Revisiting Top 11 Heath Ledger Movies On Actor’s Birth Anniversary: From The Dark Knight To Brokeback Mountain


Trigger Warning: This article contains references to drug abuse and death

Heath Ledger is remembered as one of the most talented actors in the industry, especially after his applaud-worthy performance as Joker in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. Hailing from Australia, Ledger made a name for himself in the short span of time that he lived. The actor was honored with an Oscar in Best Supporting Actor category posthumously for his performance in Nolan’s film. Amid the actor’s birth anniversary, here’s a look at the best 11 movies of Heath Ledger’s career.


The Dark Knight

One of the best performances given by Heath Ledger in his career was as Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Playing a negative character, Ledger earned heavy applause and appreciation for the portrayal of a character with mental illness. The actor gave his own little touch and quirk to the character, which was loved by the audience across the globe. From throwing iconic dialogues to giving complete justice to the costume, Ledger did it all. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in the middle of the shoot due to a drug overdose. Heath Ledger was awarded an Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor posthumously. 


10 Things I Hate About You

Heath Ledger entered the American film industry with the rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You. Soon after the film’s release, Ledger’s character was made up of an extremely loving boy next door. The rom-com is listed in the classics, which also starred Julia Stiles,  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Krumholtz. The story follows a schoolboy who tries to get the good girl of the school to go to prom with him. While in the process of winning the girl’s heart for the bet, Ledger’s character genuinely falls in love with her. The film is so sweet and interesting that it can be re-watched multiple times. 


Brokeback Mountain

Heath Ledger gave his career’s breakthrough performance in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. Starring alongside Jake Gyllenhall, Ledger’s act as a cowboy was controversial and praiseworthy at the same time. The film follows two cowboys who fall in love with each other, but Ledger’s character is not able to accept his homosexuality from the man who loves him. Brokeback Mountain gained multiple nominations, including BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and after much discussion, the Australian native received his first Oscar nomination. 


I’m Not There

I’m Not There is one such movie that has an interesting take on the category of biopics. The film is based on the life of singer Bob Dylan, and six of the cast members portray different facets of the singer’s life. The film is one of the underrated works of Heath Ledger, as his role as Robbie is too good to miss. Apart from the actor, other cast members have also given excellent performances, which is a perfect tribute to Dylan. 


The 2006 film Candy had a few personal shots from Heath Ledger’s life as the film revolved around battling with drugs, and so did the actor. The movie is a love story where the couple connects on topics of intense relationships and heroin addiction. Though the film’s performance at the box office was underwhelming, Ledger, at the time,e fought a battle with substance abuse in real life. Every cinema lover should watch the movie once, for its storytelling and performance. Neil Armfield made his directorial debut with the movie. 


Monster’s Ball

Monster's Ball via IMDB

Heath Ledger landed a role in Monster’s Ball after struggling for a while in the Hollywood industry. While the film got Halle Berry an Oscar for her performance, the Australian actor, too, did a pretty good job in the film. Though the film is a romance/drama, those who are fans of action films can also choose this one to watch over the weekend. The plot follows a racist prison guard who starts to fall in love with the wife of a prisoner he last executed. It is interesting to watch the storyline unfold over time. 


The Patriot

The Patriot via IMDB

Ledger signed The Patriot shortly after he turned in a standout performance in 10 Things I Hate About You. The film, released in 2000, was the actor’s first big-budget movie and did decently well at the box office. Ledger portrayed Gabriel Martin, the son of Mel Gibson, who was killed by a British Army soldier during combat in the American Revolutionary War. After learning of his son’s death, Gibson, too, enters the war zone to avenge Martin’s death. 


A Knight’s Tale

A Knight's Tale via IMDB

The 2001 film is one of those films that is way ahead of its time but lacks appreciation when it hits screens. A Knight’s Tale is based in medieval settings by an Oscar-winning director and some modern music. The film at the time of its release was not part of the fanfare club but eventually turned its charm on, thanks to the DVDs and streaming platforms. Ledger played the character of William Thatcher, who pretends to be a knight. The writing is fresh and humorous, to the point that it could connect with the audience in today’s time as well. A must-watch.


Lords Of Dogtown

2005 was the year when Heath Ledger started growing in fame. While the actor had some brilliant movies in the bag in the previous years, Ledger’s performance in Lords of Dogtown was noticed and praised. The story was based on real-life surfer groups who wished to earn for themselves from the trend that had recently emerged. The movie is set in Santa Monica, California, and Ledger portrays a surfboard shop owner who is surrounded by a group of aspiring teenagers. 


The Brothers Grimm

Out of the four Heath Ledger films that were released in 2005, The Brothers Grimm was different in many aspects. A fan of Heath Ledger would have easily made out the difference that the actor’s role in the film is quite the opposite of what he usually plays onscreen. The character portrayed by the Australian actor in the film is that of a bookish nerd and an introvert against his brother, played by Matt Demon. The film is popular for its visually stunning effects, and the director, Terry Gilliam. 


Two Hands

Heath Ledger owns this 1999 film. The crime comedy genre is well justified in Two Hands, where Ledger plays the lead, who is into odd jobs until a syndicate asks him to deliver a costly package. The film follows adventures that take place at the time of delivery. This is the least talked about film by the Dark Knight actor. The film also stars Rose Byrne and Bryan Brown. It is a good watch for those who are into mystery and thrillers.  

Disclaimer: If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, please reach out to the authorities and report it. There are several helplines available for the same. 


ALSO READ: Director Stephen Gaghan Shares Devastating Details About Heath Ledger’s Death, Says ‘I Literally Just Collapse’

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