The 20 Best Keanu Reeves Movies, Ranked

With the Matrix reopening in "The Matrix Resurrections," it's the perfect time to revisit its lead star. Here are the 20 best Keanu Reeves movies, ranked.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

The 20 Best Keanu Reeves Movies, Ranked

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Now that "The Matrix Resurrections" is about to land in theaters...why not keep the Keanussance going with your own holiday Keanu film fest? Here we present the 20 best Keanu Reeves movies, ranked!

1 / The Matrix

He’s Neo. And Neo’s the One. In 1999, Keanu made movie history in the landmark sci-fi/action film “The Matrix” from the Wachowskis. This is also where he met his stunt double Chad Stahelski, who would later go on to helm all of the John Wick films. While the subsequent “Matrix” films never quite matched the lofty transcendence of the first edition, the original still stands as an incredible genre flick. It's perfectly cast with Keanu at the center, going down the rabbit hole and emerging as a singular superhero.

The Matrix Poster

The Matrix

R

Action

March 31, 1999

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2 / Bill & Ted's Excellent Trilogy

It’s the trilogy most associated with Keanu Reeves’ actual personality. But that doesn’t give him the full credit he deserves as an intelligent human being, and a well-rounded talent. This excellent trio of comedies (most represented in the first classic installment) does convey a couple of essential things about the guy. One, he’s an extremely likeable and un-self-conscious actor. And two, he does seem to care about his friends, family, and the universe at large. He embodies the film's overall mantra to "be excellent to each other…and…party on, dudes!"

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Poster

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

PG

Comedy

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3 / Speed

Keanu’s first massive box office hit was director Jan de Bont’s bus-rigged-with-a-bomb thriller "Speed." It introduced worldwide audiences to Reeves as a first-class action hero, and Sandra Bullock as a charming, witty movie star who’d survive this installment and the not-so-speedy sequel (which Reeves wisely passed on). Keanu’s Jack Traven is everything you want in the performer – he’s an earnest can-do, will-do man of physical prowess, who has an unironic sense of duty and decency.

Speed Poster

Speed

R

Action

June 10, 1994

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4 / River's Edge

One of Reeves’ earliest film roles was in Tim Hunter’s classic disturbing teen murder drama “River’s Edge.” Three plus decades later, the film is still a chilling depiction of teenagers too stoned and disaffected to bother to report their friend’s murder (by another friend) to the authorities. Keanu gives a highly effective performance as teenager Matt, whose conscience eventually provokes him to do the right thing.

River's Edge Poster

River's Edge

R

Drama

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5 / My Own Private Idaho

Gus Van Sant’s tale about street hustlers roaming around Portland and other areas of the Northwest and the world is a colorful and ambitious indie with an incredible performance by River Phoenix as a troubled, well-meaning youth looking for a sense of home and real love. Keanu’s his best friend and companion, whose journeys through street life are more of a detour before moving on to other things. While Phoenix's performance was rightly acclaimed, Keanu also puts in a strong and confident turn that ranks among his greatest work.

My Own Private Idaho Poster

My Own Private Idaho

R

Drama

October 18, 1991

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6 / Parenthood

Ron Howard’s ensemble about the ups and downs of daily life for a multi-generational family is a showcase for all the performers, and Keanu’s no exception. His Tod is definitely a bit of an airhead, but one who has a sensitive and surprisingly wise heart underneath it all.

Parenthood Poster

Parenthood

PG-13

Comedy Drama

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7 / Toy Story 4

As with the live-action "Parenthood," Pixar's most recent "Toy Story" entry features a stellar all-star cast. Not to take away from franchise stalwarts Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, but we love Keanu Reeves most in this fourth installment. He's the newcomer, a Canadian daredevil stuntman motorcyclist named Duke Kaboom. Often clueless about the limits of his stunt-riding prowess, Duke's also eternally endearing with his genuine likeability – just like the guy behind him.

Toy Story 4 Poster

Toy Story 4

G

Animated

June 21, 2019

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8 / Permanent Record

No less a film critic than Roger Ebert declared the underseen and underrated "Permanent Record" as one of the very best films released in 1988. The story about a teen suicide packs an emotional wallop, and much of its impact comes from Keanu’s realistic portrayal of the best friend left behind. Imagine Ted "Theodore" Logan without his buddy Bill, in a straight drama that’s genuinely heartbreaking. While that might sound strange, Keanu makes it all work perfectly.

Permanent Record Poster

Permanent Record

PG-13

Drama

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9 / Point Break

It’s such a popular Keanu Reeves title that it's also become an interactive live performance where someone in the audience is selected to play Reeves' undercover cop Johnny Utah. Maybe that means that anyone can sub in for the token "blank" everyman. Or maybe it just means that Reeves is the perfect "everyman." Either way, he looks great, and director Katherine Bigelow whips up an action classic that combines gunfights, fistfights, skydiving, surfing and one of the all-time memorable foot chases in Hollywood history. Plus…all hail the late Patrick Swayze's ever-wise surfer-skydiver-bank robber-guru, Bodhi.

Point Break Poster

Point Break

R

Action

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10 / John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

The third time's still the charm in the action blockbuster series known as "John Wick." In this chapter, the unstoppable force that is Keanu's assassin John Wick is on the run from what seems like all of the world's top killers after taking down a member of the High Table in Chapter 2. While we've seen this type of action before in the other entries, Reeves and the filmmakers continue to up the ante with ever-more creative sequences...and we still always feel for the soulful hero at its center.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Poster

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

R

Action

May 17, 2019

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11 / Dangerous Liaisons

His part is small, but it’s still critical to the overall artistry at work in Stephen Frears’ decadent re-telling of “Les Illaisons dangeruses.” Acting titans John Malkovich and Glenn Close are the two main players using their wiles and skills to manipulate the lives and romances of unsuspecting royals Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer. Reeves is mostly on standby as the simple music teacher that Thurman favors. But he’s also nearly the only dignified one present at the proceedings. Interesting to note: this costume period piece played in theaters at the same time as the first Bill & Ted’s movie - two great Reeves movies at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Dangerous Liaisons Poster

Dangerous Liaisons

R

Drama

December 11, 1988

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12 / John Wick: Chapter 2

The first John Wick movie set the table. The second heartily breaks it into a million pieces, as John Wick’s world grows ever larger, as do the stakes and body count. His "Matrix" co-star Laurence Fishburne makes a return as underground crime lord and Wick advocate The Bowery King, as do most of the remaining players from the first installment (Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, John Leguizamo, etc.).

John Wick: Chapter 2 Poster

John Wick: Chapter 2

R

Action

February 10, 2017

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13 / A Scanner Darkly

What do you get when you combine amazing rotoscope animation, source material from the creator of "Blade Runner," the director of "Dazed and Confused" and "School of Rock," the leading star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and our hero and savior from "The Matrix"? You get this underrated gem about an undercover police officer who spends his nights scoring drugs, seeking informants and sources, and inching ever closer to becoming a dangerous felon.

A Scanner Darkly Poster

A Scanner Darkly

R

Animated

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14 / John Wick

The first John Wick set the template for the series. It also revealed the greatest attributes of our hero. He is a man of believable physical action, and he acts out against forces of badness because of the pain he’s experienced. It wasn’t just that they killed his dog. It was what the dog represented…a gift of hope, from his wife who died, and whom he truly loved. John Wick is a bad man who wanted to turn a corner. When that place is taken away from him…the result is an avenging act…and a landmark genre film.

John Wick Poster

John Wick

R

Action

October 24, 2014

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15 / The Night Before

You might think that Ted "Theodore" Logan is the greatest distillation of Keanu at his loveable, goofy best. But Ted has some serious competition from Winston Connelly. Even better, unlike a lot of Keanu’s mid-late ‘80s output, Winston’s not a loveable stoner. He’s a loveable geek. And as always with Reeves, he’s a geek with a quirky nature and an unmistakable decent streak. Here, it’s up to Keanu to save his prom date Tara Mitchell (Lori Loughlin) after they get lost in East LA and she’s kidnapped by pimps. It’s a fun '80s romp with Reeves in full command of his eccentric, comic persona.

The Night Before Poster

The Night Before

PG-13

Comedy

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16 / Bram Stoker's Dracula

It has its critics, but Francis Ford Coppola’s baroque version of "Bram Stoker’s Dracula" is an A-plus production, with moody visuals and varying performances (including a wide-eyed Keanu and an over-the-top Anthony Hopkins…to say nothing of Gary Oldman’s committed take on the title role). It all adds up to a highly intoxicating and entertaining period horror-thriller.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Poster

Bram Stoker's Dracula

R

Horror

November 13, 1992

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17 / The Replacements

One of Keanu’s most watchable films is this winning sports comedy about scrubs who get a chance for redemption when the pro football players all go on strike. Keanu Reeves as down-on-his-luck former star quarterback Shane Falco is perfect casting. He’s the underdog you want to root for – leading a team of equally worthy underdogs who’ve earned and deserve their time in the spotlight.

The Replacements Poster

The Replacements

PG-13

Comedy

August 11, 2000

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18 / A Walk in the Clouds

An underrated and wistful period love story, "A Walk in the Clouds" finds our man Keanu as a soldier who returns from World War II and is promptly dumped by his wife. Heading north to Sacramento, he encounters a pregnant woman who’s been ditched by her boyfriend and is travelling home to her family’s vineyard. He agrees to pose as her husband. Inevitably, and in the best way possible, they fall in love.

A Walk in the Clouds Poster

A Walk in the Clouds

PG-13

Romance

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19 / The Gift

Before this project from "Spider-Man" director Sam Raimi, most wouldn’t have envisioned Keanu Reeves as a terrifying redneck who abuses his wife and is pretty much pure evil. So, it’s a surprise that the part of Donnie Barksdale fits the actor like a glove. It's also nice to report that this entire movie is an underrated film noir gem.

The Gift Poster

The Gift

R

Thriller

January 19, 2001

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20 / Street Kings

While critics and audiences were lukewarm on this tale of corruption, redemption, and somewhat dubious street cops, it’s a hard-boiled, effective crime thriller from "Training Day" writer David Ayer, and features one of Keanu’s toughest performances. He’s 100% believable as a thuggish police detective who may or may not have true justice in mind. He’s matched by future Captain America Chris Evans as his younger, more discerning partner.

Street Kings Poster

Street Kings

R

Crime Drama

April 11, 2008

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Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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