Ryan Gosling is one of the few younger actors to have been nominated twice for an Oscar. The Canadian-born actor and musician started out at the tender age of 12 in a TV series, “The All New Mickey Mouse Club”, and is now a Hollywood heartthrob and a box office sensation. Generally known to play emotionally distant characters, he has expanded his genre with the passage of his career. Here are the 15 best Ryan Gosling movies of all time:
15. The Notebook (2004)
Starring in a romantic drama film, based on Nicholas Spark’s 1996 novel of the same name, Ryan Gosling was named one of the 50 Hottest Bachelors by People Magazine. The Notebook offers more than a traditional boy-meets-girl story, exploring an innocent summer love between a poor, farmer boy (Gosling) and a rich, educated girl (Rachel McAdams).
With imperfect characters that are relatable if not lovable, this slow and sweet romance gradually gained popularity and even a cult following. The movie received mixed reviews from critics but is still the 15th highest-grossing romantic drama film of all time. Winning eight Teen Choice Awards, a Satellite Award, and an MTV Movie Award, “The Notebook” served as a stepping stone to Gosling’s triumph as an actor.
14. The Slaughter Rule (2002)
One of his earlier movies, “The Slaughter Rule” is an independent sports-drama film featuring Ryan Gosling as a high school kid trying to figure out his life. Kicked out of his small-town football team soon after his distant father’s demise, Gosling’s character struggles to rediscover himself when he is recruited by David Morse’s character to quarterback a six-man team.
Bleak and queer-themed, the movie highlights the importance of compassion while exploring the relationship between a football player and his coach. Though not a box office hit and received mixed reviews, Gosling and Morse’s performances in the movie were critically acclaimed.
13. Fracture (2007)
Starring alongside Anthony Hopkins in this legal drama film, Ryan Gosling received a Teen Choice Award nomination for Best Thriller Actor for his role as a high-achieving District Attorney. With only a few weeks left at his job and a bright (read: rich) future ahead, Gosling’s character is given a seemingly open-and-shut case of murder.
An intricate yet gruesome game of intelligence and wit follows, as Hopkin’s character plots to walk free after shooting his unfaithful wife in the head. Both the lead actors were reviewed as great for their performances, and the movie was a box office hit, grossing over $91 million worldwide. With an engaging story and a fresh appeal, this courtroom thriller assisted Gosling’s climb on the career ladder to success.
12. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a wildly entertaining romantic comedy, which follows the struggles of a middle-aged man in love (Steve Carell), whose high school sweetheart divorces him after 15 years of marriage. Hopeless and lost, he is taken under the wing of a ladies’ man, played by Ryan Gosling, who teaches him the ways of 21st-century romances (read: flings).
The movie focuses on the transition in the idea of love between the two characters and is a rich mixture of family drama, romantic cliché, and sweet parenting moments. With a strong cast and overall good ratings, the movie performed well at the box office. Gosling was nominated for the Golden Globe and Teen Choice Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy, while Emma Stone won the Teen Choice and People’s Choice Awards for her role as his lead.
11. The Ides of March (2011)
A political drama film, “The Ides of March”, features Ryan Gosling as an idealistic campaign manager for a new presidential candidate played by George Clooney. With an offer from a competitor and an intimate encounter with an intern, the story focuses on the dark, paranoid aspects of the run for the president’s office.
Written and directed by Clooney, the movie is an adaptation of Beau Willimon’s 2008 play, “Farragut North”. A cynical tale highlighting the intricacies of a political race, the movie received mixed reviews but was greatly praised for its plot and pace. The film was nominated for several awards, with Gosling being nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
10. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Starring alongside his current partner Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling plays the role of a motor rider who recently discovered that he has a son. Struggling to provide for his family, the character utilizes his skillset to rob banks.
One such gig costs him when a rookie officer (played by Bradley Cooper) shows up. A story of family, fatherhood, and remorse, the movie is dramatic and slow in pace. Making $47 million worldwide, the film received overall positive reviews, with Gosling’s performance making him a major highlight of the movie.
9. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Playing the role of a socially inept man and breathing life into the movie, Ryan Gosling received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Lead. The tender story revolves around sweet-natured Lars (Gosling) as he falls into a delusion and consequently, in love with a life-size plastic woman.
Throughout the course of the movie, we witness how the character manages to overcome his shortcomings, fears, and loneliness with the help of his relationship with that doll. Though a box office failure, the movie was critically acclaimed for its depiction of innocence and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
8. The Believer (2001)
Starring in a painful story of a lost soul, Ryan Gosling attracted critical attention for the very first time in his movie career. Playing the role of a Jewish-born scholar, questioning the tenants of his faith, Gosling delivers a remarkable performance as a racist and neo-Nazi.
The film is loosely based on the life story of Dan Burros, a member of the American Nazi Party who committed suicide after being revealed as Jewish by a New York Times reporter. Despite revolving around a sensitive topic, the movie received overall positive reviews. Gosling was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead but did not win one until later in his career.
7. Blue Valentine (2010)
“Blue Valentine” features Ryan Gosling as a hopeless romantic who falls for an ambitious girl (Michelle Williams) with some responsibilities of her own. The couple decides to take the road together, but with the passage of time, their relationship goes into a downward spiral.
With a non-linear timeline, the movie compares the emotional mindset of the couple at the beginning of their love and at the dissolution of their marriage. With gripping performances and amazing on-screen chemistry between the leads, the movie was critically acclaimed.
Ryan Gosling, along with his co-star, served as a co-executive producer for the film. The actor also wrote and performed a few songs by himself and was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
6. The Big Short (2015)
Based on the 2010 book by Michael Lewis, The Big Short is an American biographical comedy-drama revolving around the financial crisis of 2007–2008 which was triggered by the United States housing bubble. With a star-studded cast and cameos, the film was highly recognized for its creative use of examples to explain financial terms to a layman.
Grossing over $133 million worldwide, the movie is well-scripted, entertaining, and correctly captures the problem. Gosling serves as the narrator of the film, playing the role of an egoistic salesman at a bank who cashes up during financial duress.
5. Half Nelson (2006)
Starring as an unorthodox history teacher at a local school in this drama film, Ryan Gosling received his first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Featuring a bittersweet story of the unusual and lifting relationship between teacher and student, the film is based on a 2009 short film, “Gowanus, Brooklyn”.
Gosling’s character is constantly on the verge of a breakdown, which he lets out by doing drugs and occasionally punching walls. His life takes a turn when a troubled student (Shareeka Epps) discovers him at his low, and a friendship starts to bloom between the two.
Grossing over $4.8 million worldwide against an initial budget of $700,000, the movie received excellent reviews and several award nominations. Winning the Independent Spirits Award for Best Actor along with other accolades, Gosling reached the peak of his career with this performance.
4. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
The long-awaited sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner, the futuristic science-fiction movie received 12 different award nominations. The movie follows Ryan Gosling as a bioengineered police detective, with a mission to kill off older rogue models (replicants).
Giving depth to the 1982 experiences of Harrison Ford in this sequel, the story uncovers a secret from thirty years back. Despite receiving critical acclaim and being Gosling’s largest box office opening, the film did not perform well with the audience.
3. The Nice Guys (2016)
Starring alongside Russel Crowe, Gosling delivered an entertaining performance that got him the People’s Choice Award nomination for Favorite Comedic Movie Actor. The movie features a team-up between a private investigator (Gosling) and a hit guy (Crowe) to find a missing girl, with amazing on-screen chemistry between the leads.
The movie follows a trail of murders, with additional environment-saving and political aspects. The action-packed comedy fared average at the box office but received positive reviews and several award nominations.
2. Drive (2011)
Drive is an action drama film, based on James Sallis’ 2005 novel of the same name. The movie features Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stunt driver and mechanic who does criminal getaways for various clients. Growing fond of his new neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her son, the unnamed driver goes to immense lengths to ensure their safety.
A box office hit, the film grossed $78.1 million worldwide, making five times its original budget. Gosling played an important role in the film’s production as well. Receiving nominations for Independent Spirit Award, MTV Movie Award, and Satellite Award for Best Actor, Gosling’s performance was gut-wrenching and critically acclaimed.
1. La La Land (2016)
This musical romantic comedy grossed over $446 million worldwide, making it one of the top 20 most profitable releases of the year 2016. Featuring Ryan Gosling in the role of a jazz pianist who dreams of saving Jazz by setting up his own club, alongside Emma Stone who plays an aspiring actress with the dream of being discovered for who she truly is; the two are drawn together by their common desire to follow their passion.
Deeply in love and helping each other up, the couple soon sees their relationship crumble as each moves closer to their goal. With a bittersweet theme of treasuring things as they are soon lost and the triumph tale of conquering dreams, “La La Land” is a musical masterpiece, celebrating the ups and downs of life.
With seven wins at the Golden Globe Awards, five wins at the British Academy Awards, and six wins at the Oscar Awards, the movie set new records in almost every category.
Gosling received his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance, along with several other nominations and wins. This movie marks the epitome of Gosling’s success as an actor and is a must-watch.
- All Good Things (2010)
- The United States of Leland (2003)
- Murder by Numbers (2002)
These were the few best Ryan Gosling movies of all time that we selected. Which one was your favorite? Did we miss one out? Let us know in the comments below!