Robert Downey Jr. might now be best-known for playing Iron Man in the MCU, but he has been in many other movies other than that. RDJ had a long and successful acting career before he played Iron Man and his time as an actor has spanned many decades. From playing a superhero to Charlie Chaplin to Sherlock Holmes and more, RDJ has had a lot of iconic roles. Although, some of his best roles might not be his most well-known ones.
We’ve put together a list of his best roles, based on the success of the movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 KISS KISS, BANG BANG: 85%
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang might be one of Downey’s better-known roles outside of Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. He plays the main character, Harry Lockhart, who is a crook who ends up accidentally auditioning to be in a mystery film.
Once he gets the part, he ends up in Hollywood and in the middle of a murder conspiracy. This film is a fun and funny parody of film noir that is perfect for fans of RDJ as well as fans of the genre.
9 CHEF: 87%
After working on Iron Man together, it’s no secret that Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau are friends. So, it’s no wonder that Favreau cast RDJ in his film, Chef. This movie is a heartwarming comedy with a lot of humor. Favreau plays the main character Chef Carl Casper as he quits his high profile job and starts a food truck. RDJ plays a minor character in the film named Martin. If you like to watch movies with MCU stars, this is a feel-good film worth watching.
8 ZODIAC: 89%
Getting away from some of Downey’s more lighthearted and comedic roles, Zodiac might be one of his heaviest. This film is about the Zodiac killer and the real-life people who tried to hunt him down. RDJ acts alongside other big stars, including co-star Mark Ruffalo, in this tense drama.
The actors played roles based on the real people involved in the case. Downey plays a reporter named Bill Avery. He’s great in this role, and Zodiac is definitely worth watching if you’re interested in true crime.
7 GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK: 93%
Good Night, and Good Luck is a well-known film starring George Clooney and Jeff Daniel and was also directed by Clooney.
Robert Donwey Jr. also has a smaller role in this film as Joe Wershba, a character based on the real-life journalist of the same name who worked for CBS in the '40s. The movie is about Edward R. Murrow and others who help stop the anti-Communist hearings using their platform at CBS.
6 IRON MAN: 93%
While Iron Man is definitely his most well-known role, it’s also one of his most highly rated films. It’s no wonder why. Robert Donwey Jr. embodies this character so well that many people have noticed the striking similarities between Tony Stark and RDJ. The Iron Man film also launched the MCU and was the foundation for all the movies that came after it. While Downey might have many other amazing roles, playing Tony Stark seems like a role that was made just for him.
5 BABY, IT’S YOU: 94%
This is another highly rated movie that RDJ appears in, but it’s not one that he stars in. Baby, It’s You is set in the 1960s in New Jersey and follows two high schoolers as they encounter their first loves. This is a romantic drama that stars Vincent Spano and Rosanna Arquette. However, Robert Donwey Jr. does have a small role in this film as a character named Stewart.
4 RICHARD III: 94%
Richard III is obviously a film based on Shakespeare, but it isn’t a direct retelling. This movie stars Ian McKellen as King Richard in a take on the story that is set in the 1930s in New England.
The performances in this movie overall are really strong, and Robert Downey Jr. plays Earl Rivers, the brother of Queen Elizabeth in the story. This is a role that has a much younger Downey before he made his comeback as Iron Man.
3 TRUE BELIEVER: 95%
True Believer is a movie that stars Robert Downey Jr. as Roger Barton, a young attorney who is working under the mentorship of civil rights activist James Woods. After becoming disillusioned, Woods is partially inspired by Baron, Downey’s character, to take up one last case in defense of Koren-American prisoner Yuki Okamoto. This movie is an exciting thriller that also explores many social themes. It’s definitely worth a watch for fans who are interested in seeing RDJ in a very different role than what they might expect.
2 SHORT CUTS: 95%
Short Cuts is the highest-rated film that Robert Donwey Jr. has appeared in, but, since he doesn’t play a big role, it’s only number two on this list.
This movie is an ensemble film that tells the stories of 22 characters based on nine Raymond Carver short stories. Short Cuts also stars many other actors including Lily Tomlin and Julianne Moore. Robert Downey Jr. plays a character named Billy Bush who has a small role in the film.
1 AVENGERS: ENDGAME: 94%
Of all of Robert Downey Jr.’s many appearances as Tony Stark in the MCU, the highest rated one is Avengers: Endgame. While the film’s high rating is obviously based on many factors, RDJ does do a great job in this movie. As it’s his seemingly last appearance as Tony Stark, he definitely gave a life of heart into this movie and the ending of the character.
While seeing Tony Stark die was rough for many fans at least Iron Man got to die being a true hero and saving the entire universe. However, fans of the MCU will definitely miss him going forward with the franchise.