Some actors are lucky enough to be one of almost every movie goers’ favorite actors. Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro… these are some pretty heavy names, and you can also add to this list an actor that belongs to a younger generation. This actor would be none other than Edward Norton.
Usually dubbed as the best actor of his generation, Norton pretty much owned the last half of the ‘90s. Baby-faced with a crooked boyish smile, and a voice that is so soft and kind, he looked like he couldn’t do anything wrong, but in some of the greatest movies ever made, he just did that, and maybe this contrast was responsible for some of his enormous successes along with his enormous acting talent.
At some point in his life, consciously or not, he made the audience miss him; he just couldn’t find the roles for the main characters that suited him. He almost became a character actor in the last few years, but of course, that didn’t bother his fans at all: as long as he acts, the audience knows they are in for a treat.
Here are all of Edward Norton’s movies ranked from worst to best. Enjoy the journey…
27. The Score (2001)
Think of a movie that stars Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Edward Norton. Three different generations of legendary actors, and the one who has been praised for her acting is Angela Bassett. Directed by Frank Oz (the voice of Yoda), this could be just another decent heist movie, if the audience didn’t keep its expectations so high just because they could see these legends acting together. But the result is nothing like we expected.
It might just be the most boring film ever that belongs to these actors’ resume. Like we said before, it is not a bad film, but it is slow for a heist movie and if you add the nostalgia and the respect for the stars in it, there may even be people who love it.
Norton plays a thief who acts as a mentally disabled person as a facade, which he has mastered throughout his career. He said that he made this movie just to see his name alongside Brando and De Niro on the poster. As an interesting note, “The Score” is the last completed film of Brando.
26. The Invention of Lying (2009)
The creator of “The Office,” Golden Globe host, and Hollywood roaster Ricky Gervais’ first motion picture has a promising premise. In this film, the world hadn’t discover lying yet, so people are honest to each other all the time.
This subject could be a comedy as well as a horror movie, but in this case it’s a comedy that stars its director, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Fionnula Flanagan and Jeffrey Tambor. You can also see Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton in cameos. This movie can be watched just for its great cast. Norton plays a traffic police officer, and he shows us that he is good in a comedy, too.
25. Stone (2010)
Director John Curran, who also directed another and arguably better Edward Norton film “The Painted Veil,” gathers a fine cast that consists of Norton, Robert De Niro, Milla Jovovich and Frances Conroy. Norton plays a prisoner who sees a soon-to-be retired parole officer, played by De Niro.
Alongside his wife (Jovovich), they try to persuade the parole officer to give him an early release. As time progresses, the audience witnesses these characters’ states of mind and the changes in them. The movie has a loose-end ending that people interpret differently. For this film, Norton went to a real prison and spent time with the prisoners. He used an accent that he heard from these prisoners.
24. Leaves of Grass (2009)
Edward Norton, the king of the dual personality characters, played twin brothers in this film: one is a professor at Brown University, and the other is a drug dealer. If you can believe this, the drug dealer is smarter than his brother, and is able to escape a crime boss to whom he owes a lot of money; he tricks his brother and makes a scheme for the murder of this mafia leader.
Norton has two accents in this film, and you really believe that these twins are completely different people. Tim Blake Nelson directed it as well as acted in it, and the other cast members are Keri Russell, Melanie Lynskey, Susan Sarandon and Richard Dreyfuss. The director wrote the script with Norton in mind.
23. Collateral Beauty (2016)
Fighting the pain of the loss of a loved one, Will Smith plays Howard. His friends and partners of the firm, played by Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Kate Winslet, see that their friend has almost lost his mind; they are about to lose the firm and enter a financial crisis. So they decide to show Howard’s state of mind to people in order to save the firm. For that, they make a plan involving love, time, and death. These are the three abstractions that Howard wrote a letter to before.
The film’s subject is a tough one: all the people in it are facing their problems and trying to be strong. This is what life is all about. It also stars Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren. The film is directed by David Frankel, who is also known for “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley & Me.”
22. Death to Smoochy (2002)
Known for his intensity as an actor, this time he played a naive, sweet children’s show host dressed as a fuchsia rhino named Smoochy, who has awareness about every serious subject in life, and has surprised the audience. Robin Williams is Rainbow Randolph, who considers
Smoochy as his arch-enemy because after he lost the time slot on TV, Smoochy replaced him. Catherine Keener is the love interest and the producer of the show. Danny Woodburn and famous Broadway actor Harvey Fierstein with his distinctive voice are supporting actors. You can also spot Jon Stewart and the director himself, Danny DeVito.
This is not an Oscar-worthy movie by any chance, and we can see that clearly, but for Edward Norton fans, seeing him playing guitar, singing children songs, and doing the Jiggy-Ziggy dance in that costume is certainly worth seeing. Williams is hysterical and funny as always. The closing scene which they dance with “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson is a riot.
21. Down in the Valley (2005)
It starts like a romantic-comedy and then turns into an obsessive love story with an age difference. Edward Norton returns to his roots again playing a delusional man, Harlan, a cowboy wannabe with father issues; he brings chaos, fear, and even death to his girlfriend Tobe’s (Evan Rachel Wood) life.
Being motherless, Tobe has already a hard life because of his abusive father (David Morse) and a silent and introverted brother (Rory Culkin) before meeting Harlan. He became some kind of hope for this young girl and her brother in the beginning, but soon it became a nightmare for all of them. David Jacobson is the writer-director of the movie. Norton adopts a Southern accent and shows his skills with the guns.
20. Keeping The Faith (2000)
For his directorial debut, which he dedicated to his late mother Robin Norton, this film might seem like a strange choice for this intense actor who is also known for his participation in the screenplays of the films he acted in, whether the director likes it or not.
A rom-com with a priest and a rabbi, they fall in love with the same girl, whom they were friends when they were children. Forbidden love, faith, and a love triangle are the subjects of the movie. The relationship between the rabbi (Ben Stiller) and the girl (Jenna Elfman) tests the friendship of the third party (Norton’s priest) with these two, because our priest is in love with the girl as well.
Norton recruited a legendary cast that includes famous Czech director Milos Forman (who directed him in “The People vs. Larry Flynt”), and Hollywood legends Anne Bancroft and Eli Wallach. Also worth noting is the soundtrack which consists of songs from Elliott Smith, Santana and Edward Norton’s close friend Peter Salett.
19. The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Tony Gilroy, the producer and writer of the Bourne Trilogy, made a decision and became the director of the fourth Bourne movie after his star Matt Damon and his director Paul Greengrass said that they were not going to make another Bourne movie, which they actually did (“Jason Bourne,” 2016) after this movie. Based on the book by Robert Ludlum, the trilogy was a success for everybody who participated in it.
This action-thriller, which has a main character who has amnesia and doesn’t know his name, tries to figure out who he is and finds something terrifying in the end. Matt Damon, who is an A-list Hollywood actor today, owes some of his success to this series. If people make comparisons with one of the most famous characters in movie history, James Bond, then we could say that these films performed their duty.
This is the beginning of the problem of “The Bourne Legacy,” to be able to go on without its much-loved titular character and its star. The task was difficult, but the movie was liked by people, maybe because of the audience’s exposure to the Bourne world, because of its script and cast.
This time the main character is a Bourne-like agent played by Jeremy Renner, and the love interest and scientist is Rachel Weisz, who is one of the most talented living actresses today. Scott Glenn, David Strathairn and Albert Finney reprise their roles. You can also spot Oscar Isaac in a role that has very limited screen time. Edward Norton plays Aaron Cross, the antagonist to Renner’s character.