come together once again years later, and they find that the passion is still there. "Brokeback Mountain" often aims to grip viewers with a sense of regret for the time these two lovers spent apart. Their forbidden love begins to affect their families, as their marriages suffer, causing heartache all around.

The movie opened to critical acclaim for spinning a narrative that leaves a lasting emotional impact. "Brokeback Mountain" performed admirably well and was deemed a financial success. This was, in part, due to maintaining a modestly low budget of $14 million. The film is a resonating tale of the damage that is wrought by societal bigotry. "Brokeback Mountain" is a drama that no fan of the cinematic medium would want to miss.

The Dark Knight

Maniacal, homicidal, and a proclivity for anarchy are all character traits of the vile and twisted fiend, the Joker — as depicted in Christopher Nolan's epic Batman sequel "The Dark Knight." Ledger dove headfirst into the role, preparing for his version of the character by creating the famous Joker diary. Director Christopher Nolan, however, said Ledger initially did not want the role, but that a meeting between the two had them chatting about Nolan's take on "Batman Begins." As a result of that meeting, Ledger landed the part long before a script was written. The actor took the role to the edge, developing facial tics and his own brand of the Joker's voice. The Joker posed the greatest challenge the Dark Knight had ever seen — and the themes of domestic terrorism wreaked by a madman stirred anxiety within the film's viewers. 

It was a stellar performance. Ledger is now synonymous with the character. He won an Oscar (posthumously) for his villainous turn in the film, and deservedly so. "The Dark Knight" was also a critical and financial powerhouse for Warner Bros. Pictures. The movie, along with Ledger, easily secured immortality in the halls of cinematic history.