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.

His last film, Joker, rampaged into theaters riding a wave of controversy and buzz, all the way to become the biggest-grossing R-rated movie ever. So put on that smile as we rank all of Joaquin Phoenix’s movies by Tomatometer!

#34

Russkies (1987)
14%

#34
Adjusted Score: 4544%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three patriotic adolescents confront their worst fear when they find a shipwrecked Russian sailor on a Florida beach.... [More]
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 19301%
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: The planet has cooled down to the extent that it snows even in July and people are dying of mysterious... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Vinterberg

#32

8MM (1999)
23%

#32
Adjusted Score: 25210%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Private detective Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) lives a normal life with his wife (Catherine Keener) and young daughter, until he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 33906%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, brothers Jacey (Billy Crudup) and Doug Holt (Joaquin Phoenix), who come from the poorer side of their... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#30

Brother Bear (2003)
37%

#30
Adjusted Score: 41540%
Critics Consensus: Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting.
Synopsis: Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) is a young Indian brave with a particular distaste for bears. When his brother Sitka (D.B. Sweeney)... [More]

#29

Reservation Road (2007)
38%

#29
Adjusted Score: 42322%
Critics Consensus: While the performances are fine, Reservation Road quickly adopts an excessively maudlin tone along with highly improbable plot turns.
Synopsis: The fates of two men and their families converge following a tragic accident. Ethan Lerner (Joaquin Phoenix) and his family... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#28

Ladder 49 (2004)
41%

#28
Adjusted Score: 47487%
Critics Consensus: Instead of humanizing the firemen, the movie idolizes them, and thus renders them into cardboard characters.
Synopsis: After saving the life of one of the civilians inside, firefighter Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself trapped in a... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#27

SpaceCamp (1986)
46%

#27
Adjusted Score: 46413%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Andie Bergstrom (Kate Capshaw), an astronaut eagerly awaiting her first trip to space, runs a summer camp for teenagers with... [More]
Directed By: Harry Winer

#26

The Village (2004)
43%

#26
Adjusted Score: 51060%
Critics Consensus: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan's signature twist ending disappoints.
Synopsis: Members (Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody) of a 19th-century community fear the strange creatures that inhabit the surrounding... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#25

Mary Magdalene (2018)
44%

#25
Adjusted Score: 50479%
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: In the first century, free-spirited Mary Magdalene flees the marriage her family has arranged for her, finding refuge and a... [More]
Directed By: Garth Davis

#24

Irrational Man (2015)
47%

#24
Adjusted Score: 58932%
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: A tormented philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) considers murdering a corrupt judge to find meaning in his life.... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#23

I'm Still Here (2010)
53%

#23
Adjusted Score: 57932%
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: Director Casey Affleck follows Joaquin Phoenix as he carries out a plan to retire from acting and concentrate on a... [More]
Directed By: Casey Affleck

#22

We Own the Night (2007)
57%

#22
Adjusted Score: 63714%
Critics Consensus: Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.
Synopsis: In 1988, New York's police wage an all-out war on drugs, and guilty and innocent alike become casualties. Bobby Green... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#21

U-Turn (1997)
60%

#21
Adjusted Score: 62052%
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: A two-bit criminal (Sean Penn) meets an attractive woman (Jennifer Lopez) and her spouse (Nick Nolte), each of whom wants... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#20

Clay Pigeons (1998)
61%

#20
Adjusted Score: 63296%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small Montana town, Clay Bidwell (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself increasingly surrounded by dead bodies, making him the chief... [More]
Directed By: David Dobkin

#19

The Yards (2000)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 67196%
Critics Consensus: Featuring strong performances and direction, The Yards is a richly textured crime thriller with an authentic feel.
Synopsis: After serving time in prison for taking the fall for a group of his friends, Leo just wants to get... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#18

Joker (2019)
68%

#18
Adjusted Score: 106184%
Critics Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 71685%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix), Sheriff (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) are three friends vacationing in Malaysia. Sheriff and Tony eventually... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#16

Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 75784%
Critics Consensus: Overall, this caustic comedy hits more of its targets than it misses.
Synopsis: Set on an American Army base in 1989, as the Berlin Wall is about to fall, "Buffalo Soldiers" takes a... [More]
Directed By: Gregor Jordan

#15

Inherent Vice (2014)
74%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83754%
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: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#14

Signs (2002)
74%

#14
Adjusted Score: 82329%
Critics Consensus: With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.
Synopsis: Everything that farmer Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) assumed about the world is changed when he discovers a message - an... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#13

Quills (2000)
75%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79395%
Critics Consensus: Though hard to watch, this film's disturbing exploration of freedom of expression is both seductive and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: A fictional work that reconstructs the unknown fate of the Marquis de Sade, the writer and sexual deviant who was... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#12
Adjusted Score: 87416%
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: After nearly dying in a car accident, the last thing Oregon slacker John Callahan intends to do is give up... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#11

Gladiator (2000)
78%

#11
Adjusted Score: 84778%
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: Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes power and strips rank from Maximus (Russell Crowe), one of the favored generals of his predecessor... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#10

Two Lovers (2008)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 88975%
Critics Consensus: Two Lovers is a complex, intriguing, richly-acted romantic drama
Synopsis: Following a broken engagement, sometime photographer Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) moves in with his parents in Brighton Beach. He soon... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#9

Walk the Line (2005)
82%

#9
Adjusted Score: 91054%
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: The rise of country music legend Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) begins with his days as a boy growing up on... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#8

The Master (2012)
84%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95475%
Critics Consensus: Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.
Synopsis: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled, boozy drifter struggling with the trauma of World War II and whatever inner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7

The Immigrant (2013)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88418%
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: After her sister is quarantined at Ellis Island, a Polish nurse (Marion Cotillard) is forced into prostitution by a theater... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 98651%
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: It's 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Audiard

#5

To Die For (1995)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 90478%
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: Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) is a weather reporter at her small-town cable station, but she dreams of being a big-time... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#4
Adjusted Score: 106721%
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 contract killer uncovers a conspiracy while trying to save a kidnapped teen from a life of prostitution.... [More]
Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

#3

Parenthood (1989)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 95407%
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: Perfectionist Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) struggles with the deficiencies of his children, thinking they reflect poorly on his parenting --... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#2

Hotel Rwanda (2004)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 97820%
Critics Consensus: A sobering and heartfelt tale about massacre that took place in Rwanda while most of the world looked away.
Synopsis: Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a Hutu, manages the Hôtel des Mille Collines and lives a happy life with his Tutsi... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#1

Her (2013)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 106666%
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: A sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

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