Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time

Not many actors are able to generate anticipation for an upcoming movie like Joaquin Phoenix as this consistently experimental actor always offers interesting performances. The Oscar winner has a great filmography and TechTrends put together a list of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

Joaquin Phoenix is quite remarkable, mostly for his consistency. He started his acting career when he was a child, in 1980s. The transition to teen and adult performances was quite easy for him. It is even like he is on a mission to work with all the great directors of his time. He is a versatile actor that is able to act in any role, from comedy, drama, to going against aliens. If you are interested in his acting but do not know what his best movies are, we are here to help. Since he is a talented and dedicated actor, making a list of the best must-see Joaquin Phoenix performances is not an easy task, but we have narrowed it down to his top movies. The list is made in order of the movie’s ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the IMDb ratings are also listed for you to check.

Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time

The academy-award winner actor has been in the movie industry for a long time now and has appeared alongside many incredible actors, working with amazing directors. We have made a list of the best Joaquin Phoenix films of all time, so without further ado, let’s jump into the list.

9. The Village 2004

Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time
  • Genre: Thriller/Horror
  • Director: Night Shyamalan
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Judy Greer
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 43%, IMDb 6.6

Joaquin Phoenix had a romantic lead in the movie The Village, which came out in 2004. He plays the role of Lucius Hung, who lives in a secluded place and falls for a girl named Ivy Elizabeth Walker, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. She is blind and her father forbids their marriage. Elizabeth’s father Edward, portrayed by William Hurt, blocks his way to go outside their village in order to get supplies. Following that, a number of mysterious things begins to take place that urges Lucius and Elizabeth to work together and find out what is happening. This is indeed one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies ever that is so underrated. Although some might have anticipated a twist at the end, it is the trauma of traditionalism that the movie is focusing on.

Read more: Best Horror Movies of All Time

8. Joker 2019

  • Genre: Thriller/Crime
  • Director: Todd Phillips
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Glenn Fleshler, Frances Conroy
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 68%, IMDb 8.4

One of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time that came out in 2019 was Joker. He was exceptional in this movie and hid dedication to the film’s cause was mind-blowing. He had to lose a lot of weight to become really skinny for the role, and they say that some days, he only ate an apple to go buy. His portrayal of the character Joker was so amazing that many are wondering who the best Joker is: Heath Ledger or Joaquin Phoenix. No matter what your opinion on this debate is, you cannot deny that Joker was intense. It is an alternative story of how Arthur Fleck becomes the Joker.

This is more than a thriller crime film as it is also a psychological thriller. It revolves around a sad story of how people’s treatment and society can affect a psychologically ill person. We highly recommend this as one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

Read more: Best Thriller Movies of All Time

7. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot 2018

  • Genre: Drama/Comedy Drama
  • Director: Gus Van Sant
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 76%, IMDb 6.8

The movie Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is actually based on the real story of John Callaghan, an alcoholic cartoonist. While partying and driving as a passenger one night, John gets into a terrible accident and becomes paralyzed in his limbs. The movie revolves around John who is trying to get used to the life as a quadriplegic, his romance with a nurse and the friendship he forms with his sponsor. Joaquin Phoenix masterfully portrays this role in a movie that takes an honest look into the life of an addict and shows how he tackles the road to recovery. The movie is very inspiring and we highly recommend it as one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

Read more: Best Jonah Hill Movies of All Time

6. Walk the Line 2006

Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time
  • Genre: Musical/Drama
  • Director: James Mangold
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Dallas Roberts
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 82%, IMDb 7.8

In the 2005 biopic Walk the Line directed by James Mangold, Joaquin Phoenix performed the role of Johnny Cash in a way that was irreplaceable. He was able to capture the essence, charisma and the persona of this famous rock star. His voice is even indistinguishable from Cash’s signature bass-baritone. If you play the songs one after another, you can see that finding a difference is quite hard. Not only does he transform well into Cash, but he also gives a great insight into how his career took off and what happened in his life that made the way for his rebellious personality. It also shows Cash’s on and off relationship with his wife June Carter, played by Reese Witherspoon. This is for sure one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

Read more: Best Drama Movies of All Time

5. The Master 2012

  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sarah Shoshana David, Ambyr Childers, Jesse Plemons
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 7.1

The Master follows the life of cult leader Lancaster Dodd, portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The character is inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of Freddie Quell, who is a veteran from the World War II. He suffers post-traumatic stress disorder that makes it hard for him to socialize. After watching one of Dodd’s seminars, he becomes fascinated by him. Dodd also gets interested in him and asks him to join his movement that has a vague set of beliefs on the humanity’s origin and essence. When he joins Dodd’s group, he becomes more and more radicalized and loses his grip on reality. However, as he goes on, he realizes that Dodd is only making everything up. The Master is one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

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4. The Sisters Brothers 2018

  • Genre: Western/Drama
  • Director: Jacques Audiard
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 87%, IMDb 6.9

This is indeed one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time and one of the greatest western films. Although the movie revolves around the world of gunslingers and bounty hunters, it is a quite sensitive movie that shows how vulnerable the masculine characters are. Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reily play the role of Charlie and Eli Sisters, respectively. They are bounty hunters that are tasked to go after the inventor Hermann Kermit Warm, played by Riz Ahmed. Hermann is said to have found a way to detect gold, which is highly lucrative. Warm and investigator John Morris, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, form a bond and the later wants to protect him and get on his mission to make a paradise city in Dallas. When the two brothers get to them, they come to a decision to join them.

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3. You Were Never Really Here 2017

Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time
  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Director: Lynne Ramsay
  • Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alex Manette, Judith ROBERTS, Larry Canady
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 89%, IMDb 6.7

The director Lynn Ramsay has a unique ability to torment the audience psychologically though attracting their attention with socking imagery, austere camera choices, as well as gripping emotional stories. The connection that the viewers build with the characters is what makes her movies incredible. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in this movie was so emotionally vulnerable and physically demanding. He plays the role of Joe, who is a former war veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder not only from his combat, but also from his childhood memories of self-harm and depression.

He is eager to use his military training to do good as a bounty hunter and help kidnapped children, preventing them from suffering from human trafficking. Senator Albert Votto, played by Alex Manette, hires him to help him find his missing daughter. Joe’s dark nature is contrasted with the love he has for his mother. Moreover, his physically demanding role has him wield a hammer. This is yet another one of Joaquin Phoenix’s greatest movie roles.

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2. C’mon C’mon 2021

  • Genre: Romance/Sci-fi
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Joaquin Phoenix, Spike Jonze, Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 94%, IMDb 8

Writer and director Mike Mills made a moving story about a family who is dealing with a crisis while growing closer in the process. This is one of the finest Joaquin Phoenix performances. He plays the role of Johnny, a radio journalist, who is on a tour and interviews children regarding their upbringing for his documentary project. Johnny and his sister reunite and her husband Paul is struggling with a mental crisis. Keen on helping his sister, Johnny agrees to take her son Jesse with him on his trip. He then helps Jesse understand and process how complex his parents’ relationship is to bond with him. This is yet another one of the best Joaquin Phoenix movies of all time.

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1. Her 2013

Best Joaquin Phoenix Movies of All Time
  • Genre: Romance/Sci-fi
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Joaquin Phoenix, Spike Jonze, Rooney Mara, Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 94%, IMDb 8

One of the greatest things that today’s technology has brought is interesting sci-fi movie abundance, particularly those that revolve around the idea of artificial intelligence getting emotions. In the movie Her, Phoenix plays the role of Theodore Twombly, who is an introverted depressed man. Going through a divorce, his emotions are all over the place. Therefore, it is hard for him to sign the divorce papers and end it with her childhood sweetheart. Scarlett Johansson faced one of the biggest acting challenges of her career when she featured in Spike Jonze’s science-fiction movie. For an actor who is known for the use of her gestures and facial expressions, Johansson was not able to use those skills as Samantha. She was the disembodied voice of an artificial intelligence program that Theodor used.

Theodore perceives Samantha’s voice as seductive and starts to fall in love with her as if she is a real human being. Johansson is able to remarkably be sympathetic in her voice as well as suggesting that this A.I. system might have an additional motive at work. The movie Her is indeed one of the best Joaquin Phoenix films ever.

Read more: Best Scarlett Johansson Movies of All Time

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