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Andrew Garfield's Iconic Movie Moments That Make Us Love Him Even More

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Andrew Garfield is one of the most consistently excellent actors in all of Hollywood, proving with every single performance that he has the depth and range to keep surprising and delighting fans with each new film. His latest on-screen achievement is playing the lead in Lin-Manuel Miranda's adaptation of "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" which features Garfield as the budding musical theater genius Jonathan Larson.

As Larson, Garfield is completely magnetic and radiates with the ceaseless creativity of a man who hears music in his every moment and encounter. Garfield's performance in the film has been widely recognized as one of the most stunning of the 2021-2022 awards season, earning him his second Academy Award nomination, and it's certainly not the first time the actor has blown audiences and critics away with his work. Here's a look back at some of Andrew Garfield's most iconic movie moments that make us love him even more.

Boy A

Andrew Garfield has been a critical darling since the very start of his career and for good reason. Even in his very first film as the title character in 2007's "Boy A," he managed to knock all the socks off with his portrayal of a young man who gets a chance to start over after spending much of his childhood in prison.

The character's chosen new name is Jack Burridge, and as the details of his dark past and conviction come to light in flashbacks, we watch him embrace his new identity and thrive with his newfound freedom. As Jack, Garfield is careful, kind, and deeply grateful for his new lease on life. However, sometimes the past refuses to stay there, and when Jack's history becomes known to those he's come to love, including his closest friend, he immediately experiences a roller coaster of emotions.

Garfield shines throughout the entire film, but in the third act, as Jack realizes he's been exposed, the actor emanates the desperation and despair that follows his inevitable loss of peace. In one critical scene, as his best friend calls him a "murderer" and refuses to speak to him any more, we watch as he endures the entire grieving process in a matter of minutes, mourning for the fresh start he's only just gotten to know. Garfield's performance in this quiet drama is powerful and marked a triumphant debut for the actor, who collected a BAFTA TV Award for the role and earned an official place on our must-watch list.

Never Let Me Go

Andrew Garfield continued to ride the acclaim train from "Boy A," and he devastated audiences with his incredibly emotional performance in the 2010 sci-fi drama "Never Let Me Go." In the tender but twisted film, Garfield stars as a teen named Tommy, who experiences the trials and travails of adolescence under very unusual circumstances. He's being raised in a boarding school with the full knowledge that his life will "complete" when he reaches adulthood, as he and the other children are being raised to become organ donors.

Though Tommy and the others are remarkably calm while knowing their fate, they do cling to the possibility that they might earn a so-called "deferral" for their individual achievements — in Tommy's case, his ability to create beautiful artwork for a mysterious gallery and the fact that he has fallen in love with a fellow student. In a searingly emotional moment from the movie, Tommy soon learns the futility of this hope, and he has no choice but to give into the rage that he's been holding in his whole life. Garfield's portrayal of the character's agony and helplessness is truly sublime, and he earned several festival accolades as a result of this achievement.

The Social Network

Garfield officially became a household name in 2010 thanks to his scene-stealing portrayal of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in David Fincher's "The Social Network." The film chronicles the rise of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) from a lonely Harvard dropout into a billionaire tech entrepreneur, and Saverin's contribution to the company's growth — and subsequent ouster by his former partners — becomes a major point of contention throughout the story.

As Zuckerberg's site becomes more and more popular and profitable, he purposefully freezes out some of the people who helped him start it, including Saverin. When Saverin finds out that his ownership shares and title are being diluted to the point of non-existence, he understandably loses his temper about the situation and takes legal action.

In one unforgettable scene, we watch as Saverin relives a dramatic confrontation with his former friend, and Garfield presents the character with both incandescent rage and remarkable restraint. Though he's hurt, insulted, and isolated, Saverin is also certain that he will get even, and Garfield truly shines as he delivers one takedown line after another to cement the scene as an all-timer.

The Amazing Spider-Man

In 2012, Garfield joined ranks with the biggest names in the business when he became Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man." After growing up on Tobey Maguire's portrayal of the character in the Sam Raimi trilogy, Garfield was personally delighted to sling his way into the spidey scene, and throughout the film, his enthusiasm for the character is on full display.

As Peter, Garfield is incredibly energizing, and it's easy to believe in his humble nature and intention to use his newfound powers for the greater good. However, there are some moments in the "Amazing Spider-Man" movies when Peter can't help but show off a little bit, especially when there's a bully involved. In one memorable scene from the first film in the series, for example, he puts his web-slinging skills to good use to embarrass a boy who likes to intimidate people both on and off the basketball court. Garfield's playful taunts and sly humor make his display of his new, extreme athleticism even more exciting to see.

99 Homes

Even as Andrew Garfield's star power reached supernova status thanks to his superhero stardom, he continued to impress audiences with his thoughtful work in dramatic fare, including the celebrated 2014 movie "99 Homes." The film features the actor as Dennis Nash, a man whose economic struggles become infinitely compounded when unemployment amid the subprime mortgage crisis of 2009 costs him his family home in foreclosure.

An excruciatingly realistic early scene in the film features him facing the court and pleading for a suspension of his eviction, but he finds only indifference and irritation from the judge. In this moment, Garfield radiates with confusion and desperation, which shines a light on the cold and crushing nature of the crisis that befell so many families like his. Later in the film, Dennis is given an opportunity to turn around his financial situation — by helping his own ruthless evictor oust even more people from their homes — and Garfield's transition from a sincere and highly empathetic young man into one with moral malleability is completely seamless, earning the actor rave reviews yet again.

Hacksaw Ridge

Garfield's first Oscar nomination for Best Actor came for his role in the outstanding 2016 World War II epic "Hacksaw Ridge." In the film, Garfield portrays Army medic Desmond Doss, who joins the American effort during the Battle of Okinawa but refuses to participate in or even train for violence due to his unshakable religious convictions.

At boot camp, Doss' refusal to even touch a weapon is perceived as an insult to his commanding officers and fellow soldiers alike, and his superiors try to oust him through official processes and on-the-field intimidation. In one harrowing moment from the movie, Doss is brutally beaten by his fellow soldiers, who do not trust him or even understand why he's still there. The next morning, as the bruises and bloodshed caused by the attack come into terrible view, his sergeant once again attempts to make him leave before asking him to identify his attackers, and Doss quietly but emphatically refuses on both accounts. 

Garfield's grit, poise, and clever injection of humor in the moment sets the tone for the character who, like his real-life counterpart, proves to be a humble hero whose courage comes through in a critical moment for everyone.


After "Hacksaw Ridge," Garfield went on to portray a very different kind of devout character in Martin Scorsese's exquisite 2016 drama, "Silence." The film features Garfield as Sebastião Rodrigues, a 17th-century Jesuit priest who journeys to Japan alongside his fellow Portuguese student, Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), to find their leader, Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), after getting word that he's renounced his faith after experiencing the government's torture and suppression of Christianity.

Upon arrival to Japan, Rodrigues discovers that its leaders are indeed very hostile to believers of his faith, who've been driven underground and persecuted. He and Garupe bear witness to unspeakable violence against the villagers in their hidden congregation. After witnessing endless brutality and learning that even Ferreira has given up hope himself, Rodrigues finds himself captured and desperate. His captors demand that he apostatize by stepping on a fumi-e — a stone bearing the likeness of Jesus — as a renunciation of his religion. If he doesn't, others will be violently tortured. 

In one of the film's most gut-wrenching scenes, Rodrigues is deeply reluctant to oblige in this insult, though he desperately wants to save the others who will die if he does not, and he suddenly hears a divine voice that permits him to do so. As he finally gives in and touches his toes onto the stone, Garfield's stunning performance reveals all of the anguish that's coursing through the character's body in the moment without him needing to say a single word.


A film that features Garfield putting on a master class with very few words is 2017's "Breathe." Garfield stars in the biographical picture as Robin Cavendish, a young man whose life with his new wife, Diana (Claire Foy), and baby son is wonderful ... until he becomes suddenly stricken with polio. He's then paralyzed and dependent on a respirator to breathe, and he experiences depression and hopelessness as a result of this devastating illness.

After being given a prognosis of just three months to live, Diana becomes determined to give Robin the best life possible by her side. In one completely unforgettable moment from the film, she learns from his medical team that he can potentially survive by bringing a respirator into his own home, which gives Robin a choice whether to give it a shot or not. Here, Garfield makes the absolute best of his few words, revealing that he understands the potential consequences of such a decision and wants nothing more than this chance to be with his family. The moment is truly bittersweet, and Garfield brings his character's tender energy through with every breath.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Tick, Tick ... Boom!

You know what they say about saving the best for last, right? Well, Garfield's performance in "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" is one that will make you laugh, cry, and shimmy in equal measure — and better yet, he manages to give audiences something entirely new of himself. To prepare for his role as Jonathan Larson, Garfield had to learn how to sing professionally, but given how great he sounds in the movie's many musical moments, you might think he's been belting it out his whole life.

There are so many scenes in the film that can be considered instantly iconic, from the Sunday brunch Broadway bonanza to the impromptu birthday party jam session to the swimming pool composition scene. One moment that manages to make us weep and smile at the same time, though, is the scene when Jonathan finds himself alone in a park with a beautiful piano just begging to be played.

At this point in the story, Jonathan's relentless determination to complete his workshop has driven a wedge between himself and his dearest loved ones, including his lifelong best friend Michael, who's now facing an uncertain future after being diagnosed HIV positive. As he leans into the keys, Larson lyrically reminisces about his beautiful connection with Michael and commits to making the best of whatever time he has left. The number is a melodic mixture of regret and optimism, and as the song bounces from one note to the next, Garfield's expressions and voice give utter authenticity to the character's meaningful emotional journey through this fantastic piece of music.

With moments like these, it's no wonder Garfield is one of the most adored actors in the industry, and we can't wait to see what he dazzles us all with next.