Debuting in his father’s movie at a mere age of five, Robert Downey Jr. kept consistently working since then. His career has seen ups and downs – rising in the 80s then drastically falling in the 90s, even flat-lining for a few years and then soaring high up in the A list. His career hit a break between 1996 and 2001 when he was arrested for various drug-related charges and faced jail for almost a year.
Fortunately, he got clean and reemerged better and stronger than ever before proving his acting talent. Suiting up as the Iron Man is considered as his comeback but he was already giving powerful performances in small-scale but brilliant movies like Zodiac, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and more. Lets have a look at the 15 best Robert Downey Jr movies of all time:
15. Game 6 (2005)
Based on true events, this movie is based in 1986 and revolves around a playwrite, Nicky who skips the opening night of his play to see Game 6 between the Sox and Mets. Nicky is dealing with life stresses including falling into radar of a nasty Broadway critic who is known for killing careers with his reviews.
14. Heart and Souls (1993)
A businessman, Thomas Riley, has everything going well in his life. He is a successful lawyer and has a beautiful fiancée till four of his friends from childhood drop by to ask for favors.
They aren’t normal friends but are souls of four deceased people who died in a bus crash and have come back to earth and became friends with Riley. They leave when he turns eight but return to Riley and seek his help to rectify their unfinished businesses so they can go to heaven.
Downey gives a tremendous performance and amazingly portrays each soul accurately as they enter his body for a day each to finish their business on earth. He won a Saturn Award for Best Actor for his remarkable performance.
13. Charlie Bartlett (2007)
This comedy movie is about a rich kid, Charlie, who has to enroll in a public school after dropping out of a private a school. Experiencing a cultural shock in his new school and being an outcast for a few days, he starts to give therapeutic advice and prescription drugs to his fellow students to gain popularity. He soon learns that things aren’t as simple as he thought.
The movie received positive reviews but only managed to earn $5.2 million of its $12 million budget. Downey as the school principal gives a terrific performance, showcasing a range of emotions that quickly makes you sympathize with his character.
12. Chances Are (1989)
The perfect marriage of Corinne and Louie comes to a shattering halt when Louie unexpectedly dies in a car crash, merely days after learning Corinne is pregnant. After arguing with the higher power that his wife needs him, he eventually gets a chance to return to earth but not as Louie.
He is reborn as Alex Finch and goes on living his life, forgetting his former life while Corinne raises her daughter alone. However, fate brings Louie/Alex back in Corrine’s life after 23 years when he meets Corrinne’s daughter and he is flooded with unwanted memories from his past life.
Downey’s performance is truly enchanting. The outstanding performances by the rest of the cast makes this movie a delight to watch. The movie received positive reviews from the critics, especially for Downey’s performance but failed to do well at the box office.
11. Home for the Holidays (1995)
This comedy movie directed by Jodie Foster is based on a short story by Chris Radant. Claudia Larson loses her job and finds out that her daughter has planned to spend the Thanksgiving with her boyfriend instead of her mother.
She finds herself reluctantly spending the holiday at her parents’ house, surrounded with crazy family members. Downey Jr. plays the brother and completely steals the movie. His performance was much praised and the movie grossed $4 million in its opening weekend.
10. Chaplin (1992)
One of the best biopic movies ever to be made, Chaplin was adapted from David Robinson’s Chaplin: His Life and Art and Chaplin’s My Autobiography. This is an incredible movie about the most outstanding and one of the most controversial icons of Hollywood. It flawlessly showcases the importance of silent stars and their struggles.
Even though Chaplin is portrayed by young actors in the beginning, his character truly comes to life with Downey’s portrayal of an adult Chaplin. This is without a doubt one of his most mesmerizing performance of his career. He rightfully earned an Oscar nomination for this role and won the BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor and ALFS Award for Actor of the Year.
9. A Scanner Darkly (2006)
This animated sci-fi thriller is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel by the same name. It narrates the story of deception and identity in near future dystopia which is constantly under police surveillance. This movie was digitally shot and later animated using an animation technique called interpolatedrotoscope in which original foraged is traced over frame by frame giving a distinctive animated look as a finished result.
Downey’s delivers one of his best performance in a supporting role. The movie grossed $5.5 million in North America and $2.1 million worldwide.
8. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Set in 1890, the eccentric detective Holmes and his partner Watson are recruited by a secret society to stop a mysticist’s plot of expanding the British Empire through supernatural means. There is amazing chemistry between Downey and Law. Downey showcases cunning, quick-wit and scruffy toughness to the role making Holmes an intriguing character. Both Downey and Law toss off one-liners flawlessly.
Downey won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, as well the IFTA award for Best International Actor. The movie was a hit at the box office grossing $62.4 million on its first weekend in U.S alone. It grossed more than $523,000,000 worldwide making it the biggest Guy Ritchie’s box office success. A sequel to this movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was released in 2011.