Heath Ledger passed away more than a decade ago and yet he is still remembered as one of the most fascinating and talented young actors to ever grace the big screen. Though his career was tragically short, Ledger amassed a considerable amount of great performances in stellar movies.
While many people may have their favorite movies with which to remember Ledger's talents, he left behind a number of acclaimed projects fans might want to seek out. From his heartthrob days to period dramas and, of course, comic book films, Ledger's legacy lives on through these great films. Here are Heath Ledger's best movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Ned Kelly (56%)
Ned Kelly is an Australian folk hero who has been subject to many stories and films over the years. Ledger helped bring the famed bank robber and outlaw to life in the 2003 drama about his life and crimes.
The movie is a more sympathetic take on the character, depicting the injustices that led Kelly to his life of crime. Ledger's performance was praised and critics mostly fond the Western to be an entertaining adventure, even if it didn't do anything unique with the story.
9 A Knight's Tale (58%)
One of Ledger's earliest leading roles came with this medieval adventure. Ledger stars as a commoner who poses as a knight to take part in jousting competitions. His lies become harder to conceal when he falls in love with a royal lady and becomes the target of a cruel count.
The movie is sometimes criticized for oddly cramming modern music into the medieval story but despite that and its pretty predictable plot, Ledger and the spirited cast were praised as was the film's light and fun tone along with the jousting sequences.
8 The Patriot (61%)
Much of Ledger's early works were relegated to period films, though some of them were admittedly entertaining rides. One of these was The Patriot, which stars Mel Gibson as a widowed American farmer who is raising his large family as the Revolutionary War breaks out.
Ledger has a great heroic part as Gibson's oldest son who is eager to fight for his country. Many critics pointed out the ridiculousness of the war boiling down to one man's revenge mission, but the underdog story and thrilling battle sequences made it a fun if a simple period action movie.
7 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (64%)
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is probably best known as the movie Ledger was making when he passed away. This Terry Gilliam film had Ledger playing a young man who joins a traveling theater troupe and becomes involved in a battle against the devil. Ledger died before completing filming so Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law helped complete his part.
Given that it is a Gilliam film, you can imagine that it is a bit mind-bending. Critics called the film a bit over-indulgent from the visionary director, but admitted that the imagination and beauty at work were stunning.
6 Two Hands (67%)
Two Hands is probably the least-known movie on this list, but it could be a good undiscovered gem for Ledger fans. The Australian crime-comedy stars Ledger as a young criminal who finds himself in big trouble after he loses a gangster's money.
The small movie didn't make much of a splash, but it's fun seeing a young Ledger in an energetic role that showcases his vulnerable side along with his bad boy side. The movie was praised for its fast-paced and fun style as well as the humorous take on the typical crime story.
5 10 Things I Hate About You (68%)
By the end of his career, Ledger didn't seem like the kind of actor who would pop up in romantic comedies. However, as a young actor, his good looks and charm made him an ideal romantic lead. And he was actually quite good at it.
10 Things I hate About You stars Ledger as a bad boy who is hired to ask out an outcast girl so that the girl's younger sister is free to date as well. The teen comedy doesn't break new ground but the young likable cast makes it a funny and charming romp.
4 I'm Not There (77%)
Music biopics have often been criticized for their overly formulaic feel, but I'm Not There broke away from any established tradition. The movie explores the life of Bob Dylan by telling various stories with different actors playing characters meant to represent Dylan at different stages of his career.
Ledger plays a character representing Dylan's celebrity status and he is joined by an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Gere. The experimental take didn't impress everyone, but most critics thought it was a fresh and unique way to examine a well-known artist.
3 Monster's Ball (85%)
As Ledger's career continued, he began stepping away from the typical leading man roles and followed the path of a character actor. Monster's Ball tells the story of a racist prison guard (Billy Bob Thorton) who falls in love with a waitress (Halle Berry) who is the widow of a man he executed.
Ledger has a memorable supporting role as Thorton's troubled son. The movie is a somber and difficult watch that is singled out for its amazing performances from the entire cast, especially Berry who won an Oscar for the role.
2 Brokeback Mountain (87%)
Ledger helped cement his reputation as one of Hollywood's most daring actors with his performance in Brokeback Mountain. The Ang Lee-directed film starred Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two sheepherders who fall in love while working together one season and carry on a hidden passion for years to come.
The movie was praised for its beauty and intense look at the love between these two men. The two leads were highly praised for their performances, each earning an Oscar nomination. Ledger, in particular, was singled out for his display of suppressed vulnerability.
1 The Dark Knight (94%)
When it was announced that Ledger would be playing Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, there was an immediate negative backlash. His casting soon became an example of why fans should wait to see a movie before judging it. Here, Ledger amazed as the unpredictable anarchist version of the Batman villain.
The movie was a huge step up for Batman and comic book films in general. Nolan created a massive crime epic with complex characters and thrilling set-pieces. Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his unforgettable and legendary role which has defined his career.