Ryan Reynolds’ Greatest Movies, Ranked

Ryan Reynolds' best movies run the gamut from romantic comedies to intense thrillers.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

ryan reynolds

Ryan Reynolds got his start on television in the underrated cult comedy Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place before making the jump to big-screen comedies with Van Wilder. Despite the comedy origins of his career, the handsome leading man quickly became a dual threat in action films and romantic comedies.

With a career approaching 30 years, there are plenty of movies to pick from, but we’ve put together what we consider to be his 10 best movies. Read on, starting with his greatest film, which is the least surprising entry on the list.

1. Deadpool (2016)

ryan reynolds deadpool 3


Ryan Reynolds’ greatest film was his second time as Wade Wilson, the Merc With A Mouth, following the disappointing debut in X-Men: Origins – Wolverine. Deadpool brought a comic-accurate version of the regenerating mercenary to the big screen, filled with quips, one-liners, and fourth-wall-breaking asides. Reynolds’ natural humor and quick wit were on full display during the entire runtime, setting the stage for almost all his following movies.

Though it’s a fairly by-the-numbers superhero origin movie fueled by revenge, the movie made $782 million worldwide, getting a sequel and a third movie that will be the first R-rated film in the MCU. Referencing the character’s first appearance, Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine for the third film, following cheeky references in every Deadpool film.

2. Deadpool 2 (2018)

Ryan Reynolds Deadpool


Deadpool 2 is understandably Ryan Reynolds’ second-best movie, and it’s stuffed with obscure X-Men references, from New Mutants villain Bedlam (Terry Crews) to Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), though it retains the same rapid-fire quippy humor of the first. Fan favorites Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) steal parts of the show, but it’s still an elaborate vehicle for Reynolds’s sense of humor.

Instead of going out for revenge, the Merc With A Mouth is out to rescue a young mutant before he becomes a villain in the future and kills Cable’s family, which is an amazing simplification of his comic-book origin. With more X-Men, a bigger budget allowing two CGI characters on screen at the same time, and the ability to skip the origin, Deadpool 2 is a wild ride that’s only below the first film because some of the humor started to get old.

3. Defintely, Maybe (2008)


Ryan Reynolds best romantic comedy, Definitely Maybe, is the story of his character, Will Hayes, explaining to his 10-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) how he met her mother. He does so by using fake names for the woman from his past, leaving both his daughter and the audience, left guessing which woman he ends up with. The all-star cast is filled out with Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Kevin Kline, Derek Luke, and Adam Ferrera.

Though the plot is ripped straight from the hit sitcom, the film is bolstered by Ryan Reynolds turning up the sincerity and bringing down the rapid-fire quips of his action-movie roles. Turning up his natural charm and unleashing movie star charisma, Reynolds proved with Definitely Maybe that he is a multi-faceted performer as capable of going for the heart as he is the funny bone.

4. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

hitman's bodyguard

Putting the sarcastic Ryan Reynolds together with the straitlaced Samuel L. Jackson made The Hitman’s Bodyguard a surprise action-comedy hit. Down on his luck, bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) gets the call to provide protection for Darius Kincaid (Jackson) so that the notorious hitman can testify to the U.N. about the war crimes of a third-world dictator (Gary Oldman). Salma Hayek, playing Kincaid’s wife Sonia, nearly steals the show and winds up taking the lead in the sequel, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard was Ryan Reynolds’ first post-Deadpool movie, and though there are similarities between the two, the former benefits from allowing him to share the screen with Jackson. Action movie cliches are found every few minutes, but the amazing star power on-screen overcomes the shortcomings with what is a perfect lazy Sunday action movie.

5. Woman in Gold (2015)

ryan reynolds free guy


A biopic, Woman in Gold is a dramatic change of pace among Ryan Reynolds’ best movies that also co-stars Helen Mirren, Charles Dance, Tatiana Maslany, Katie Holmes, and Daniel Bruhl. Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a real-life Jewish refugee that calls upon lawyer Randy Schoenberg, played by Reynolds, to fight the Austrian government for the return of a portrait stolen by the Nazis.

If that sounds significantly less exciting than the usual Ryan Reynolds movie, you’d be right, as Woman in Gold is a deliberate and thoughtful film probing some of the darkest secrets in human history. For his part as the ambitious lawyer in over his head, Reynolds turned in his greatest dramatic performance to date. Critics agree that the leads carry the film, which gets bogged down in the details of the true-story, as again, it’s that natural movie star charisma which elevates what would have been a disappointing movie had it starred almost anyone else.

6. Buried (2010)


One of the most intense films ever made, Buried takes place entirely in a wooden coffin with only Ryan Reynolds on screen as Paul Conroy, an American contractor, attacked in Iraq and buried alive. No other character ever appears on screen, leaving every moment to hinge on Reynolds’ facial reactions and vocal inflections as the sand slowly fills the coffin. Though it’s an acting tour de force from the Canadian star, the film is so intense and dark that not many have been able to get through the experience of watching it.

In interviews afterward, Ryan Reynolds explained that the coffin he was filming in was legitimately being slowly filled with sand during the production. As a result, the star was suffering from claustrophobia, just like his character, while the cameras were rolling. A common favorite film among other actors, Buried is the hardest of Reynolds’ films to watch.

7. Safe House (2012)


Ryan Reynolds stars as a low-level CIA operative, Matt Weston, who is used to no action at his South African post until the day that ex-CIA operative Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought into protective custody. From there, Safe House becomes an action-thriller that plays out as a much more serious version of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. As with his previous best films, Reynolds trades in his humor for paranoia and the struggles of an agent in over his head.

The partnership between Washington and Ryan Reynolds resulted in one of the best opening weekend totals for both stars, at the time, with $40.2 million. Since then, both of the leads have surpassed that total, which befits the fairly forgettable nature of Safe House. Once a taut thriller, it’s now been surpassed by other films with a similar premise.

8. The Proposal (2009)


A romantic comedy putting together Ryan Reynolds with Sandra Bullock should be much higher on this list, but despite being a box office success, the passage of time has not been kind to The Proposal. Bullock’s Margaret Tate is a Canadian facing deportation, so she decides to fake an engagement with her personal assistant, Andrew Paxton, played by Reynolds. The by-the-numbers plot doesn’t reinvent the romantic comedy, and with new evaluations on workplace romances in Hollywood movies, the very plot of the film has been deemed problematic.

None of that detracts from the amazing on-screen chemistry of the leads, with Ryan Reynolds cranking his charm up to the maximum. In fact, a few years after the film debuted, it was rumored that the two stars were dating. Though a recent Parade article disputes that, it’s still fun to imagine.

9. Green Lantern (2011)

james gunn Green Lantern Ryan Reynolds


How bad is Free Guy that Green Lantern has ranked higher? Well, the fact is that Green Lantern may have been a legendary superhero flop that put DC’s space cops on ice for over 10 years, but it’s also not without its good parts. Though Wade Wilson is the perfect hero for Ryan Reynolds, Hal Jordan was a good fit, as was Blake Lively as Carol Danvers.

Just as the best part of X-Men: Origins – Wolverine was the bromance between Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, the best part of Green Lantern is how Ryan Reynolds and Lively fell in love while on set. It’s not the special effects or the use of Parallax as a yellow fog as the film’s main villain when Sinestro was right there.

10. R.I.P.D. (2013)


The bottom of this list makes it clear that Ryan Reynolds needs to make more movies. R.I.P.D was another flop at the box office, though it did get a second life on streaming. The story of a betrayed police officer recruited to hunt down escaped souls from Hell has no major twists or turns, but what it does have is a fantastic cast.

Joining Ryan Reynolds are Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, and the underused but skillfully deployed Marisa Miller and James Hong. Against all odds, a sequel was made for Netflix, starring Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan and Rachel Adedeji.