The 18 Best Adam Driver Movies, Ranked

The 18 Best Adam Driver Movies, Ranked

18

Hungry Hearts (2014)

In one of his first leading roles, Driver gave audiences a taste of the intense leading man he would eventually become as one half of a deeply troubled couple (with a newborn child) in Hungry Hearts.

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17

What If (2013)

One thing we haven’t gotten enough of—in the post-Girls era—is Driver showing off his full comedy chops. In What If, a romcom where he stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, and Mackenzie Davis, he gets to have a whole lot of fun as a romantic co-lead (and yell about having sex and eating nachos).

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16

White Noise (2022)

White Noise marked Driver’s fifth collaboration with writer/director Noah Baumbach. And while the movie didn’t wind up getting the Oscar love that it may have aspired for, it still found Driver giving a committed, and intense—if deeply strange—performance. Fans of Don DeLillo’s book upon which the film is based probably enjoyed what he brought to the table here.

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15

House of Gucci (2021)

In a movie full of larger-than-life, outrageous characters (and even more outrageous accents), Driver manages to somewhat keep House of Gucci on the rails. He plays Ridley Scott’s Maurizio Gucci, and while he, too, has an absurd accent, it somehow winds up being the most grounded and reasoned performance in the whole film. This movie is camp, but Driver winds up playing it pretty straight—which mostly works.

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14

Frances Ha (2013)

Driver’s first collaboration with Noah Baumbach came as Lev, a dude who comes in and out of the life of Greta Gerwig’s titular character as she flails her way through her 20s. This light and fun character feels almost like the opposite of Driver’s intense turn in another coming-of-age-in-NYC-story, Girls.

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13

The Report (2019)

In The Report, Driver plays Daniel Jones, the real life investigator who led the search into the CIA’s use of torture in the aftermath of 9/11. This gripping true story isn’t one of Driver’s flashiest performances, but it may be his most pertinent to the world we live in today.

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12

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Driver made his first—and so far only—appearance in a Coen Brothers film with an ever-so-brief couple of scenes as Al Cody in Inside Llewyn Davis. He makes himself known in those scenes, though, as a gimmicky country music cowboy whose sole job is to say things like “OUUUUTER….. SPAAACEEEEE” on songs intended to be cheap radio hits. Still, Driver gives this character a sense of humanity in offering the titular musician (Oscar Isaac) a place to stay. He’s out of the movie just about as quickly as he gets into it, but it’s the definition of a scene-stealing turn.

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11

Annette (2021)

This movie is weird! Driver plays a problematic stand-up comedian named Henry McHenry (that’s right) who’s married to an Opera singer (Marion Cotillard)… and then they have a daughter, who is… a wunderkind musician, and also a marionette puppet. Things go way off the rails from there in a way that we wouldn’t dare spoil, but trust us on this: it’s pretty easily the most bonkers movie on this list.

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10

Paterson (2016)

There’s not much to Paterson—a film about a bus driver who writes poetry—but it’s one of Driver’s most unique and subdued performances, quite the shift for a guy so well known for going big and intense.

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9

Silence (2016)

To play a Jesuit monk in Silence, Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating (but little-seen) 2016 passion project, Driver went full Method, losing nearly 50 pounds in preparation to play the role (according to co-star Andrew Garfield during an interview on The Late Show). This reflects on Driver’s performance, where he’s as intense and dialed in as he’s ever been.

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8

While We’re Young (2014)

Driver totally pops in While We’re Young, his second collab with Noah Baumbach. Here, he plays an ambitious and opportunistic Bushwick hipster who, along with his wife (Amanda Seyfried) meet an older couple (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) and become their “cool” friends. This movie is a very funny commentary on friendship, careers, and being content with getting older—and Driver’s character (a wannabe documentarian who doesn’t seem to have any sort of moral or ethical code) is a huge highlight.

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7

Ferrari (2023)

By teaming up with the legendary Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice), Driver manages to check yet another iconic director off his list. In this slow burn, brooding drama, Driver plays Enzo Ferrari, a win-at-all-costs business man and racing team leader who finds himself, in 1957, at a crossroads with regards to both his troubled business and complicated personal/family life. Driver gives a subdued performance that scorches through the screen as the viewer constantly wonders whether he’s pushed one part of his life too far; he gives an Italian accent once again, by the way, and it goes a lot better than it did in House of Gucci.

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6

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rian Johnson brought Kylo Ren to the brink in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, giving Driver’s striking, and, at times, maniacal villain the chance to really set himself apart from others in the franchise. The movie dives into Kylo’s relationship with all sorts of characters, including Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), leading to an epic film-ending interaction with the former—and tons of confused fans online wishing he would get together with the latter. The movie leaves Ren in a position where he could have potentially become the most evil and powerful villain the series has ever seen; unfortunately, The Rise of Skywalker squandered all of it.

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5

Logan Lucky (2017)

Imagine Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky as the blue collar version of his Ocean’s trilogy. Driver plays a war veteran bartender (who lost his forearm during a tour of duty) who, along with his brother (Channing Tatum) stage a major heist at a NASCAR racetrack. Driver plays his character as slow, but not a complete idiot—because this movie is far too smart for such 2-D characterizations. An extremely fun movie with a stacked cast.

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4

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Teaming up with writer/director Spike Lee to play undercover detective Philip “Flip” Zimmerman in BlacKkKlansman earned Driver his first Oscar nomination, something that even at the time felt overdue—but was very, very deserved. This movie plays strongly on the relationship between Driver and John David Washington, and finds Driver playing, essentially, two characters: his noble detective, and the person he has to become while infiltrating the KKK.

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3

The Last Duel (2021)

There are a lot of actors out there who reach a certain level of fame and get a little skittish when it comes to playing characters who could even potentially be seen as unsavory. In The Last Duel, Driver gives an absolutely fearless performance as Jacques Le Gris, a 14th century knight who’s not only unsavory, but absolutely vile. The charm that we’ve gotten so frequently from Driver works to perfection here, as a character who at first invites an air of indifference eventually becomes so disgusting that he’s without question the worse of two evils. The Last Duel spends the duration of its running time asking questions about the truth and how it evolves over time—and while the specifics may be uncertain, the movie makes no mistakes about how heinous this character is (and how perfectly despicable Driver plays him).

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2

Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story brought Driver his second (and most recent) Oscar nomination, and a tidal wave of online memes (you’ve almost certainly seen him punch that wall more times than you’ve actually seen the movie), but his fourth collaboration with Noah Baumbach is probably his most impressive dramatic performance to date. Telling the male side of a dissolved relationship (Scarlett Johansson plays his soon-to-be-ex-wife), Driver finds the perfect mix of charming, charismatic, and delusional in playing Charlie, the man at (one half of) the center of the story.

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1

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Look, I’m sorry. I know a lot of you have a lot of opinions about the Star Wars sequel trilogy, and you’re all more than welcome to have them. And while I have my qualms about the way the trio of films ended up (the less said about The Rise of Skywalker the better), I don’t hesitate at all to talk about the sheer brilliance that Driver brought when playing Kylo Ren/Ben Solo for the first time.

Learning about this character in the theater, on opening night, in real time, was a biblical experience, and it was the perfect way to channel the intensity that we’ve talked about so many times on this list. Driver’s very first scene—opposite Oscar Isaac and Max Von Sydow—sets the tone perfectly for the kind of villain he’s going to be, and every other scene in the movie, whether it’s opposite Harrison Ford or fighting Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in the snowy forest, is an absolute showcase. Driver owns his role in The Force Awakens, and had the possibilities for the future of Star Wars, in December 2015, flying sky high.

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Evan Romano

Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.

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