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Every Edward Norton Movie Ranked Worst To Best

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Edward Harrison Norton was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 18, 1969, to a high school English teacher mother, and an environmental lawyer father. Edward grew up in Columbia, Maryland, a town designed by his maternal grandfather, James Rouse, an urban planner and the father of shopping malls. Norton took an early interest in acting and reportedly asked his drama teacher what his motivation was for a scene when he was only eight years old, an early (and humorous) sign of his uncompromising dedication to his craft.

Norton went to Yale University, graduating with a B.A. in History in 1991. After graduation, he briefly lived in Ōsaka, Japan, where he worked as a consultant before moving back to New York City to pursue acting. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Norton landed his first paid role in the play "Fragments," written and produced by Edward Albee. In 1996, Norton began his film career with an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in "Primal Fear," co-starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. Since '96 Norton has built a reputation as a high-caliber actor, capable of taking on the most nuanced and difficult roles.

29. Stone

Even Robert De Niro makes a flop every now and again. This time co-starring with Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich in "Stone." This film is about a convicted arsonist, Gerald Creeson (Norton), who uses the moniker Stone, trying to manipulate a parole officer into granting him parole. Jack (De Niro), who is days from retirement, is drawn into this manipulation by Stone's beautiful wife, Lucetta (Jovovich), who pleads Stone's case in person, using her feminine wiles to sway Jack's opinion of Stone.

Lucetta's charms are successful in securing Jack's recommendation for early release, and in leading him astray, cheating on his wife with Lucetta. Despite the excellent cast, this film fell flat with Metacritic giving it a 58 from critics and a 5.8 with audiences. Although some critics liked the film better than audiences, NPR said, "On paper, 'Stone' looks like a dream for fans of acting heavyweights facing off against each another ... The promise of a great pair of dueling performances never materializes." This film is the second collaboration between De Niro and Norton, but their 2001 film "The Score" was much better.

28. Pride and Glory

Even the best of actors have a couple of films that are duds. "Pride and Glory" is one of these films for Edward Norton. Norton was cast as Ray Tierney, an NYPD officer who joins a task force investigating the death of four police officers at a drug dealer's house, after his brother Francis (Noah Emmerich) asks him to. During the investigation, Ray discovers instances of police corruption involving his brother-in-law, Jimmy (Colin Farrell). When Ray catches the corrupt cops, including Ray's brother-in-law Jimmy, torturing the drug dealer Tezo (Ramón Rodríguez), Ray tries to intervene but is disarmed by Jimmy, who shoots Tezo with Ray's gun.

When Internal Affairs is brought in to investigate the Tezo shooting, Ray insists he wasn't the shooter, but refuses to say more, still willing to protect Jimmy. Jimmy, on the other hand, has no problem betraying family, insisting Ray killed Tezo in cold blood, essentially framing Ray for the killing. "Pride and Glory" weaves a tangled web of lies, police corruption and family secrets. It has a great cast, including Jon Voight, as the patriarch of the Tierney family, but sometimes even a great cast doesn't make a great movie. From the Rotten Tomatoes scores, we can see the film fared better with fans than critics, getting a 49% user score.

27. Collateral Beauty

Edward Norton's film "Collateral Beauty" is a perfect example of an incredible cast making a film that didn't hit the mark. Don't get us wrong, this film isn't bad, but falls short of what one might expect from a film boasting this cast of stars. Norton plays Whit, an advertising executive who enlists the help of three actors, to play Time (Jacob Latimore), Love (Keira Knightley), and Death (Helen Mirren), in a desperate attempt to save his advertising agency from financial ruin and his business partner Howard (Will Smith) from misery. Whit, Claire (Kate Winslet) and Simon (Michael Peña) conspire to sell the advertising agency before it fails because of Howard's breakdown after the death of his six-year-old daughter.

The only problem — Howard owns controlling interest in the agency, and they can't sell without his consent. Howard has retreated into himself, adrift in the seas of depression, writing letters to Time, Love and Death. Whit, Claire and Simon hope the actors can give them the leverage necessary to force Howard's hand, making him agree to sell the company. "Collateral Beauty" is a sad movie; with heavy subject matter, it's no wonder some people didn't enjoy the film. The performances were superb, but the ending was trite. Audiences liked the film much more than critics, giving the film a 64% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

26. Death to Smoochy

Director Danny DeVito's dark comedy "Death to Smoochy" is about a corrupt children's show host, "Rainbow" Randolph Smiley (Robin Williams), who loses his show after a bribery scandal. Poverty drives Randolph crazy, so he focuses his homicidal frustration on Sheldon Mopes, after he is catapulted to fame playing Smoochy the Rhino. Sheldon is sincere and sweet, wanting nothing more than giving children age appropriate, quality entertainment. But the world of children's entertainment isn't as wholesome as one might think — with Sheldon's unethical agent, Burke Bennett (Danny DeVito) and unhinged stalker, Randolph. After trying to get Sheldon fired, Randolph tricks Sheldon into performing as Smoochy at a Neo-Nazi rally, branding him a racist and leading to Smoochy's show being canceled. 

The action and acting in this movie are completely over-the-top. "Death to Smoochy" was a good cast with a bad script, making for a box-office flop. At least audiences seemed to find it some-what entertaining, giving the movie a 66% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

25. The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais wrote the 2009 comedy "The Invention of Lying" for his directorial debut, co-directing with Matthew Robinson. The film is set in an alternate reality, much like our own, but in this fictional world, people are incapable of lying, always answering questions with startling but brutal honesty. This is where much of the humor in the film comes from — awkward truths. Screenwriter Mark Bellison (Gervais) is humiliated while on a date with Anna (Jennifer Garner) who admits to only going out with him as a favor for their mutual friend. He is fired from his job the very next day. Something snaps in Mark while at the bank, making him capable of asking for more money than he has in his bank account.

Mark continues bending the truth to his personal benefit, first with ladies, and then writing the first fiction screenplay, making him rich and famous. This film is packed with supporting characters played by big stars, including Jonah Hill, Louis C. K, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, and Edward Norton in a hilarious cameo as the motorcycle cop who pulls over Mark's friend Greg while driving drunk. Norton isn't known for his comedic work, but his deadpan honesty makes for a hilarious scene. The film didn't get great reviews, but it was absurdly funny and commercially successful, turning a tidy profit.

24. The Bourne Legacy

In the fourth installment of the Bourne franchise, "The Bourne Legacy" Edward Norton plays retired Colonel Eric Byer, who built the Outcome Program, a program that has been running adjacent to everything we have seen in the first three films in the franchise. In this film, we learn Byer (Edward Norton) has been keeping tabs on the situation developing in the first three films, showing us how Jason Bourne is part of a much larger picture. After incriminating footage between Treadstone and the scientists working on the Outcome program surfaces on the internet, Byer (Norton) makes a tough decision.

Byer authorizes everyone associated with the program to be neutralized to avoid political fallout. While this seems like a ruthless decision, Norton spoke about his character in an Movieclips interview, saying, "he's not happy about it, but I think he sees it all as part of the very, very difficult nature of the job." Norton points out that there is no villain in the film, but a group of characters participating in a flawed system. Although "The Bourne Legacy" wasn't bad, it wasn't as commercially successful as the earlier films, only scoring a 6.1 user score on Metacritic.

23. Leaves of Grass

In "Leaves of Grass" Edward Norton plays two characters, twin brothers, Bill and Brady Kincaid. Bill is a philosophy professor who left his youth behind for the hallowed halls of New England higher education, while his twin Brady is a pot farmer back home in Little Dixie, Oklahoma. The film opens with Bill getting a call saying his brother Brady is dead, but this winds up only being a ploy to lure Bill home, to play a part in Brady's harebrained scheme to take down a local drug lord (Richard Dreyfuss) in Tulsa. Susan Sarandon plays the twins' mother, Daisy Kincaid, an aged flower-child of the '60s. 

This film didn't get the greatest audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, with Metacritic giving it a 6.6 user score, but Roger Ebert said, "Tim Blake Nelson's 'Leaves of Grass' is some kind of sweet, wacky masterpiece," and we are inclined to agree. Norton is excellent at playing two characters, and a lot funnier than we have given him credit for in the past. Seeing him embody two brothers who are so different is impressive, and it is worth your time to check the film out.

22. Down in the Valley

In 2005, Edward Norton co-starred opposite Evan Rachel Wood in "Down in the Valley," a film about a barely legal teenage girl from the San Fernando Valley who meets a mysterious man dressed like a cowboy on her way to the beach with her friends one day. Harlan (Norton) is much older, but he and Tobe (Wood) have an instant attraction. Her father, Wade (David Morse), a corrections officer, is suspicious of Harlan. Toby keeps seeing Harlan, despite her father's warnings, but things turn sour when it becomes clear Harlan isn't mentally stable. 

Wood and Norton both developed reputations for being excellent actors early in their careers, and their performances in this film are solid, with Roger Ebert saying, "the performances can't be faulted. Norton finds that line dividing madness from plausibility." The first half of the film is excellent, but it falls apart, losing many critics and audience members along the way, getting a 6.5 on Metacritic.

21. Everyone Says I Love You

In 1996 Edward Norton joined the ensemble cast of Woody Allen's musical "Everyone Says I Love You" playing Holden. This is the story of a well-to-do family living in the Upper Eastside of Manhattan, who are readjusting to life after the divorce of Joe (Woody Alan) and Steffi (Goldie Hawn). Natasha Lyonne plays their youngest daughter DJ and Drew Barrymore is the older daughter Skylar. Norton's character, Holden, becomes engaged to Skylar, until she falls for an ex-con, Charlie (Tim Roth), and everything goes sideways. 

The film is your typical Allen brand of humor, but with musical numbers interspersed throughout the film. It sounds a little strange, but for fans of Allen's films, it is guaranteed to please. Critics liked the film more than fans, giving it a 77%, while the audience score sits at 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. For those of us who are lukewarm on Allen films, or not a fan of musicals, this film is a simple pass.

20. Kingdom of Heaven

Edward Norton took on the role of King Baldwin, a leper, in director Ridley Scott's historical epic "Kingdom of Heaven." The film follows Balian (Orlando Bloom), a widowed blacksmith, on his dangerous journey to Jerusalem to become a crusader with his father Baron Godfrey (Liam Neeson). Norton's character, King Baldwin, is a supporting role, although an essential one, as he dies during the film and the action of the story centers on Balian (Bloom). According to Daily History, the film is historically accurate portraying "the decline and fall of the First Kingdom of Jerusalem (1091-1087)," saying, "The movie captures the constant and brutal conflict between the Christians and the Muslims in the Holy Land," during the crusades in the 12th century.

The film wasn't a hit with critics, with mixed reviews scoring only 39% on Rotten Tomatoes – ouch! But Norton's performance was praised by critic Jack Moore of The Movie Insider, saying, "the most interesting character by far is King Baldwin, a man so boyishly kind, so unexpectedly wise and so tragically scarred that we never notice he is played by Edward Norton ... Norton's work is phenomenal, so far removed from anything that he has ever done that we see the true complexities of his talent." Although the studio cut didn't win over critics, audiences loved it getting a 72%.

19. Motherless Brooklyn

In 2019 Edward Norton branched out in a big way, taking on a new role as a filmmaker, writing the screenplay for an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel. In "Motherless Brooklyn" Norton plays the leading role of Lionel Essrog, a private detective with Tourette's Syndrome, trying to solve the murder of his only friend, and father figure, in this neo-noir film. Lionel's investigation leads him into the underbelly of New York's urban planning and political corruption at the top. The film boasts an excellent cast, including Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, and Bruce Willis.

This story has been Norton's passion project since falling in love with the novel in 1999 (per The Washington Post). The film has major differences from the book, being set in a different time, and bringing the politics of New York urban renewal in the '50s into the story. Norton acknowledged in an interview with The Washington Post the influence his grandfather had on the project saying, "When [Paul] says to Lionel, 'To serve people, you have to love people,' that is literally something my grandfather would say in speeches." It wasn't a hit with critics only getting a score of 60, but audiences liked the movie, giving it a 7.3 on Metacritic.

18. The Incredible Hulk

In 2008, Edward Norton tried his hand with Marvel Studios, when he took the role of Bruce Banner in Louis Leterrier's "The Incredible Hulk." It seems this film is remembered more for the conflicts between Norton and the director than the film itself. Reportedly, Norton only took the role after Marvel allowed him to do a rewrite on the script. Norton told The New York Times Magazine, "What Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious ... Ultimately they weren't going for long, dark, and serious."

If you remember the film at all, Bruce Banner was a very nuanced and complex character, ostensively because of Norton's contributions. But Mark Ruffalo replaced Norton in the following MUC films, confirming a case of creative differences. Despite "The Incredible Hulk" being one of the more forgettable Marvel films, audiences still liked the movie giving it a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1 on Metacritic.

17. Keeping the Faith

In 2000, Edward Norton became more than an actor when he starred and produced his directorial debut, "Keeping the Faith." A romantic comedy about Father Brian Finn (Norton) and Rabbi Jake Schram (Ben Stiller), childhood best friends who joined the clergy in their respective religions: Brian is a Catholic priest and Jake the youngest Rabbi at his temple. Their friendship and faith are tested when Anna (Jenna Elfman), a childhood friend, moves back to New York after moving away with her family when they were in middle school. Both men fall in love with Anna, leading to a secret relationship between her and Jake, while Brian is considering leaving the priesthood to pursue a relationship with Anna. 

This is a funny film about the complexities of friendship and love. Variety said, "to [the] pic's credit, the central trio are portrayed as down-to-earth individuals ... Of the central trio, the most commendable performance comes from Stiller, who carries the film," adding that, "Norton directs with assurance." Rotten Tomatoes gave the film mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, but users on Metacritic gave the film an 8.4.

16. Rounders

In 1998, Edward Norton starred opposite Matt Damon and Gretchen Moll in "Rounders," a film about underground poker and the unscrupulous loan sharks who benefit when players are down on their luck. Mike McDermott (Damon) is a talented poker player and law student who promises his girlfriend, Jo (Moll), to quit poker after losing big. When Mike's best friend Worm (Norton), a hustler, gets out of jail, he immediately accrues debt under Mike's name, drawing him back into the poker world.

Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, suggesting he liked it, although he seems baffled by the film's positive view on compulsive gambling. Ebert added, "The best scenes contrast the personalities of Mike and Worm." Generally, audiences liked the film more than critics, getting higher audience scores on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Owen Gleiberman of EW gave the film a B for not having much of a plot, adding, "Norton, cast in what might have once been the Sean Penn role (hideous shirts, screw-you attitude), gives Worm a shifty, amphetamine soul and a pleasing alacrity."

15. Frida

In 2002, Edward Norton played the supporting role of Nelson Rockefeller in Salma Hayek's passion project "Frida." A biopic about the life of controversial Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, co-starring Alfred Molina as Frida's husband, celebrated artist Diego Rivera. Norton has had his fair share of friction with studios, producers and directors, because of his uncompromising devotion to the craft and his need to be both excited about and involved behind the scenes in his films. 

It appears being denied the writing credit for "Frida" is high on the list of his grievances with the entertainment industry. As reported in GQ, "What chafes Norton even more than what he calls his 'unfortunate situation' with Paramount was the failure to secure a credit for the screenplay he wrote for 'Frida.'" We can see why he would be disappointed. The film was well received by critics and audiences alike, as we see from the Metacritic scores of 61 for critics and 7.2 with audiences.

14. The Score

In 2001 Edward Norton co-starred with Robert De Niro in the heist film "The Score." De Niro plays Nick, an older thief who always works alone, on the verge of retirement when he is talked into one last job by his fence Max, Played by Marlon Brando in his last feature film role. Nick has to work with Jack (Norton) who has gained security information, working as a janitor named Brian at the Montreal Customs House where the loot is stored. As always, there is a plot-twist during the heist, and this one, although not all that surprising, it is at least quite satisfying.

De Niro and Norton turn in solid performances, with Roger Ebert saying the film, "is not a great movie, but as a classic heist movie, it's solid professionalism." "The Score" did better with audiences than critics, getting 71 and 8.0 on Metacritic. Vulture said, "Norton seems particularly eager to show that he can keep up with the two legends, but he ends up being much more invested, probably unnecessarily so, than either one of them."

13. The French Dispatch

In 2021 Edward Norton joined the ensemble cast of yet another Wes Anderson film, "The French Dispatch," as The Chauffeur. Although not a huge role, as it is with Anderson's films, even the minor roles play an important part in creating the imaginative alternate realities audiences love getting lost in. If you are a fan of Anderson's films, you know often the minor roles are filled by big stars. The film, billed as "A Love letter to journalists," is about a group of journalists working out of the French bureau of an American magazine, in the fictional town of Ennui-sur-Blasé. 

Anderson's film is an anthology of three stories, with Norton's role in the last titled, "The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner." The New Yorker inspired the film, featuring many of Anderson's go-to actors and some fresh faces. This movie is a delight, getting a 74 and 7.2 on Metacritic, but, as reported by Vanity Fair, was snubbed for the 2022 Oscars.

12. Red Dragon

In 2002, Edward Norton played Will Graham in "Red Dragon," opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins, who was revisiting the role of Hannibal Lecter in a prequel to "The Silence of the Lambs." The film explored events before Clarice Starling worked with Hannibal Lecter. Jack Crawford (Harvey Keitel) asks Will Graham (who retired from the FBI after being injured during the manhunt for Hannibal) to consult on a serial killer case for the "Tooth Fairy," getting help from Lecter. While not as good as "The Silence of the Lambs," this psychological thriller is engaging and intense.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ted Tally returned to the film series after passing on the script for "Hannibal." "Red Dragon" has an excellent cast, including Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Ralph Fiennes. Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 stars saying the director Brett Ratner did a good job "using the quiet, intense skills of Norton to create a character whose old fears feed into his new ones." Critics were divided on the film, but audiences seemed to like it, as we see from the 8.5 user score on Metacritic and the big box-office numbers.

11. The Italian Job

The 2003 remake of the heist film "The Italian Job" boasts an all-star cast, including Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Mos Def, Jason Statham, and Seth Green, but it wasn't a project Edward Norton was excited about being a part of. The contract Norton signed with Paramount when he landed his breakout role in "Primal Fear" obligated him to two more movies with the studio but was later negotiated down to one movie, with Norton fulfilling his contract by signing on to "The Italian Job." 

Despite Norton's lackluster attitude about the film, it wound up being a commercially successful movie that both critics and audiences liked. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 73% with critics and an 80% with audiences. If you haven't seen this heist film about a group of thieves who band together for payback after their former partner Steve (Norton) double-crossed and killed their team leader, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) in Venice, you can stream it on HBO Max. With scores like 68 from critics and 8.6 from users on Metacritic, it's certainly worth a viewing.

10. The Illusionist

If you haven't seen Edward Norton's period film "The Illusionist," you should check it out. Set in late 19th century Vienna, Eisenheim the Illusionist (Norton) returns to the city after abandoning it in adolescence to travel through Russia and Asia in search of the secrets of magic. Once the son of a woodworker, Eisenheim, has reinvented himself as a magician, entertaining crowds with his illusions, mesmerism and magic tricks. When Eisenheim becomes reacquainted with his first love Sophie (Jessica Biel), Duchess Von Teschen, he finds himself at odds with Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), who has set his sights on Sophie's hand in marriage.

Paul Giamatti is excellent as Inspector Uhl, the man tasked by the Crown Prince to deal with Eisenheim and his incendiary magic shows. The New York Times said Norton's role "perfectly fits his disturbing inscrutability." Roger Ebert, meanwhile, declared, "The movie sets up a fascinating parable about art, religion and politics, and the misty boundaries between them." The film is successful for many of the reasons Eisenheim is such an enigmatic performer; it doesn't make any claims. Is it magic or an illusion? That's for you to decide. Metacritic gave the film 68 with critics and an 8.7 with audiences.

9. The Painted Veil

In 2006 Edward Norton took the role of Walter Fane, a British doctor who travels to fight a cholera outbreak in a remote village in China, in the period drama "The Painted Veil," adapted from a book of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham. The story begins while Walter is visiting London. He becomes enchanted by Kitty (Naomi Watts), and marries her before embarking for Shanghai, where he is stationed, studying infectious diseases. While in China, Kitty accompanies Walter to a remote village after she is caught having an affair with a diplomat. 

Despite hard feelings on both sides, the husband and wife see each other in a different light, suggesting their marriage might be redeemable. The film is visually arresting, but as some critics have said, the performances are wooden and cold — perhaps this is why the film was more popular with audiences than critics, although it fared well with both, getting a respective 69 and 8.5 on Metacritic.

8. 25th Hour

In 2002, Edward Norton starred in director Spike Lee's "25th Hour" as Monty Brogan, a convicted drug dealer counting down the hours till he must turn himself in for a substantial prison term. During his last night of freedom, Monty visits with friends and family to say goodbye, walking the streets of New York with his two childhood best friends, Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) while contemplating the mistakes that lead him to this moment in his life. 

The film was both commercially and critically successful, being added to BBC's The 21st Century's 100 greatest films list. Roger Ebert said, "This is another of Norton's exceptional performances. As usual, he doesn't act out a lot. He implodes. He keeps his own counsel. He is a realist, even in these drifting final hours." Audiences and critics agreed, giving the film a respective 68 score with critics and an 8.6 with audiences on Metacritic.

7. Primal Fear

"Primal Fear" was the film that launched Edward Norton's career in 1996, when he landed the role of Aaron, an altar boy accused of killing the Archbishop of Chicago. Norton was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor for his role. Although he didn't win the Oscar, Norton took home the Golden Globe for his performance. Richard Gere stars as Aaron's defense attorney, Martin Vail. The prosecutor, Janet Venable, is played by Laura Linney. Through Vail's investigation into his client, whom he believes is innocent, Vail discovers a history of sexual abuse at the hands of Archbishop Rushman (Stanley Anderson).

When pressed about the abuse, stuttering Aaron dissolves into an alternate persona known as Roy, leading the consulting psychologist, Alfre Woodard (Frances McDormand) to conclude Aaron has DID, aka Multiple Personality Disorder. Both Gere and Norton were praised for their performances, with Roger Ebert saying, "Edward Norton, as the 'Butcher Boy,' creates a character that is, as you will see, completely convincing in more ways than one." Not all critics wrote as glowingly about the film, some thinking that the film was mediocre, besides Norton's astonishing debut performance. Nevertheless, audiences loved it, giving it an 8.7 on Metacritic.

6. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The 2014 film "Birdman," directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, experienced universal acclaim by getting an 87 and 8.2 on Metacritic, winning four Oscars, while being nominated for nine. Michael Keaton leads the cast as Riggan Thompson, a washed-up action star, trying to revitalize his acting career with an original play on Broadway. Edward Norton signed on as Mike, an actor who joins the Broadway production after someone is injured during rehearsals. The meta nature of this film can't be ignored; Keaton plays a former superhero, and Norton, many believe, plays a fictionalized version of himself, an actor with a reputation for being brilliant but difficult.

The cast was stellar, including Emma Stone as Riggan's daughter Sam. In fact, Keaton, Norton, and Stone were all nominated for Academy Awards. As Norton told Terry Gross on NPR, the film's director was an inspiration for his performance, "he really was kind of an inspiration, and it was nice to have been there because it was like having, you know, the avatar for what you're trying to incarnate right next you all the time." From this interview, it is clear how much Norton respects Iñárritu's films and how happy he was to be a part of this project.

5. Moonrise Kingdom

Edward Norton joined the star-studded cast of a Wes Anderson film for the first time in "Moonrise Kingdom" as Scout Master Ward. When adolescent lovers Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) run away together, the island community of New Penzance bands together, hoping to find the children before a massive storm hits the island. Scout Master Randy Ward takes the search and rescue mission seriously, as young Sam, a foster child, had been in his care at Camp Ivanhoe as a Khaki Scout before running away. "Moonrise Kingdom" has Anderson's distinctive whimsy, visual style, and heart, somehow striking the balance of being funny, endearing, and emotionally resonant. 

As per usual, Anderson's film was successful commercially and critically, winning the hearts of the audience and critics alike, getting an 84 and 8.1 on Metacritic, making it a must-see movie. IndieWire said, "Norton displays a hitherto rarely mined comic ability," declaring Scout Master Ward as one of Wes Anderson's most memorable characters, ranking him at number 9.

4. The People vs. Larry Flynt

1996 was a good year for Edward Norton. He started his movie career with three well-regarded films that year, including playing Alan Isaacman, Larry Flynt's lawyer, in director Miloš Forman's biopic, "The People vs. Larry Flynt." This film centers on the life of the founder of "Hustler Magazine," Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson), and his colorful antics in the courtroom during his many court battles surrounding his controversial magazine, his stance on freedom of press and decency laws. Norton's character, Alan Isaacman, helped Flynt take his battle all the way to the supreme court.

Although "The People vs. Larry Flynt" was a box-office flop, not even recouping the budget, Norton, Harrelson, and Courtney Love were praised for their performances, receiving many nominations for awards. Norton is terrific as the young attorney, with critics and audiences liking the film. Metacritic gave the film 79 with critics and 8.4 with audiences. Critic Barbara Shulgasser of SFGate called Norton's performance "Boyish and straightforward, Norton's lawyer seems the last person who would be attracted to Flynt's dramatic style. But he's perfect because he's just like us: appalled, dazzled and utterly entertained."

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

In 2014, Edward Norton joined the ensemble cast of Wes Anderson's film "The Grand Budapest Hotel" as Inspector Henckels. The action of the film centers on Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the hotel's concierge, after he inherits a priceless painting from the owner of the hotel, Madame D (Tilda Swinton) when she dies mysteriously after her most recent stay in the hotel. Once her family learns of Gustave's inheritance, they suspect him of murder and Inspector Henckels (Norton) enters the film as he pursues and arrests Gustave for a murder he didn't commit.

Anderson has done it again, creating a whimsical, kooky, and comical escape from reality and into a candy-coated nostalgia for days gone past. The Austin Chronicle said, "The Grand Budapest Hotel is nothing short of an enchantment, one even the holdouts may be hard-pressed to resist." With scores like 88 with critics and 8.4 with audiences on Metacritic, it seems people agree. While Norton's part is small in this film, as with all of Anderson's films, the importance of the ensemble cast is still true here.

2. American History X

In 1998, Edward Norton starred in "American History X" as Derek Vinyard, a neo-Nazi skinhead who finds a new perspective, distancing himself from white supremacy while in jail for manslaughter. Upon release from prison, Derek tries to help his brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), who has become a member of the gang Derek started but then left while in jail. Danny, like Derek before him, is under the sway of Cameron (Stacy Keach), the man who indoctrinated Derek into the world of white-hate after their father's murder. The film is told through voiceovers from Danny's school paper about his older brother Derek, and through multiple timelines, constructing a picture of how Derek and Danny became members of a hate group.

Norton received his second Oscar nomination for the role. Unfortunately, the film also garnered negative attention because of the conflict over the final edit with New Line Cinema releasing Norton's cut instead of director Tony Kaye's version of the flick. Tony Kaye disowned his own film over the conflict, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Despite Kaye's smear campaign against his own film, critics and fans liked it, giving it an 8.7 user score on Metacritic. Empire called "American History X" a good film, "which has at its dark center a towering performance that establishes Edward Norton as the most promising character actor of his generation."

1. Fight Club

In 1999, Edward Norton took on the role of the unnamed Narrator for "Fight Club" a film based on Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel of the same name. Norton stars as a depressed office worker who has crippling insomnia and a disenchantment with his cookie-cutter white-collar life. In an effort at community, the Narrator attends support groups for diseases he doesn't have, finding relief while crying in the arms of strangers, until Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), another imposter, ruins his outlet with her knowing presence. When he meets an eccentric soap-maker named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), the Narrator's safe life is shaken up. After the two men fight in a bar parking lot (finding the experience both invigorating and cathartic), they start an underground fight club that takes on a life of its own.

The film's reception was contentious, with some critics loving it, and others, like Roger Ebert, only giving it only two stars. While many thought the film glorified violence, others found it disturbing on other levels. What these haters were missing is that the film resonated with younger audiences who had, like our Narrator, done all the things they were told to do with their youth — only to find their apartment filled with objects but life devoid of meaning.

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Norton points to the distribution studio for the film's poor performance at the box-office, "I think there was a reluctance on the part of some of the people who were actually marketing it, to embrace the idea that it was funny, and honestly I think they felt indicted by it," Norton said about the film's obvious take-down of consumerism and toxic masculinity. Nevertheless, "Fight Club" still resonates with audiences, getting a 9.0 on Metacritic.