Mark Wahlberg's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

From heavy dramas to buddy comedies, discover Mark Wahlberg's highest-rated movies, ranked by Metascore.
by Taylor Freitas — 

Mark Wahlberg

Filmmagic / Getty Images

Throughout his career, Mark Wahlberg has worn many hats, working as everything from a model to a hip-hop artist to a restaurateur. But arguably, his most well-known work is from his time as an actor.

Although Wahlberg appeared in a handful of music videos (both his own and New Kids on the Block's), his true acting debut was on the small screen. In 1993, he appeared on television in The Ben Stiller Show, Out All Night, and a movie of the week titled The Substitute. 

From there it wasn't long until he jumped to an even bigger screen. In 1994, he launched his film career when he booked the role of Private Tommy Lee Haywood in Renaissance Man. The next year, he appeared in The Basketball Diaries, followed by a role in Fearin 1996. However, it wasn't until 1997 that he earned widespread attention for his portrayal of Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.

Since then, Wahlberg has acted in and produced dozens of movies and television shows, including comedies, dramas, thrillers, and computer-animated films. In 2007, he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Departed. 

Many of the movies that Wahlberg has appeared in have been based on real-life people or events — which makes his filmography appealing to viewers who appreciate historical and nonfiction films. His most recent role, in passion project Father Stu, falls into this sub-genre of stories. Many of these films make up the "best" of his résumé when judged by their critical acclaim. However, he has also appeared in critical raves in the sub-genres of black comedy, buddy cop films, heist movies, and with Uncharted, a video game adaptation.

Here, Metacritic highlight the top 10 movies Wahlberg has acted in, ranked by Metascore.

Boogie Nights

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of 1970s nostalgia
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu 
Runtime: 155 minutes

Released in 1997, Boogie Nights is the story of Eddie Adams (Wahlberg), a young busboy living in 1970s Los Angeles who adopts the name Dirk Diggler and becomes a porn star. Diggler experiences a series of extreme highs and lows as he navigates the industry, gains notoriety, develops a drug habit, and puts his relationships to the test. Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed the film based on a mockumentary he previously created

"If Boogie Nights were poorly made and acted, its materials would make it intolerably tawdry. But it's so well done that we keep watching." — Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

The Departed

Metascore: 85
Best for: Fans of crime dramas and thrills
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 151 minutes

Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Departed is a crime drama that was released in 2006, remaking Infernal Affairs, a Chinese film that came out in 2002. It follows the lives of Boston police officer Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), who goes undercover to stop a crime syndicate, and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a criminal who gains entry in the police department to help the syndicate stay ahead of the cops. Wahlberg plays Sean Dignam, a staff sergeant in the police department who convinces Costigan to go undercover — a performance that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. After it premiered, the film received immense critical acclaim and took home four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. 

"A triumphant revisiting of territory in which Scorsese is an unchallenged master — the crime drama." — Glenn Kenny, Premiere

Three Kings

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of satire, black comedy, and action flicks
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 114 minutes

Set in Iraq after the Gulf War, Three Kings is a comedic tale of American soldiers (played by Wahlberg, George Clooney, and Ice Cube) on a quest to find gold in the desert. Along the way, the trio encounters a series of unexpected twists and challenges that push them to reevaluate their mission. With Three Kings, writer anddirector David O. Russell strikes a balance between action, adventure, and comedy — and ends up with a film that's both light-hearted and thought-provoking. The movie earned a WGA Award nomination and was designated as a "must-see" movie by Metacritic.

"Some kind of weird masterpiece." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Fighter

Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of sports and biopics
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 115 minutes

In 2010, Wahlberg starred in and produced The Fighter, another Russell-directed film. It tells the real-life story of Boston-born boxer Micky Ward (Wahlberg), who tries to make a career as an amateur boxer while grappling with family conflict. Wahlberg underwent years of intense preparation for the role, often training for eight to 10 hours per day. During filming, he appeared in fight scenes and took real punches to make the movie feel as authentic as possible. In the end, The Fighter was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, which marked Wahlberg's first Oscar nom as a producer. It ended up winning Best Supporting Actor (for Christian Bale) and Best Supporting Actress (for Melissa Leo).

"An exhilarating fight-flick that, like its scrappy central character, is impossible not to root for." — Adam Smith, Empire

All the Money in the World

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of history and true crime
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 132 minutes

All the Money in the World is based on the real-life kidnapping of John Getty III (played by Charlie Plummer), the oil heir and grandson of billionaire J. Paul Getty (portrayed by Christopher Plummer). In the film, J. Paul Getty is reluctant to pay his grandson's ransom, which prompts Harris and James Fletcher Chace (Wahlberg), an advisor to John's mother, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams), to work together and take matters into their own hands. The movie, which was directed by Ridley Scott, received three Golden Globe nominations, an Academy Award nomination, and a BAFTA Award nomination.

"Two men in their 80s power the month's most pulse-pounding thriller. Who could have seen that coming?" — Nick de Semlyen, Empire

Patriots Day

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of thrillers or historical crime dramas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 133 minutes

Released in 2016, Patriots Day revisits the fatal Boston Marathon bombings of 2013. Wahlberg plays Tommy Saunders, a sergeant in the Boston Police Department. The film follows Saunders before, during, and after the tragedy, as he patrols the streets of Boston, assists victims of the bombing, and helps to track down the suspects. Wahlberg also serves as a producer on the film, which boasts Peter Berg in the director's chair. The movie is based on Boston Strong, a book about the bombings, while Wahlberg's character is inspired by Sergeant Detective Danny Keeler, a police officer who was on duty during the horrific event.

"There's little doubt who the hero of Peter Berg's retelling of the 2013 Boston marathon bombings is: the city itself." — Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

Deepwater Horizon

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of historical drama and disaster films
Where to watch:

, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

Wahlberg and Berg also worked together on Deepwater Horizon, which premiered in September 2016 — just a few months before Patriots Day. It's based on the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed several workers and created the largest marine oil spill in history. Wahlberg stars as Chief Electrical Engineer Mike Williams, who recognizes some of the problems on the rig and tries to warn company executives about the issues before the explosion. The movie follows Williams during the explosion and its aftermath, as he tries to stop the spill and help fellow workers survive.

"Wahlberg, Hudson and Russell [turn] in performances that get the job done without begging for attention." — Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Italian Job

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of heist movies, ensemble dramas, and thrills
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 111 minutes

Wahlberg plays Charlie Croker in The Italian Job, a remake of the 1969 movie of the same name. In the movie, Charlie is on a mission for revenge and money, leading a group of fellow criminals that includes Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), Steve Frazelli (Edward Norton), and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham). Directed by F. Gary Gray, The Italian Job features several memorable chase scenes, including a boat chase through the canals in Venice, Italy and a Mini Cooper car chase through the Los Angeles subway system — a modern take on the original film's Italian car chase scene.

"It cheerfully puts the escape back in escapism." — Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

The Other Guys

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of action comedies and buddy relationship stories
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

Wahlberg co-stars with Will Ferrell in The Other Guys, a 2010 buddy cop comedy. The two play Terry Hoitz and Allen "Gator" Gamble, respectively, a pair of outcast New York Police Department detectives who partner up to investigate a critical case. Equal parts action and comedy, the movie follows the titular guys as they learn how to work together, forming a friendship and encountering a series of mishaps along the way. Adam McKay serves as director and producer.

"For the most part, The Other Guys is seriously silly stuff, in the best sense." — Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post


Metascore: 63
Best for: Fans of sports and biographical movies
Where to watch:

, Disney+, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 105 minutes

Invincible revolves on the inspiring real-life story of Vince Papale (Wahlberg), a substitute teacher and bartender who defies the odds and fulfills his dream of playing for his hometown Philadelphia Eagles. The audience follows Vince as he tries out for the team, gets invited to training camp, and begins his professional football career, all under the guidance of Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear). 

"Wahlberg … plays Vince as a guy who truly doesn't expect to win. That makes his rib-bruising triumph all the more believable and touching." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly