Ben Affleck Movies Ranked

Ben Affleck is a talented artist. He’s an Oscar-winning screenwriter and has an Academy Award for Best Picture. And yet, his star persona is one dominated by the intimate details of his personal life. To the general public, Ben Affleck is a celebrity first and an actor second; where his directorial work ranks in the public’s consciousness is anyone’s guess.

Over the course of more than a quarter of a century, this one-time American Sweetheart has been an ever-present, transitioning from gossip magazine front covers to internet memes, all the while evolving his acting career from independent cinema to big budget Hollywood and back again. On the screen, this 1990s and 2000s heartthrob has worked with some of the film industry’s most respected names – David Fincher and Terrence Malick, to name but two – whilst his work behind the scenes has developed into a respectable collection of character-led films in its own right.

To date, the Good Will Hunting co-screenwriter has directed five films, the majority of which have arrived on the big screen with critical praise and adoration. In this edition of Ranked, we at The Film Magazine are analysing each and evaluating them in terms of artistic merit, critical reception and public perception, for this: the Ben Affleck Movies Ranked.

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5. Live By Night (2017)

Live By Night Ben Affleck

The biggest financial flop of Affleck’s directorial career, Live By Night was so damned by audiences that it ultimately lost Affleck his place in the director’s chair for his own Batman movie.

This crime drama, centred around New York and Florida gangs during the prohibition era, starred Affleck in the lead role alongside a plethora of talented names including Brendan Gleeson, Elle Fanning, Zoë Saldana and Chris Messina, the latter of whom believed so much in the project that he gained forty pounds to play his character Dion Bartolo. The stacked cast – a feature of each of Affleck’s directorial pieces to date – wasn’t enough to bring in audiences, and the expected awards season push didn’t come, leaving many prominent voices to exclaim that the film was “like a ghost of a sensational movie” and “the worst of his excellent filmography to date”.

Live By Night is far from a bad film, but given its subject matter and the lack of popularity for gangster films in the modern era, it had to be great to be greeted with open arms by audiences and critics, and it simply wasn’t that. It is, as of this date, Affleck’s worst feature, though that is far from the criticism it may be in other editions of Ranked; a fact that pays testament to Affleck’s overall quality of work in the director’s chair.

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