The Best Keanu Reeves Movies of All Time

From The Matrix to John Wick to Toy Story we ranked the filmography of our favorite grumbling action hero.
From The Matrix to John Wick to Toy Story we ranked the filmography of our favorite grumbling action hero.

Keanu Reeves has lived about a thousand lives through his films. We’ve seen the actor, who, IRL, is a certified national treasure, play just about the widest range of characters of any A-lister alive. Quarterback, stoner, lurker on the dark web, children’s toy, surfer, and Keanu Reeves himself, in Always Be My Maybe’s legendary self-cameo. (To be clear, we’re just talking about the characters he’s played here. Nevermind that Keanu Reeves is actually immortal.)

While, yes, every time we see Keanu’s face in one of his movies is a gift and a privilege, there is a hierarchy of his filmography. So, we parsed through everything from the big trilogies (The Matrix, John Wick, Bill & Ted), Sports (Point Break, The Replacements), to huh? (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) to come up with a definitive worst-to-best list of Keanu Reeves films.

But first, one more thing, because it technically doesn’t qualify for this list: If you need any further convincing of the Cultural Impact of Keanu Reeves: Consider 2016’s Keanu, the Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key spoofing of John Wick. In place of the dog? A kitten named Keanu. Anyway. Here’s a ranking of our friend Keanu’s most notable movies from his career.

Point Break

It is the greatest sports action thriller ever made. And it’s also the film that created Reeves and introduced him as the action star he remains nearly 30 years later. Then best known as the beloved slacker Ted, Reeves took the California swagger and combined it with the rough edge of an undercover FBI agent. He’s charming, mysterious, and looks damn good on a surfboard. This is Keanu as we’ve always known him—a man who has taken, expanded, and flipped this archetypal character in many brilliant ways over his career. But it all began here.—Matt Miller

The Matrix

There is probably no greater actor to be caught up in the war between man and machine than Keanu Reeves. A disillusioned corporate drone in a cubicle, Neo connects through the early dark web to a group of hackers who are really soldiers fighting to free humanity from the prison of a digital world. Reeves, whose dialogue is mostly a series of existential questions, is the perfect conduit for the viewer thrown into a world where reality is nothing but a tool used for mass sedation. Though the two sequels got a little unwieldy, we can lump them into this entry of the Best Reeves films.—Matt Miller

Something’s Gotta Give

This romantic comedy somehow does not have Keanu Reeves in the starring role, but rather as a B-plot love interest for Diane Keaton. Rock that cradle! Even still, like all other Keanu films, Something’s Gotta Give is all the better because it lets Dr. Keanu be a heart surgeon. It’s called range.—Justin Kirkland

The Lake House

A remake of a South Korean film from 2000, this movie is about a lake house occupied by both Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The twist: they live in the house in 2004 and 2006, respectively. It is an objectively terrible movie, but its stars pull it through. Keanu might be the draw, but the egregious storyline and Sandra Bullock’s truly regretful haircut are the true gifts here. Plus? Speed reunion.—Justin Kirkland

Toy Story 4

Toy Story is a beloved franchise in the Disney canon, so when the near-perfect trilogy slated a fourth film, no one was betting their piggy banks on it being anything less than great. Enter: Keanu Reeves in a cameo as a stunt driver a la Evel Knievel. He’s brief. He’s strong. And he’s a standout in the film.—Justin Kirkland

Speed

Keep it above 50, baby. Reeves plays a rookie cop who ends up on the wrong bus at the wrong time, tasked with making sure it doesn’t blow up via the bomb rigged to it. The catch? If the bus falls below 50 miles per hour, the bomb goes boom. Pair Reeves’ natural charm with Sandra Bullock’s, and you have one of the greatest thriller films of all time.—Justin Kirkland

The Devil’s Advocate

This is, in short, the trippiest legal thriller you’ve ever seen. When Reeves’ character joins a law firm headed up by a powerful attorney played by Al Pacino, his family life takes a dark turn. Reeves’ on-screen wife (Charlize Theron) starts seeing some bizarre visions, that end up being as sexy as they are haunting.—Justin Kirkland

The Replacements

It’s hard not to love a football movie, and we’re not saying The Replacements is the best one. I mean, Friday Night Lights is always one rent-button away. But when it comes to Reeves films, this 2000 film about the Washington Sentinels (still forced, but decidedly better than the Washington Football Team) is a fun watch, with a gang of misfits taking over as the first (and second) string go on strike.—Justin Kirkland

John Wick

John Wick has nowhere near the amount of lore and stakes as its successors. But that’s exactly why it’s (barely) the best of the three. Bad men kill John Wick’s dog. John Wick sets out to kill those bad men. What else did you need?—Brady Langmann

John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 falls just below its predecessor. Because all that extra lore, the markers and the blood tasks and excommunicado? It’s all pretty damn cool, especially when Keanu Reeves mumble-whispers all the action-movie jargon with his Keanu Reeves voice. Also: The club scene song. WUBWUBWUBWUB.—Brady Langmann

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum

Chapter 3 is only a smidge behind Chapter 2, which is only a smidge behind the OG. In Chapter 3, we see the series lean all the way into Keanu Reeves action-camp. Which, again, is a good thing. I mean, NBA bigman Boban Marjanović is in this movie. Dude’s 7’4. Oh, and major props for the em dash in the title—that’s what I like to see.—Brady Langmann

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

I should hold back. I really should. Eh, I’m not gonna do it. No. EXCELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLENT. (This is the best one. Party on.)—Brady Langmann

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

True: Every time Bill, Ted, and Death meet up, it’s a party. Really, it most definitely is. But Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey isn’t quite the romp that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is. Evil Ted and Evil Bill weren’t exactly the welcome sight, say, Socrates and Honest Abe were.—Brady Langmann

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Well, dude, Bill & Ted Face the Music outparties Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey for doing what the 1991 follow-up should’ve done in the first place: Make these guys confront their all-dude-everything ways. Bill & Ted Face the Music is an endearing, heartfelt look at growing old, fatherhood, and even making (and un-making) mistakes. Featuring that cameo-per-minute pace of the original film, at that.—Brady Langmann

Dangerous Liaisons

Okay, Keanu doesn’t have a huge part in this 1988 adaptation of an 18th century French novel, it’s really more a John Malkovich and Glenn Close joint. He simply brings his youth and beauty— which would have been enough— and the single greatest line reading of his career. Encountering his music student Cecile (an equally dewy Uma Thurman) at the intermission of an opera, he gushes about the performance in the soft stoner accent that would drive the following year’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: “It’s sublahm, don’t you fahnd?” It takes you out of the movie for a moment, but all the sex, lies and stabbing will pull you back in.—Dave Holmes

Always Be My Maybe

It’s no secret that the best Keanu Reeves character is… Keanu Reeves. Props to Always Be My Maybe for writing a Keanu self-cameo that finally lets him show off some of his wild, weird, and beautiful IRL self.—Brady Langmann

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Loaded cast, legendary direction from Francis Ford Coppola, gorgeous, haunting vision of Transylvania. Also: A very, very, very bad English accent from Keanu Reeves. —Brady Langmann

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