The best Mark Wahlberg movies, ranked
Mark Wahlberg is a flawed man but a fairly decent actor. When not getting into trouble for racially motivated assaults, claims that he could have prevented the carnage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and making dreadful music, the performer from Boston has built a varied filmography. There have been action films, comedies, one underrated psychological thriller, and a very lame “reality television” show.
As a result, it can be difficult for one needing to gain knowledge of Wahlberg’s films to know where to start. Are the things he’s done with his family members actually good? Did he really deserve to be Oscar-nominated a handful of times? And what about his multiple collaborations with Peter Berg?
As always, fear not, dear reader ⏤ we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the best movies put out by Mark Wahlberg to date. The data is based on critical reception from Rotten Tomatoes and our own internal debates, as what is well-received may not be the best and what may not be seen as the best by critics may actually have some merit.
10. The Italian Job (2003)
Not many people know that this 73 percent positive production is a remake of a movie from 1969 that starred Michael Caine, but Wahlberg and the stacked cast making up the rest of his crew of thieves do a good job of bringing the story into what was then the modern era. A sequel set in Brazil was rumored for years but never came to fruition, but given how fun this movie is, it seems like a waste to not get the gang back together for a jaunt on a streaming service soon.
9. Fear (1996)
While this movie did not impress critics ⏤ it had a 46 percent rating when it first came out ⏤ it does shine above a lot of Wahlberg’s other generic tough-guy roles for his willingness to be someone beyond any redemption. It’s a shame that he hasn’t played any villains since, as his David (also the kind of guy today who would be a really, really deep fan of Star Wars with a dislike for Kathleen Kennedy) is terrifying, unpredictable, and all-too-plausible in the era we now live in.
8. Ted (2012)
A good public figure knows how to laugh at himself or poke holes in his image, and Wahlberg does this here with a glee. The 69 percent positive film about a man whose childhood bear comes to life shouldn’t work and on paper is an idea more befitting a cutaway in director Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy, but the earnest effort from the lead carries it.
7. Deepwater Horizon (2016)
While this movie bombed at the box office, it’s generally one of Wahlberg and director Peter Berg’s better historical collaborations. There is no ghoulish feeling of cashing in like their work about the terrorist attack in Boston and no sense of something terrible in Afghanistan being glorified. Instead, there are just men ⏤ men who are exhausted, who want to do good and who are in a desperate situation. Some “liberties” were taken, but the film is compelling nonetheless.
6. Invincible (2006)
It’s nice to see this entertainer not doing what he has lived and knows by consistently being a cheap hoodlum or tough guy on screen. Here in this 72 percent positive and admittedly typical sports drama from Disney, Wahlberg shows some vulnerability, doubt, and ultimately puts out one of his better performances that has unfortunately been forgotten a bit. It’s a shame, and it would be nice to see him do something as grounded as this in the future. We can only hope for such a thing.
5. All the Money in the World (2017)
Most people remember this 79 percent positive movie for the high-profile and last-minute recasting, but Wahlberg shows that he can do some serious work here. The scene where he shows his exasperation with what he is dealing with is excellent and it would be neat to see him as a more sensible and less ridiculous character in period work more often.
4. The Fighter (2010)
While boxing as a sport has faded from cultural relevance to a degree, Wahlberg and Christian Bale bring it back in this 91 percent positive film. The fight scenes are the best ever shot and Wahlberg is believable as the real Micky Ward. The exhaustion with annoying relatives hits home and carries much of the film’s final product.
3. The Departed (2006)
Wahlberg clearly knows how to pick his remakes. This 90 percent positive movie stands as the last great work of Jack Nicholson, features an excellent ensemble cast, and allows Wahlberg to play a mean and nasty person, but one who is on the side of what is right even if he has to do wrong things in its name. It’s a shame that the floated sequel never happened.
2. Boogie Nights (1997)
This 93 percent positive movie was one of the first to bring Mark Wahlberg the attention of wider audiences and yeah, he earns it here. It’s neat and interesting to see him play a comparatively normal person in a fictional look at the pornographic film industry. If only he had continued doing such challenging work and not gotten stuck in action films. Alas…
1. Three Kings (1999)
This 94 percent positive work from director David O. Russell (a man also most likely to smell his own farts and praise them) is the best satire of conflict made in the last few decades. It’s messy, with the lines of who is good, who is bad, and what is right often blurred, allowing Wahlberg to get to be serious in funny moments. This is his best work of art made to date and deserves to be seen first if you’re exploring his available offerings.
This concludes our list of Mark Wahlberg’s best movies made to date. Was there something you think should have made the list or something that should have been kept off of it? Let us know in the comments below.