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50/50
50/50

The 10 best Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies

The best Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies range from self-directed comedies to one of the biggest superhero movies ever

By Alyssa Ammirato
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There’s a long list of the best Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies and shows, but the actor first captured our attention in the ‘90s as a teenaged alien on 3rd Rock from the Sun. Now, he’s graduated to Hollywood star, writer, director and all-around creative cool guy. JGL is stealing scenes whether he’s turning a cancer patient into a leading man, performing a balancing act in a recent New York movie or waiting in the wings in the best superhero movies. His impressive credits list didn’t make it easy to narrow them down, but these titles are where he really shines.

Best Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies

10 Things I Hate About You
10 Things I Hate About You

1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Movies Comedy

There wasn’t a gal in school in the late ‘90s who didn’t have a major crush on Cameron. Playing the sweet-natured, totally geeky but cute antidote to obnoxious Joey, Gordon-Levitt won our teenage hearts—no small feat when you’re acting opposite Heath Ledger at his broodiest best.

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Dark Knight Rises
Dark Knight Rises

3. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Movies Action and adventure

Officer Blake (Gordon-Levitt) seems to be on the fringe of things throughout this epic battle of wits and rage between an aged, injured Batman and an out-for-revenge Bane. But the well-intentioned cop means something huge to Gotham City, and JGL proves that a sidekick shouldn’t be a second thought.

 50/50
Photograph: Courtesy Chris Helcermanas-Benge

4. 50/50 (2011)

Movies Comedy

When JGL’s Adam, a totally average guy, gets a diagnosis that changes everything, he and Kyle (Seth Rogen) try to beat his cancer by making it…funny. They succeed in this dramaedy that will make you laugh, cry and laugh until you cry.

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Lincoln
Photograph: Courtesy Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

5. Lincoln (2013)

Movies Drama

In the Academy Award-winning depiction of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis utterly transforms into the Great Emancipator—but on his coattails is firstborn son Robert Todd Lincoln, acted with stateliness and passion by Gordon-Levitt.

Looper
Looper

6. Looper (2012)

Movies

In a dystopian 2044, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is an assassin of futuristic sorts. Thirty years down the road in 2074, mob men beam their targets into the past where they land in an assassin’s range. It’s all fine and dandy until Joe meets a very familiar futuristic face with an X on his back, and all that makeup and prosthetics making Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis will start to make sense.

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(500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer

7. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Movies

Whether you identified with Manic Pixie Dream Girl Zooey Deschanel or had a soft spot for sweetheart JGL, (500) Days of Summer changed up the classic conclusion of a romantic comedy. The format and characters’ quirks made you feel something different, even if it was just the urge to take your next date to Ikea.

The Walk
The Walk

8. The Walk (2015)

Movies Drama

In a pre-9/11 world, the Twin Towers graced the NYC skyline with a kind of unmatched authority. In 1974, a man named Philippe Petit took a death-defying dance across a tightrope between the buildings, and here, Gordon-Levitt takes a (CGI) walk of his own. His French accent flounders, but he sure is sure on his feet.

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Angels in the Outfield
Photograph: Courtesy SNAP/REX/Shutterstock

9. Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Movies Comedy

You don’t have to be a sports fan to feel the magic of watching this one. A pint-size Gordon-Levitt plays Roger, whose broken heart and big dream are the whole reason the team of angels come to answer his prayers for a family and a pennant for his favorite team.

Don Jon
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel McFadden

10. Don Jon (2013)

Movies Drama

You’ve seen guys like Don Jon—always hawking tickets to a private gun show, preoccupied with scoring with girls and a little too into himself (and, um, pleasing himself). But who knew cutie pie Gordon-Levitt had it in him? He goes full bro in this self-directed movie of Joisey accents and booze.

Want to watch a Harrison Ford movie?

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