Over the last two decades, Ryan Gosling has built up one of the most impressive filmographies in Hollywood. Yes, the Canadian actor will is currently best known for his already iconic role as Ken in the wildly-successful Barbie movie, but he’s been displaying some serious Kenergy for years at this point.
We’re rounding up some of the best Ryan Gosling movies that you can watch right now. Plus, these movies can be watched across several of the best streaming services including Max, Prime Video and Netflix.
On this list, you’ll find a wide assortment of movies, from a zippy rom-com with an A-list cast to a political drama that pits Gosling against George Clooney. There’s also a stylish actioner with a killer soundtrack and an effervescent musical that will have you wanting to leap off the couch and dance along. So, let’s cut to the chase. These are the 9 best Ryan Gosling movies that you can watch right now.
The Notebook (2004)
Ryan Gosling famously did not get along with his co-star Rachel McAdams while filming The Notebook, but you wouldn’t know it from the pair's undeniable on-screen chemistry. This swoon-worthy romantic drama is based on the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name and is notorious for reducing viewers of all ages to a blubbering mess of tears, so get your tissues ready before watching this one.
The Notebook focuses on the budding romance and ensuing hardships between lumber mill worker Noah (Gosling), and wealthy heiress Allie (McAdams) in the 1940s American South. The pair are instantly drawn to one another but they belong to different worlds which threatens to tear their burgeoning relationship apart. This epic love story will break your heart and then build it back up again.
Blue Valentine (2010)
If The Notebook is a romantic drama that will break and then mend your heart, Blue Valentine will instead smash it into a million little pieces and have you swearing that “love is dead." Okay, that’s probably not the best pitch to convince you this movie is worth watching, but trust me, while Blue Valentine is emotionally devastating, it’s also a tour de force of brilliant acting from its leads. Plus it features some impeccable filmmaking from director Derek Cianfrance.
Chronicling the relationship between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams), Blue Valentine is a love story told out of order, and brutally displays how a once-loving union falls apart and turns seriously sour. Gosling and Williams are absolutely fantastic as two very dysfunctional people trying to make their relationship work. But fair warning, unlike The Notebook, this isn't a good first date movie.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
By 2011, Gosling had definitely established himself as a strong dramatic actor, and while he’d shown signs of his comedic chops in 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl (another great Gosling movie), it was Crazy, Stupid, Love that proved his expert ability to make audiences laugh. You might even say his character here could be called Cool Ken.
This sparkling rom-com opens with a mid-aged Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) forced to re-enter the dating pool when his wife reveals she’s been having an affair. Struggling with single life, Cal is taken under the wing of the ultra-slick Jacob Palmer (Gosling), who shows him the ropes of modern romance. But while Jacob is teaching Cal the benefits of being single, he meets Hannah (Emma Stone) and begins to question his own commitment to being a heartbreaker.
My personal favorite Ryan Gosling movie, Drive is a neon-noir drama with a few splashes of action thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes. The trailer might lead you to think it’s all car chases and shootouts but Drive is more of a mood piece. It blends together striking cinematography with a pitch-perfect soundtrack to create an intoxicating movie that will permanently burn itself into your brain.
In Drive, Gosling plays a nameless man who works as a mechanic and stunt double by day and a criminal getaway driver by night in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. When a mother (Carey Mulligan) and young child move into the apartment next door, the man grows fond of the pair, but the situation is complicated when her husband (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison and asks for the expert driver's help clearing his mob-owed debts.
The Ides of March (2011)
2011 was a pretty fantastic year for Gosling, and it was rounded off with the very underappreciated The Ides of March. This political thriller boasts an impressive cast that sees Gosling play off George Clooney (Who also directs and co-writes), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood. And even among such fine company, Gosling still manages to stand out with a powerful performance.
The Ides of March centers on Stephen Meyers an idealistic junior campaign manager for Mike Morris, the Governor of Pennsylvania who is competing to win the Democratic presidential primary. However, when a major political scandal rocks Mike’s chances of being selected, Meyers is forced to act to save his boss's reputation. But his chain of events forces him to question if the man he’s trying to get elected is worthy of the White House.
Only God Forgives (2013)
You probably won't find Only God Forgives on many lists of the best Ryan Gosling movies and that’s because it’s a highly polarizing film. I fall squarely into the camp that believes it’s a misunderstood masterpiece, but fair warning, you may find it’s all style and very little substance. However, if you can appreciate its stunning visuals and strong atmospheric soundtrack, you just might find yourself captivated.
Reuniting Gosling with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, Only God Forgives is set within the criminal world of Bangkok and sees an American ex-pat (Gosling) forced by his controlling mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) To embark on a quest for revenge after the death of his brother. Along the way, his path crosses with Lieutenant Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), a police detective who believes himself uniquely capable of determining right from wrong.
The Nice Guys (2016)
Another overlooked Gosling movie, The Nice Guys was a box office misfire, but it’s developed a deserved cult reputation in recent years. Directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys is a buddy cop movie that is as funny as it's engrossing. It also pairs Gosling up with Russell Crowe, and the duo turns out to be a perfect foil for each other.
Set in 1970s Los Angeles, The Nice Guys follows the mismatched partnership between for-hire investigator Holland March (Gosling) and private eye Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe). Initially at odds with each other, the duo reluctantly agrees to work together to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a girl named Amelia (Qualley). They soon stumble upon a larger conspiracy that involves murder, drugs and maybe even government officials.
La La Land (2017)
Proving that Ryan Gosling can sing and dance just as well as he can act, La La Land is a joyful musical that pays tribute to classic Hollywood but with enough modern sensibilities to keep even audience members not enamored with golden age movies entertained. Directed by Damien Chazelle, it was critically acclaimed upon release and went on to earn a slew of awards before getting caught up in the most infamous Oscar flub of all time — but that’s a story for another day.
La La Land sees Gosling play Sebastian, a struggling jazz pianist, while Emma Stone plays Mia an equally floundering actress. When the two meet, they strike up a romance and push each other to pursue their dreams. But the pursuit of their individual goals begins to impact their relationship, and soon they must decide between their love for each other and their careers.
First Man (2018)
If you’re looking for a Ryan Gosling movie where the stage is almost entirely his, then First Man is a great choice. The 2018 biographical drama sees the actor step into the space boots of Neil Armstrong and recounts the Apollo 11 mission that saw the astronaut become the first person to walk on the moon in 1969.
Another reunion for Gosling, this time with director Damien Chazelle, First Man is a surprisingly gritty look at Armstrong’s life that doesn't shy away from the negative impact of his singular drive to achieve a goal that many thought impossible. Gosling is remarkable in the leading role, but Claire Foy is also stellar as Janet Armstrong, Neil’s wife. This cinematic retelling of one of America’s greatest scientific achievements really is a fantastic showcase of Gosling’s immense talent.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.